Most of us know that we need a good cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen, and maybe even an exfoliator in our skincare regimen. But what about a facial serum? Serums are growing in popularity but perhaps they have you a bit mystified and wondering whether a face serum deserves a coveted spot in your skincare routine. You might be wondering, “Do facial serums really work?” or “Are facial serums necessary?”
Adding the right serum to your regimen can be very beneficial when it comes to your skin’s health. In this buyer’s guide we tackle the benefits facial serums offer, how to use facial serums properly, and discuss five serums that we love and why.
What is a Facial Serum?
Face serums are quick-absorbing, lightweight skincare products that deliver high concentrations of active ingredients to the skin. Serums are made of small molecules, making them super easy for the skin to absorb deeply. They’re usually clear, liquid, or gel-based formulas that are applied after cleansing and before moisturizing. Serums provide effective results for the management of specific skin concerns, like wrinkles, dryness, or dull skin.
Serum formulas omit thickening agents and occlusive ingredients such as mineral oil and petrolatum, which prevent water from evaporating. This makes them super efficient at penetrating the skin and a great skin care option for those with oily skin.
When using a face serum that’s appropriate for the issue you’d like to address, serums can have several benefits. Here are some of the key benefits of implementing the right serum into your skincare regimen:
- Potentially provides more visible results. Due to the higher concentration of active ingredients, serums may produce more visible results than other skincare products.
- Protection from free radicals and other types of damage. Serums with active ingredients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help prevent damage from ultraviolet (UV) light and pollution, which can cause premature wrinkles and the appearance of aging skin.
- Absorbs quickly and is light on the skin. Serums are formulated with a thinner viscosity, allowing the serum to be absorbed quickly by the skin and preventing any heavy or greasy feeling.
- Calms sensitive skin. Their lighter formulations and the fact that they’re devoid of harsh chemicals or fillers helps to reduce inflammation and irritation, making them better for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
- Improves the appearance of youthful skin. Face serums with anti-aging ingredients such as retinol or hyaluronic acid can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C-based serums are great for boosting skin’s brightness while also improving texture, firmness, and elasticity.
How to Choose a Facial Serum
There are tons of options when it comes to facial serums, and all of them promise perfect, beautiful skin. So how do you know which one is the right one for you?
We recommend taking a couple of things into consideration when choosing a serum.
- Determine your skin type. Dry, oily, combination, and sensitive skin types all have different demands when it comes to maintaining a healthy appearance. For acne-prone skin, invest in a serum packed with acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid, retinol, and hyaluronic acid for moisturizing benefits. For mature or dry skin, look for serums with retinol, hyaluronic acid, and/or vitamin C.
- Consider the skin issue you’re experiencing. Are you looking to reduce visible signs of aging, like crow’s feet or fine lines around your mouth? Do you want to soothe sensitive skin? Or, banish blemishes? Look for a serum that claims to provide the results you desire. We’re big fans of researching product reviews. If you’re not sure about a serum, check out what others have to say about what it did for their similar issue.
How to use a Facial Serum
In general, the best way to use a serum is as a base layer under heavier skincare products like moisturizers, sunscreens, and makeup. Serums can be used once or twice a day, depending on desired results.
- Once you’ve washed your face and patted it dry, apply a small (pea-sized) amount of serum, patting over the skin evenly.
- If you have sensitive skin, wait several minutes before applying your facial serum so that it doesn’t penetrate your skin too quickly and lead to irritation.
- Apply sunscreen (if using as part of your morning routine) and moisturizer as usual.
- If the active ingredient in your serum is too drying or irritating, try creating a buffer by applying it over your moisturizer or sunscreen instead.
We recommend the following tips to help you determine the best time to use facial serum:
- Anti-aging serums are best applied at nighttime, allowing the active ingredients to work with your body’s sleep cycle for skin repair and cell turnover.
- Hydrating serums are suitable to apply twice a day to dry skin to help improve moisture levels and deliver a dewy, healthy complexion.
- Skin brightening and antioxidant serums are best suited for morning application. These types of serums help protect your skin from environmental pollutants and free radical production caused by ultraviolet (UV) light.
Now that you know what a facial serum is, the benefits of using a facial serum, and how to properly apply it, read on for our top 5 facial serum picks available on Amazon!
Vichy Mineral 89 Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum and Daily Face Moisturizer
This Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid serum moisturizer by Vichy is dermatologist recommended and one of Allure’s Best Fragrance-Free Products for Sensitive Skin chosen by U.S. Dermatologists.
Vichy’s Mineral 89 is infused with 89% volcanic mineral water that’s rich in 15 minerals and natural origin hyaluronic acid, helping to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier while hydrating and fortifying your skin. This helps the skin become more resistant to the visible signs of aging due to environmental factors like pollution and cold weather, as well as stress and fatigue.
This moisturizing serum can be used on all skin types, including sensitive skin. It’s allergy tested and vegan. The minimalist formula only contains 11 ingredients, making it a safe, clean, effective skincare option. This formula is free of fragrances, alcohol, paraben, oils, silicone, and dyes.
You’ll see visible results almost immediately with this deeply hydrating serum. In fact, 8 out of 10 women feel their skin was plumper and toned after just 1 week of using this product! And 9 out of 10 women feel that their skin is more radiant and glowing after 1 month of use. With almost 6,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, it’s safe to say that adding this serum to your routine could take your skin’s health to a whole new level.
We love that this product offers an effective, luxurious experience at an affordable price point. This is why it’s our pick for the best facial serum for fine lines.
Bioderma Hydrabio Facial Serum
Bioderma has been researching and developing products with dermatologists and scientists that preserve the skin’s healthy balance, using the purest of active ingredients, for the past 40 years.
