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Face serums are all the rage, but are these often-tiny bottles of concentrated goop really worth adding to your skin care routine?

We talked to a board certified dermatologist to get the deets on what serums can do for your face, the best ingredients for certain skin concerns, and how to find serums that work for your specific skin type (because everyone is different).

Keep reading for our list of the best products — categorized by need, so you can easily find the product of your dreams.

We asked board certified dermatologist Dr. Stacy Chimento to spill the tea on everything serum-related, including criteria for choosing the G.O.A.T. face serums. Here’s what we looked for:

  • Variety of main ingredients. A little of this, a little of that. We included serums with a wide range of ingredients that address different skin concerns because not everyone has the same skin type.
  • Price $$$$. The list below includes serums at various price points, from steals to serious splurges.
  • Reviews. Obvi, a brand can say all it wants about what its products can and can’t do, so we looked to reviews to make sure real customers had good experiences with these products.
  • Vetted products only. We only included brands known for creating top-notch products with quality ingredients. We put every product through a thorough vetting process to make sure brands aren’t making any unsupported health claims or engaging in shady business practices. Only brands that passed made our list.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = $20–$50
  • $$$ = over $50
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Best overall face serum

Laneige Glowy Makeup Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: hydrates skin
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, ceramides, tocopherol (vitamin E), turmeric, diamond powder
  • Size: 1 ounce (oz.)
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily
  • Pros: hydrating ingredients, doubles as a makeup primer
  • Cons: some people don’t love the sticky consistency

This serum in a little pink bottle is your ticket to a dewy, smooth finish. It also helps makeup stay put longer and can help with textural issues and dryness. The serum’s diamond mineral powder ingredient leaves behind a radiant glow — hence the name. ✨

Plus, two hydration favorites — ceramides and glycerin — lock down moisture, so your skin will be thirsty no more. The formula is also free of phthalates and parabens. BYEEE, nasty ish!

It also has vitamin E for an antioxidant boost (byeee premature signs of aging) and turmeric to cut down any inflammation.

Like many serums, this one has a sticky feel that some people don’t love. But most reviewers are head over heels for this product, with one person going so far as to call it a “game-changer.” Reviewers rave about how hydrating it is and how well it keeps makeup looking fresh all day long.

Best budget face serum

The Ordinary Buffet

  • Price: $
  • Benefits: reduces signs of aging, including lines, wrinkles, dryness, and loss of elasticity
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, peptides, hyaluronic acid
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: cheap, hydrating, anti-aging formula
  • Cons: some users say it didn’t make a big difference for their skin

Not long ago you could barely get your hands on this top-selling product from The Ordinary. In a sprawling line of bargain bin-priced skin care products, the Buffet serum stands out as a multipurpose formula that targets wrinkles, dryness, and loss of firmness.

In addition to ultra-hydrating glycerin, it’s got wrinkle-fighting peptides and skin-barrier-strengthening hyaluronic acid. The all-star serum is also oil-free and gets rave reviews from customers, including people with sensitive skin.

It’s hard to find something else that rivals the Buffet serum in terms of price and results. And while a few people say it didn’t change their skin at all, it’s an excellent product to try if you have reactive skin or are new to serums, because you won’t sob over money lost.

Best vitamin C face serum

The SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

  • Price: $$$
  • Benefits: targets hyperpigmentation, texture issues, and dullness
  • Standout ingredients: vitamin C, tocopherol (vitamin E), ferulic acid, glycerin
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: high quality stabilized vitamin C formula
  • Cons: expensive AF

Vitamin C is a powerhouse skin care ingredient that kicks skin-damaging free radicals to the curb. It can also reduce signs of UV damage, hyperpigmentation, and protect against new sun damage — but it’s NOT a replacement for sunscreen.

If you’re looking for a serum that might turn your face into #SkinGoals, this one from SkinCeuticals is considered the holy grail. Yes, it is pricey — but many experts agree that vitamin C serums are the place to splurge because of how unstable the ingredient is.

This serum in particular has vitamin E and ferulic acid to help keep vitamin C stable. Plus, these three are a proven trio that boosts vitamin C’s effectiveness.

