Do’s and Don’ts You Need to Know



What if I told you there was a magical skincare potion that could naturally infuse moisture and bounce into your skin, soften wrinkles, and give you a dewy glow—no visit to the derm required? That’s the magic of hyaluronic acid. But as hyped up as this buzzy ingredient is, it can’t work its wonders without proper application. That’s why today, we’re diving deep into the question on everyone’s mind: how to use hyaluronic acid for healthy, glowing skin.

It’s no secret that hyaluronic has been everywhere these past few years. I’ve seen it popping up in everything from cleaners to oils to masks to oral beauty supplements. All these different formulations got me wondering whether all hyaluronic acid treatments were alike, or if (as I hypothesized) certain ways of getting the good stuff were better than others. And so my research began. Turns out, my hunch was right.

Featured image from our interview with Iskra Lawrence.

Babba Rivera how to use hyaluronic acid

How to Use Hyaluronic Acid for Glowing Skin

How, when, and in what formulation… these things matter when it comes to getting your daily dose of HA. So, I connected with the team at Olay to set the story straight. (When it comes to what’s right and what’s wrong, think minimum effort, max results.) Scroll on for the secrets to your most beautiful, moisturized skin.

What is hyaluronic acid?

First, a quick lesson on what makes hyaluronic acid the wonder ingredient that it is. HA acts as a humectant. This means that it works like a sponge to help the skin retain water and plump it up.

We have natural levels of hyaluronic acid in our skin, but as we age, they slowly deplete. This leads to wrinkles and a loss of bounce in the skin.

HA has the incredible capacity to attract and hold onto 1000x its weight in moisture. And herein lies the key. Hyaluronic acid should be used either in a moisturizer or in conjunction with your moisturizing products. When you add moisture to the skin, you’re giving the HA added water to absorb and hold onto, rather than pulling moisture out of dry skin.

Instead, HA brings moisture to the surface of the skin and holds it there, keeping the skin continually moisturized throughout the day. To test this in action, I’ve been experimenting with my favorite hyaluronic acid products over the past few years (see below). There’s no doubt that my skin is visibly dewier and smoother, with increased elasticity. And it stays that way all day without ever getting greasy.

Woman applying hyaluronic acid in mirror.

Common Hyaluronic Acid Mistakes

These are a few of the most common mistakes made when incorporating hyaluronic acid into a skincare routine—and how to fix them so this super ingredient can do its job right.

Mistake 1: Using Hyaluronic Acid Without Moisturizer

Since HA can hold a lot of water, it needs moisture to work. If the skin is already dry and HA is applied in a formula that doesn’t add moisture (think cleanser, toner, or a light serum), it will pull moisture from wherever it can, like from deep within your skin, where it can then evaporate into the air if not sealed properly.

On the other hand, when HA is formulated within a deeply hydrating moisturizer (or again, a moisturizer is used after), that emollient will penetrate and lock moisture into the skin, which is, of course, the goal.

Woman applying hyaluronic acid in mirror.

Mistake 2: Not Using Hyaluronic Acid as the Final Step in Skincare

With all the fancy HA formulations on the market now (serums, pills, masks, and so much more), it can be tempting to adopt a “more the merrier” mentality. However, some research has shown that overuse of hyaluronic acid can result in redness and inflammation. The takeaway: Choose the one step where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck. Since we’ve established that HA needs moisture-packed padding for optimal effectiveness, locking it in (within a rich, well-formulated moisturizer) as the final step in your AM and PM skincare routine will leave you with hours of smooth, bouncy skin.

Mistake 3: Applying Hyaluronic Acid to Dry Skin

When HA is applied to dry skin in dry conditions, it will naturally pull moisture from wherever it can. So, if there’s low humidity in the air, it draws moisture from the deeper layers of skin and brings it to the surface, where it then evaporates and leaves skin drier than it was in the first place.

