Hyaluronic acid in skincare: everything you need to know about the “gold standard” ingredient for hydration
July 30th 2019
August 15th 2019 / 0 comment
From serums and moisturisers to toners and masks, self tans and scalp soothers, these are the hyaluronic acid products that we really rate
Hyaluronic acid is the Holy Grail of skincare ingredients (in fact, it’s even started making its way into makeup and haircare formulations too). With an important role of keeping our skin hydrated and an ability to hold onto 1000 times its weight in water, it’s been proven time and again to be one of the most useful, universal and trusted ingredients in beauty. But with different benefits depending on the molecular weight and huge variation in price points, which products are really worth splashing the cash on?
There are so many out there (you’d be hard pushed these days to find a decent moisturiser or serum without it) but we’ve whittled our favourites down into this edit. Whether you’re on a budget, want to tackle lines as well as dryness or you’re looking for something oil-free, there’s a hyaluronic acid product that will suit you. Plump and glowing skin is right this way…
We have a whole edit of hyaluronic acid serums for sensitive skin here, but this one makes the cut every time. With just 11 ingredients, this serum is one of the purest on the market and best of all it’s a joy to use. The gel-like formula is enriched with Vichy’s signature thermal spring water (a whopping 89%) as well as sodium hyaluronate - AKA hyaluronic acid - and is gentle enough for even the most sensitive, reactive skin. It also leaves no residue behind and supports the delicate skin barrier. Win-win. They've just brought out an eye version (Vichy Minéral 89 Eyes Hyaluronic Acid Eye Fortifier, £20) with caffeine for zapping dark circles.
Providing a range of skin-plumping benefits for minimal pennies, this budget beauty bargain combining low, medium and high molecular weight HA provides multi-depth penetration and hydration for your buck. A no-brainer for anyone on the lookout for an HA booster to add to their routine.
Intraceuticals is a firm favourite among A-list celebs such as Olivia Colman, Allison Janney and Julianne Moore, who have the brand's Director of Services, aesthetician Lord Gavin McLeod Valentine and on speed dial, especially in awards season. He preps them weeks before with the 3-step hyaluronic acid layering system, and in the immediate run-up he gets out the big guns with the ultimate glow getting and surprisingly gentle Intraceutical Oxygen Facial (available here too). Intraceuticals really have HA delivery systems nailed. Nowhere more so than with these eye masks, which our Editorial Director Victoria always has in her bathroom for those 'haven't slept again' mornings or big nights out. They plump and rejuvenate more than any cream we've tried. Yes expensive but worth every penny.
Editors have gone wild for this natural hyaluronic acid face mist - and with good reason. It does a bit of everything, from the chamomile water that soothes sensitive skins to the pineapple extract which helps to brighten uneven tone; plus it works whether you’re dry or oily or somewhere in between. A flawless all-rounder that really plumps and refreshes your skin.
If you haven’t heard of Hydraluron, where have you been? Another product with minimal ingredients - making it well tolerated by all skin types - this simple serum is known as one of the best in terms of hydrating the skin. A small drop before moisturiser is all that’s needed to reap the benefits of HA, and the light tube is travel-friendly too.
We love Tan Luxe's Tan Drops, when when we can remember to add them to our serum, but now they've taken that extra step off our hands by combining their famous natural-looking gradual tans with a hyaluronic serum, to provide an everyday base glow. There's nourishing cocao seed in there too, to provide a barrier against environmental aggressors and act as a primer.
Dry lips? Meet your perfect remedy. We’ll let founder, Pedro Catala, explain the science to this one: “It contains the smallest possible HA molecules encapsulated in tiny spheres that keep releasing hyaluronic acid to the lips, to add volume and hydration.” It works, too. Ditch your pot of lip balm stat - this is all you need.
Everyone knows ANR is the super serum, and hyaluronic acid plays an important part. A product that’s made countless appearances on many a beauty editor’s skincare edit, we can vouch for the benefits of this super serum. Leaving tired complexions glowing, think of it as a beauty sleep-booster in a bottle.
For hyper-quenched, healthy skin, go the extra mile with a hyaluronic acid mask like this red algae, cucumber and aloe vera-infused number from Aussie brand Dr Roebucks. The clever combo replenishes the skin’s moisture and then holds onto it so you can have a glowing complexion in just 20 minutes.
This luxurious toner may be free of sulphates but it’s full of potent ingredients that are designed to hydrate and soothe. With helichrysum water, healing allantoin and hyaluronic acid as well as white wine extract, it’s a youth-boosting cocktail that’s ideal for mature skin - and though the price is hefty, so is the bottle.
It’s all about lighter, fluid textures in skincare (and makeup, come to think of it) and so this gel moisturiser from beauty pro favourite Tata Harper is a welcome addition to your routine, especially if you’re on the oily side. Its 37-strong ingredients list reads like a skincare smoothie, with chia seed water, banana flower and tremella mushroom as well as dual weight hyaluronic acid; your skin will drink it up.
Designed with millennials in mind, this 2019 Hydraluminous launch from No7 can be used alone as a serum or added into your moisturiser to give it a hydration boost. It does have a light fragrance, but it’s oil-free and will stop that mid-afternoon dryness that usually plagues those of us working in air-conditioned offices. Ideal for in your early twenties, but in our experience, it works at every age.
Recommend to us by aesthetic doctor Dr Maryam Zamani, this potent pick contains three forms of HA of differing sizes. Alongside collagen-boosting proxylane, liquorice root and purple rice, it helps to stimulate the skin’s own HA production and inhibit its breakdown too. Smart.
Formulated to decrease wrinkle depth, increase skin thickness, reduce sagging and minimise the appearance of pores, the low molecular weight HA combined with vitamin E-rich placenta extract, nourishing kahai oil and detoxifying white asparagus extract give this pricy pick a unique point of difference. It’s clinically proven to reduce fine lines, so if you’ve got deep pockets, it’s the expert’s choice.
For those of us with slightly tighter purse strings, this gel moisturiser from Neutrogena is a good bet for a daily dose of hyaluronic acid. It’s oil-free, budget-friendly and contains silicones for a super smooth finish.
This no-needle at-home ‘filler’ acts as an excellent topical HA product. Containing six different molecular structures of varying weights and sizes of hyaluronic acid, in three different concentrations, the two-step kit seeks to soften fine lines and wrinkles and increase tissue volume in cheeks and lips.
This easy leave-in weightless formula goes on after washing or even between washes. It sinks in effortlessly so there's no build-up. Niacinamide (vitamin B3) builds the skin barrier and helps protect the microbiome while all-important hyaluronic acid hydrates and soothes a dry itchy scalp. If you're wedded to your hairdryer, your scalp will love this, and so will your hair. Think of it as watering the garden!
August 24th 2018