When it comes to your skincare routine — whether it’s a quick three-step or a lengthy ten-step process — the star of the show is always the serum. These highly concentrated formulas have the power to deliver noticeable improvements and long-term benefits.
If you have yet to give these wonder-elixirs a try, let us explain. Serums can be water or oil-based and they are always applied after your toner and before your moisturizer. And due to their high concentration and potency, serums are the most effective way of delivering active ingredients directly into the skin for targeted results. Since they are lightweight, they can be layered and are more effective when used in the morning and at night — just remember the serum you apply when you wake up should differ from the one you use before bed.
And thankfully today’s options are suitable for all skin types and can treat every complexion concern, from signs of ageing and fine lines to acne and dull skin. Ahead, you’ll learn about the serum cult favourites that are all organized by skincare concern.
The only thing we like more than skincare is skincare that works fast, which is why we love Beautycounter’s Countertime Tripeptide Radiance Serum ($106). Made with a powerful peptide, amino acid, and plant-derived retinatural complex-packed formula, this serum will visibly increase skin firmness and elasticity while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Have you noticed that breakouts and fine lines are a regular occurrence on your face? Dermalogica’s Age Bright Clearing Serum ($89) is a two-in-one solution that fights back on two fronts — preventing breakouts while accelerating cell turnover to reduce visible signs of ageing.
SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic Antioxidant Treatment ($185) is definitely a favourite among skincare obsessives and dermatologists because it packs a powerful punch of antioxidants that are designed to fight off free radicals while brightening and evening skin tone. When bolstered by ferulic acid, the high concentration of vitamin C works overtime to brighten uneven patches and dark spots, while also improving the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
If your skin has been looking a little meh lately, incorporating a fast-acting, Vitamin C packed serum, like Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum ($85) is exactly what the doctor ordered. This highly-potent and fast-absorbing serum that promises to fight the look of dullness, dark spots, and discolorations, while instantly increasing brightness, radiance, and luminosity.
Best for Night
Retinol is the only ingredient clinically proven to prevent and improve the appearance of fine lines. But it can be harsh on sensitive skin. Enter the latest addition to the Olay family. The Olay Retinol24 Night Serum ($44) contains a blend of Vitamin B3 and retinol complex and hydrates skin for 24 hours and causes virtually no irritation. Apply the serum before you go to sleep and you’ll wake up to improved fine lines and wrinkles, smoothness, brightness, firmness, dark spots, and smaller pores.
Best for All Skin Types
There’s a reason why a bottle of this serum sells every seven seconds — to put it simply, it works. Innisfree’s best-selling Intensive Hydrating Serum with Green Tea Seed ($35) is great for all skin types — even those with sensitive skin — thanks to its soothing blend of green tea extract, green tea seed oil, amino acid, and minerals. This powerhouse serum helps replenish the skin’s moisture levels and leaves you with a noticeably softer and glowing complexion.
Best for Resurfacing the Skin
If you find you’re constantly frustrated with the texture of your skin, but you’re not ready to commit to the downtime of a chemical peel, you’re going to want to give Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum ($62) a try. One of the brand’s best-selling products, the serum pairs the brand’s signature ingredient, squalane, with 10% vegan lactic acid, which is the perfect percentage for buffing away fine lines, while still being gentle enough to be used every night. With regular use, you’ll not only find it exfoliates and resurfaces for a smoother, brighter, and more even-toned skin, while also leaving you with a natural and healthy glow — think of it as the holy grail of serums if you will.
Holding over 1000 times its weight in moisture, hyaluronic acid is the ultimate booster for dry skin. And when you add Vitamin C into the mix, you’ve got yourself one powerful serum. Goop Beauty’s Goop Glow ($165) is a two-part serum that maximizes potency and stays active all the way through its use and leaves you with a next-level glow and enviable softness and smoothness. The ingredients work synergistically to help brighten the appearance of the skin, significantly improving its firmness, tone, texture, and hydration and leaving it looking radiant, luminous, and healthy.
Signs of Ageing
Plant-based skincare often gets overlooked when it comes to truly transformative effects, but IV Skincare’s Infusion Serum ($65) proves that green beauty is just as powerful as other serums on the market. Made gentle yet potent ingredients that you can actually pronounce like chia, blueberry, strawberry and sea buckthorn oils, and Vitamins C and E, this powerful serum is the ultimate product for anti-ageing and hydration.
For those days (or nights) when your skin feels particularly tight and dry, you’re going to want to treat moisture-depleted skin with a hydrating serum like Drunk Elephant’s B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum ($48). Made with an ultra-nourishing cocktail of vitamin B5 and fruit ceramides, this serum replenishes the complexion while also improving the look of skin texture and tone.