What do reviewers like about it? Like we said: holy grail. They say they noticed quick results and are devoted fans. The biggest downside is that giant price tag.

Want more vitamin C serums? Check out our full roundup here.

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Best face serum for wrinkles

Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: plumps, hydrates, helps smooth out wrinkles
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, plum, vegan collagen
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: contains hydrating, wrinkle-fighting ingredients
  • Cons: contains fragrances, which can be irritating

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a potent ingredient that helps lock in moisture, so it’s a great choice if you deal with perpetually dry skin. But it’s not just an oasis for the desert that is your skin. HA can also help smooth out and reduce the look of acne scars and fine lines.

Glow Recipe’s Plum Plump is full of juicy skin-nourishing ingredients, including HA, antioxidant plums, and vegan collagen. In addition to helping fight the signs of aging (which, BTW, are normal, but we get wanting to have baby-soft skin), the formula has a plumping effect.

One customer calls the Plum Plump serum an “absolute godsend,” saying it helps combat the irritation caused by potent retinoids. A few people comment on the smell as being off-putting, but most agree that it’s worth the hype.

Best face serum for uneven texture

Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Serum Crystal Elixir

  • Price: $$$
  • Benefits: provides pro-aging support, brightens and plumps
  • Standout ingredients: vitamin C, lactic acid, niacinamide, glycerin, hyaluronic acid
  • Size: 1 oz. (also available in a 0.27-oz. sample size)
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: impressive ingredient line up
  • Cons: contains artificial fragrances, might cause breakouts

This iridescent serum can’t pull a rabbit out of a hat, but it might help even out skin texture and reduce signs of skin aging.

Vitamin C brightens up the skin, hyaluronic acid hydrates like a boss, and niacinamide makes pores less visible and fixes up skin tone and texture. Lactic acid helps clear up dead skin cells to reveal brighter, more even skin. POOF! (OK, it’s not literally magic, but it does have all the right ingredients to plump up your skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines).

It’s also free from a whole slew of chemicals like parabens, oxybenzone, and coal tar (WAT?).

The good: Lots of people say they saw noticeable differences in the appearance of their skin when using this serum. The bad: Quite a few customers complain about breaking out after applying it. If you’re worried about zits galore but want to see if this product will work for you, try out the teeny-tiny sample size.

Best drugstore face serum

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Hyaluronic Face Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: hydrating to reduce signs of aging
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: hydrating ingredients
  • Cons: some users don’t like the thicker consistency

Drugstore beauty products get a bad rap, but this popular serum from L’Oreal is overwhelmingly beloved by customers and has more than 4,500 positive reviews on the CVS website.

The dermatologist-validated serum contains hyaluronic acid and is designed to help plump skin and diminish wrinkles. It’s also paraben-free and fragrance-free. It’s lightweight enough to wear morning and night and under your makeup.

What do the people have to say? Customers agree that the serum legit tightens skin and even makes it feel oh-so-soft. Some claim they saw instant results — but we’ll chalk that up to the placebo effect (hey, something about just applying a serum makes you feel radiant AF).

Best splurge face serum

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

  • Price: $$$
  • Benefits: evens out skin texture, helps with dark spots, improves skin tone
  • Standout ingredients: Pitera (a proprietary ingredient that has more than 50 micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, according to the brand)
  • Size: 5.4 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: amazing reviews, big bottle
  • Cons: expensive, might cause breakouts

OK, sure, this product is $$$$$. But the bottle is bigger than those of most other serums, at 5.4 oz., so it should last a while. It’s formulated to smooth out skin texture and tone, get rid of dark spots, and brighten you right up.

Its main ingredient is something called Pitera, a combo of micronutrients including vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and natural acids. SK-II calls it “pure power of nature harnessed by advanced technology.” Sounds fancy! But does it work?

Some say the hype’s not real. A handful of reviewers report experiencing breakouts after applying the essence. And some complain about the strong scent.

But most people rave about the product, calling it “life-altering.” One person even says they’ll use it till they die (intense much??).

A word of caution: This product isn’t free of parabens, which means it’s not safe for use during pregnancy.

