Polyglutamic Acid

Polyglutamic acid is an ingredient that is in serums, lotions, creams, toners and essences.

This ingredient is considered a humectant that is considered to hold up to 10x MORE than hyaluronic acid.

What is polyglutamic acid?

Polyglutamic acid is what causes the stickiness and stringiness found in the Japanese food natto (fermented soybeans). The probiotic namely, bacillus subtilis that produces polyglutamic acid is water soluble and biodegradable.

If you watch the video above, you will see the stringiness and the sliminess of the beans and when mixed with water, you will see how it binds with water but still has the stringiness between the fingers.


The Difference between Polyglutamic acid vs Hyaluronic Acid

Polyglutamic acid AND hyaluronic acid are both considered humectants that bind and draw moisture to the skin.

As stated above, Polyglutmaic acid is potentially 10x more hydrating than hyaluronic acid.

However, unlike hyaluronic acid that can easily evaporate if the environment is dry, polyglutamic acid can form a film over the skin that can help protect the skin from moisture evaporation. This tends to be a better match for those who live in very arid climates AND tend to also have dry skin and NOT just dehydrated skin.

However, instead of polyglutamic acid and hyaluronic acid competing against each other, they can be very complimentary with each other. Polyglutmaic acid can boost the hydration properties of hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid – What the Beauty Industry DOESN’T Want You to Know…

Best Humectants For Skin: Is Hyaluronic acid the BEST?

Hyaluronic Acid Gel vs The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2 +b5

You can apply the hyaluronic acid serum on first and then add on the product that has the polyglutamic acid on top.

Polyglutamic Acid: What the Beauty Industry is NOT telling you:

Polyglutamic acid can be sticky and stringy and no one is going to apply a product that feels and looks like natto.

So many of the products that feature polyglutamic acid will ALSO include a good amount of different forms of silicone to make the product glide on better and feel smoother on the skin.

This can include dimthicone, vinyl dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane and other forms of silicone.

So instead of paying extra for products that market polyglutamic acid as a feature ingredient, know that it definitely helps boost the humectant properties for the skin, but so does beet root powder, which also can be found in a number of product such as this one:

Hydrating Mist for ALL skin types

Here are some examples of products that have polyglutamic acid :

*The Inkey List Polyglutamic Acid Hydrating Serum:

This brand actually has the ingredient as its feature product name. If you look at the ingredients list, it shows that the product is full of humectants, emollients and occlusive agents.

The second ingredient after water is the most common humectant added to all sort of moisturizing products-glycerin.

Following glycerin is Glyceryl Stearate SE which is an emollient.

Cetearyl Alcohol is the next ingredient. This is a fatty alcohol that is a waxy substance that helps thicken the product.

Caprylic Triglyceride is a combination of coconut oil and glycerin so both a humectant, emollient and occlusive agent. It is also followed by coconut oil.

The ingredient list also includes panthenol (vitamin b5) which can be used as a moisturizing agent . It also has other beneficial ingredients such as vitamin E (tocopherol acetate), and sodium hyaluronate.

So based on the ingredients in this product, this would NOT be recommended for normal-oily and especially NOT acne prone skin.

Although it has the ingredient as the feature name, it seems like they use much heavier emollients and moisturizing agents to help soften the skin.


*Kate Somerville Dermal Quench Wrinkle Warrior also contains polyglutamic acid and it was smack dab in the middle of the ingredients list (as of this writing) and nicely paired with hyaluronic acid.

However, the ingredients listed, the second ingredients as isobutane and the third ingredient as propane, which means it has a high amount of flammable propellant so don’t use this while you are smoking or near a fire.

*It’s Skin Power 10 Formula VE Effector serum sold on Amazon is at an affordable price.

The 2nd ingredient is Butylene glycol which is a solvent and humectant.

3rd ingredient is a viscosity decreasing agent .

It also contained Centella Asiatica Extract which is also a humectant.

However, once again, it does have silicones to make the product feel smooth and blend nicely on the skin such as vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer as well as cyclopentasiloxane. Silicones are NOT necessarily bad, but please remember that if the product feels really good on the skin, it may contain silicones and it may not be the humectant that is keeping your skin soft.

Those of you who have break out prone skin or have allergies, it does contain hydrogenated vegetable oil and it does not name the source so if you have a peanut, soy or other allergies, you may need to inquire what exactly the source is.

Here are some products that have a better ingredients list that have polyglutamic acid as an ingredient:

Zelens Z Melatonin Night Repair Serum– This doesn’t seem to be widely sold in the US and appears to be from the UK.

The main emphasis for the serum is not necessarily the polyglutamic acid but the more on the melatonin and anti aging ingredients such as the peptides and ceramides as well as brightening agents.

This serum was pretty pricey. It is being sold for the price of $220 (at the time).

The Giving Essence by Since I met you

this is an essence that also has polyglutamic acid and the ingredients list is chock full of plant based lightening agents such as ellagic acid, licorice root extract, red algae (humectant) mulberry extract and raspberry extract.

The first two ingredients are probiotics. This can help people who have an impaired microbiome on the skin but some people may see an increase of break outs on the skin, especially those who have oily skin.

This product (as of this writing) is selling for $50.

The pH of the Giving Essence is 5.0 . To increase the efficacy of the brightening agents, you may have to use acidic products depending on what type of skin you have and what other skin care products you are using.

The added humectants in this ingredient list are:

-Butylene glycol

-Aloe Vera

-Sodium Hyaluronate

-Polyglutamic Acid

It also has allantoin as an added emollient.

Based on what I am seeing, polyglutamic acid seems to be used more for products that are targeted for drier skin types vs acne or for oily skin types.


*Please note that if you choose to click on these links to check out the product and see reviews, SOME of these are affiliate links in which I may receive a very small commission from Amazon if you choose to purchase this product.


Sources used: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cbdv.200900283- This is the abstract- I could not link to the part that I had to log in.

Other links are NOT affiliate links but you can click on them to receive more information about the product.

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