15 Hydrating Serums Worth Adding To Your Skincare Regime

Written by Shreya Vishwanathan
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All the beauties out there have different skin types— dry, oily, combination, sensitive and so on. But one thing that unites us all is the need for a product that offers healthy hydration. And when we talk about hydration, there’s no other skincare product that can perform to its full potential like a hydrating serum. When you wash your face, you need a serum that not only delivers much-needed nourishment to your skin but also replenishes the lost moisture and locks it in. And for this, you need the best hydrating serum out there.

If you have oily skin, you must be confused whether you need one because your skin already produces oils and gets more than moisturized. And to clarify that, a hydrating serum can work like magic for you by controlling oil production and instead sealing in the right amount of moisture to make your skin look and feel healthy. It’s just a matter of picking a hydrating serum for your skin type. And now that you know, here’s our list of the 15 best hydrating serums for all skin types! But before that, let’s take a look at what a hydrating serum does to your skin.

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Vichy Mineral 89 Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
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Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum
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CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
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Timeless Skin Care Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum
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Breylee Rose Hydrating Serum
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Bioderma Hydrabio Sérum
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Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
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Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum
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Aveeno Calm + Restore Triple Oat Serum
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First Aid Beauty Ultra-Repair Hydrating Serum
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What Does A Hydrating Serum Do?

Pretty much like you can make out from the name, a hydrating serum helps enhance your skin’s hydration and prevent it from feeling dry. In addition to this, it also helps enhance your skin’s ability to retain moisture. Most hydrating serums are enriched with lipid-replenishing ingredients and antioxidants that also cater to the skin’s nutritional needs, thus providing intense nourishment to your skin. When you use a hydrating serum for your face, it soothes and calms your skin and prepares it for the steps of your skincare routine that follow.

15 Best Hydrating Serums In 2021 That Pack Intense Hydration

1. Vichy Mineral 89 Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Walk your way to plump skin with the Vichy Mineral 89 Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum that packs a good dose of hydration. A great addition to your daily skincare routine, this serum is lightweight and gets absorbed by the skin in no time. Formulated with 89% Vichy volcanic water and natural origin hyaluronic acid, it fortifies your skin and improves the resistance of your skin barrier to visible signs of aging as a result of stress and pollution. If your biggest concern is dull complexion, the good news is that this hydrating face serum helps add radiance to your skin so you shine bright like a diamond. Added perks of investing in this impressive serum are that it is free of silicones and parabens, and is tested under dermatological control for safety!

Pros

  •  Non-greasy formula
  •  Fast-absorbing
  •  Dermatologist recommended
  •  Free of parabens
  •  Free of alcohol
  •  Oil-free
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Colorant-free
  •  Allergy-tested
  •  Vegan
  •  Suitable for sensitive skin

Cons

  •  May not offer long-lasting hydration for extremely dry skin

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2. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum

If you’re on the lookout for a serum that offers higher levels of hydrating for your parched skin, Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum is a natural choice. Made with hyaluronic acid, this oil-free, non-comedogenic hydrating serum for face not only quenches your skin’s thirst but also absorbs quickly and ensures that your skin stays smooth and supple for hours on end. Hyaluronic acids found in this serum helps attract and lock in moisture so your skin feels fresh and hydrated throughout the day after your skincare routine. What’s more? It is suitable for all skin types, so just throw it into your skincare pouch and say yes to skin that looks and feels healthy.

Pros

  •  Free of oils
  •  Does not clog pores
  •  Offers long-lasting hydration
  •  Dermatologist recommended
  •  Suitable for all skin types

Cons

  •  Contains fragrance

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3. CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Loaded with skin-loving ingredients such as ceramides, vitamin B5, and hyaluronic acid, this hydrating serum for dehydrated skin will bless you with healthy, hydrated skin in a matter of seconds and save your skin from moisture loss. This face hydrating serum is formulated to deliver moisture to your skin while hyaluronic acid helps retain all the moisture, locking it in for hours. Not only does this wonder serum bring back the hydration but it also restores and strengthens your skin’s natural barrier. A dermatologist-recommended brand, this hydrating serum for dry skin is suitable for use by those with dry, oily, sensitive skin, and even acne-prone skin!