Best face serum for glowing skin

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: targets dryness and dullness
  • Standout ingredients: niacinamide, glycerin, hyaluronic acid
  • Size: 1.35 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: contains skin brightening and hydrating ingredients, can be used as a highlighter
  • Cons: contains artificial fragrance

Many Glow Recipe products tend to be less tacky than others, which might be the secret to their popularity. Looking for a dewy, vibrant look? This serum is your ticket to Glow Town — though, sadly, we’re not talking about another season of Netflix’s GLOW. 🙁

The gel-like formula contains niacinamide, a loved ingredient that’s got all kinds of benefits including reducing hyperpigmentation, brightening skin, reducing the appearance of pores, balancing oil production, reducing acne, and smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles.

It also contains glycerin and hyaluronic acid to keep moisture locked in and watermelon for an antioxidant boost.

Reviewers say the serum delivers on its dewy skin promise. One reviewer calls it a “highlighter in a bottle,” though a handful of people found it sticky instead of dewy.

Best face serum for dry skin

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: hydrates, targets dullness, reduces signs of aging
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, panthenol (vitamin B5), hyaluronic acid, niacinamide
  • Size: 1.69 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: contains soothing ingredients ideal for dry skin
  • Cons: some users with dry skin say they still need to use a moisturizer with it

Who doesn’t love elephants? Because if that person exists, they’re a monster. Drunk Elephant supports the International Elephant Foundation and creates products that are guaranteed cruelty-free.

This Drunk Elephant serum is formulated to deliver a turbo boost of hydration to moisture-starved skin with the help of glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5 (a skin barrier strengthener and soother). Niacinamide also reduces signs of aging while helping keep your skin pimple-free.

Customers call the serum light and refreshing, and many say it’s a staple of their skin care routine. A few people complain that they didn’t really see a difference in hydration.

Want more serums for dry skin? Check out our full roundup here.

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Best face serum for post-acne marks and hyperpigmentation

Selfless by Hyram Retinol & Rainbow Algae Repair Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: targets redness, dark spots, and acne
  • Standout ingredients: retinol, algae, tranexamic acid, squalane, glycerin
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily
  • Pros: fights dark spots *and* signs of aging
  • Cons: might not work well for sensitive skin

This cruelty-free formula has an impressive resume to help get rid of those pesky post-acne marks:

One oily-skinned buyer loves that the formula is super lightweight and gets absorbed right away for a nongreasy finish that doesn’t add extra sheen to an already shiny face. Other reviewers say it’s a great way to add retinol into your routine without irritating your skin.

Best face serum for sensitive skin

Herbivore Cloud Jelly Plumping Hydration Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: targets dryness and dullness
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, aloe, tremella mushroom, vegan collagen, strawberry extract
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: combo, dry
  • Pros: cruelty-free, vegan
  • Cons: some users say the plumping effect is weak

It’s cloudy with a chance of jelly!

This serum from Herbivore is part of Sephora’s clean beauty line and is cruelty-free, vegan, and contains a fun mix of plant-based ingredients. The brand says tremella mushroom and vegan collagen moisturize TF out of your skin. It also features strawberry extract, which is full of antioxidants to brighten things up.

Customers say it’s awesome for parched skin and like that it’s lightweight. A few people say they were disappointed in the plumping effect. Still, most people agree that the serum’s hydrating abilities are lit.

Best face serum for combo skin

Origins Ginzing Into the Glow Brightening Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: targets textural irregularities, dullness, and visible pores
  • Standout ingredients: AHA and BHA exfoliants, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo
  • Pros: vegan
  • Cons: contains essential oils, which can cause irritation

Combination skin requires a multitasking product like this serum from Origins. The vegan formula contains a blend of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) — two all-star exfoliants — along with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.

The ingredients work together to improve skin health, brighten, and hydrate. The Ginzing serum also reduces the appearance of pores and smooths the skin.

Reviews are overwhelmingly positive, and most people say they love the serum but dislike the strong smell. One person with combo skin calls it the “HOLY GRAIL VITAMIN C.”

