19 best hydrating serums for dry skin, tried & tested | plmubl.com

19 best hydrating serums for dry skin, tried & tested

I can’t go a single day without using my hydrating serums. Be it a hyaluronic acid serum, a vitamin C serum or a niacinamide serum, my notoriously dry skin soaks up every hydrating serum drop like a sponge, resulting in an immediately dewy and healthy-looking complexion.

That said, dry skin is far from the only skin type that can benefit from a moisture-boosting serum. In fact, thanks to a wide variety of active ingredients that are present in face serums, there are plenty of formulas that will work on all skin types.

“Hydration plays a key role in maintaining a healthy skin barrier, preventing issues like dryness, flakiness, and irritation,” says Dr Yulia Krasnaya, dermatologist at Evolution Aesthetics Clinic.

When paired with a nourishing moisturiser – as well as other skincare must-haves such as toners and cleansers – serums can help supercharge the hydrating properties that much further.

“Serums typically contain higher concentrations of active ingredients that penetrate deeper into the skin, delivering intense hydration and targeting specific concerns, thus improving skin texture, plumpness, and resulting in a much more radiant complexion.” says Dr Mahsa Saleki, aesthetic doctor and founder of SAS Aesthetics.

So how on Earth can you figure out which one of the hundreds of serums will work for your skin’s specific needs? To help you find the right formula, we’ve put together a comprehensive roundup of the best hydrating serums out there, based on our first-hand reviews and expert advice.

SKIP TO: What are the most effective hydrating ingredients for skin? | How to choose the right hydrating serum for your exact skin type | How to apply a hydrating serum for best results | Best hydrating serums to shop right now.

Best hydrating serums at a glance:

  1. Best Hydrating Serum OverallMedik8 Hydr8 B5 Intense, £59, Medik8
  2. Best Hydrating Serum For Dry SkinCaudalie Vinosource-Hydra SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum, £33, LookFantastic
  3. Best Hydrating Serum For Under Makeup: HydraGlo, £27, Sculpted by Aimee
  4. Best Hydrating Serum With CeramidesDr.Jart+ Ceramidin Skin Barrier Serum Toner, £35, LookFantastic

Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Intense



Caudalie Vinosource-Hydra SOS Thirst-Quenching Serum



Tested by Denise Primbet Beauty Commerce Writer Skin type dry amp sensitive.



CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum


£23 £14.70 AT AMAZON

Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Skin Barrier Serum Toner


£35 £31.50 AT BOOTS

Meet the experts:

How we tested hydrating serums

The GLAMOUR team has collectively tried hundreds of face serum formulations, having tested said formulas on a variety of skin types and age groups. When reviewing each formula, we’ve assessed the efficacy and whether it delivers lasting hydration, as well as value for money and how innovative it is compared to other options on the market. Find out more about how we test here.

What are the most effective hydrating ingredients for skin?

Dermatologists agree that components like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides are considered highly effective for lasting hydration. “Popular hydrating serums encompass a variety of ingredients,” shared Dr Yulia.

Hyaluronic acid is a potent humectant, capable of holding water molecules and providing intense hydration. Glycerin is also a humectant that attracts and retains moisture, helping to keep the skin hydrated,” said Dr Mahsa.

And if your skin calls for a more intense hydrating serum, make sure to consider formulas containing beta glucan. “Beta glucan is  20% more hydrating than hyaluronic acid. Beta glucans are derived from bacteria, fungi, seaweed, and grains – like oats.  It is a humectant that also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that it will help to restore and repair skin barrier,” shared Dr Christine Hall

Dr Christine also recommends opting for a serum that’s formulated with ceramides: “Produced by our sebaceous glands, ceramides are lipids, molecules or fats that ensure that our skin barrier remains strong and prevents transepidermal water loss; simply put water loss through the skin barrier.”

Dr Yulia also shared that “aloe vera is great for soothing and hydrating, niacinamide improves the skin’s barrier function, and panthenol attracts and holds moisture.”

