Can Hyaluronic Acid Give You Shiny, Healthy Hair?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Find out whether the trendy skin-care ingredient is worth adding to your hair- care routine, too.

Hyaluronic acid is an all-star skin-care ingredient praised for its ability to lock moisture into skin and produce a dewy, healthy complexion. Previous research even suggests hyaluronic acid may, from the inside out, help correct premature skin aging that occurs from ultraviolet (UV) exposure.

How Does Hyaluronic Acid Serum Work?

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New York City–based Daniel Belkin MD, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at New York Dermatology Group, echoes Dr. Shah, saying that a hyaluronic acid molecule can bind up to 1,000 times its weight in water, “so it is a very powerful humectant — a molecule that draws in or retains hydration.”

Board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, associate professor and director of cosmetic and clinical research department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, says hyaluronic acid is a staple in skin care, but he’s seen it increasingly used in hair-care products lately.

Is the Effect of Hyaluronic Acid the Same on Hair As It Is on Skin?

Each hair strand consists of layered proteins including keratin filament, as well as structural components such as matrix macrofibril, cortex, and finally cuticle scales, which are organized in a row, says Ava Shamban, MD, a board- certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles.

How to Use Hyaluronic Acid in Your Hair-Care Routine

Belkin recommends applying hyaluronic acid to moist washed hair, which allows the ingredient to bind properly. This will act similarly to a hair oil or leave- in conditioner “that has more occlusive-type moisturizers (oils, waxes) will help lock in moisture,” he says.

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While a hyaluronic hair product will likely cost you less, a skin-care product with the ingredient on hand will work on your hair, too. “There is not necessarily a strict distinction in the formulation of hair care versus skin care, so depending on the specific product, I don't think it would be an issue to use a skin-care product in the hair, especially if it were a relatively pure formulation of hyaluronic acid,” Belkin says.

To try the trend, Belkin suggests Oribe Power Drops Hydration and Anti-Pollution ($58, Oribe.com), while Cunningham recommends Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask ($28, Sephora). “It contains high-quality hyaluronic acid to weightlessly moisturize the hair, along with their proprietary, patented bond- building technology to repair and strengthen strands for healthier hair,” she explains.

If you want a double-tasking product, Belkin recommends The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($6.80, Ulta.com), La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid ($29.99, laroche-posay.us), and, if you are looking to splurge, SkinMedica HA5 ($120, SkinMedica).

The Bottom Line: Should You Use Hyaluronic Acid Serum on Hair?

All three experts encourage adding hyaluronic acid serum to your hair-care routine, whether by opting for a hair product with the ingredient or repurposing a hyaluronic acid skin-care product for your hair. “This TikKok trend is fact not fiction, which is not always the case,” says Shamban. “All in all, it is great for youth-ifying the hair.”

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