The Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid for Hair

Few ingredients are as popular in skincare as hyaluronic acid—and for good reason. By now you’ve probably heard that it can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, which is why it has earned its status as a super hydrator. The tried-and-true powerhouse ingredient is known for its ability to bind water and plump up skin. It also makes the skin’s surface—and all those fine lines and wrinkles—appear smoother and firmer. Now the skincare dynamo is making the leap over to the haircare industry, showing up in hair masks, shampoo, conditioner, stylers, serums, and other treatments. Here’s what hyaluronic acid for hair can do for your strands, and how you can get your fill of this “it” ingredient.

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    What is hyaluronic acid?

    It turns out that we have it in our own body—hyaluronic acid is naturally found in our skin, eyes, and connective tissue. “Hyaluronic acid is a high molecular weight glycosaminoglycan that is produced naturally in your skin’s connective tissue,” explains Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, Pediatric Dermatologist and Co-Founder of Stryke Club. “It is a hygroscopic molecule; that means it binds and holds onto water really well—it can bind up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. Hyaluronic acid is a very popular ingredient in skincare and acts as a humectant.”

    Since it’s the stuff that keeps skin plump and hydrated, it makes sense that hyaluronic acid is commonly used in injectable facial fillers. It can pump up thin lips, volumize hollow cheeks, and literally fill in wrinkles and creases for several months at a time. In skincare and hair products, hyaluronic acid is a gel-like molecule, typically derived from sugars.

    How does hyaluronic acid help your hair?

    Haircare brands have started to harness hyaluronic acid’s insane moisture-binding abilities. “Hyaluronic acid for the benefit of hair was spurred on by a viral TikTok video in the summer of 2021,” Dr. Maguiness says. “Though there are no clinical trials that I could find that directly prove the benefits of hyaluronic acid for hair, it actually really makes sense that it could provide a safe way to add extra moisture to both the hair and the scalp. Since hyaluronic acid draws in water, it could help as a humectant when applied to damp hair. Since the viral video in August of 2021, there has been even more interest in adding this ingredient to hair products.” 

    When applied topically to damp hair, hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge. It soaks up outside moisture and holds it in, making hair strands more hydrated, elastic, and overall healthier. It’s an especially good ingredient for hair that’s extremely dry and damaged. This hair type tends to be more porous (think full of holes like Swiss cheese) and has an especially hard time holding onto its moisture. Hyaluronic acid fills in these holes so hair can receive—and hang on to—water. Why is that important? For one, hydrated hair just looks healthier, but it’s also more resilient. It’s able to better withstand everyday stress inflicted by combing, brushing and heat styling.  

    While hyaluronic acid is a strand superstar, researchers have found that it works even better when it gets a little help from its friend collagen, a protein found in our bodies that’s also essential for healthy skin and hair. Together they work synergistically to help repair hair’s core while nourishing hair’s outer layer. Prose products combine hyaluronic acid with a vegan form of collagen (derived from the acacia tree), along with lilac for intense hydration and repair. 

    Can hyaluronic acid reduce frizz?

    Yep! “It is possible (but not scientifically proven) that this high molecular weight humectant can attract enough water to benefit, and even help repair, a dry or frayed hair shaft by smoothing out the cuticle,” Dr. Maguiness says. “In this way it might help with the look and feel of the hair, as well as frizziness.” 

    That surge of moisture it delivers means it can also help plump up hair for a fuller appearance. “Hyaluronic acid for hair may improve the look and feel of your strands by adding extra moisture to frayed ends,” Dr. Maguiness says. And when applied directly to the scalp, it can help hydrate it, too.

    Does hyaluronic acid have benefits for all hair types?

    “Yes, I do think it could benefit all hair types,” Dr. Maguiness says. “Though if you tend to have an oilier scalp and hair without much damage, you may not need this ingredient.”

    What is the best way to apply hyaluronic acid for hair?

    To get the maximum benefit from hyaluronic acid for your hair, apply it to damp locks. “You can use it as a serum before blow-drying, or layer it by using a leave-in conditioner after application to seal it in and add even more moisture,” suggests Dr. Maguiness. Depending on your specific hair needs and goals, hyaluronic acid will be infused into your Prose pre-shampoo hair and scalp mask, shampoo, conditioner, leave-in, and curl cream.

    What types of hair products with hyaluronic acid are best?

    Expect to see a lot more products with the ingredient coming very soon. “Since the benefits of hyaluronic acid for hair are only just emerging, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on a fancy or expensive brand to try it for yourself,” Dr. Maguiness says. “I anticipate that personal and haircare brands will be likely to jump on this trend, and that we will see more products for hair including hyaluronic acid in their ingredient list in the future.”

    Wrap up

    Hyaluronic acid for hair can transform dry, damaged strands by capitalizing on the moisture your hair is already receiving on a weekly basis. One of the easiest ways to incorporate this superstar ingredient into your haircare routine is to use products that have hyaluronic acid in their formulas. Explore Prose’s range of haircare products that, depending on your hair needs, will contain hyaluronic acid.

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