Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

Let’s face it – we’re all about hydration these days.  So, I’ve been putting together this post on hydrating serums for some time now.

While most hydrating serums will have hyaluronic acid as a key ingredient, or some version of it, some brands make use of other hydrating ingredients to keep thirsty skin at bay.

Benefits of using a hydrating serum: –

♥ Enhance hydration and improve moisture retention

♥ Protect your skin against external aggressors like UV rays, air conditioning, stress and pollution

♥ Hydrated skin = happy barrier

♥ Soothe, reduce irritation, and can even strengthen skin cells

♥ Combat signs of ageing – soften up fine lines and keep skin plump and dewy

♥ Stimulate collagen production

♥ Act fast – you’ll see and feel results from a hydrating serum quickly, especially if your skin has been feeling dehydrated for a while

I am constantly on a mission to try out hydrating serums, and see what is on the market (and obviously whether it works for me).  So you’ll find a selection of serums I’ve tried and loved below.  As I discover and fall in love with more hydrating serums, I’ll update this post and add them, so whenever you’re on the hunt for a good hydrating serum, just take a peek here!

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum R575 for 29ml*

I absolutely adore the texture of this serum – it’s a very lightweight gel, so it would even be suitable as a gel-based moisturiser for oily skins!

The Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum contains no oil, helps to keep skin hydrated and soft, and it leaves your skin looking fresh and dewy.

While this serum is on the thicker side, it still sinks in beautifully but leaves a thing layer of hydration on the skin that you can feel there even after it’s absorbed.  It doesn’t contain hyaluronic acid, but it does contain loads of other ingredients designed to ensure your skin isn’t thirsty.

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

Pixi Hydrating Milky Serum £26 for 30ml*

This serum from Pixi is DIVINE.  It really is a milky texture, and it feels like a refreshing drink for the skin.  It’s incredibly soothing, and is great for when your skin is feeling tight, or if you’ve been using too many acids or retinols, as it feels so comforting.

The Hydrating Milky Serum contains aloe vera (this helps to calm and soothe), jojoba oil (for light moisturise, even though you can’t feel an oiliness in the texture at all), vitamin C, vitamin E, rose flower water and glycerin.  A beautiful, soothing product that leaves your skin coated in comfort.

There are a few local resellers that stock Pixi, or you can order via Cult Beauty, as they ship to South Africa.

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

Filorga HYDRA-HYAL ® Intensive Hydrating Plumping Concentrate R750 for 30ml*

You guys know I’m a fan of the Filorga brand, and this is such a fantastic hydrating serum.  The packaging is super luxurious, with a thing glass bottle and beautiful silver cap.

The HYDRA-HYAL serum contains 4 types of hyaluronic acid (enabling it to deeply penetrate the skin), along with plant based boosters to stimulate the skin’s production of hyaluronic acid to replenish it’s own natural reserves.  Plus – as with most (if not all) Filorga products, it contains one of their patented formula’s – the NCTF® complex to boost radiance.

The serum is lovely and silky, doesn’t leave a sticky residue on the skin, and sinks in like an absolute dream.  A little is all you need (seriously on a couple of drops) to hydrate your whole face and neck, as it spreads beautifully, so this bottle lasted me quite some time.

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

Eucerin Hyaluron Filler Moisture Booster R299,99 for 30ml*

The Hyaluron Filler Moisture Booster is the latest addition to the Eucerin Hyaluron Filler line.  And trust me, if you’ve enjoyed any other products from that range, you NEED to try this.

I’ve been lucky enough to test this out for the last few months, and I’ll be honest – it’s taken pride of place in my bathroom cabinet.  I reach for this EVERY SINGLE MORNING, as well as some nights, where I layer it underneath other more active, anti-ageing formulas.  It contains 2 concentrated types of hyaluronic acid and glycerin, so it’s a hydrating miracle worker.

I only use a single pump at a time, so I still have a third of the bottle left, and it honestly feels like I’ve just given my skin a big glass of ice cold water on a hot day.  I’ll literally feel my skin just soaking it up and thanking me!

Admittedly, my all-time favourite hydrating serum (from The Ordinary, you’ll learn more about it later on in the post) has now been replaced by this offering from Eucerin.  Not only is it much more easily accessible, but it’s a great price for a product that lasts a while, and Eucerin is often on promotion at either Clicks or Dischem!

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

Esse Hyaluronic Serum R360 for 15ml (like this bottle) or R650 for 30ml*

I’ve long been a big fan of the Esse brand.  They’re created an INCREDIBLE range of skincare using pre- and probiotics, as well as being certified organic, vegan and cruelty free.  They also support fair trade AND are a carbon neutral company – plus, they’re based here in KwaZulu Natal!