Best face serum for oily skin and acne

Peace Out Salicylic Acid Treatment Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: targets acne, oiliness, and visible pores
  • Standout ingredients: salicylic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C, aloe, hyaluronic acid, glycerin
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: helps reduce breakouts
  • Cons: contains essential oils, which can cause irritation

You’re vaxxed and waxed and ready to finally head out to a BBQ tomorrow without a mask.

Cue the biggest zit you’ve ever seen.

This serum from Peace Out can help you get rid of existing pimples and keep others from popping up unexpectedly and ruining your #flawless look.

The formula contains salicylic acid and niacinamide to fight acne and breakouts, vitamin C to help reduce post-acne marks, and hyaluronic acid, aloe, and glycerin to soothe and moisturize.

Keep in mind that while salicylic acid is an effective treatment for acne spots, it can seriously dry out your skin. Users with acne-prone skin say the formula is hella effective for breakouts, including maskne.

Want more serums for oily skin? Check out our full roundup here.

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Best anti-redness face serum

Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: reduces redness, hydrates
  • Standout ingredients: Centella Rx (aka tiger grass), Jartbiome and Cicabond (two blends of ingredients created by Dr. Jart)
  • Size: 1.01 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry, sensitive
  • Pros: safe for sensitive skin
  • Cons: contains essential oils, which can cause irritation

Customers seem to love this anti-redness serum, which is also made to target dryness, dark circles, and wrinkles. It’s safe for sensitive skin and free of all the usual suspects, including sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.

Ingredients include Centella Rx (aka tiger grass) to calm sensitive skin; Jartbiome, a blend of probiotics that’s supposed to help protect skin from damage and irritation; and Cicabond, another blend of proteins and minerals designed to repair damaged skin.

Reviewers say the formula actually helps with redness. It’s especially good for treating ultra-dry skin during the winter months. A few people say it helps a lot with hydration but isn’t as effective at diminishing redness.

Best face serum for pores

Sephora Collection Pores Target Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: minimizes pores
  • Standout ingredients: salicylic acid, gluconolactone
  • Size: 1.01 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily
  • Pros: contains BHAs and AHAs can help reduce acne and even out texture
  • Cons: contains alcohol and artificial fragrances

If you have large pores, you’re probably well aware of them. It’s unlikely anyone else is staring at your face and paying attention to the details, but if you’re bothered by ’em, salicylic acid and gluconolactone are two exfoliants that might help shrink their appearance.

You can’t get rid of pores completely, and their size is determined by genetics. But it’s possible to reduce their appearance by scrubbing out the dirt and bacteria hiding inside. When pores are stuffed with pollutants and other nasties, they look bigger.

Since the key ingredients are both exfoliants, they help flush out the crap inside pores, making them look smaller. Reviewers say the product helped them achieve a noticeably smoother skin texture.

Best retinol alternative face serum

Olehenriksen Glow Cycle Retin-ALT Power Serum

  • Price: $$$
  • Benefits: minimizes pores, provides pro-aging support, brightens, evens out texture
  • Standout ingredients: glycolic acid, lactic acid, algae, bakuchiol, Edelweiss stem cell
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry
  • Pros: contains gentle anti-aging ingredients
  • Cons: contains fragrances, which can cause irritation

This ingredient-packed serum practically does it all — it helps minimize the look of wrinkles and pores and helps improve skin tone and texture.

You’ve prob heard of the AMAZING things retinol can do, but it’s also pretty harsh on your skin. And if your skin is even a tiny bit cranky, it can cause redness and dryness and leave your face feeling less-than-stellar.

Instead of retinol, this serum contains bakuchiol (bakuchi-WHAT?). Bakuchiol is a (proven!) plant-based retinol alternative that produces similar effects, including curbing fine lines and wrinkles and smoothing out the skin.

It also has two popular AHAs — glycolic acid and lactic acid — that help exfoliate dead skin cells, revealing brighter skin and reducing signs of aging.

Reviews are largely positive. People say it works — even under makeup — and that its effects are noticeable after just 2 weeks. People are way mixed on the scent, though.