Keep reading for all the best hydrating serums to soothe, brighten and repair your skin barrier…

  • 1. Best hydrating serum overallMedik8 Hydr8 B5 IntenseBest for: Intense hydration.
    Tested by: Denise Primbet.Why we love it: Is your skin feeling especially dry and vulnerable? Good news – Medik8 took its best-selling face serum and super-charged it, making one of the most powerful products available on the market. It boasts a potent triple-action hydration booster powered by vitamin B5 that leaves your skin feeling extra nourished and supple. Suitable for use on your face, neck and decolletage.GLAMOUR-approved: “As a long-term fan of the Medik8 skincare range, I’m confident that when my skin is at its driest and most irritated, the Hydr8 B5 Intense serum has my back. Its nourishing formula feels incredible on the skin, especially during the winter months, when my skin is craving that extra TLC” – Denise Primbet, GLAMOUR’s Beauty Commerce Writer.£59 AT MEDIK8£59 AT LOOKFANTASTIC
  • 2. Best hydrating serum with ceramidesDr.Jart+ Ceramidin Skin Barrier Serum TonerBest for: Strengthening and brightening your skin.
    Tested by: Sophie Cockett.Why we love it: A smooth, milky serum that’s designed specifically to help strengthen your natural skin barrier and help it regain its luminosity is simply too good to ignore. Formulated with ceramides, panthenol and glycerin, it’s also great for giving your delicate facial skin the hydrating boost it craves.£35 AT LOOKFANTASTIC£35 £31.50 AT BOOTS
  • Image may contain Bottle Lotion Cosmetics and Perfume3. Best hydrating serum for pre-makeup skin prepHydraGloBest for: Leaving the skin plump, dewy, and prepped for makeup.
    Tested by: Sophie Cockett.Why we love it: With its quick-absorbing formula that leaves skin plump, primed, and glowy, this silky smooth serum is a must-have for priming your face before applying your base. Enriched with hyaluronic acid and shea butter for long-lasting hydration, niacinamide for antioxidant protection, and ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier, it’s a lovely formula for boosting the overall health and appearance of the skin.£27 AT SCULPTED BY AIMEE
  • 4. Best soothing hydrating serumThe Ordinary Soothing and Barrier Support SerumBest for: Reducing redness and treating sensitive skin.Why we love it: Made with sugar-based humectants that help your skin take in moisture, this barrier supporting serum contains bisabolol and gallic acid, both of which are included to soothe your complexion and alleviate unwanted redness. Suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin.£17.30 AT LOOKFANTASTIC£17.30 AT SEPHORA

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  • 5. Best hydrating serum with vitamin CMedik8 C-Tetra SerumBest for: Hydrating and reducing the appearance of fine lines.
    Tested by: Sophie Cockett.Why we love it: Powered by both vitamin C and vitamin E, this multi-tasking facial serum can help hydrate your skin while also reducing the appearance of fine lines and protecting it from environmental aggressors such as pollution. And if that’s not enough, it also has a vegan and cruelty-free formulation, which is a must-have when it comes to GLAMOUR UK favourites.£39 AT LOOKFANTASTIC£39 AT AMAZON
  • 6. Best hydrating serum for long-lasting moisture retentionCeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid SerumBest for: Long-lasting hydration.
    Tested by: Sophie Cockett.Why we love it: When it comes to skincare products, CeraVe is one of the most trusted brands around. So it really comes as no surprise that its gel-cream serum has found its way onto this list. Powered by three different ceramides as well as hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate, this serum is refreshing, effective and affordable to boot.£23 AT LOOKFANTASTIC£23 £14.70 AT AMAZON
  • 7. Best premium hydrating serumMurad Cellular Hydration Barrier Repair SerumBest for: Plumping and firming.
    Tested by: Sophie Cockett.Why we love it: While it’s certainly not the cheapest item on this list, this hydrating serum from Murad is definitely worth the investment. Filled to the brim with restorative peptides, it’s designed to plump and firm your complexion while giving you a much healthier moisture barrier.GLAMOUR-approved: “I can’t tell you how obsessed I am with Murad’s Cellular Hydration Barrier Repair Serum. I’m waxing lyrical about it to anyone who will listen. For the past three weeks, I’ve been using it everyday alongside the moisturiser from the same range – and the overnight mask three times a week – and my skin has never looked plumper. I’d say that’s the biggest benefit: thanks to the inclusion of biomimetic hexapeptide-9 and nourishing bilberry seed oil, my skin looks plumper, juicier and more hydrated than it has in months.” – Sophie Cockett, GLAMOUR’s Senior European Commerce Editor.£72 AT CULT BEAUTY£72 AT MURAD
  • 8. Best hydrating serum for a dewy finishGlow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew DropsBest for: Dewy skin.
    Tested by: Sophie Cockett.Why we love it: The Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops are one of Glow Recipe’s best sold products for a good reason. Not only do they come with skin-loving ingredients such as glycerin and niacinamide, but they’re great at giving you a healthy, dewy glow that’ll be the envy of all your friends. Oh, and did we mention that you can also mix it into your favourite foundation/skin tint too?£33 AT CULT BEAUTY£33 AT AMAZON

