Merely drinking enough water to sustain life is no longer enough: The state of being well-hydrated now carries insurmountable social weight. If public perception is to be believed, hydration is the difference between glowing skin and tired skin, between aging like Gabrielle Union and aging like Gary Busey, between eternal life and imminent death.
What's even more important than being hydrated is looking hydrated. After all, nobody can see how clear your pee is during the 15 bathroom breaks you take during the workday; for best results, hydration requires visual evidence, like the 32 oz Bkr bottle you lug around like it's your firstborn and skin that appears impervious to the dry, flaky areas around the mouth and nose that literally everyone gets at some point between November and March.
While water is the only solution for staying hydrated from the inside out (supplemented by Gatorade as needed, should you find yourself suffering from a temporary condition that can only be cured by Glacier Freeze and a bacon, egg, and cheese), it is wrong to portray it as the only route to dewy, gallon-a-day skin. The best hydrating serums will act like a packet of Hydrant on a superficial level, giving you the extra assist you need to attain that much-desired, hardly-achieved glassy skin — best paired with a glass straw, of course.
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Bioderma Hydrabio Serum
From the French pharmacie brand behind your favorite micellar water comes this lightweight serum, which eases dryness and irritation on contact and provides lasting hydration via a handful of humectants like glycerin, xylitol, mannitol, and rhamnose. Laminaria ochroleuca extract — better known as brown seaweed — works to soothe and protect, and a super-absorbent polymer called sodium polyacrylate locks moisture into skin for the long haul.
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Allies Of Skin Triple Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum
The name is a tongue-twister, but what's inside this genius twist-top bottle is a hydrating serum at its finest, plain and simple. By pairing three different forms of hyaluronic acid with potent plant-based antioxidants and brightening, moisture-balancing niacinamide, you get a well-rounded formula that intensely hydrates, reduces inflammation, restores the skin's natural barrier, and protects against environmental aggressors all in one fell swoop.
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Aveeno Positively Radiant MaxGlow Hydrating Serum + Primer
Skip the morning moisturizer; opt for this serum-primer hybrid instead. The bi-phase formula combines an oil-based component with kiwi water and skin-strengthening soy protein extract (just give the bottle a good shake to combine the two), for a fast-absorbing finish that imparts major hydration and creates a dewy, non-greasy base for makeup.
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Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Survival Serum
Not just any plants can survive the unforgiving climate of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where the high altitude and dry air create extreme weather conditions that are difficult at best. The ones that have learned to flourish get funneled (sustainably, of course) into this lotion-like serum, which uses the area's hardest-working, highly-resilient botanicals — like borage, calendula, sage, and licorice root — to hydrate and brighten dry, lackluster skin.
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Supergoop! Anti-Aging City Sunscreen Serum Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Perhaps the only serum that can effectively be used in lieu of both your moisturizer and your sunscreen, this SPF 30 formula is lightweight yet hydrating, thanks to a dose of vitamin E and a proprietary complex that works in tandem with your skin's natural moisture mechanisms. Because it absorbs both UVA and UVB rays, the physical sunscreen protects against premature aging and sunburn — a full 360-degree coverage plan in one TSA-friendly bottle.
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Saint Jane Luxury Beauty Serum
Now that we've all gotten used to the idea of CBD occupying space in our skin-care routines for the foreseeable future, are we ready to pay luxury prices for it, too? The answer is yes — at least where this cannabidiol-infused serum is concerned. In addition to the 500 mg full-spectrum CBD for calming, the silky, omega-rich formula gets its deep hydrating properties from a range of plant oils, including rosehip, seabuckthorn, and grapeseed, and its balancing, brightening power from sandalwood, geranium, rose, and palmarosa.
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Kate Somerville Kx Active Concentrates Ceramides + Omegas Serum
Inside this unassuming, vaguely clinical-looking bottle you'll find a lightweight concentrated serum that punches far above its weight. Dryness vanishes on contact, irritation feels soothed in seconds — all thanks to a potent yet calming blend of ceramides, fatty acids, and omega-rich plant oils, formulated without synthetic fragrance, for sensitive skin-friendly hydration that strengthens the natural moisture barrier over time.