Best face serum for dark spots and hyperpigmentation

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Dark Spots Concentrated Derma Serum

  • Price: $$
  • Benefits: reduces the look of dark spots
  • Standout ingredients: niacinamide and vitamin C
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Skin type: normal, combo, oily, dry, sensitive
  • Pros: reviewers report fast results
  • Cons: contains essential oils and fragrances, which might cause irritation

Say BYEEEE to dark spots and uneven skin tone with this dark spot serum from IT Cosmetics. According to IT, you may notice an improvement in your skin tone in just 8 weeks when consistently using this serum.

The duo of niacinamide and vitamin C helps with discoloration and brightens skin. The product is also dermatologist-tested and safe for people with sensitive skin. The brand recommends applying it in the a.m. and p.m. and using your fingertips to rub it in.

How do customers feel about this dark spot treatment? Most give it 5 stars and say it’s a great addition to a regular skin care routine. Many say they noticed discoloration like sunspots fading relatively quickly. One negative reviewer complains that the serum dried out their skin.

You’ve probably noticed that most face serums come in little tiny bottles, usually no bigger than an ounce. That’s because they’re highly concentrated and contain way higher amounts of their active ingredients than, say, a moisturizer.

While most serums hydrate, they also usually target some specific concern, says Chimento. Some common skin concerns are enlarged pores, acne, redness, dullness, and fine lines and wrinkles.

Do you need to use a serum? Nope. But they can be a nice addition to your skin care routine, depending on what other products you’re already using.

Here’s how to choose the best serum for your face:

Skin type and concern

What’s bothering you? Wrinkles? Acne? Dryness? Serums can help with many skin concerns, such as signs of aging, skin dullness, and enlarged pores. Some products are better suited for specific tasks than others, though.

Your skin type also matters. Someone with dry skin needs a lot more moisture than someone with combo or oily skin. Chimento recommends using blotting paper to figure out how much oil is present.

“If the sheet showed minimal to no oil, you most likely have dry skin,” she says. “If the sheet reveals oil from the forehead and nose areas, your skin is most likely normal or combination.”

And, if in doubt, check with a board certified derm to get the lowdown on your skin type and get more advice on how to treat specific concerns.


If you’re on the hunt for an anti-aging serum, Chimento says to look for products that contain ingredients like retinol and hyaluronic acid. Collagen, niacinamide, and AHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid can also help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.

For dry skin, look for glycerin, squalane, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and peptides to help hydrate and strengthen your skin’s barrier (strong skin barrier = locked-in hydration).

And for oily-skinned peeps? According to Chimento, people with oily skin should scan labels for hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, niacinamide, and AHAs like lactic acid or glycolic acid.

For acne, salicylic acid is a MUST, she adds. It can help with inflammation and helps cleanse pores. Other ingredients for acne-prone skin include:

  • azelaic acid
  • antibacterial honey
  • willow bark
  • green tea extract

If redness is your main concern, there’s a whole slew of ingredients to try:


While Chimento says she’s a big believer in affordable skin care, she also acknowledges that higher priced products can definitely contain higher quality ingredients.

“A more expensive serum is likely to use a higher quality version of [the active ingredient], so the formulation remains ‘active’ and does the job it was intended to,” she explains.

But if you don’t have a giant budget, you can try more affordable serums at the start of your skin care journey and determine whether you think they’re giving you the benefits you’re looking for. If they’re not, it might be worth splurging a bit more to see if the quality is affecting how your skin is responding.

Not sure where to splurge? It might be a good idea to talk with a dermatologist to see if they recommend any specific ingredients for your skin. They can also offer tips on which ingredients are worth splurging on and which perform just fine at lower price points.


What should you look for when scanning customer reviews of skin care products?

Chimento recommends looking at reviews from people with the same skin type and concerns as you. She also says it’s a good idea to peep 1-star ratings to check for consistent complaints that might raise a red flag about a product or brand.

Chimento recommends using a multipurpose serum instead of multiple different ones*. “Layering on serum after serum becomes a practice of diminishing returns as it reduces the chances of each active ingredient being efficiently absorbed by the skin,” she says.

