Psst, want to know the secret to a youthful-looking complexion? It’s shockingly straightforward — plump skin. Consider a balloon: When full, it looks taut, smooth, and has a pretty sheen to it. After it’s been deflated, however, it looks saggy and wrinkled. The same goes for our skin, and that’s often due to natural changes caused by aging.
“Skin naturally loses elastin, collagen and hyaluronic acid as we age,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman, noting that these three substances are essential to plump skin. Collagen is considered a building block as it strengthens and firms, helping to “keep the skin from sagging,” says Dr. Hartman, while elastin is a protein in the skin that provides elasticity. Hyaluronic acid is important because it’s a humectant, which works by attracting water, explains Dr. Hartman, pulling it “deeper into the skin to add moisture to the skin barrier.” Without these three players, skin lacks volume, plumpness, and hydration.
However, it’s not just age that can make skin look deflated. “Even when you’re younger, you can lose that plump appearance if you’re not taking care of your skin,” warns Dr. Hartman. Some of that care starts from the inside out, he says — drinking water and getting your beauty sleep can go a long way towards plumper skin. “Plump skin is hydrated skin; a good night’s sleep will also enable the skin to rejuvenate itself overnight, just like the rest of your body does.”
And, of course, supporting your skin’s health with a quality skincare routine is key. One of the most important products you can use to protect against laxity and lines is sunscreen, as sun damage accelerates skin aging. The other are formulas that help reinforce a strong skin barrier, says Dr. Hartman. Kind of like a shield, your skin barrier (also known as stratum corneum) prevents water from escaping your skin (and drying it out) while blocking out harmful factors like allergens and bacteria.
We conducted hours of research on the best skin plumping products, evaluating formulas based on active ingredients, concerns targeted, and results. After considering dozens of brands and consulting with two board-certified dermatologists, we landed on the following best in show.
Farmacy Filling Good Hyaluronic Acid Plumping Serum
Leaves zero residue
We were instantly impressed by this fast-acting formula, which went on with a milky texture that our skin drank up rapidly, instantly plumping up the look of fine lines. It does so using a blend of different hyaluronic acid molecules, thyme extract, and honey extracts (honey’s a known humectant, which draws in moisture). The only potential downside of this serum is its scent — while we love the honey aroma, we can see how others might not.
Price at time of publish: $48
Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, vegan collagen peptides, thyme extract| Skin type: Normal, dry, mature| Size: 1 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Oil-Free Option
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Gel
Not all skin plumpers are comfortable on oily and acne-prone complexions — but this one from Neutrogena is designed to deliver intensive moisture while letting skin breathe, making it a favorite formula of Dr. Hartman’s. “The hyaluronic acid provides a protective barrier on the skin and helps build collagen, which is essential for plump skin,” he notes. Despite its lightweight texture, it’s nourishing enough even for dry skin.
Price at time of publish: $20
Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid | Skin type: Normal, combination, oily, sensitive, dry, mature | Size: 1.7 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Dermatologist-Developed Formula
Perricone MD High Potency Hyaluronic Intensive Hydrating Serum
A little goes a long way
Doesn’t always layer well with other formulas
Four types and two building blocks of hyaluronic acid make this silky serum a real skin plumper. One of PerriconeMD’s signature ingredients, DMAE, also helps rejuvenate the look of skin by firming, lifting, and hydrating. The cherry on top? Niacinamide, also known as essential vitamin B3, which fights dullness and shrinks pores, making skin reflect light for a smoother and healthier look.
Price at time of publish: $129
Active ingredients: Multiple forms of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, DMAE | Skin type: Normal, dry, combination, mature, sensitive | Size: 2 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Kosas Plump + Juicy Vegan Collagen Spray-On Serum
Easy to use format
Hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin
Strong natural fragrance
Using plant-based probiotics, this unique mist-on formula helps support the microbiome, which is critical to locking in lasting skin-plumping moisture. It boasts a bevy of hydrating and firming ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, vegan collagen, and peptides. Though it’s best used on bare skin, we also enjoy spritzing it on over makeup midday, when we’re feeling especially dehydrated.