Pros

  •  Lightweight
  •  Gel-like texture
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Suitable for all skin types

Cons

  •  May peel when layered with certain products

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4. Timeless Skin Care Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

A perfect potion for timeless beauty, this hydrating facial serum from Timeless Skin Care is formulated with 1% pure hyaluronic acid that improves your skin’s ability to retain moisture. Only 2 or 3 drops of this hydrating serum, and your skin will be relieved of tightness and flakiness. As a plus, the Timeless Skin Care Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum is formulated for all skin types. Oily skin beauties or dry skin belles— you can confidently pick this fragrance-free hydrating serum and forget what dry and parched skin feels like!

Pros

  •  Contains high concentration of active ingredients
  •  Does not contain parabens
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Free of dyes
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Peg-free

Cons

  •  Some may find it slightly sticky.

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5. Breylee Rose Hydrating Serum

For those with extremely dry and flaky skin, a regular serum just won’t cut it, and you need an intensely hydrating serum with all the right ingredients. A combination of rose extract and sodium hyaluronate, you can expect this hydrating serum to work like magic for your dry skin. It is further enriched with trehalose that retains cell viability and panthenol that improves rough and dry skin. Besides its hydrating properties, it can also help brighten your complexion and make your skin look radiant. And if you don’t follow a skincare routine, you can as well mix this serum with your liquid foundation and still enjoy its hydrating benefits!

Pros

  •  Feels lightweight
  •  Absorbs quickly
  •  Free of alcohol
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Does not leave behind an oil residue

Cons

  •  May not be suitable for extremely sensitive skin

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6. Bioderma Hydrabio Sérum

One of the best hydrating serums for sensitive skin, this one from Bioderma is infused with 3 of the most effective moisturizing ingredients. Formulated with sodium hyaluronate, niacinamide, laminaria ochroleuca extract, and apple fruit extract, this hydrating skin serum cares for your skin by replenishing the much-needed nutrients. With its aquagenium biological patent, this serum helps reactivate your skin’s natural moisturizing capacity. And once your skin regains its moisture-locking capacity, your skin becomes visibly smoother and more supple. This hydration booster glides smoothly on the skin and also doubles as a makeup base. Just use it twice a day— in the morning and at night— and witness for yourself how it works its magic!

Pros

  •  Smooth texture
  •  Instant moisturising effect
  •  Restores radiance
  •  Suitable for sensitive skin

Cons

  •  Contains artificial fragrance

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7. Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

If you yearn for a brighter, more radiant skin that feels richly hydrated and moisturized, the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum from Drunk Elephant has to be your pick. Formulated with good-for-skin ingredients such as vitamin B5, pineapple ceramide, watermelon rind, apple, and lentil complex, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. With anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredients like barberry extract, you can keep breakouts at bay. And finally, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer hydrates your skin like no other by soaking in easily. To add more to its countless benefits, it has powerful antioxidants that scavenge free radicals, giving you hydrated, healthy, and beautiful skin.

Pros

  •  pH level of 5.5
  •  Unscented
  •  Lightweight
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Suitable for all skin types

Cons

  •  Slightly expensive

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8. Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum

Bid adieu to skin that looks dull and fatigued as you make space for this bestselling vitamin C hydrating serum in your skincare cabinet. Made with multiple forms of vitamin C, it not only offers hydration but also makes way for plump, bouncy skin that looks bright and fresh. This nourishing serum packs anti-aging benefits, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and is enriched with an antioxidant blend, including green tea, that helps keep your skin safe from external threats such as environmental damage. It is also worth the pick if you’re dealing with skin that has dark spots, discoloration, or an uneven skin tone. A potent formula, all it takes is a coffee bean-sized portion of this ultra-repair hydrating serum to improve elasticity and reclaim healthy skin.

