Does your skincare routine involve HA serum?
No...? Then we need to talk about your life choices because the anti-aging benefits of Hyaluronic Acid are here for your skin-glow-goals!
In fact, head over to this extensive post on exactly why Hyaluronic Acid is an anti-aging miracle molecule. I go through what it is, what it does for your skin in terms of premature aging, and most importantly how to spot a quality serum —because not all serums are created equal!
*This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning, I get a commission if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Read our full disclosure here.
However, because my love for this serum runs deep I thought I'd devote an entire post to it and give you a review to break down the formula and explain exactly why it's one of the best hyaluronic acid serums I've tried.
In the process, I hope to help you spot a quality HA serum so you can stop wasting money on bad ones that won't give you magical results!
But, first, a quick recap on HA.
Table of Contents:
What Is Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant that draws in water like a magnet. This gel-like molecule is found naturally in the human body but is particularly abundant in the skin. Its strong water-binding abilities allow it to hold a thousand times its weight in water! Boosting hydration within the deeper layers of your skin and even enhancing the skin's volume.
It also plays a major role in collagen production which plumps the skin, smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles.
The right HA serum will start to work instantly, making your skin plumper and dewier times ten!
Check out this post on why Hyaluronic Acid Is An Anti-Aging Miracle Molecule to get the whole scoop on HA!
3 Tips To Spot A Quality HA Serum
Not all HA serums will give you miracle-like result, so be sure to look closely at the product’s ingredient list before you buy! Here are 3 important factors to help guide you when buying a new HA serum.
1. Types of Hyaluronic Acid to look for & why
There are three different types of hyaluronic acid used in skincare which all work in slightly different ways according to their size and weight.
For the best results, you want a product that contains a mix of all three. This makes for a super-hydrating powerhouse serum that will give instant results. Better still, it will also improve the health of your skin long term.
Look for these ingredients;
Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate
Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid (also labeled Hyaluronic Acid)
This type of hyaluronic acid has the smallest molecular size and lowest weight. Meaning it's small enough to penetrate the epidermis, therefore hydrating the skin on a cellular level. It can help diminish fine lines and wrinkles while increasing skin elasticity and volume. A serum with the right amount of sodium hyaluronate will create instant and noticeable results in your face. It's the most important of the three, so make sure it's listed near the top of the ingredients list!
Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate
The medium-sized molecule is nicknamed Super Hyaluronic Acid because of its ability to 'anchor' just below the surface of your skin where it quickly increases hydration and improves elasticity. It can keep your skin moisturized for longer periods of time (up to 12 hours).
Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid
The third type of HA is the biggest and for obvious reasons does its work on the skin’s surface. This form of hyaluronic acid helps to moisturize the outer layer making your skin look super-hydrated and plumped. But, it’s a short-term effect.
2. What is the correct Percentage of HA?
When it comes to the formulation of hyaluronic acid serum, balance is key. If the concentration is too low it won't be fully effective in hydrating your skin. But, too much will actually dry your skin out by drawing water from the skin. Which totally defeats the purpose of a hydrating serum!
A quality HA serum is well-balanced for the hyaluronic acid to pull the water molecules from the formula, not your skin.
2% is the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid you can put in a solution without any drying effects.
3. Other Ingredients
HA serum can be formulated with hyaluronic acid alone, or it may contain other ingredients too. Some ingredients that mix well with hyaluronic acid are:
Avoid serums that contain dimethicone and synthetic ingredients such as PEGs. A quality HA serum will contain hyaluronic acid in the top ingredients, not at the bottom of the list!
Also, avoid products that contain the 'bad alcohols' such as benzyl alcohol and alcohol denat. in the top ingredients too.
Balance Me, Tri-Molecular Hyaluronic Serum
What is it?
An all-natural formula with multiple weights of hyaluronic acid that hydrates, replenishes, and restores damaged skin. Side note: A damaged skin barrier leads to dehydration in all skin types. If you have oily skin but experience flakey patches then your skin could well be dehydrated.
