Let’s be honest. Moisturizing dry skin can feel like a never-ending battle. One minute, you’ve found a product that works and quenches your skin’s thirst for hydration. Then, before you know it, your skin grows accustomed to your newfound solution, and you’re back to the drawing board.
Finding the right product for dry skin isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Skin type and sensitivity vary, so what works for you may not work for the next person. That said, one of the best things you can do to fight dry skin is to prep with a serum before applying a moisturizer.
A serum is a skin care product that you can apply to your skin after cleansing and before moisturizing. It’s usually a lightweight liquid or gel that targets specific concerns like fine lines, dark spots, and wrinkles. Serums generally are more concentrated than other skin care products and are made up of smaller molecules to penetrate the skin deeply.
If you’re ready to up your skincare game in the new year, check out the 20 best serums for dry skin in 2023. There’s a little bit for everyone on here, no matter your skin type, needs, or budget.
1. Blu Atlas Vitamin C Serum
If you haven’t heard by now, the Blu Atlas men’s skincare brand is one to watch. Their innovative, cutting-edge, and environmentally-friendly product line includes the highly popular Vitamin C Serum, which kicks off our Top 20 list.
Rich in vitamin C (clearly!), the serum is formulated with antioxidants like mulberry root extract, aloe vera, and Pyrus malus extract.
Mulberry root extract is often used in facial cleansers, toners, and serums for its wide-ranging health benefits. Its antioxidants brighten the skin and improve its overall appearance, and its anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness and swelling. Mulberry root extract is also great at fading dark spots, improving uneven skin tone, and keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized.
Aloe vera moisturizes the skin while reducing inflammation and the appearance of acne and other forms of skin irritation. Pyrus malus is rich in antioxidants and alpha hydroxy acids, which exfoliate and promote cell turnover to balance the skin’s appearance. The extract also has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe and calm the skin.
Blu Atlas products are vegan and free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances. If you like the Vitamin C Serum, pick up its sister product — Blu Atlas’ ultra-hydrating Face Moisturizer. It’s made with seaweed extract, vitamin C, and mango seed butter for added hydration. The Vitamin C Serum retails for $35.
2. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum
Boosted hydration is the name of the game with Neutrogena’s Hydro Boosting Hydrating Serum. This oil-free solution promotes smooth and supple skin thanks to its non-comedogenic, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin properties.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the skin, connective tissue, and eyes. Nature’s natural lubricant, hyaluronic acid makes the ideal skincare ingredient due to its ability to hold large amounts of water, which keeps the skin hydrated and plump. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves skin texture and tone.
Glycerin, on the other hand, is a clear, colorless, and odorless liquid found in various skincare products like lotions, creams, and serums. It’s a humectant, drawing moisture from the air and transferring it into the skin. This makes it an effective ingredient for maintaining and improving skin hydration and treating dehydrated skin.
3. Cetaphil Deep Hydration 48-Hour Activation Serum
Cetaphil rounds out our top three with its Deep Hydration 48-Hour Activation Serum. Lightweight and replenishing, the serum absorbs deep into the skin’s layers for 48 hours of hydration. Not only will it leave your skin looking and feeling moisturized, but the serum is formulated with hyaluronic acid and sunflower seed oil for a smooth and radiant appearance.
Sunflower seed oil is rich in fatty acids and is commonly used in skincare products for its moisturizing properties. The oil is suitable for all skin types, especially dry skin. In addition to its hydrating effects, sunflower seed oil has skin-soothing and protective properties.
The activation serum is also infused with vitamins B5, E, and Cetaphil’s HydroSensitiv Complex, which soothes the skin and improves skin quality over time. You can apply the serum twice daily and make it as buildable as you’d like without the fear of clogging your pores.
4. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum
If you’re looking for an instant boost of hydration, the Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum by First Aid Beauty is the way to go. Safe for all skin types, the serum provides 24 hours of lightweight hydration in a formula created cruelty- and gluten-free.
The serum’s key ingredients are hyaluronic acid, squalane, and colloidal oatmeal. Squalane is a lightweight, non-greasy oil that quickly absorbs into the skin, making it an effective moisturizer for all skin types. Squalane keeps the skin hydrated and supple with its anti-aging and antioxidant properties.
Colloidal oatmeal is used in skincare products to soothe and moisturize the skin. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties relieve dry, itchy, and irritated skin and can reduce redness from conditions like eczema.
