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Best Hydrating Serums for All Skin Types That Need That Glow

Recommendations for the most potent hydrating serums to brighten skin, with oil-free options too!

Hydrating SerumIf you’re battling dry skin, you probably need to do more than just slap on a moisturizer every day. But it’s a misconception that dry skin types are the only ones that need hydration. The issue lies in the difference between hydrating and moisturizing. Hydrating involves feeding water to skin, which is what all skin types need. Moisturizing is the process of adding oil on your skin to lock in that water, and oily skin types may need less of it. That said, everyone benefits from using a hydrating serum!

What’s a hydrating serum?

A serum is a thin formula that is supposed to absorb into skin, and is applied on skin after cleansing but before moisturizing. So if you notice that your skin is still dull and feels tight even after moisturizing, chances are that you need a hydrating serum. It hydrates your skin with water, which can then be locked in by a moisturizer to prevent evaporation.

How to choose a hydrating serum

Because of how delicate a serum formula is, each ingredient will pull a lot of weight. That’s why you’ll want to choose a formula that contains mostly plant-derived ingredients that are naturally nourishing for skin, and minimal filler ingredients such as synthetic fragrances, silicones, and petroleum-based ingredients. These are the top ingredients you should be looking for:

Hyaluronic acid

A molecule also known as sodium hyaluronate, and helps bind water to skin cells. It’s a superior alternative to silicone ingredients such as dimethicone. While silicone ingredients aren’t inherently harmful, they tightly seal up skin without actually hydrating it, leading to long term dryness and damage.

Aloe vera

A gel-like substance that’s rich in water and antioxidants. It’s primarily used to treat sunburns, so it’s ideal for sensitive skin.


Another natural ingredient that’s able to bind a large amount of water to skin, and contains nourishing minerals and vitamins to reinforce skin health. It’s a superior alternative to propylene glycol, which is a synthetic ingredient that absorbs water but has no actual benefits for skin, and can potentially cause negative health effects.


A hydrating ingredient that’s highly anti-inflammatory and also rich with antioxidants. It softens and tones skin for a smoother complexion.

Green tea

Rich in potent antioxidants that offer protection against environmental damage, thus helping to prevent against fine lines and wrinkles.

Best hydrating serums

Restorative Sea Culture SerumRestorative Sea Culture Replenishing Serum from 100% Pure
USDA organic, cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free
Instead of using just plain water, this super lightweight serum uses chia water as its base for an extra dose of nutrients. The algae and kelp extract are rich with seaweed polysaccharides that saturate dry skin for a plumper complexion, while hyaluronic acid from sweet potato locks in hydration for a smoother skin tone.

Hyaluronic Sea SerumHyaluronic Sea Serum from Osea
Another seaweed-infused serum, but without a blend of essential oils, so it’s perfect for sensitives noses or skin. Red and brown algae extracts nourish with B vitamins and balance skin with essential minerals, supported by hyaluronic acid from bacterial fermentation. Fans love this serum for the glow it leaves on their skin.

Swiss Apple Facial Serum from Indie Lee
Hydrating skin is essential for healthier, youthful skin. But do you still prefer a serum with an additional anti-aging boost? On top of a base of algae extract and hyaluronic acid, this serum from Indie Lee also contains a potent dose of swiss apple stem cells that have been shown to reduce the depth of wrinkles.

Green Tea Rose Hydrating SerumGreen Tea Rose Hydrating SerumGreen Tea & Rose Hydrating Face Serum from John Masters Organics
This serum contains a wealth of hydrating ingredients to soothe and restore an even skin tone. The rosewater and algae extract leave skin velvety soft, while the base of organic aloe vera feels light and comfortable on skin. The formula also contains green tea extract to help protect skin with antioxidants throughout the day.

Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic SerumStrawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic SerumStrawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum from Eminence Organic Skin Care
People suffering from dry skin often struggle with dull skin too, which is why this serum also contains vitamin C-rich strawberry and rhubarb to brighten skin. In addition to hyaluronic acid derived from marshmallow plant extract, this serum also contains the powerful antioxidant coenzyme Q10 that neutralizes free radical damage.Sea Algae SerumSea Algae SerumSea Algae Serum from Evan Healy
For a serum with an extra moisturizing boost, pick up this serum that contains organic sea buckthorn oil that’s rich with essential fatty acids. It contains a wide range of nourishing botanicals, from kelp extract and gotu kola to tea tree oil to help improve skin tone. This serum is a real multi-tasker, as it also contains coenzyme Q10 and hyaluronic acid for anti-aging benefits.Back to Life Hydration SerumBack to Life Hydration SerumBack to Life Hydration Serum from Pai
Cruelty-free, vegan
This serum is especially beneficial for dry and aging skin. The hyaluronic acid is supported by a luxurious amount of Australian berries that nourish skin with antioxidants and protect against moisture loss. Sunflower and jasmine oil soften skin and lock in nutrients. This serum has been clinically tested for sensitive and eczema-prone skin too!

Hyaluronic Acid SerumHyaluronic Acid SerumHyaluronic Acid Serum from Amara Organics
Cruelty-free, vegan
A no-nonsense anti-aging formula that includes hyaluronic acid derived from senna plant seeds, stable vitamin C to boost collagen production, and healing vitamin E. At the same time, it’s an ultra light serum that hydrates and absorbs quickly, leaving skin smooth and plump.

Purifying Youth SerumPurifying Youth SerumPurifying Youth Serum from Derma E
Cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free
This oil-free formula is perfect for oily skin types. It contains two types of mineral-rich seaweed to enrich and bind water to skin. In addition, the serum includes green tea extract that protects skin against environmental damage and may help balance sebum production.

Final tips on using a hydrating serum

The great thing about serums? They’re light, fast-absorbing, and also layerable! So if you’d like to use a hydrating serum but don’t want to let go of your beloved favorite formula, feel free to layer the two! Just be sure to cleanse your face, apply the lighter formula, and then the thicker formula afterwards. Wait for it to all absorb, and seal it all in with a moisturizer. Follow this routine twice a day for the long term, and hopefully you’ll be able to see the results in a smoother, brighter complexion.

After hydrating, you’ll need moisturizing ingredients to lock that precious water in:

10 Best Natural Face Moisturizers for Every Skin Type: Why natural face moisturizers are an easy way to improve the potency of your skin care routine.
Top 7 Jojoba Oil Benefits for Skin: From moisturizing to treating acne, jojoba oil offers a range of benefits for treating skin conditions.
9 Best Oils for Face Wrinkles to Add to Your Anti-Aging Routine: These oils smooth out your skin and also help prevent long term damage.

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