Hyaluronic acid is a highly favored skincare product known for its hydrating and moisturizing properties. More and more, we’ve seen the ingredient popping up in haircare products. Even TikTok has made videos about using hyaluronic acid for hair. Can hyaluronic acid do for hair what it does for skin? We reached out to a few experts to weigh in on the matter. Read what they had to share below!
What are the benefits of using hyaluronic acid for your hair?
Certified trichologist and inventive colorist Bridgette Hill shares that the list of hyaluronic acid hair benefits goes on and on. First and foremost, it “acts like a humectant in the body.” This essentially means the acid is great at attracting and binding moisture to the skin, which allows collagen to thrive on your complexion and scalp.
Bridgette also notes that “the humectant binding properties of hyaluronic acid perform similarly to hair fibers, allowing the hair fibers to retain and seal moisture from products, as well as sealing the cuticle to prevent unwanted moisture to enter, which leads to frizzy hair and shrinkage in highly curly and coily hair textures.”
That’s not where the benefits stop. When it comes to your strands, Bridgette shares that hyaluronic acid hydrates the hair, reduces frizziness, protects against brittleness, and combats environmental factors. And that’s not all. Hyaluronic acid has the “ability to stimulate the creation of new blood vessels on the scalp allows oxygen and nutrients to make it to the affected hair follicles that may be compromised due to health, genetic, dietary, stress, intake of medications, or chronic illness or disease.”
As far as the scalp benefits it provides, Bridgette mentions that hyaluronic acid reduces inflammation, moisturizes and nourishes the scalp, promotes the creation of new blood vessels, and combats environmental and aging stressors.
Are there any drawbacks of using it for your hair?
While there appears to be no shortage of benefits for using the acid on your strands, Bay Area dermatologist Dr. Kaveri Karhade warns that it can potentially dry out your strands.
“In some dermatology circles, there is actually some concern about regular use of hyaluronic acid causing rebound dryness in hair,” she shares. “This is because hyaluronic acid absorbs water; theoretically, hyaluronic acid sitting atop the hair could extract moisture leave the hair more dehydrated than before.”
Additionally, New York City dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian points out the difficulties of achieving these benefits. She notes that because hyaluronic acid is a topical treatment, it often isn’t given the chance to do what it needs to.
“The topical application to hair is still debatable,” she explains. “Most products are applied and immediately washed off, such as shampoo. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally found ingredient that is responsible for drawing and keeping hydration within skin. For hair, it would improve the cuticle and improve dry hair, frizz, breakage and fly-always. But, this is assuming the ingredients are left on and not washed off.”
How should you apply hyaluronic acid on your strands?
Bridgette shares that there are a number of ways hyaluronic acid can be used on the hair and scalp.
“For hair fibers, hyaluronic acid should be applied like a leave-in conditioner or styling treatment,” she says. “I apply it to damp hair as the first layer to any styling product. Apply root to ends, comb through for even distribution, then layer your preferred styling product on top. For scalp, apply hyaluronic acid with fingers or a dropper to the scalp. Massage using circular motions, focusing on areas that are more problematic than others.”
The acid can even be used as a pre-shampoo treatment, Bridgette mentions. Start by applying it liberally all over, leave it on overnight, and shampoo it out the next morning. Need a spot treatment? Hyaluronic acid works for that as well. You’ll apply it conservatively, focusing on the problem areas.
What are the best hyaluronic acid hair products?
Bridgette recommended three hyaluronic acid hair products, which work for all hair types.
1. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment: $9.99
Using high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acids, this post-wash treatment hydrates your hair and reduces frizz. Of the people who have used this serum, 83% noticed a reduction in frizz after four weeks of use. This is also an incredibly affordable product for all that it offers.
2. Grow Gorgeous Original Hair Density Serum: $35
Hyaluronic acid is just one of the many ingredients in this serum that promotes hair growth. The acid works to smooth and moisturize your strands, while caffeine stimulates hair growth. Wave goodbye to fine hair once and for all.
3. Living Proof Scalp Care Dry Scalp Treatment: $34
The hyaluronic acid in this treatment is specifically designed to target all your dry scalp woes. It relieves dryness, itching, and irritation with a blend of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3.