5. La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Meet the Hyalu B5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum by La Roche-Posay, a dermatologist-tested formula great for skin hydration and anti-aging. This serum leaves the skin feeling plump and healthy while repairing and replenishing the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Suitable for sensitive skin, the serum is formulated with glycerin, dimethicone, hyaluronic acid, madecassoside, and vitamin B5.
Dimethicone is a type of silicone commonly used in skin care products due to its ability to hydrate and smooth skin. The synthetic ingredient forms a protective barrier on the skin to lock in moisture and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is also non-comedogenic, so it doesn’t clog pores and is suitable for all skin types.
Madecassoside is a compound extracted from the Centella Asiatica plant. It’s great for healing wounds, reducing inflammation, and lessening the appearance of scars. The extract also has antioxidant and anti-aging effects and protects the skin from environmental damage for a youthful and healthy appearance.
6. Dermalogica’s Smart Response Serum
Dermalogica’s Smart Response Serum is a great solution that fulfills your hydration, brightening, and firming needs. To help you achieve smoother, hydrated, and healthier skin, Dermalogica formulated the serum with four main skincare ingredients.
Jojoba seed oil, also known as Simmondsia Chinensis, is commonly used in skin care products because it’s non-greasy and quickly absorbs into the skin. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, jojoba oil moisturizes dry skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also heals chapped and cracked skin and reduces the appearance of flare-ups and acne scars.
Hydrolyzed beta-glucan and arabinoxylan-oligosaccharides are carbohydrates sourced from the cell walls of plants like oats and barley. Suitable for all skin types, they moisturize dryness, soothe and calm irritation, and enhance skin elasticity and firmness.
Lactic acid exfoliates the skin and reduces fine lines and uneven skin tone to improve the skin’s overall texture. It also moisturizes the skin. Squalene, the final key ingredient, is a natural oil produced by the body that doubles as a powerful moisturizer.
7. Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex
If you’re looking for a serum that helps explicitly target and counter the effects of skin aging, the Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex by Niod is the solution for you.
Suitable for all skin types, the water-based serum combats signs of aging and dryness through key ingredients like hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, sodium butyryl hyaluronate, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, and hydrolyzed sodium hyaluronate.
Sodium hyaluronate keeps the skin hydrated by attracting and retaining moisture. It’s used in skin care products to plump and hydrate the skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin texture. It is suitable for all skin types and can be used on the face and body.
Sodium butyryl hyaluronate, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, and hydrolyzed sodium hyaluronate are moisturizing agents that improve skin texture. In addition to being a humectant, they have antioxidant properties to protect the skin from damage from environmental stressors like pollution and UV radiation.
8. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum
We’re rounding out our top eight with the Aqualia Thermal Serum by Vichy. Providing 48 hours of hydration, the serum is suitable for dry, combination, and normal-to-combination skin.
Refreshing and lightweight, the serum is infused with pure hyaluronic acid, citric acid, hydrogenated castor oil, and Vichy Volcanic Water.
Citric acid is often used in skin care products as an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and improve the tone and texture of the skin. It can also be a pH adjuster. Vichy volcanic water is sourced from a volcanic region in the town of Vichy, France. It has minerals and trace elements beneficial to the skin.
Over 85 % of users found that their skin felt more hydrated, radiant, and revitalized after four weeks of consistent usage. They also found that the product minimized their fine lines.
The Aqualia Thermal Serum is dermatologist-tested, paraben free, and non-comedogenic. The product goes well with Vichy’s Minéral 89 hyaluronic acid face serum, the Aqualia Thermal Water Gel hydrating gel moisturizer, and the Aqualia Thermal UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30 hydrating sunscreen.
9. Olay Regenerist Miracle Boost Concentrate
Olay’s Regenerist Miracle Boost Concentrate is a miracle-in-a-bottle solution for anti-aging and hydration.
Fragrance-free, the serum’s ingredients include niacinamide (vitamin B3), vitamin B5, and amino peptide. Niacinamide improves the appearance of uneven skin tone, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and strengthens the skin’s barrier. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces redness and swelling.
Vitamin B5 is used in skin care for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, and it improves dry and damaged skin and has wound-healing properties.
Amino peptides penetrate the skin and stimulate the production of collagen and other structural proteins. By stimulating collagen production, they diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging and have moisturizing and anti-inflammatory effects on the skin.
10. The Body Shop Oils of Life Intensely Revitalizing Facial Serum
Need a lightweight serum rich in nature’s best ingredients to compliment your skin care regimen? The Oils of Life Intensely Revitalizing Facial Serum will do just that.
