Let's face it: serums are the oft-overlooked hero when it comes to skincare—especially when it comes to hydrating dry skin. They help amp up the benefits of whatever comes after, acting as something of an ultimate hype man for moisturizers, night creams, and the like. Because the formulas are packed with a higher concentration of active ingredients (compared with regular moisturizing creams), they’re far better at delivering potent ingredients—such as moisture-binding hyaluronic acid—to the skin’s deeper layers.
In the interest of giving serums the credit they deserve, we rounded up 12 of our favorite hydrating serums specifically geared toward dry skin.
Darphin Hydraskin Intensive Skin-Hydrating Serum
Darphin’s hydrating serum is seriously good for parched, tight complexions. It absorbs fast and leaves skin looking dewy and supple.
Pixi Hydrating Milky Serum
This serum is soothing and hydrating. The formula’s aloe vera and rose extract also make it smell amazing. It uses glycerin to trap moisture in the skin while also reducing shine without clogging pores. A great multitasker.
Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate
You say “po-tay-to”, I say “po-ta-ta.” Sure, this says it’s a concentrate, but that’s essentially the same thing as a serum. This light gel-like consistency boosts skin moisture and retains it for 24 hours—supporting your skin to function optimally. That way, it can protect itself during the day and repair at night. Hydration really is that important.
Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Daily Moisture Balancing Serum
Rose extracts are often used to hydrate, and they're the hero ingredient in this serum from Jurlique. It also contains complexion-protecting antioxidants and essential fatty acids to help restore the skin’s natural barrier. Think smooth, hydrated, and happier skin.
Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Facial Serum
Pure hyaluronic acid plays tag team with red marine algae here to ensure that all the hydrating, skin-plumping properties are delivered directly into the most parched areas of skin.
Bakel Jaluronic Deep Hydration Serum
This serum that’s packed with active ingredients and hyaluronic acid (and free from common irritants including perfumes, silicones, and alcohol) helps pump more water through skin cells for deep hydration.
Experts recommend applying your skincare products from thinnest to thickest. That means post-cleanse, you should apply toner first, then serum, followed by your moisturizer of choice.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum
Not only is this gel serum gentle on sensitive skin, but it’s also water-based and contains a cocktail of hyaluronic acid, aloe leaf juice, and colloidal oatmeal to lock moisture deep into the skin. It’s also backed up with collagen and peptides to smooth fine lines.
Malin + Goetz Replenishing Face Serum
This formula that’s great for all skin types and is oil-free combines sodium PCA (an amino-acid complex), vitamin E, sodium hyaluronate, and chamomile extract to soothe and nourish dry skin prone to irritation.
Paula's Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster
Doubling up on hyaluronic acid, this serum contains both the pure form of the hydrator as well as the salt derivative (sodium hyaluronate) for a serious moisture hit. Ceramides and phospholipids (lipids that play a major role in cell membrane function) also feature to repair and replenish dehydrated or damaged skin.
Pai Instant Calm Redness Serum
This setup is ideal for reactive skin in need of a soothing moisture boost. Its organic formula contains sea aster (a coastal plant known for its skin-soothing properties) and wild oat extract to calm redness and irritation, plus hyaluronic acid to gently replace lost moisture and aid repair.
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
That this serum boasts a devoted following is no surprise, given the results many tout from daily use. Ceramides boost luminosity and vitamin B5 attracts moisture to the skin, visibly improving the look and feel of the skin. Sodium hyaluronate speeds up the repair of dry, flaky, or stressed-out skin, too.
Kate Somerville DermalQuench Hyaluronic Acid Hydration Treatment
Kate Somerville's DermalQuench aims to do exactly that—quench parched skin with a hydrating blend of oxygen and hyaluronic acid. Whether your skin is dry year-round or just battling through a temporary patch of dehydration, certain ingredients are essential serum must-haves. Hyaluronic acid (also known as hyaluronan or HA), is at the top of the list. Its main function is to draw in moisture, which makes it especially desirable for those struggling to keep their skin hydrated.