Most Popular


  • 9. Best hydrating serum for dry skinCaudalie Vinosource-Hydra SOS Thirst-Quenching SerumBest for: Hydration for all skin types.
    Tested by: Sophie Cockett and Chrissie Moncrieffe.Why we love it: Tired of dealing with dry skin? Well, this Caudalie serum isn’t called ‘thirst-quenching’ for nothing. It’s lightweight, fast-absorbing and oil-free, making it suitable for all skin types in need of some hydration. The best part is that it provides long-lasting moisturisation, sinks into the skin without leaving any unwanted residue and is suitable for oily skin and combination skin – what more could you possibly want?£33 AT LOOKFANTASTIC£33 AT SPACE NK
  • 10. Best hydrating serum for dark spots and hyperpigmentationLa Roche-Posay Mela B3 Intense Anti-Dark Spot SerumBest for: Hydration and gentle exfoliation.
    Tested by: Sophie Cockett.Why we love it: La Roche-Posay is known for its hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free formulas, universally admired by both dermatologists and beauty editors alike. Made to help reduce the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation, this newly launched serum is definitely worth considering. It hydrates and even provides a gentle exfoliating effect for smooth and even-looking complexion.£48 £43.20 AT LA ROCHE-POSAY£48 AT CULT BEAUTY
  • 11. Best overnight hydrating serumEstée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex SerumBest for: Long-lasting overnight hydration.Why we love it: Everyone needs their beauty sleep – and that’s exactly what this Estee Lauder serum is for. Designed to provide dehydrating skin with a firming and plumping boost while you sleep, this product is filled to the brim with helpful ingredients such as squalane, glycerin and chamomile flower extract. Suitable for all skin types, particularly mature skin.£65 AT LOOKFANTASTIC£115.67 £52.98 AT AMAZON
  • 12. Best hydrating serum for a more plumped complexionL’Oréal Paris 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Revitalift Filler SerumBest for: Hydrating, nourishing and restoring radiance.Why we love it: There’s a reason why this serum is Eva Longoria’s go-to. Formulated with hyaluronic acid and glycerin, this product is made to treat dehydrated skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while also giving you all the help you need to fight against environmental aggressors like pollution.£24.99 AT LOOKFANTASTIC£31.99 AT BOOTS

Most Popular


  • 13. Best hydrating serum with niacinamidePaula’s Choice Clinical 20% Niacinamide TreatmentBest for: Reducing the appearance of pores and evening out your skin tone.Why we love it: Say goodbye to visible pores and uneven skin tone, because thanks to this niacinamide treatment, your skin concerns will be a thing of the past. Filled to the brim with antioxidants, this serum is clinically proven to reduce dryness, redness and pigmentation in one fell swoop.£51 AT CULT BEAUTY£51 AT AMAZON
  • 14. Best lightweight hydrating serumRhode Peptide Glazing FluidBest for: Giving your skin a dewy, radiant shine.Why we love it: Everyone knows that Hailey Bieber is the queen of dewy, radiant skin. Her not-so-secret weapon is the Rhode Peptide Glazing Fluid, which is a lightweight gel-serum that’s dermatologist-approved and suitable for all skin types. It’s perfect for getting rid of dull skin and replacing it with a radiant shine that just screams ‘hydration’.£30 AT RHODE
  • 15. Best affordable hydrating serumGarnier SkinActive Hyaluronic Aloe Replumping Super SerumBest for: Affordable hydration.Why we love it: A good skincare serum doesn’t necessarily have to cost an arm and a leg. This one from Garnier is available for under £15 and comes with a healthy dose of hyaluronic acid and aloe vera extract in each dropper. Refreshing, vegan and affordable. *chef’s kiss*£12.99 £8.66 AT BOOTS£12.99 AT LOOKFANTASTIC
  • 16. Best hydrating serum for sensitive skinSKIN 1004 Madagascar Centella AmpouleBest for: Sensitive and acne-prone skin.Why we love it: Made with Madagascar-sourced centella asiatica extract, this soothing and hydrating serum features a pleasant lightweight texture that doesn’t feel sticky or heavy on the skin. Great for repairing damaged skin while also helping your complexion replenish its water-oil balance.£16.40 £13.38 AT AMAZON

