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2022's Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums

We share what to look for in a quality hyaluronic acid serum + our 5 top picks for hydrated, smooth, youthful-looking skin.

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Hyaluronic acid is perhaps the most talked-about ingredient in skincare right now. And it’s easy to see why so many experts recommend it.

This “moisture magnet” is able to attract 1,000 times its weight in water—providing superior skin hydration that lasts for hours. And, when your skin is fully hydrated, it's less vulnerable to wrinkles and other signs of age.

That's why hyaluronic acid serums have become so popular with savvy consumers who want hydrated, younger-looking skin. But, an online search for hyaluronic acid serums will show you page after page of different products from a wide variety of brands. And it can be hard to know which one to choose.

We made this guide to share our research on what to look for in a quality hyaluronic acid serum. Plus, we'll share our 5 top picks for smooth, radiant, youthful-looking skin.

Why Does Our Skin Need Hyaluronic Acid?

Did you know that hyaluronic acid is one of the most abundant molecules in our skin? It's responsible for helping our skin hold in moisture and "filling out" our skin from within (sort of like the water in a grape).

Unfortunately, as hyaluronic acid levels decrease with age, our skin begins to deflate—leading to signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines (imagine that same grape deflating into a raisin).

So, it’s no surprise that replenishing your skin’s hyaluronic acid has so many benefits:

A Quality Hyaluronic Acid Serum Can Help:

Plump up your skin to reduce the visibility of fine lines

Deeply hydrate to reduce dryness, redness, and flaking

Prevent new wrinkles from appearing or becoming more visible 

Reduce water loss so your skin stays hydrated for hours

Promote firmer-looking skin & a radiant, healthy glow

These benefits make hyaluronic acid a must-have for people who are interested in looking younger and preventing signs of aging.

Perhaps that’s why hyaluronic acid is the most common ingredient in dermal fillers—injections that plump up wrinkles and firm up the look of loose skin. 

Fortunately, we now have the technology to shrink down hyaluronic acid—so it can penetrate your skin and plump up wrinkles without the needle.

With Hyaluronic Acid, Size Matters

The hyaluronic acid molecules in many serums are too big to fit through the cracks in your skin. These large Hyaluronic Acid molecules are ideal for hydrating your skin’s surface for a radiant glow and dewy finish.

However, you also need smaller Hyaluronic Acid molecules, which can penetrate deeply enough to plump up fine lines and prevent wrinkles from appearing.

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For best results, look for skincare products that contain multi-molecular Hyaluronic Acid—meaning they contain both large and small hyaluronic acid molecules.

Enhance Your Hyaluronic Acid Results 

Hyaluronic acid is king when it comes to hydration. But, if you're hoping to reduce or prevent the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tones, sagging skin, and other signs of aging, then you'll also need to support your skin from other angles, too. 

That's why we recommend finding a serum that contains other potent skincare ingredients that work together with hyaluronic acid to deliver superior results.

Top Ingredients to Look For:

NiacinamideThis vitamin not only helps diminish the look of skin pigmentation and dark spots, but also supports a smooth, youthful appearance.

Vitamin CA powerful antioxidant shown to promote even-toned, less wrinkled, firmer-looking skin.

Brightening AcidsA group of skin-smoothing ingredients that gently exfoliate and moisturize for a dewy complexion. Look for a formula that lists some or all of Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, and Phytic acid.

BetaineThis lesser-known skin-hydrator not only helps balance the skin’s hydration, it can also contribute to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Polyglutamic AcidAn intensely hydrating acid that can hold up to 5,000 times its weight in moisture and works synergistically with hyaluronic acid to visibly smooth and brighten skin.

Your Definitive Hyaluronic Acid Serum Checklist:

Clean FormulaLook for serums that are free from harmful and unnecessary additives such as: parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, and synthetic fragrances.

The E-Commerce AdvantageMany successful e-commerce beauty brands have inherently lower overhead costs, which gives them the ability to invest more in creating superior skincare formulas. Therefore, by selling directly to you, online beauty brands are often able to offer higher quality products at a more affordable cost.

Money-Back GuaranteeAmericans spend billions of dollars every year for youthful skin, and they still find themselves unhappy with an apparent lack of results. It’s better—and safer—to invest in a product that offers a 100% money-back, no-questions-asked guarantee. This shows the company's faith in the potency of its product and the results you will experience.

Here's who made the cut...

After extensive research, we put together a definitive list of the best hyaluronic acid serums available right now—based on ingredients, safety, return policies, projected effectiveness, and customer satisfaction.

