As we grow up, we learn that sometimes, as hard as we may try, we can’t please everyone. The same applies to skincare, right? AHAs can cause some to break out while it makes others glow so bright you can see their skin from outer space. Retinoids can render some ageless and others dry, flaky and scaly. It’s impossible to please everyone, right? Wrong.
Meet hyaluronic acid, the ingredient that works for everyone.* What is it, though? An acid? Yes, but not the exfoliating kind like an alpha or beta hydroxy acid. Hyaluronic acid is something that is found naturally within our bodies. However, as we age, and live our lives exposed to various free radicals, our hyaluronic acid naturally gets depleted. HA is a humectant, which means it draws moisture from its surroundings to hydrate the skin. It can hold 1000x its weight in water, which is pretty wild.
*Please don't sue me if for some reason hyaluronic acid doesn't work for you.
Here’s why hyaluronic acid is excellent:
It hydrates below the surface to leave skin plump, hydrated and bouncy. T
It isn’t greasy, which means that it works for just about every skin type, including oily skin.
It’s an excellent product for oily skin because oiliness is often the result of dehydration. Hyaluronic acid is a great way to hydrate deeply without adding any excess oil to the skin.
It is a great choice for acne prone skin because it can help minimize inflammation, which is largely considered to be a root cause of breakouts.
It plays well with others, and as long as you apply it first and wait a minute for it to absorb, you can add it into almost any existing skincare regimen.
All in all, hyaluronic acid is an essential product that anyone should have in their medicine cabinet. It hydrates, soothes inflammation and keeps you looking young.
Here are the best hyaluronic serums for everyone:
Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum $390
This classic hyaluronic serum is iconic for a reason: it works. When I don’t use it, I notice a serious (sad) difference in the quality of my skin. This baby may be lightweight but don’t be fooled: while most hyaluronic serums on the market sit at around 2% hyaluronic acid, this serum boasts an impressive 7%. Dr. Sturm threw in her signature antioxidants, skullcap and purslane, for good measure and added anti-inflammatory, glow-inducing benefits.
Cosmetics 27 Essence 27 $131
This product is an essential part of the Cosmetics 27 ritual. It is a hyaluronic acid serum that acts as a big drink of water for your skin. It also contains Centella asiatica, which is an Asian herb known to help heal skin conditions and repair wounds. Another ingredient in L-Lysine, which is a supplement that my cat takes twice a day to keep her immune system strong. The serum tops it all off with some vitamin C for good measure. This serum is an essential product for anyone looking to hydrate, protect and heal their skin.
The Best for Urban Dwellers:
Joelle Ciocco Detox Serum $141
This serum does what it says: it detoxifies your skin from urban pollutants to keep your pores tight and your skin bright. The hyaluronic acid in this serum helps to replenish moisture loss and counteract the adverse effects of being exposed to the polluted cities in which we live.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Pollution Drops $190
In my opinion, these drops are so underrated. If you’re looking to invest in a Sturm product, but you don’t want to bite the bullet to shell out on a $400 serum, these drops are a more accessible entry point into her line. These drops contain hyaluronic acid, as well as a handful of antioxidants to help protect your skin from pollution and blue light (read: screens) that ages our skin. Add them into your hyaluronic serum for an additional boost or use them on their own.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin:
Agent Nateur Hyaluronic Acid Toner $115
Don’t be fooled; this toner feels like a serum and has high-quality ingredients to match. Aside from hyaluronic acid, this product features Bulgarian rose water to tighten skin and minimize puffiness, redness and acne. Pitaya brightens the skin and helps to heal acne. Lavender water and cucumber toner sooth irritated, inflamed skin and pearl powder helps promote collagen production and cellular regeneration.
Joelle Ciocco Rebalancer $133
This hyaluronic acid-rich moisturizer works at rebalancing the skin’s flora and microbiome. It features Centella Asiatica to accelerate wound healing, and it is a must for any skin that is breaking out or seems, you know, out of balance.