Created by The Body Shop, the oil-based serum restores radiance and hydration in a quick-absorbing formula that is perfect for dry skin. Black cumin seed oil, camellia seed oil, and rosehip seed oil are three of the serum’s cold-pressed seed oil ingredients. The cold-pressed approach to oil extraction results in a more nutrient-dense oil that is great for skin care.
Black cumin reduces inflammation, moisturizes the skin, and reduces the appearance of scars. It also helps combat acne, eczema, and dry skin with its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Camelina seed oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids. The oil reduces redness and swelling through its anti-inflammatory properties and slows signs of aging through its antioxidant properties. Camelina seed oil is a natural treatment for skin conditions like dry skin, acne, and eczema.
Rosehip seed oil is rich in fatty acids and vitamins E and C. This oil moisturizes and nourishes the skin, has anti-aging properties, and reduces the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and fine lines. As a bonus, it also improves the skin’s overall texture and tone.
The serum is also infused with olive oil, rich in the fatty acids needed to nourish and moisturize the skin. Olive oil also contains antioxidants, which reduce inflammation, soothe irritated skin, and lighten scars.
11. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Oil
Fight dry skin and wrinkles with the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Oil. This lightweight serum is the top retinol brand used most by dermatologists, free from parabens, mineral oil, and dyes.
Retinol takes center stage in the production of this serum. Great for combatting dark spots, 0.3% retinol improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. It also unclogs pores and improves the texture of the skin.
Retinol increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so it’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with any retinol-infused products.
If you’re happy with the serum, consider adding Neutrogena’s award-winning Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum and Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream to the mix.
12. StriVectin Advanced Retinol Nightly Multi-Correct Serum
The Advanced Retinol Nightly Multi-Correct Serum by StriVectin is an all-in-one solution that diminishes fine lines, texture, wrinkles, pores, and firmness in seven days. As a bonus, the serum also leaves your skin radiant, hydrated, and even-toned.
Though Retinol is the key ingredient here, the serum is rich in poly glutamic acid,
Cucumis sativus (cucumber) seed extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) seed oil, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, and ashwagandha.
Olyglutamic acid — an amino acid derived from oyster mushrooms — strengthens and restores dry and damaged skin. It also reduces inflammation to alleviate conditions like acne, psoriasis, and other skin conditions. This product is packed with antioxidants to protect against environmental damage and premature aging.
Cucumber seed extract contains vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to nourish the skin. The extract is excellent for sensitive and oily skin since it soothes inflammation and reduces shine. Cucumber seed extract also reduces wrinkles and fine lines. Sunflower seed oil makes a great skincare ingredient since it’s lightweight, easily absorbed, and rich in vitamin E. This non-greasy, nourishing, and versatile moisturizer is suitable for all skin types.
Shea butter, a natural fatty substance, is highly moisturizing and rich in vitamins and minerals to nourish the skin and improve the overall appearance. Shea butter is commonly used to treat dry or damaged skin and reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Ashwagandha, the last of the key ingredients, is anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.
For added hydration, pair the Advanced Retinol Nightly Multi-Correct Serum with StriVectin’s newly launched Advanced Retinol Nightly Renewal Moisturizer.
13. Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum 5%
With thousands of five-star reviews online, Sunday Riley’s award-winning A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum 5% is one of the best serums for dry skin.
Its 6.5% blend of retinol and botanical retinol-alternative extracts penetrates the skin with hydration to fight dryness, aging, and the effects of sun damage. In addition to retinol, the serum is formulated with CoQ10, Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol, cactus extract, and ginger for a hydrated and even-toned complexion.
CoQ10, or ubiquinone, is a natural antioxidant compound found in the body that has anti-aging effects on the skin. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves skin texture. Hawaiian white honey is highly moisturizing and nourishing to the skin. With honey being a natural humectant, it helps the skin retain hydration and moisture. Honest’s antimicrobial properties can prevent breakouts and other skin flare-ups.
The Bisabolol natural compound is anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing, and has antioxidant effects. Cactus extract, to no surprise, is incredibly hydrating and nourishing. Some cactus extracts, like prickly pear cactus extract, are rich in antioxidants and anti-aging properties. Ginger, the last of our key ingredients, balances the skin’s oil production and reduces the appearance of pores.
The vegetarian serum is free from sulfates, paraben, gluten, soy, phthalate, and fragrances. If you’re new to retinol, Sunday Riley recommends using the product two days on and two days off. For the more experienced retinol user, you can use the product daily in the evenings.
