The Serum Guide: The Latest and Greatest for Glowing Skin
We fully admit we have a love affair with serums. A product that delivers the active ingredients we love deep down to the skin cells that need them in their most potent form? What's not to love? Yes, if we could, we'd layer serum after serum to our heart's content. But we don't have the time (or the funds) to feed a habit like that. We also know that more isn't always better. Better is better. Which is why we've channeled our serum obsession into a research project we now bring to you. From acne to wrinkles and everything in between, we've broken down the best of the best.
Scroll through to find the serum (or serums) that are right for you!
Most serums can be used day and night, but to maximize your results, use an antioxidant serum in the morning. In the broadest sense, antioxidants are anti-inflammatories that aid in healing and provide protection against environmental and sun damage. As a general rule, the more antioxidants, the better the protection.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($162)
We could rave about this serum for days (and we have). Why? Simply because it works. Together, vitamins C and E and ferulic acid boost the power of each other (as antioxidants often do), making each one stronger and more effective. The potent combination fends off dark spots and moisture loss and amplifies the sun protection factor of your sunscreen fourfold.
Hydrating serums are a must for every woman. If you have dry skin, use one every day (morning and/or night). If you don’t have dry skin, keep one on hand for emergency skin-parched situations. Key ingredients to look for? Number one: hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid holds 1,000 times its weight in water, making it one of the most moisturizing compounds in the world.
Hylamide Booster Low-Molecular HA ($20)
Why have one form of hyaluronic acid when you could have five? Hylamide’s serum features five different forms of hyaluronic acid, all at varying molecular weights to draw moisture into every layer of the skin, including the lowest, hardest-to-reach layers.
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($90)
You may not associate glycolic acid with moisturizing benefits, but because glycolic acid exfoliates surface dead skin cells and supports natural cell turnover, it actually hydrates the healthy cells underneath and allows other nourishing ingredients to reach the deepest layers of your skin.
Renée Rouleau Skin Drink ($41)
Hyaluronic acid draws moisture in while aloe leaf juice soothes and comforts skin in a highly concentrated serum that your skin literally drinks up immediately. Renée Rouleau also added vitamin C for brightening and a touch of salicylic acid to keep pores clear of dry, dead skin cells.
The bad news? Uneven skin tone is the number one indicator of age. The good news? When it comes to skin-brightening, the options are plentiful. From exfoliating acids like kojic and lactic to naturally occurring brighteners like vitamin C, licorice root, and arbutin, there's something to suit your every skin need.
If firmness is your aim, you need to add one anti-ager to your game plan: peptides. Peptides stimulate elastin and collagen production. And as you know, collagen and elastin production slows dramatically as we age.
Smooth, even skin texture is one of the hardest things to fake. Luckily, whether it's acne or aging interfering with your skin texture, exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can help.
Renée Rouleau BHA Clarifying Serum ($48)
BHAs (like salicylic acid) are great for keeping pores clear and skin breakout free. Renée Rouleau's serum uses a time-released blend of 3% salicylic, 4% lactic, and 4% glycolic acid to keep clogged pores and acne-causing bacteria at bay while evening out skin tone and texture.
At night, there's one ingredient that should be a part of every good skincare regimen: retinol. Retinol is the most studied anti-aging ingredient to date. It's no surprise that it's the top skincare recommendation out of every dermatologist’s and esthetician’s mouth. It speeds up cell turnover, increases collagen production, and does so much more. Which is why people turn to the miracle ingredient for everything from aging prevention to acne treatment.
Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift + Retinol advanced Resurfacing Treatment ($98)
Think retinol is too irritating for your skin? Think again. You can now find nano-encapsulated retinol that delivers all the same skin-perfecting benefits without the potential side effects. Kate Somerville paired the innovative ingredient with oxygen and hyaluronic acid for maximum firming, hydrating, and resurfacing power.
Verso Skincare Super Facial Serum ($98)
Verso's claim to fame is retinol 8—a stabilized vitamin A complex that's eight times more effective than standard retinol of the same dosage. That may invoke visions of redness and flaking, but never fear—retinol 8 was developed to minimize irritation. In fact, it dramatically decreases the UV sensitivity usually associated with retinol, so you can wear this retinol serum night and day.
Yes, it exists—the perfect combination of your (and every skin expert's) two favorite things: retinol and oil. Ren's treatment contains 100% naturally derived vitamin A and a variety of antioxidants (like vitamin E and omegas 6 and 7) to promote healthy skin renewal.
Any more serum questions left unanswered? Ask away in the comments below!