OK, cool. Got your serum? Here’s how to apply it:

  1. Wash your face! (Optional: Use a toner after cleansing)
  2. Apply a small amount of serum directly to your face by using your product’s dropper or pump. (Make sure not to touch the dropper or pump to your skin to avoid contamination.)
  3. Use gentle tapping motions to rub it into the skin on your face and neck with your fingertips.
  4. Wait until your skin absorbs the product — about 5 mins.
  5. Finish off with moisturizer. (Ideally, one that contains SPF!)
  6. Apply makeup (if the mood strikes).

You can use most serums daily, morning and night. Just make sure you’re definitely wearing SPF if your serum contains retinol or AHAs.

*Note: If you definitely want to use multiple products, space out your use. Don’t immediately apply two new products to your face. If you have a reaction, says Chimento, you won’t be able to tell which serum caused the irritation.

Which face serum is best?

It all depends on your skin type and goals.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, look for serums with salicylic acid, AHAs (like glycolic acid and lactic acid), and niacinamide to help unclog your pores and balance oil production. Hyaluronic acid is also a good choice for oily skin because it’s a lightweight moisturizer.

If you have combination skin, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid are great ingredients that can help balance dryness and oiliness.

If you have dry skin, look for glycerin, squalane, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and peptides to help hydrate and strengthen your skin’s barrier (strong skin barrier = locked-in hydration).

If your skin is on the sensitive side, avoid serums with alcohol, essential oils, or artificial fragrances. These can cause irritation and NOBODY wants that.

If you’re looking for a serum that reduces signs of aging, look for those with retinol, niacinamide, AHAs, and/or hyaluronic acid. All of these ingredients go to work on fine lines and wrinkles.

Do face serums really work?

If you align the ingredients in your serums with your skin type and goals, then yes!

TBH, you can usually find the same ingredients in other kinds of products like spot treatments and moisturizers — but serums are more concentrated, which means a little goes a long way. So it’s totally up to you if you want to add a serum to your routine.

Do I need both a serum and moisturizer?

Not always. Some serums are super hydrating and contain ingredients (like glycerin and hyaluronic acid) that might get the moisturizing job done if you have oily, normal, or combination skin.

But if your skin leans on the dryer (or sensitive) side, you probably need to layer on a moisturizer to get A+ hydration.

But regardless of skin type, you should absolutely be slathering on some SPF as the last step in your skin care routine — look for one that’s at least SPF 30.

Should you use face serum everyday?

If you want to see results from your serum, using it at least once a day is a good idea.

But if you’re brand spanking new to your serum and it contains strong active ingredients like salicylic acid, AHAs, or retinol, you might need to start slow and only use it a few times per week until your skin gets used to it. Using these ingredients too often too quickly can lead to irritation and peeling.

Is vitamin C serum necessary?

Vitamin C has a TON of research behind it. It tackles some of the most common skin care woes like hyperpigmentation and premature signs of aging caused by oxidative stress (like UV exposure). If either of those things is your biggest concern, you should consider picking vitamin C to be your fighter.

Otherwise, no — vitamin C is not “necessary.”

Though face serums aren’t an absolute must for your skin care routine, they’re an excellent way to give your face some TLC.

If you’re nervous about dropping cash on an expensive serum, try something on the cheaper side or opt for a trial size to make sure the formula feels good on your skin and doesn’t cause irritation.

Whether you’re looking to reduce wrinkles or calm down your angry red skin, there’s a serum out there that will make your skin look and feel good AF.

Our process and why you should trust us

We consulted with a board-certified dermatologist to get tips for choosing the best face serums for different skin types and concerns. We used those tips to pick the products above.

Before writing about those products, we put them all through a thorough vetting process that checks for unsupported health claims (like “This face serum gets rid of fine lines in one use!”), shady business practices, and lawsuits concerning a company’s products. We also checked that the main ingredients in each product are evidence-based and actually do what the company says they do.

After wrapping up our recommendations and tips, we sent this entire article to a second medical professional specializing in dermatology (in this case, Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP) for review.

So basically, you can feel good knowing that we put in WORK to get you these recommendations.

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