Pros

  •  Free of parabens
  •  Free of phthalates
  •  Free of mineral oils
  •  Free of synthetic dyes
  •  Free of artificial fragrance

Cons

  •  You may need to use an additional moisturizer if you have extremely dry and flaky skin.

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9. Aveeno Calm + Restore Triple Oat Serum

This thoughtful and unique formulation made from triple oat complex is for those who like their serum to leave the skin feeling calm and soothed, ready for the next step of the skincare routine. This triple oat complex is a combination of feverfew and oat flour extract and oil. It not only offers short-term hydration; it also strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier so that your skin regains its ability to retain moisture in the long run. With 3x power of oats, your skin is bound to look smooth, fresh, and well-rested upon regular use of this Calm + Restore Triple Oat Serum from Aveeno.

Pros

  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Free of parabens
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Dye-free
  •  Alcohol-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Tested on sensitive skin

Cons

  •  May not calm rosacea-prone skin

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10. First Aid Beauty Ultra-Repair Hydrating Serum

Wrinkles and fine lines can be banished with collagen and peptides, and this oil-free hydrating serum helps you take care of that. This hydration hero is packed with glycerin, soluble collagen, colloidal oatmeal, feverfew extract, licorice root extract among many other healthy ingredients that leave your skin feeling moisturized for long hours while nourishing your skin. While hydration is the prime forte of this fresh hydrating serum, it also helps balance your complexion and regulates natural oil production so your skin looks bright and supple. The cherry on top is that it is formulated without alcohol, parabens, formaldehydes, mineral oil, coal tar, colorants, or artificial fragrance!

Pros

  •  Suitable for all skin types
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Gluten-free
  •  Nano-free
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Nut-free
  •  Oil-free
  •  Soy-free

Cons

  •  Some may find the consistency too sticky for their liking.

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11. Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum

The Honeymoon Glow hydrating serum is your savior if you’re looking for a potent blend of healthy acids. Formulated with salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid with a hint of honey, this is the best hydrating serum for the face if you’re an AHA fan. It is also infused with gentle flow acids that brighten dull skin and offer mild exfoliation. Made with 10% AHA and 1% BHA, this ultra-hydrating serum brings you anti-aging benefits and tackles fine lines and wrinkles. And if you’re all about clean and cruelty-free beauty, you’re in luck because Framacy does not test its products, including this hydrating serum for face, on animals.

Pros

  •  Paraben-free
  •  Formaldehyde donor-free
  •  Mineral oil free
  •  Does not have synthetic fragrance
  •  Free of phthalates

Cons

  •  May not be suitable for those with acne-prone skin

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12. Revision Skincare Hydrating Serum

If you’re looking for long-term moisturization and healthier skin over time, this hydrating serum from Revision Skincare is designed to solve your problems. With powerful ingredients such as watermelon, apple, and lentil fruit extracts, vitamin E, pomegranate extract, honey and sea kelp extract, among other ingredients, this serum has antioxidant properties and provides deep conditioning to your skin. Being water-based and lightweight, it can even be used by those with oily skin looking for a non-greasy finish. Additionally, it also blesses your skin with anti-aging benefits with palmitoyl tripeptide-5 and hydrolyzed hazelnut protein. All you have to do is use a few drops of this hydrating serum for your face at night and let it transform your skin as you catch up on your sleep.

Pros

  •  Oil-free
  •  Ultra-light texture
  •  Absorbs quickly
  •  Suitable for all skin types
  •  Has anti-aging properties

Cons

  •  Some may find the consistency watery.

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13. Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster

Offering you multiple benefits in one product, this hydrating serum in the form of a booster from Paula’s Choice is among the best hydrating serums for dehydrated skin. It is enriched with ceramides that replenish the skin, hyaluronic acid that retains moisture and makes the skin visibly smooth, and panthenol that offers hydration for hours on end. As a plus, it is suitable for all skin types. And if you’re looking for added moisturization, you can also add this hydrating serum for your face to your moisturizer. So, pick this serum from Paula’s Choice and keep dryness, dullness, wrinkles, and fine lines at bay!

