You’re probably already familiar with using hyaluronic acid on your skin, but did you know that when using hyaluronic acid for hair has a ton of amazing benefits too? Seriously. Just as you've seen hyaluronic acid in basically every moisturizer and face cream for the last few years, you're now going to see it in tons of hair products, from shampoos to leave-in conditioners, thanks to its ability to deeply hydrate your hair and scalp without feeling greasy or causing build-up.
And unlike some other moisturizing ingredients that can be too heavy or greasy, hyaluronic acid is suitable for all hair types and textures, so there’s really no reason you shouldn't be using it in your haircare routine. And I'm here to help get you started. Ahead, all the expert-approved ways to use hyaluronic acid for hair and scalps—plus the best hyaluronic acid hair products to try right now.
Meet the experts:
Nunzio Saviano is one of NYC's top hairstylists and owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York, NY. Saviano has more than 20 years of experience cutting, color-treating, and chemically-treating hair of all types and textures.
Shab Reslan is a hairstylist and trichologist based in New York, NY. Reslan is the host of Hair Like Hers, a podcast focused on hair health and wellness, and author of The Leona Way, a blog focused on hair education.
Is hyaluronic acid good for your hair and scalp?
Yes, hyaluronic acid is definitely good for your hair and scalp. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it pulls in water from the atmosphere and helps retain that moisture. When applied to hair, hyaluronic acid reduces dryness and brittleness, drastically reduces frizz and flyaways, and makes hair shinier, softer, and healthier, says hairstylist Nunzio Saviano.
Hyaluronic acid is great for your scalp too. We use hyaluronic acid serums and creams on our face and body, so the ingredient itself is totally fine to use it on our scalp as a moisturizer, says Saviano, adding that it can help "moisturize dry, flaky scalps and help promote a healthy environment for hair."
How do I use hyaluronic acid on my hair?
Hyaluronic acid is used in tons of hair products—from shampoos and conditioners to leave-in treatments—so you've got options when it comes to how you use it on your hair. That said, Saviano and Reslan both agree that hyaluronic acid's moisturizing benefits are most apparent when used in a leave-in product or styler, like a detangler or curl cream.
"Because hyaluronic acid is so lightweight, it can be used by all hair types and texture—especially thin, fine hair," says Saviano, adding that "hyaluronic acid molecules get absorbed deep into the hair shaft and they don't build up on the cuticle."
Can I apply hyaluronic acid to my scalp?
Absolutely. Hyaluronic acid can be applied directly to your scalp to increase moisture levels and minimize dryness, flaking, or tightness. Try a scalp scrub or mask with the ingredient once or twice a week on wash days, or part your hair and apply a hyaluronic acid-infused serum or treatment to your scalp as needed (my fav options below). And again, because hyaluronic acid is lightweight and fast-absorbing, you don't need to worry about it making your roots oily or greasy.
Does hyaluronic acid thicken hair?
Just like hyaluronic acid can temporarily plump your skin, it can temporarily plump your strands to make hair look and feel a bit thicker too. "By maintaining moisture within the hair shaft, hyaluronic acid can create the appearance of fuller hair, almost like a filler within the hair shaft," says Reslan.
Does hyaluronic acid make hair grow?
Technically no, hyaluronic acid cannot make your hair grow faster or longer, but it can create a healthy environment for hair growth. Hyaluronic acid can help maintain a healthy scalp microbiome, which is required for optimal hair growth, says Reslan. "If your scalp is dry, scaly or irritated, it will hinder the quality of the hair you can grow."
That said, if you're experiencing hair loss or hair thinning, your best bet is to make an appointment with a trichologist. They'll be able to prescribe you a topical solution or medication (like minoxidil—the common ingredient found in hair-growth treatments like Rogaine) to help get your hair back on track.
The hype surrounding hyaluronic acid for hair is very real. Overall, it's an excellent hydrating ingredient that increases hair's softness and shine, reduces breakage and brittleness, and improves scalp health too. So go ahead and make it a part of your regular routine—your hair and scalp will thank you.
Why trust Cosmopolitan?
Lauren Balsamo is deputy beauty director at Cosmopolitan with nine years of experience researching, writing, and editing hair stories that range from the best detanglers to the best blue shampoos for brunettes. She’s an authority in all hair categories but is an expert when it comes to hyaluronic acid for hair. She regularly tests and analyzes hyaluronic acid hair products for efficacy, while working with the industry’s top stylists and trichologists to assess new formulas and brands.
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