Feels lightweight and breathable on the skin
Easily recyclable packaging
Fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin
High price per ounce
Similar to other hero products in the line
Nécessaire The Body Serum
We put the Nécessaire The Body Serum to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
I imagine Nécessaire’s The Body Serum to be the kind of product you’d find rummaging through your chic dinner party host’s medicine cabinet. The brand has that kind of universal and unexpected elegance. Body serums at large are a new frontier of skincare, only for the most dedicated—or so I thought. It turns out they're just a next-level moisturizer. It’s the kind of product those eccentric, tertiary characters in your life would introduce you to with a sort of all-knowing smirk.
The Body Serum begs the age-old question of "If it works for your face, why wouldn’t it work for your body?" and then answers it with loads of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. The equation is foolproof, even for the most reluctant body moisturizer users. Nécessaire has cultivated a coterie of modern, science-driven skincare minimalists with a soft spot for perfect design, and I'm the newest member. Read on for my review of The Body Serum.
Best for: All skin types, especially those experiencing dryness
Uses: Extra hydration for skin dryness, depletion, and recovery
Active ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid, niacinamide, ceramide np
About the brand: Nécessaire (which means "necessary" in French) creates genderless skincare products. Careful curation, attention to ingredients, and a streamlined aesthetic have become pillars of the ultra-cool brand.
About My Skin: Of Average Dryness
There’s a divide in my mind between problems I had before I was a beauty writer and problems I had after. On the post-beauty writer side, there’s scalp health and under-eye skin elasticity. But the pre-beauty writer side remains as simple as it ever was: some dryness, with a bit of sensitivity all over my body. I’ve taken a fairly utilitarian approach to combat dryness, which historically included whatever body lotion I had on hand and, later, coconut oil. Both these solutions worked. But come summertime in New York, lotion rolled off in sheets, and the oil never seemed to sink in all the way. I was ready to try something new, something light, something beauty writer-approved.
I incorporated Nécessaire’s The Body Serum enthusiastically post-shower for a week and was shocked by the results. Nécessaire suggests following or mixing with moisturizer, but I found the serum to be adequate. Plus, despite my standing as a post-beauty writer, I still love the rebellion of skipping an additional step. Without fear of transferring or staining, I slipped into both silks and workout gear. On a beach trip, I used The Body Serum before applying my SPF. The results were long-lasting, so I didn’t need to moisturize after my rinse off back at home. It’s been two weeks, and I’ve happily left the coconut oil undisturbed in the pantry.
The Feel: Quickly Absorbed Gel
Most serums are water-based, including this one. This allows the star ingredient, hyaluronic acid, to be delivered directly to your skin before moisturizing additionally. A barrier like Nécessaire The Body Lotion would lock in moisture effectively, but on its own, The Body Serum dries almost immediately—there's no residue left on the hand or the skin.
The Ingredients: Moisture in Every Direction
I called in help from the brand’s CEO and co-founder, Randi Christiansen, to help break down what makes The Body Serum’s ingredients impactful. She explained the superstar ingredient, hyaluronic acid (in five molecular weights), "is known to target different levels of the skin, ensuring that each layer receives optimal hydration." She went on to explain that "lower molecular weights are known to work at a deeper level with a longer-lasting effect, and the higher weights are good for helping to prevent water loss on the skin's surface."
Niacinamide, another key component to the product, can be found across Nécessaire’s line-up. "We use it consistently for its anti-inflammatory and moisture barrier supporting properties," Christiansen explained. Ceramide is also present in the formula to help your skin retain moisture.
The Science: Proven Effective Ingredients
Still curious about The Body Serum’s ingredients and its benefits, I tapped Dr. Marisa Garshick, MD, for more information. She agreed that five molecular weights allowed "for penetration of the hyaluronic acid to have an effect at different levels of the skin." When I asked if there was a best practice for application, she advised applying the serum on wet skin. "Hyaluronic acid serves as a humectant," she explained. "It acts like a sponge to draw moisture in. When the skin is wet, it provides moisture for the hyaluronic to grab on to." As for niacinamide, she explained that not only does the ingredient "support the skin barrier by boosting production of ceramides," but it also soothes.
The Delivery Method/Packaging: Easy to Recycle and Climate Neutral-Certified
Nécessaire is known for its pared-back, chic packaging. But there’s more than dialed-in aesthetics at play. On the brand's website, details of the environmentally-conscious steps taken in packaging are outlined. Materials are Climate Neutral Certified with a 100% Carbon Footprint Offset. The Body Serum comes in a slim white bottle, which is 100% Bio-Resin PP (plant-based.) Unlike other droplets, the serum's pump makes for simple application. And luckily, the cap snaps back on to avoid any potential spillage.
The Results: Instant, clean moisture
Moisture doesn’t photograph perfectly, but after my repeated usage of The Body Serum, I decided it was more situational than ritualistic. Situations in which it proved its brilliance: hopping out of the shower and rushing into a silk slip dress to make a dinner reservation in Greenpoint or before meeting my friend for a mid-afternoon picnic in the sweltering heat.
The Body Serum sinks in immediately with minimal effort. It leaves a light shine, sort of like an essence would on your face, without feeling oily. The effects are also long-lasting. It’s difficult to speak to long-term usage because generally moisturizing leads to generally softer skin, but I did find that I was more prone to apply the product, knowing it wouldn’t require an hour-long absorption.
The Value: Tough Sell, But Worth It
At $45 for 5.1 oz, The Body Serum isn’t cheap. Even compared to other offerings from the brand, like The Body Lotion ($25 for 6.8 oz) or The Body Oil ($35 for 3.4 oz), The Body Serum feels steep. But zooming out to offerings outside Nécessaire gives perspective that for the innovation in the category, the price per ounce is hard to beat. Lots of other offerings only come in 1 to 3 oz bottles, averaging $80. Long story short, if you’re keen on adding a body serum into your routine, the best option, and comparably, the most affordable, is to stick with Nécessaire.
Similar Products: A few options
Nécessaire The Body Oil ($35): If you’re in it for the nutrients, start with The Body Oil. This product, like The Body Serum, can be stacked with other moisturizers. But on its own, it’s a powerhouse of vitamins (B, C, and E) plus omega oils, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. It’s basically a multivitamin for your skin. It’s worth noting that application here feels much less luxe than The Body Serum. The dropper can get sticky and feels cumbersome.
Agent Nateur Ageless Body Serum ($95): Nearly twice the cost of Nécessaire’s version, this body serum is an entirely different formulation. It relies on rosehip oil and Oryza sativa (Japanese rice bran oil) to deliver its punch. The result is much closer to an oil than a traditional serum.
When I started using The Body Serum, I didn’t see a blind spot in my body moisturizing routine. But Nécessaire’s The Body Serum proved itself a key player in my "it’s too hot for anything" lineup. It works well under a lotion and feels lightweight on its own. Plus, it's housed in packaging that more than earns its keep when it comes to covetable bathroom real estate.
- Product Name The Body Serum
- Product Brand Nécessaire
- Price $45
- Weight 5.1 oz.
- Ingredients Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Ammonium, Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, C13-15 Alkane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Niacinamide, Ceramide NP, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sucrose Stearate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Calcium Gluconate