Pros

  •  Paraben-free
  •  No fragrance
  •  Non-irritating
  •  Cruelty-free

Cons

  •  May feel sticky initially

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14. PCA Skin Hydrating Serum

If you’re all about serums that offer a fair share of hydration without feeling greasy on your skin, the PCA Skin Hydrating Serum is what you need. Made with moisture-binding ingredients such as glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, and sodium PCA that address various skin concerns, this skin hydrating serum reduces inflammation and offers antioxidant benefits. Specifically formulated keeping in mind mature skin, it helps slow down the signs of aging, corrects discoloration, and does not irritate sensitive skin. It is also free of potential irritants and questionable ingredients such as synthetic dyes and fragrances. Just add it to your morning and evening skincare regimen and watch this hydrating serum for the face soon turn into your favorite product!

Pros

  •  Ultra-lightweight formula
  •  Suitable for sensitive skin
  •  Decreases inflammation
  •  Not tested on animals

Cons

  •  May not be as effective on flaky skin

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15. E.l.f Hydrating Booster Drops

With booster ingredients like carrageenan extract and ella fusiformis sporocarp extract, the hero ingredient, sodium hyaluronate lives up to its full potential in this hydrating serum for face. What we love about this serum is that while it offers intense hydration, it feels lightweight and does not leave behind a greasy residue. You can use this affordable hydrating serum on its own or even add a few drops of it to your foundation or cream for an added dose of moisture. This serum is definitely a preferred product for those who like to stay away from harsh chemicals such as parabens and phthalates. Adding more to its list of pros is that it is cruelty-free, because kindness is chic!

Pros

  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Nonylphenol-free
  •  Free of ethoxylates
  •  Free of triclocarban and triclosan
  •  Free of hydroquinone
  •  Cruelty-free

Cons

  •  Contains EDTA

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We hope that our thoughtfully created list of the 15 best hydrating serums for face will help you make the right decision in buying the best serum for yourself. However, it’s not all that easy, and if you’re still confused, we can help you further with our buying guide.

How To Choose The Best Hydrating Serum

  •  Humectants

When it comes to serums that offer intense and long-term hydration, there are 2 types of ingredients that may help. One is hydrating ingredients and the other kind is ingredients that lock in moisture. These are called humectants. While hydrating ingredients replenish the skin’s moisture content, humectants help ensure that the moisture is sealed in.

Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, provitamin B5, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, oat extracts, and honey are some of the most popular humectants. Hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate not only lock in moisture but also help increase your skin’s natural capacity to retain moisture by strengthening the skin’s moisture barrier. Besides these humectants, you can look for moisturizing ingredients such as aloe and vitamin E in your hydrating serum.

  •  Skin type

Not all hydrating serums are made to suit every skin type, and you have to be very specific about choosing your hydrating serum because it can either be a valuable addition to your routine or may end up nullifying the goodness of all other skincare steps. If you have acne-prone skin, make sure to pick water-based hydrating serums that are non-comedogenic— free of agents that can clog your pores. For sensitive skin, it is crucial to read the label and ensure that the hydrating serum for the face caters to those with this skin type. While most hydrating serums are suitable for dry and combination skin, go for a water-based serum for oily skin and look for multiple moisture-rich ingredients if you have flaky skin.

  •  Additional features

A serum is not just a product that offers hydration. It is supposed to nourish your skin and help address a bunch of skin woes. So, based on what your skin-related problems are, you should choose a hydrating serum that not only locks in moisture but also deals with the problems. A bunch of hydrating serums pack antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients while some have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are suited for those who have acne. You can also look for hydrating serums with vitamin C, niacinamide, and honey that help reduce blemishes in case you have dark spots, discoloration, or a dull complexion.