Top 5 Hyaluronic Acid Serums of 2022

1. Spot Check: Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum

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a bottle of red liquid

Total Ranking

9.6/10

A

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Patented multi-molecular hyaluronic acid
  • Clean, naturally derived ingredients that support a hydrated, even-toned, youthful appearance
  • Users report noticeable results in their reviews
  • Contains niacinamide, vitamin C, polyglutamic acid, betaine and brightening acids
  • Featured In Vogue, Byrdie, Life & Style, Who What Wear, & Teen Vogue
  • 60-day, risk-free, money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Only sold in the U.S. & Canada
The Bottom Line

Named as a "Best Face Serum" by Vogue, Tru Alchemy's Spot Check is our #1 pick because of its clean, hydrating formula that targets wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and loose skin.

We were impressed that Tru Alchemy developed and used their own patented, multi-molecular hyaluronic acid, called Hyaluronix®.

Plus, the formula features other potent ingredients to support smoother, brighter-looking skin—including niacinamide, vitamin C white shiitake mushroom, polyglutamic acid, betaine and a blend of 3 brightening acids—phytic, lactic, and glycolic.


Spot Check is also free of parabens, synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, alcohols, and other harsh chemicals.

And, Tru Alchemy offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked, which shows us they stand by their product.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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2. Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier

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a bottle of purple liquid

Total Ranking

9.2/10

A-

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Contains licorice root, xylose, purple rice, and a brightening acid
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Hyaluronic acid is not multi-molecular
  • Contains silicones and denatured alcohol
  • High price point at $102
The Bottom Line

Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier by Skinceuticals came in at #2 on our list of top five hyaluronic acid serums. We like that the formula contains licorice root, xylose, and purple rice extract to help preserve the natural hyaluronic acid content of your skin.

However, note that the hyaluronic acid in this formula is not multi-molecular—so it may not reach the deeper layers of your skin. 

On the plus side, we appreciate the addition of salicylic acid, which exfoliates and brightens the skin. And we like that they stand behind their product with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The main complaint about this product is the high price point. At $102 for 1 fluid ounce, Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier is by far the most expensive product on our list.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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3. Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

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bottle

Total Ranking

8.8/10

B+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Multi-molecular hyaluronic acid
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Lacks other key ingredients
  • Contains fragrance and denatured alcohol
The Bottom Line

Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum by La Roche-Posay comes in 3rd place on our list because it contains multi-molecular hyaluronic acid.

While our researchers appreciate the addition of vitamin B5 (panthenol), the formula doesn’t contain any other ingredients that have been shown to help with signs of aging.

The most common complaint about this formula is the intense flower perfume scent as the formula does unfortunately contain fragrance. Consumers should also note that the formula contains denatured alcohol, which is considered one of the “bad” alcohols in skincare.

La Roche-Posay offers a 30-day guarantee so you can get your money back if you are unhappy with the scent.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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4. Hyaluronic Acid + B5

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packaged goods

Total Ranking

8.4/10

B

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Multi-molecular hyaluronic acid
  • Vitamin B5 

CONS

  • Lacks other key ingredients
  • No refunds if you use more than half of the bottle
The Bottom Line

The Ordinary has gained a following for its serums, which each contain only one or two skin-supporting ingredients. In this case, the serum contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 (panthenol). 

Some people prefer to customize their skincare routine by combining several serums. However, we’ve done the math and found that it’s not cost-effective to order multiple serums each month when you could simply get one that has all the right ingredients. 

With that said, The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid + B5 serum still deserves a place on our list because it contains multi-molecular hyaluronic acid, which sets it apart from most serums


Deciem, the company that owns The Ordinary, does offer refunds. But unfortunately, they only allow customers to return the product if the bottle is still at least half full.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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5. Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

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packaged goods

Total Ranking

8.2/10

B-

Overall Grade


PROS

  • Free from parabens, synthetic fragrances, alcohols, and silicones
  • 30-day money back guarantee

CONS

  • Hyaluronic acid is not multi-molecular
  • Lacks any additional skin-supporting ingredients
The Bottom Line

Vichy's Minéral 89 ranks 5th on our list. We like that this clean formula is free from parabens, synthetic fragrances, alcohols, and silicones.

However, this formula came in last place because it's missing the smaller, shrunken-down hyaluronic acid molecules.

Minéral 89 contains the standard large hyaluronic acid molecules that will moisturize your skin's surface and may provide a dewy appearance. But, without the smaller molecules, you are unlikely to see a difference in your wrinkles, fine lines, or skin elasticity.

Another issue with this product is that hyaluronic acid is the only skin-supporting ingredient it contains.

Vichy offers a 30-day guarantee. So, you can return the product if you are unsatisfied.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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