Price at time of publish: $48
Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, peptides | Skin type: Sensitive, normal, oily, dry, combination, mature | Size: 3.38 fl. Oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Irene Forte Pistachio Face Mask
Sustainable and refillable packaging
For such a creamy, indulgent texture, this face mask from plant-based brand Irene Forte is surprisingly non-greasy. The mask sinks into skin to leave it looking plump, dewy and nourished in just 10 minutes, though also can be used as an intensive treatment to protect against dehydration on long-haul flights. Bonus: Its subtle and allergen-free fragrance evokes “luxury spa” vibes.
Price at time of publish: $64 for 15ml
Active ingredients: Pro-Vitamin B5, omega-rich plant oils | Skin type: Sensitive, normal, oily, dry, combination, mature | Size: 1.69 fl. Oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Ultra-Dry Skin
Sunday Riley Ice Ceramide Moisturizing Cream
A little goes a long way
Excellent night cream
This thick cream is a savior for parched and dehydrated skin thanks to its blend of humectants and emollients. Beetroot and coconut extracts draw water in to quench thirsty skin, while a long list of ceramides prevent water from escaping and seal in lasting nourishment. (If your skin is currently irritated by use of a retinoid, it’ll love this.) Fans of this formula say its texture and results are comparable to those of Creme de La Mer without the hefty price tag.
Price at time of publish: $65
Active ingredients: Ceramides, vitamin F, squalane | Skin type: Sensitive, normal, dry, mature | Size: 1.7 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Sleeping Mask
Laneige Cica Sleeping Mask
Calms red and irritated skin
Hypoallergenic and won’t congest skin
Not cruelty free
While the brand’s Water Sleeping Mask may get all the hype, we prefer this iteration because of its inclusion of cica, a potent hydrator recognized for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. The cica in this mask is derived from the brand’s proprietary fermented yeast extract, Laneige claims is more effective than other forms of the ingredient. After slicking this on as the last step of your evening routine, you’ll wake up with smooth and bouncy skin.
Price at time of publish: $34
Active ingredients: Cica, squalane | Skin type: Normal, dry, oily, sensitive, combination, mature | Size: 2 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Wishful Thirst Trap Juice Hyaluronic Acid & Peptide Hydrating Facial Serum
Leaves skin instantly radiant without shimmer
Dropper packaging can malfunction
Don’t sleep on this serum from beauty guru Huda Kattan. The syrupy formula is loaded with three molecular weights of hyaluronic acid to pull water deeply into the skin, plumping it up from within. Peptides promote collagen production while niacinamide boosts hydration levels and promotes a more even skin tone. It also makes for a great pre-makeup step — it absorbs quickly without leaving any residue behind.
Price at time of publish: $47
Active ingredients: Three forms of hyaluronic acid, peptides, niacinamide | Skin type: Normal, dry, combination, oily | Size: 1.01 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum
Advanced skincare technology
Pills under makeup
According to Dr. Hartman, this one’s worth the investment. “It has an update on the original, groundbreaking TNS technology of patented growth factors that will improve fine lines and wrinkles and overall appearance of healthy, youthful skin,” he says. Growth factors trigger cellular repair as well as the formation of new collagen and elastin. More of those proteins build up and firm the skin, which translates into a smoother, plumper, and more lifted look.
Price at time of publish: $295
Active ingredients: Growth factors, peptides, marine extracts | Skin type: Normal, dry, combination, mature, oily, sensitive | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
May leave a white cast on deeper complexions
Dehydration is a major cause of deflated-looking skin, but the number one contributor is sun damage. UV exposure leads to accelerated skin aging, which includes fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity. Dr. Hartman likes this formula not only because of the SPF, but its moisture-retaining ceramides, too. “It’s a nice option for someone who needs a quick routine in the morning,” he says.