  •  Free of harsh chemicals

It is always recommended to avoid using products that are chemical laden or have too many preservatives as these agents can irritate your skin. If you find variants of parabens, phthalates, tetrasodium and disodium EDTA, silicones, or alcohol in the serum, it is best to reconsider your choice. Furthermore, check if your serum has artificial fragrance and dyes. These agents can potentially irritate your skin and may even cause allergies.

  •  Low in oil

While oils are known to hydrate the skin, the biggest downside of using a hydrating serum that contains different kinds of oils is that it is likely that the serum may turn out to be comedogenic. And this specifically is a problem because most people tend to layer a bunch of products on top of serum. If you have acne-prone skin, it is best to avoid oil-based serums. In fact, ingredients like hyaluronic acid and panthenol are quite effective at offering hydration.

While following a skincare routine can be exciting, it is very crucial to get it right so you can enjoy all the benefits of each product you use. And to make sure you do justice to your skin, we’re here to help you understand how you’re supposed to use your hydrating serum.

How To Use A Hydrating Serum?

  •  Step 1– Your skincare routine should always start with a dependable face cleanser. If you’re following your night-time skincare routine, you can also add a cleansing balm before a cleanser for double cleansing, especially if you’ve got makeup on your face.
  •  Step 2– Second step involves using a good toner that sets the right base for your serum. Toners are meant to help increase the skin’s ability to soak in all the goodness of your serum or just exfoliate your skin, especially if you have acne-prone skin. So, take a fair amount of toner and apply it all over your face and wait for it to settle on your face.
  •  Step 3– As the third step, pick your hydrating serum for the face, ideally a few drops, and apply it to your skin and pat it all over so it gets absorbed by your skin. A hydrating serum not only hydrates your skin but also provides your skin with nutrients it needs.
  •  Step 4– Moisturize your face with a good moisturizer right after you apply a hydrating serum. You can also use an eye cream before applying your moisturizer if you want to get rid of puffiness around your eyes.
  •  Step 5– Never forget your SPF, and so, always complete your skincare routine with a sunscreen that suits your skin type. However, if you’re following your night-time routine, you can skip this step and instead add a night cream to it.

A hydrating serum is that wonder potion that does good to every skin type. All you have to do is invest some time in researching and finding a product that is made exclusively for your skin type and concerns. When you lay your hand on the best hydrating serum, you have healthy-looking skin that does not feel dry or excessively moisturized. All you have is a glowing face with a balanced level of hydration. And therefore, we highly recommend you add a hydrating serum for your face to your skincare regimen. So, why wait? Pick the best hydrating serum from our list of the top products from the best brands and show your skin some love!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

When to use hydrating serum?

Once you wash your face and apply a toner, what follows is a hydrating serum. A hydrating serum is a good solution for anyone who’s biggest skin woe is dryness and flakiness.

Can we use hydrating serum instead of a moisturizer?

This totally depends on how much hydration you expect when you form a skincare routine. If you require intense hydration, you can use a hydrating serum and then a moisturizer. However, if you’re not a fan of a multi-step skincare routine, you can also make do with a hydrating serum and use it as an easy replacement for your moisturizer since hydrating serums pack more nourishment than a typical moisturizer.

Is hydrating serum good for oily skin?

A hydrating serum is good for oily skin as long as it is water-based and does not contain ingredients that may aggravate the oiliness of your skin. And to ensure this, you should check the label of the serum, make sure that it mentions that it is suitable either specifically for oily skin or at least for all skin types. You can also check the reviews and see what others with oily skin say about a certain hydrating serum.

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Shreya is an SEO-content writer and has worked with various organizations to craft unique and creative content. Holding a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, she calls herself a lifelong learner driven by curiosity to tap into different fields and the will to push her boundaries. She combines her curiosity and love for writing to write about subjects that are valuable to fashion enthusiasts.