14. Dermalogica Circular Hydration Serum
Dermalogica’s Circular Hydration Serum quenches dehydrated skin and provides long-lasting hydration. The serum is great for all skin types and helps fight dryness, dullness, fine lines, and wrinkles. Its algae extract, polyglutamic acid, and hyaluronic acid infusion provide 10 hours of high-impact hydration.
Algae extract hydrates and nourishes the skin through its rich composition of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It also has anti-aging properties and can improve the appearance of the skin.
Polyglutamic acid holds onto moisture to improve the skin’s texture and appearance. It also stimulates collagen production and counters the effects of aging.
15. Avène Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum
The proof is in the pudding with Avéne’s Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum, a lightweight and oil-free solution that restores natural hydration for 24 hours.
This serum includes key ingredients like cohederm to prevent water loss and hydration-boosting microspheres, which reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve the skin’s texture. The microspheres also absorb excess oil and shine. Last but not least, the formula includes Avéne’s Thermal Spring Water to nourish your skin and leave it soothed and hydrated.
Pair the serum with Avéne’s Hydrance Rich Hydrating Cream, a lush face cream for dry skin.
16. Paula’s Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster
It’s no coincidence that Paula’s Choice has made our list for the second time. This time, we’re focusing on the brand’s Hyaluronic Acid Booster serum, a lightweight gel that plumps and nourishes the skin while diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
The serum’s critical ingredients of hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and panthenol lock in moisture and promote long-lasting hydration. Ceramides, a type of fat naturally found in the outer layer of the skin, maintain the skin’s barrier and keep it hydrated and healthy. When the skin’s ceramide levels are insufficient, the skin can become dry, itchy, and prone to irritation. A serum with ceramides can reduce the appearance of dry and flaky skin.
Panthenol, a form of vitamin B5, moisturizes the skin by attracting and retaining water. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe and calm the skin.
The serum best suits normal, dry, combination, and oily skin. Gluten- and cruelty-free, Paula’s Choice created the serum without parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, and sulfates.
17. PCA SKIN Hydrating Serum
All skin types are welcome to use PCA Skin’s Hydrating Serum.
PCA Skin formulated the serum with glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, and sodium PCA hydrating and revitalizing properties. Sodium PCA, a naturally occurring compound in human skin and hair, absorbs and retains moisture. It also protects the skin from environmental residues and has beneficial antioxidant properties.
If you’re struggling with dull, loose, or inflamed skin, you’ll find a solution in the serum’s fructose, wheat germ, and aloe vera extracts.
Fructose extract is a humectant that keeps the skin hydrated by attracting and retaining moisture from the air. Fructose extract’s hydrating and moisturizing properties are ideal for dehydrated skin.
Wheat germ — responsible for the growth and reproduction of the wheat plant — is a rich source of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Wheat germ oil’s moisturizing and nourishing properties benefit dry, damaged, and mature skin. It also improves the skin’s elasticity and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.
18. Dime Beauty Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Dime Beauty’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum is the day and night serum you’ve been looking for. This thirst-quenching hyaluronic acid serum formula is infused with ingredients like sodium hyaluronate and green tea. The latter is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition to its hydrating properties, the serum also boosts bounce and elasticity in the skin. The vegan and cruelty-free serum pairs well with Dime Beauty’s Dewy Day Cream, Restorative Night Cream, and Thirsty Face Mist.
19. Eminence Organic Skin Care Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum
If you want a serum that will give your skin a youthful and radiant glow, the Strawberry Rhubard Hyaluronic Serum is the way to go. Created by the Eminence Organic Skin Care brand, the serum is formulated with an in-house botanical hyaluronic acid complex blend of cica, strawberry, and rhubarb.
Cica — a plant native to Asia — is used in skin care products for being gentle and soothing in healing and nourishing the skin. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is perfect for sensitive, dehydrated, and damaged skin.
Not only are strawberries rich in antioxidants, but they’re a good source of vitamin C, which is important in promoting collagen production to give the skin its structure and strength. The rhubarb plant has astringent properties, which can tighten and firm the skin. It also has antioxidant properties and is excellent for skin toning and purifying effects.
20. Cosmedica Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Is your skin struggling with dryness and dehydration? Cosmedica Skincare has a solution for you in its Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Perfect for all skin types, this oil-based formula has both hydrating and anti-aging properties.
The hyaluronic serum keeps the skin hydrated, plump, and soft. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves skin texture.
Several hyaluronic acid serums are available, and you can use them on all skin types. Some serums contain a high concentration of hyaluronic acid and are intended for use on more mature skin. In contrast, others contain a lower concentration and are suitable for all skin types.
This vegan and hypoallergenic serum is paraben- and cruelty-free.