Key moisturizing ingredients hyaluronic acid, xylitol, and glycerine deliver rapid and lasting hydration to the skin, nourishing your skin from the inside out. While their unique patented biological complex, Aquagenium, stimulates the skin to reactivate its natural moisturizing abilities. This formula is well suited for anyone with dehydrated, sensitive skin.
To use, after cleansing and toning your skin, simply apply 2-3 small drops to your face and neck and massage into skin both in the morning and evening.
This intensely moisturizing serum has almost 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. Most of which sing its praises for how effective and soothing it is on dry and sensitive skin. And many claim that their skin has never looked better since using this serum. A little goes a long way, too.
We feel Bioderma’s reputation as a leader in sensitive skincare, their innovative approach to improving skin health, and the formula’s proven effectiveness, are all great reasons to give this serum a try in your beauty regimen.
La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Face
La Roche-Posay is a leader in skincare and recommended by tens of thousands of dermatologists the world over. They’ve been recognized for decades by the scientific community for their use of the key ingredient, Selenium-rich thermal spring water, which contains rare mineral salts and trace elements that provides soothing antioxidant skincare properties.
Other star ingredients in their triple anti-aging complex include two types of pure hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, and Madecassoside, making this facial serum highly effective and gentle enough for sensitive skin.
Hyaluronic acid smoothes and moisturizes while visibly plumping the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin B5 acts as a moisturizer but also contains anti-inflammatory properties that support the skin’s healing process and helps reduce breakouts due to acne.
Madecassoside is a plant-based skincare ingredient that comes from the Centella Asiatica plant. It’s rich in amino acids and contains antioxidant properties. Madecassoside is celebrated for its healing properties and has been used for over 2,000 years in India and elsewhere for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to heal the skin. Its also known to reduce redness, tenderness, and itchiness related to wounds and acne by accelerating skin cell production.
To achieve visibly plumper, more hydrated, and rejuvenated skin, use 3-4 drops of this rich serum both in the morning and evening, after washing your face.
This anti-aging serum is an allergy tested formula with light fragrance, dermatologist tested, ophthalmologist tested, paraben-free, oil-free, and non-comedogenic. It’s safe and effective for sensitive skin.
With almost 5,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, claiming amazing visible results in a short amount of time, we feel this is one of the best facial serum for fine lines on the market right now.
TruSkin Vitamin C Serum for Face
This powerful antioxidant serum blends plant-based ingredients such as vitamin C, organic aloe, botanical hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, witch hazel, and jojoba oil to enhance the skin’s response to signs of aging.
Vitamin C improves the skin’s radiance by creating a barrier that helps to neutralize free radicals.
Organic aloe vera is renowned for its ability to moisturize and soothe irritated skin.
Hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate and plump the skin, preventing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent environmental and UV damage to the skin.
Witch Hazel is well-known for its ability to tone and tighten skin, shrink pores, and ease inflammation and irritation of the skin.
Jojoba Oil comes from the nut of the jojoba plant and is gentle enough to work well as a carrier oil. As a humectant ingredient, it helps create a protective barrier on the skin, preventing skin from losing moisture. It contains antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic, making it a powerful addition to any skincare product or routine.
TruSkin strongly recommends doing a patch test of this product at least 24 hours before applying it to your entire face. This formula is highly concentrated with active plant-based ingredients that may irritate those with sensitive skin or allergies. Once you know the formula isn’t going to cause irritation or breakouts, you can apply 3-5 drops to your skin daily before you apply your moisturizer.
This powerful serum is vegan and Leaping Bunny Certified cruelty-free. It’s formulated without fragrance or synthetic colors, PEG’s or GMO’s. It’s also paraben-free, sulfate-free, and phthalate-free.
Formulated and bottled in the U.S., TruSkin’s Vitamin C serum comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee.
This amazing anti-aging formula is the #1 best-selling serum on Amazon and has over 45,000 five-star ratings! We feel this speaks volumes about this magic elixir’s effectiveness, making it our pick for the best facial serum for large pores.
Stila One Step Color Correcting Facial Serum
Stila’s triple-swirled helix serum acts as a gel primer while nourishing and offering effective color correction for your skin. This innovative serum neutralizes redness and banishes blemishes, brightens skin while reducing dark spots, and counteracts pale tones for a radiant, youthful appearance.
Their Youth Revival Mineral Complex blend of 15 vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants hydrate, keep oil in check and reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores while nurturing your skin. You may even be able to skip your regular foundation and/or concealer with this gem of a product.
After washing your face, apply a pea-sized amount to the face before makeup application using fingertips or complexion brush.
Numerous Amazon reviews are singing its praises for how effective it is at covering up redness and irritation while being a lightweight and breathable formula. Overall, this 3-in-1 serum has received almost 1,500 five-star ratings, many of them with rosacea claim that they no longer need to use foundation because of the beautiful, flawless coverage it provides. This makes Stila’s One-Step, Color Correcting Facial Serum our pick for best facial serum for rosacea.
Face serums are a quick-absorbing, lightweight but highly effective skincare product that can be added to your daily routine to help with various skin issues like acne, dry or dull skin, and aging skin.
Serums can be more expensive than other skincare products but many times are worth it. This is mainly because of the higher concentration of active ingredients and fewer fillers. However, if you choose the right serum to address your skin issues, you may find that you use fewer products overall and might save money.
We hope you found some value in this facial serum buyer’s guide. If you’re still unsure about what type of serum would be best for your skin type and specific issues, talk to a board-certified dermatologist.
Last update on 2022-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API