Most Popular


  • Image may contain Bottle Cosmetics Lipstick and Lotion17. Best hydrating serum for visibly firmer skinTrinny London Plump UpBest for: Visibly lifting and firming your skin.Why we love it: Clinically proven to lift your complexion, this peptide and hyaluronic acid-rich serum is perfect for not only hydrating your complexion, but also improving your skin elasticity. The best part is that it’s lightweight enough that you can add a few drops to your go-to foundation for a hydration boost.£69 AT TRINNY LONDON
  • Image may contain Bottle Cosmetics and Perfume18. Best soothing hydrating serumYouthbomb 360° Radiance Concentrate SerumBest for: Soothing and intense hydration.Why we love it: This powerful, concentrated serum blends together over 15 key ingredients, including hexapeptides, rice proteins and soothing extracts. It might be pricey, but it’s definitely worth the investment – plus, Beauty Pie members can save money and get their hands on this serum for just £44.£185 AT BEAUTY PIE
  • Image may contain Bottle Herbal Herbs and Plant19. Best hydrating serum with ferulic acidSkinCeuticals Serum 10 Dual Antioxidant TreatmentBest for: Strengthening your skin’s natural defences.Why we love it: This fast-absorbing topical daytime serum comes with a healthy dose of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and ferulic acid to help shield your skin from environmental aggressors. It’s suitable for sensitive skin and is gentle enough not to trigger any unnecessary breakouts.£98 AT LOOKFANTASTIC
  • Image may contain Page Text Firearm Gun Rifle Weapon Baton and StickHow to choose the right hydrating serum for your exact skin type“It’s crucial to consider individual skin concerns and preferences when selecting a hydrating serum. Hyaluronic acid serums are generally suitable for all skin types as they provide hydration without being heavy,” shared Dr Mahsa.“Niacinamide serums are beneficial for oily or acne-prone skin, as they can help regulate sebum production. Dry or sensitive skin may benefit from serums containing ceramides, glycerin which offer deep moisturising and soothing properties,” she added.Dr Yulia also pointed out that sensitive skin types can also benefit from ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile to calm irritated skin. “When selecting a hydrating serum, individuals should avoid products with potentially irritating ingredients, such as artificial fragrances, alcohol, or high concentrations of certain acids,” Dr Mahsa commented.According to Dr Mahsa, it’s important to keep in mind that such ingredients may “exacerbate sensitivity and counteract the hydrating effects”. Plus, it’s also essential to check for comedogenic ingredients, especially if you happen to have oily or acne-prone skin, in order to prevent pore clogging.

Most Popular


  • Image may contain Page Text Firearm Gun Rifle Weapon Baton and StickHow to apply a hydrating serum for best resultsWhen it comes to application, the good news is that it’s far less complicated than you’d think. Dr Mahsa advises the following: “After cleansing and toning, apply the hydrating serum before heavier products like moisturisers or creams. This allows the serum’s active ingredients to be absorbed into the skin more effectively.”“The recommended order is cleanser, toner (if used), hydrating serum, treatment serums (if used), moisturiser and sunscreen during the day,” shared Dr Yulia.That said, if you’re planning on using more than one serum, Dr Mahsa recommends applying them in order of consistency, so from thinnest to thickest. “The frequency of application depends on the product and individual skin needs; however, using a hydrating serum once or twice daily is common for optimal results. Adjust the frequency based on how your skin responds.”Looking to take your skincare routine to the next level? Be sure to check out our guides for the best retinol serumsbest hyaluronic acid serumsbest vitamin C serumsbest face cleansers and the best sunscreens for face.For more beauty content from Glamour UK Commerce Writer Denise Primbet, follow her on Twitter @deniseprimbet and Instagram @deniseprimbet.

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