The 9 Best Face Serums to Transform Your Skin

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You don’t need a 10 step skincare routine to get beautiful skin. But you are going to need to do more than wash your face and slap on a moisturizer. If you are serious about skincare, you need to be using facial serums.

Picking from the hundreds of available serums can seem a bit daunting at first, but don’t worry we are here to help. We are going to share why you need a serum, tips on how to apply, plus we are sharing our top serum recommendations.

The Best Facial Serums That Actually Work

What Is A Serum & Why Should You Use One

A serum is a highly concentrated amount of an active ingredient used for the benefit of skin health. That means serums are more potent than trying to get the same active ingredients through a moisturizer or mask.

Serums typically contain antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E, as well as any other ingredients to target specific topical concerns. For example, AHAs like glycolic acid are great for discoloration, while retinol and peptides are for anti-aging.

How To Apply

Once you’ve decided which serum you’re going to use, it is time to apply. You should cleanse, then tone your skin so that it’s prepped and ready for the active ingredients of the serum. Press the serum into your skin in an upward motion with your fingertips. Follow with your moisturizer and SPF.

Related reading: The Correct Order To Apply Your Products

Facial Serums That Work

When it comes to serums, we recommended having two different options on hand. One that is stronger and full of actives and another that is a little less potent so you can alternate. If you can only afford one, pick one to target your most troublesome skin issue.

Best Serums for Brightening

Good Molecules Daily Brightening Serum  best Facial Serums


Daily Brightening Serum, $9

Beta arbutin and hyaluronic acid go to work to gently brighten and promote a healthy, youthful complexion without irritation.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum


Truth Serum, $50

This is a great entry-level vitamin C serum that is effective yet not too harsh. This Vitamin C serum utilizes collagen and aloe juice to brighten while also nourishing and hydrating the skin.

Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum


Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, $79

The secret to this cult-favorite serum is its active ingredient, viniferine, which comes from grapevine sap and has been clinically proven to be 62 times more effective at brightening than vitamin C. 

Best Hydrating Serums

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum Best Facial Serums


Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum, $8

An ultimate hydrating must-have with two percent hyaluornic acid that leaves the skin smoother and plumper.

VICY Mineral 89 Face Serum


Mineral 89 Face Serum, $30

Vichy Mineral 89 Daily Skin Booster Serum and Moisturizer utilizes hyaluronic acid and 15 mineral-rich volcanic water to strengthen & repair your skin barrier

Drunk Elephant B Hydra Intensive Hydration


B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, $48

Formulated with pro-vitamin B5 and pineapple ceramide, B-Hydraâ„¢ delivers hydration leaving the skin looking healthy and more illuminated.

Best Anti-Aging Facial Serums


Buffet + Copper Peptides 1%, $29

This serum from The Ordinary combines a variety of peptides to target multiple signs of aging at once.


Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum, $72

This lightweight serum is made with bakuchiol, a plant-derived retinol alternative that offers the same benefit as retinol without the irritation or sensitivity.


Pro Strength Retinoid Peptide Serum, $110

THis intense leave-on treatment with granactive retinoid and hexapeptide complex helps diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

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