But when you start your HA skincare routine with a damp face, it has a reserve of moisture to pull from, plain and simple. Understanding this has been a game changer that’s resulted in my healthiest, most moisturized skin ever.

My Top Hyaluronic Acid Tip

Prepare yourself for my new favorite new skincare hack. Each morning and evening, I mist my face with water, apply my chosen hyaluronic acid serum product, and mist again.

When hyaluronic acid comes into contact with water, my skin will end up hydrated and healthy. In the morning, I have a smooth canvas for my makeup—none of that “settling into fine lines” thing that’s been happening around my eyes these days.

Skincare serum hyaluronic acid.

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Products for Hydrated, Smooth Skin

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

Size: 1.7 oz

Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Niacinamide

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream contains ultra-high concentrations of HA, smoothing out fine lines and transforming skin upon first use. It’s also infused with vitamin B3 for skin cell turnover, plus amino-peptides and antioxidants for ultimate health and hydration. I’ve been using it as the final step in my morning and night skincare routine for the past couple of months, and it’s become a non-negotiable in my lineup. After all, hydrated skin is happy skin!

Ogee Hyaluronic Acid Ha 1.5% Elixir

Size: 0.5 oz

Key Ingredients: Jojoba Seed Oil, Aloe Leaf Juice

Alongside my OG Olay hyaluronic acid fave, this elixir from Ogee is a close second. Why? Because you can feel it working on your skin. Seriously—the second I apply a dime-sized drop to my face, I can feel the moisture seeping in. That’s because, with all hyaluronic acid products, I like to follow the moisture sandwich method. It looks like me layering on hydrating products—moisturizers and lipid-heavy serums—to bookend my hyaluronic acid pat-down. And when I do so with this elixir, the result is without compare. Hello, glowy, hydrated, and oh-so-smooth skin.

Summer Fridays Dream Oasis

Size: 1.0 oz

Key Ingredients: Squalane, Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe

Have you *also* obsessed over Summer Fridays since the brand launched its hero product, the Jet Lag Mask? Then you know it’s all about hydrating skin as much as possible. This jelly serum adds major moisture without weighing the skin down. Formulated with glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and squalane, Dream Oasis is a go-to choice for any skin type. That’s right—sensitive, oily, and acne-prone included.

Versed Moisture Maker Hyaluronic Serum

Size: 1.0 oz

Key Ingredients: Snow Mushroom Extract, Polyglutamic Acid, Snow Mushroom Extract

Our Managing Editor, Isabelle, is obsessed with this hyaluronic serum (read her full review of VERSED’s entire line here). She swears by the following routine for visibly plumper skin after the first use: “After cleansing, I pat my skin until it’s almost dry—this is key, as hyaluronic acid depends on moisture for its efficacy—before applying two drops of the serum to my face, neck, and chest. I wait a minute or so before applying my face oil and moisturizer.” And then? Magic. See the results for yourself.

Dime Beauty Hyaluronic Acid Serum: Hydrating + Plumping

Size: 1.0 oz

Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

For some, it can be a guessing game as to which hyaluronic acid serum will support your skin best. However, from polling girlfriends, co-workers, and social media acquaintances, it’s clear that this is one of the best in terms of delivering hydration minus any irritation. And because hyaluronic acid has been known to act as a carrier for other ingredients, by using this product in tandem with other skincare heavy hitters (your go-to moisturizer and other facial oils), even the driest skin will enjoy a little extra boost and bounce.

Alder New York Balancing Serum

Size: 1.0 oz

Key Ingredients: Niacinamide, Salix Alba Bark Extract

I’m obsessed with every single last product this vegan skincare line puts out. But the Balancing Serum? It might be my all-time fave. I consider it a morning and nighttime essential and a go-to for reducing redness and evening my skin texture. What’s more, because my skin leans on the oilier side, I can rely on this serum to balance it out. Plus, each of the brand’s products is formulated for all ages, genders, and ethnicities. So everyone can enjoy their healthiest skin.


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