January 21, 2019

Cerave Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum Review & Swatches

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.
1 stars out of 5

Cerave Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum ($18.99) is a new ceramide and hyaluronic acid that a few weeks ago that sounded very exciting. As we all know, hyaluronic acid has become the gold standard in drugstore skincare releases lately (as well as a across the board in many mid and high-range skincare launches) and why shouldn’t it be? It’s a great way to hydrate skin as it plumps it while helping to retain moisture.

Considering what a trusted brand Cerave is and how they always pack their skincare with ceramides as well as as always have a short yet effective ingredient list made this a point of purchase for me. I did purchase it online and at the time no ingredients were listed anywhere. So, this was a blind buy of sorts but considering how great Cerave is in general I decided to purchase it without seeing the ingredients.

That was a mistake.

Cerave Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum arrives in a hygienic 1 oz pump that’s around $16 to $18 depending where you buy it. I thought it was a smidge expensive for such a small size considering products like CosRX Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence is nearly 4 oz in size and around $15-$18 dollars (not to mention has a way better texture and ingredients).

I have to admit I always find it annoying when serums aren’t really serums but lightweight creams. That’s the case with this formula. It’s not really your traditional serum texture as it looks like a lightweight lotion. It’s fragrance-free and it applies quite easily and does absorb quickly but almost immediately my skin felt very tight after using it that would be because it contains more denatured alcohol than it does hyaluronic acid and even the mix of great ceramides and glycerine don’t make up for this. Way to kill a great formula!

I read a few reviews that said this was prone to billing but I didn’t experience any such issue nor the graininess that some reviewers described. I did however, feel very tight after applying it and didn’t experience the bouncy plump feel that a serum that has hyaluronic acid should leave behind.

Although it made me tight I continued using it for one solid week to test it out but after that week was over I was pretty much done testing it. I typically like to give skincare a month before reviewing it and deciding if it is something I’d recommend and also, something I’d add to my own routine. Sadly, this was tossed after a week. It just left my skin feeling very dehydrated and wasn’t doing much else.

I feel like Cerave should know better considering their great reputation but little thought went into the Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum formula in my opinion! Why alcohol!?

Cerave Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum is available now!

Where to buy


Cerave Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum is a fairly new serum that’s launching now at drugstores for Spring 2019 which contains a blend of ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Cerave markets it as a way to maintain moisture leaves and includes hyaluronic acid to help retain that moisture as well as Vitamin B5 and glycerin for hydration. Sadly, the formula contains more alcohol than it does hyaluronic acid and left me feeling quite dry and tight after using it!


  • Hygienic packaging.


  • Contains alcohol.
  • A bit expensive for the size.
  • Not a traditional serum but more a lotion.


If you can overlook the alcohol content you might find that the ceramides, B5, and other great ingredients make Cerave Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum worth checking out!

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • kjh

    Forget this. Once I run out of Hada Labo gold/ orange top, going for the Cosrx. They haven’t let me down yet! (Thanks to you.). Ps: do a sheet mask review soon, so I can ask an on-topic question.

      • kjh

        Yah, but, being the queen of tangential/divergent thinking, I try hard to be relevant to topic. Later.

        • Isabella Muse

          LOL! no worries! I’ll do a face mask review for you shortly so we can get down to it!

  • CL

    L’Oreal recently bought CeraVe. Denatured alcohol in a skincare product is just par for the course from L’Oreal. That is why I never buy L’Oreal’s skincare products. They just don’t care about doing the right thing by their customers – they only care about profit. Most likely, L’Oreal will destroy everything that was good about CeraVe.

    • Isabella Muse

      they are doing a pretty good job of it already considering the last few releases from cerave sucked!

    • kjh

      Not surprising. Pretty sure the same will be true for Lorac, being acquired by Markwins. The L holiday eye palette was not up to par, says this Lorac Ho. Ever notice they won’t print your reviews, if you mention acquisitions, even though it is ridiculously relevant. Kiss everything beloved about Cerave goodbye.

  • Emily

    This is extra disappointing, not because I wanted to buy it, but because I consider CeraVe to be the gold standard when I think of companies that use science and not marketing hype to build their brand. I’ve bought their washes, lotions, and creams time and time again, not because they’re sexy, but because they are non-irritating, packed with ingredients that are known to be skin-beneficial, and fairly priced. This seems like a case of wanting to jump on a trend, and it’s sad that they felt they had to resort to this to remain competitive. I’ll still buy the CeraVe things that I buy (Hydrating Cleanser, Foaming Cleanser, PM lotion, Renewing SA lotion, Ultra Light SPF 30) but I will give this product the side eye when I see it on shelves. CeraVe, if you’re reading this, c’mon, stay classy please!

    • Isabella Muse

      ITA about Cerave being the gold standard! They are one of first brands I think of when it comes to hydrating and affordable skincare.

  • Jennifer N Dalenburg

    I’ve learned that HA is a humectant and can draw moisture from the face. An esthetician told me to spritz with moiusturzibg product after application.

  • Silvia

    Thanks so much for the review Muse! I been spending precious moments of my life contemplating whether to purchase at Rarget with a $5.00 in return. Hug! I’m in the aging process and have dry/normal skin now in winter more dry so wouldn’t want to resemble a cocodrile. Might give it a try and see how it turns out? Love Cerave products so far.

    • Isabella Muse

      Let me know if it works out for you but be careful the alcohol will only make you feel drier/more tight!

  • Andrea

    I’ve read a few reviews all saying the same thing, the alcohol took away from the benefits.