Price at time of publish: $16
Active ingredients: Sunscreen, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, niacinamide | Skin type: Normal, combination, oily, sensitive, dry, mature | Size: 1.7 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Best Drugstore Pick
Bio-Oil Dry Skin Gel
A little goes a long way
Contains mineral oil
Dr. Hartman praises this formula for both its innovative texture and potent ingredients. “It goes on as a gel, and as you rub it into the skin, it turns into an oil consistency without a greasy finish,” he says. “It delivers intensive moisture to the skin with shea butter, glycerin and urea and also has vitamin B3, which helps the skin retain the moisture added for a longer-term benefit.” Even better, it’s especially budget friendly as it can be used on both face and body.
Price at time of publish: $13
Active ingredients: Shea butter, glycerin, urea, niacinamide | Skin type: Normal, combination, dry, sensitive, mature | Size: 3.4 oz. | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Omorovicza Immediate Plumping Cream
This gorgeous formula feels indulgent in texture and application—it comes with a little spatula to help you scoop the thick cream out of the jar. The moisturizer is infused with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and skin-conditioning omega fatty acids to promote deep hydration and nourishment, plus sea mayweed, an ingredient the brand says helps relax facial muscles to smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Price at time of publish: $238
Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, sea mayweed | Skin type: Normal, combination, dry, sensitive, mature | Size: 1.7 oz. | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Our favorite formula is Farmacy’s Filling Good Hyaluronic Acid Plumping Serum. It truly delivered what it claimed—plumped-up skin—while leaving the complexion feeling nourished, soft, and healthy. For a splurge-worthy pick, consider SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum. It will infuse your skin with growth factors that work from within to firm and plump for lasting benefits.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Corey L. Hartman, MD is a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist and the founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, Alabama.
- David Shafer, MD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon and founder of Shafer Plastic Surgery and Laser Center, a cutting-edge facility with a specialty in medical treatments for healthy, youthful looking skin.
What to Look for in Skin Plumping Products
Hyaluronic acid will decrease the appearance of dryness as it locks in moisture—the vital component of healthy-looking skin—while antioxidants "help prevent damage to the skin and improve overall skin health," Shafer notes. While Shafer does say that "conservative" lip and wrinkle injections boost the goal for smoother skin, there's no need to go that far if you'd rather stick to topical ingredients.
Ceramides are a specific type of fat or lipids. Dermatologists recommend applying products with them twice daily, in the morning and at night, for best results. They can restore the skin barrier, lock in moisture, reduce signs of aging, and even appease inflammation.
You may know this word in relation to collagen, and for good reason: Peptides are known as collagen boosters that also help to preserve your body's supply of this needed protein. "Peptides tell your cells to produce more collagen, one of the major building blocks of the skin," Erin Gilbert, MD, FAAD, PhD, a board-certified dermatologist and neuroscientist told us. "So by applying them directly to your skin, you're telling your body it needs to make more collagen."
How do you get plump skin?
Choosing a product with skim plumping qualities is the perfect start on the quest for plumper skin. In addition to plumping products, you can exfoliate more often so that you don't have dead skin sitting atop your face exacerbating fine lines and wrinkles.
What does "plump your skin" mean?
The term "plump your skin" refers to the act of helping your skin appear smoother, with fewer lines and visible wrinkles. The word "plump" applies because it denotes high smoothness and minimal lines.
How can you tell if your skin is plump?
Plump skin should have considerable elasticity, with an overall look that is glowy, smooth, and full. The overall look of skin that is not plump may be tired, dull, or hollow.
Why Trust Byrdie
Emily Orofino is a Byrdie contributor with a deep background in skincare and beauty. She has bylines in Editorialist, Harper's Bazaar, Well+Good, Cosmo, and RealSelf. As a beauty consultant, she helps develop formulas for skincare and beauty brands.
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