I tested their Hyaluronic Serum out and was mighty impressed.  Not only does it contain hyaluronic acid, it also has probiotics in!  This serum is absolutely amazing for skin that is dehydrated and where the barrier may be impaired.  It’s extremely soothing and hydrating, has anti-inflammatory properties, slows signs of ageing and supports barrier function.

I definitely found this serum to be a godsend during the dry winter months, when my skin usually feels tighter and goes a little red around my nose and on my chin.  The Esse Hyaluronic Serum kept my skin happy and healthy, and feeling comfortable during a time when it usually acts out – so it gets a BIG thumbs up from me!

The serum also spreads very easily and absorbs super fast.

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

Pierre Rene 100% Hyaluronic Elixir R410 for 15ml*

I had only previously tried makeup products from Pierre Rene before this serum – and this is SUCH a goodie.

It’s an incredible concentrated product, as it’s almost purely hyaluronic acid (it has a few other hydrating ingredients in there, like glycerin, but the hyaluronic acid is the second ingredient on the very short ingredients list)!

You need the tiniest amount (in fact, I was shocked at how little I needed to spread all over my face and neck, and I’m usually very precious with the amount of product I use – super impressed), and it really deeply hydrates your skin.  It definitely plumps up fine lines from dehydration and fast too!

The bottle is also super cute – very dinky and travel friendly!  Plus, Pierre Rene is both hypoallergenic and cruelty free, so if you’re sticking to your strictly cruelty free products, this one is for you.

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

AA Cosmetics Skin Boost HA+ Concentrate 15% R410 for 30ml*

The AA Cosmetics serum is a milky consistency rather than a light gel or liquid.  I quite like this change up – the consistency reminds me of the Pixi one actually!

It’s made up of 15% hyaluronic acid, as well as algae extract (a fab antioxidant), squalane (a slightly oilier textured hydrator that also balances out oil production and is an anti-inflammatory) and ceramides (to replenish and restore moisture).

With these other ingredients, it has a slightly richer finish to it, so while it absorbs fast, it does leave a definite layer of moisture on your skin.  I could easily use this as a moisturiser on super hot days, and if you have an oily or combo skin, you could do the same!  You can also apply it as is, or mix a few drops into your moisturiser day or night for a boost.

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

Placecol Moisture Hold Therapy R330 for 30ml*

I had not tried anything from Placecol before this serum, but I’ve so enjoyed using this – I actually would love to try out more products from their range now!

This serum is a lovely light texture and extremely hydrating.  It’s designed for those with dry, sensitive or dehydrated skin – so fab if you’re battling with a bit of an impaired barrier and need to urgently restore that moisture to your skin to help calm it.

Just 1 pump dispenses the perfect amount of product for your face and neck (the neck is SO important guys, so please don’t neglect it, no point having a youthful looking face when your neck shows off your true age).  It spreads beautifully and my skin just soaks it up.  It actually claims to keep the epidermis hydrated for 24 hours after application!

Considering that this is a salon brand (and therefore on the professional side), the price is also really good!

Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 £5,90

This is honestly one of the most sensationally good hydrating serums I’ve used to date.  I just wish it was easier to get your hands on here (I see Takealot has it, but it’s marked up to a shocking figure), and some local resellers do offer it when they have stock (I’d suggest Muse Beauty or Fashion Police if you’re going that route – otherwise you can purchase it from Cult Beauty).

It’s a thin gel texture that is extremely hydrating and calming, and I’ve been through multiple bottles of this serum.  I saw almost instant results in my severely dehydrated areas when I used this, and I’ll probably go back to it when I can get another bottle or two from someone heading overseas!


Hydrating Serums – TESTED & LOVED, Sugar & Spice
Image taken from Clicks website


Avène Hydrance Serum R349 for 30ml

I think this Avène Hydrance serum was the very first hydrating serum I ever tried, and I even used it in the build up to my wedding day!

I love how this includes the thermal spring water that Avène is so famous for, so it’s INCREDIBLY soothing to irritated or very dehydrated skin.  This is suitable for the most sensitive of skins, and feels like a hug for your skin.

As much as I adore this serum – I haven’t repurchased it in ages, as I’ve always had another one on the go.  I think it’s time I fixed this, so I’m hoping to finish up a couple of products, declutter some and replenish my stash of this soothing serum.

P.S. This is AMAZING on skin that may have gotten a little too much sun!

What is your favourite hydrating serum? I’d love to try it out!


Check out some of my other skincare posts here:-

Budget Friendly Skincare 

Best of Skincare 2019

Serums & Facial Oils – SKINCARE SECRETS


(there is a whole SKINCARE SECRETS series, on each item of skincare, so just check them all out!)



*DISCLAIMER – while some of these products were gifted to me, all opinions are honest and my own.


Beauty and Lifestyle blogger, wine addict and all-round lover of all things beautiful and sparkly!

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