Whether your skincare routine consists of 15 steps or two, there are two products that are non-negotiables: sunscreen and a face serum. Yes, minimalism is a thing. But so is having gorgeous, soothed skin that’s taken care of in the way it deserves.
What Is A Face Serum?
So, what exactly is a serum? “A serum is usually a liquid or gel containing high concentrations of skin actives, which are able to penetrate deeper than other topicals [like moisturizers] with content occlusives that prevent deeper penetration,” explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum.
Why Do I Need A Face Serum?
This essential step offers more targeted results, potent formulations, and customization options. You’re never too young to start using a serum, Nussbaum shares, and they’re the best way to target specific skin concerns due to their high concentration and potency.
What Kind Of Face Serum Do I Need?
It’s important when choosing a serum to know which skin concern you’re hoping to target—most basic serums contain a combination of antioxidants, which will brighten the skin. Looking for something moisturizing? “A hydrating serum should contain hyaluronic acid and peptides,” Nussbaum says. “Hyaluronic acid keeps skin plump and glowing—and allows your skin to repair itself easier.” If anti-aging is your main concern, Nussbaum advises looking for a serum with retinol (which increases skin cell turnover), glycolic acid, and vitamin C.
How Do I Use Face Serums In My Routine?
Nussbaum recommends applying serum to your face and neck twice a day immediately after cleansing your skin. Since serums are so lightweight, they’re easy to layer, she says—apply yours before any SPF or makeup. Whether you’re already a superfan of serums or ready to try one for the first time, check out these options to help you get the skin of your dreams.
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The Gentle Hydrator
Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Winter months mean dryer skin, but what do you reach for when your goal isn’t to be glowing like a disco ball all day? This hydrating hyaluronic acid serum adds moisture to the skin without making it look too dewy, thanks to its gel texture.
The Powder Replacement
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
While they haven’t patented a way to surgically remove pores yet, this serum will get you most of the way there. The formula smooths texture, clears out acne-causing congestion in pores, and reduces that oily shine you used to need powder to cover up.
The Smooth Operator
Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum
Not only does this serum rehydrate thirsty skin, but it also smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles. Your skin will immediately feel retexturized and tighter, with a nice youthful glow.
The French Pick
Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum
Have you ever seen a French woman in the streets and wondered how her skin looked so good? The answer is probably this French pharmacy classic. The hyaluronic acid serum hydrates, plumps, and reduces hyperpigmentation all in one formula.
The Easy Glow
C-Firma Fresh Day Serum
Recently reformulated, this vitamin C serum has a cult following for a reason. It instantly makes the skin look glowing and healthy, and over time reduces hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage or scarring.
The Acne-Safe Hydrator
Hydro Boost Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
If “moisture” equates to “clogged pores” in your mind allow me to introduce you to your skin’s savior. This serum will give your skin the hydration it needs without giving it a reason to break out, thanks to Neutrogena’s oil-free, sensitive skin-safe formula.
C E Ferulic
Beloved by pretty much every celebrity whose skin you admire and most likely their dermatologists, this serum is one to invest in. Vitamin C, ferulic acid, and vitamin E will reduce even severe hyperpigmentation over time. In the short term, your skin will be protected from environmental aggressors and look glowing.
The Overnight Face Lift
For an intensely nourishing and fine line reducing product, this overnight collagen serum is the one to invest in. QMS began creating skincare for people with intense scarring, so all their products are designed with the highest efficacy in mind for quick and lasting results.
The Skin Corrector
Skin Correcting Serum
The answer to some of your skin concerns lies within this bottle. This serum works to prevent sensitivity, manage acne breakouts, and reduce the appearance of impurities to bring you one step closer to the skin of your dreams.
The Old Faithful
Vitamin C Serum
Sometimes all we need is a reliable serum, sans any fuss or frills. Buttah Skin’s Vitamin C serum delivers on its claims to brighten and improve your skin’s appearance.
Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops
Thirsty skin will be quenched with this serum from Glow Recipe. It imparts a healthy, glazed donut-esque glow while nourishing your skin with watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide.
The Tighten and Brighten
C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum
Brighten up dull skin by slathering your face with this illuminating gel-serum hybrid packed with potent vitamin C. It absorbs quickly and leaves behind smoother and more luminous skin
The Acne Fighter
Acne Solutions Acne + Line Correcting Serum
Has your skin doubled-down on sabotaging your selfies with fine lines and zits at the same time? This oil-free solution fights back on two fronts—softening wrinkles, while also battling the spots.
The Botanical Beauty
Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate
Some of the best plant-based extracts are water-soluble. Others can only thrive in oil-based solutions. The dual-chambers in this handy vial makes space for both types—20 botanical actives, to be exact, including turmeric, oats, and kiwi. If your skin is extra dry, go for a power shot. On oilier days, dial the adjustable nozzle back to a smaller dosage.
The Moisture Fixer
Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum
If you’re looking for a good hydrating serum without retinol or lactic/glycolic acid (for the sensitive-skinned among us), this is the formula for you. The lightweight product sinks into your complexion to provide an immediate burst of hydration.
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