TikTok users say hyaluronic acid can help hydrate your hair, but does it actually work?

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It’s touted as a skincare hydration hero but can hyaluronic acid help to smooth and soften your hair, too?

Hyaluronic acid is one of the skincare world’s biggest, buzziest ingredients. Famed for its ability to hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, it helps to hydrate, plump and nourish skin from within. But now TikTok users are applying hyaluronic acid to their hair too – and the results are somewhat surprising. 

In a video that’s since gone viral, TikTok user Kaitlin Boyer tested out the theory by applying The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% Serum to her hair for two weeks and documenting the results. “Saw a TikTok that said hair oil doesn’t moisturise your hair, only water can. So I tried hyaluronic acid,” she captioned the video. Applying the serum to damp hair every night, Boyer’s hair appears more hydrated, silky and smooth over the course of two weeks – with noticeable results after just two nights.

Does hyaluronic acid work for hair?

“Hyaluronic acid has sealed its status as a staple in skincare due to its ultra-hydrating properties and it comes as no surprise that it has made its way into haircare,” explains Dr Sharon Wong, consultant dermatologist and hair expert.

But does this mean you should start applying your beloved skincare serum to your strands, too? Hold fire for a moment. It turns out that there are products out there that already contain hyaluronic acid which have been specifically formulated with your hair in mind. 

The Inkey List’s Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment contains both high and low molecular weight hyaluronic acid molecules for maximum hydration, plus other hair-friendly ingredients like betaine and panthenol to offer intensive softening and conditioning effects to the hair.

  • The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment

    “High molecular weight hyaluronic acid is made of large molecules which attract more water but also form a surface film to seal the cuticles for smooth, shiny and softer strands, while the low molecular weight hyaluronic acid molecules penetrate deeper into the hair,” explains Dr Wong. “Having a carefully balanced combination of different molecular weights helps to optimise both surface and hydrating properties.”

    Shop The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment at Cult Beauty, £9.99

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While you could double up on products and use your trusty skin serum on your hair too, there are some things to note. Hyaluronic acid works as a humectant – drawing moisture out of the air and into the skin or hair – but it can have the opposite effect. In dry air, hyaluronic acid can actually pull water away from the skin or hair and back into the atmosphere, so it’s important to lock in this step with a moisturiser – or hair serum, cream or oil. Therefore your best bet is to look for a hair care product that contains hyaluronic acid as an ingredient – that will lock in the hydration in one smoothing step. 

Main image: Getty

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