All three weights of HA get to work on different layers of the skin instantly hydrating, plumping, tightening, and repairing the skin’s moisture barrier.
What makes it special?
The word 'Tri' makes this serum very special in my book because three molecules are better than one!
Together they have been proven to be more effective than any singular molecule to offer inside-out hydration
Star ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Yarrow, and Chamomile.
Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Rosa Centifolia (Rose Absolute) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Flower Oil, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Flower/Leaf/Stem Oil, Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Oil, Nardostachys Jatamansi (Spikenard) Root Oil, Pelargonium Roseum (Rose Geranium) Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Xanthan Gum, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Sodium Isostearate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Geraniol, Alcohol, Linalool, Citronellol, Sodium Hydroxide, Farnesol, Citral.
Ingredient List Breakdown
What I Like...
Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, and Sodium Hyaluronate:
All three sizes of hyaluronic acid, and better still at the top of the list!
This plant extract is a humectant that's rich in vitamins and polysaccharides making it a super hydrating and soothing skincare ingredient. It's also incredibly healing for sensitive skin types thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
You may not have heard about the use of Yarrow in skincare, but search up 'healing balm' or 'tattoo salve' on Etsy and you will find hundreds of Yarrow-infused concoctions. Because this herb has been used in skin healing since the times of Ancient Greece. It contains antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, and pain-relief properties. It is also deeply nourishing and replenishing for the skin barrier, which makes Yarrow a superstar ingredient for all skin types, especially those prone to breakouts and irritations.
Known for its calming effects when used in tea, Chamomile is also a powerful anti-ager when it comes to your skin. This is due to its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help to protect your skin from free radical damage whilst calming irritation or breakouts.
What I don't like...
Polysorbate on its own is a harmless sorbitol, which is a sugar alcohol derived from fruit or coconut. In skincare, it's used as a stabilizer, mild surfactant or, as an emulsifier to help mix oil and water. However, if you see 'polysorbate 20' on your ingredient list this means it has been treated with 20 parts of ethylene oxide.
Any ingredient that is treated with ethylene oxide —or ethoxylated, has the potential to be contaminated with 1,4, Dioxane, a known carcinogen under California’s Prop 65. In fact, there have been countless lawsuits concerning this contaminant that is commonly used in children's bath and personal-care products. It's also been linked to skin allergies.
1,4 Dioxane is used as a solvent in paint, varnish, nail polish, ink, detergents, adhesives, and more. If you're wondering why your skincare would ever be formulated with this ingredient.. The answer is that it isn't. 1,4 Dioxane is simply a by-product of the process of ethoxylation.
Beauty Heroes has an extensive list of all the ethoxylated ingredients to look out for in your skincare here
Benzyl Alcohol & Alcohol:
Although these are classed as 'bad alcohols' they are often used in formulas to help the active ingredients penetrate the skin. And, although I avoid these types of alcohols in my skincare products they're pretty near the bottom of the list, meaning the amount should be very low.
How I Use Balance Me's Tri-Molecular Hyaluronic Serum In My Routine
Because humectants attract water it’s very important to apply HA serum on damp skin. I apply it onto freshly cleansed skin, directly after spritzing with a facial mist so my skin is slightly damp —not soaking. I always like to use the Push/Press method when applying my serums and oils to my skin.
I use this serum in both my morning and evening routine because I don't have to worry about it reacting with any of my other skincare products such as AHAs and BHA, or retinol.
I have not found the alcohol content to be at all drying for my skin, as mentioned it's so far down the list that the percentage is probably sup-er low.
Hydration, hydration, hydration! Basically, this serum does its job. A good HA serum is meant to do one thing —restore moisture. And thanks to the formulation of Balance Me's Hyaluronic Serum that's exactly what it does.
HA serum is suitable for all ages and skin types, but it is especially beneficial for those with dry, damaged, and dehydrated skin.
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