Do you have skin that is tired, dull, dry, or uneven? Maybe your moisturizer isn't really working for you, or you feel like you're missing something in your beauty routine.
So what's the secret to a healthy glow?
Most dermatologists have been shouting from the rooftops about face serums for years, but maybe you haven't come around to the idea just yet. A lot of people have the common misconception that a serum and a moisturizer have the same function, but the reality is that a serum can do so much more.
Or maybe you're well aware of the skin-saving effects a serum can have, but with such a wide variety available to choose from, you're wondering what the best face serum really is, and which one is just right for you.
We've said it before and we'll say it again, skincare is never a one-size-fits-all solution. Although we sometimes wish there was just one best serum for the face to fix all of our skin concerns, the right products will vary from one customer to the next. It's very important to understand your skin's needs and look out for the right ingredients to help you achieve that perfect mix of supple smoothness and radiant perfection.
Luckily, we've done the research and we're here to help guide you towards your next favorite skincare products. Let's talk about all things serum; how they work, why you should consider using one, and what is the best skin serum on the market today?
How Does A Face Serum Work?
A face serum is a lightweight moisturizing product that typically contains a potent concentration of skin-loving ingredients. Serums are loved by dermatologists and beauty professionals alike for their ability to penetrate deep into the skin's layers and deliver an effective dose of active ingredients, whether that is antioxidants, retinol, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, or minerals.
Serums are typically water-based formulas with a thin viscosity, meaning they are easily and quickly absorbed into the skin. This not only means that they won't leave your skin feeling sticky or heavy, but they can also hydrate without forming the kind of barrier that many occlusive moisturizers do. The barriers formed by occlusive moisturizers such as petroleum jelly or heavier cream moisturizers can prevent the active ingredients from reaching your dermis properly and effectively.
Dermatological research has shown that adding a serum to a skincare regimen has significant additional hydrating and nourishing benefits compared to using a moisturizer alone, with most subjects showing improvements in just two weeks.1
In fact, it is best to use both a serum and a moisturizer in tandem with each other, to balance the benefits of your serum's active ingredients with the hydrating properties of a heavier cream product. Due to the typically potent formulas of the best face serum, you only need to apply a small amount for maximum benefits, and they can often produce quicker, more visible results than a moisturizer alone.
It's best to apply a serum first, then follow up with a cream moisturizer to lock in those active ingredients.
Sunscreen should be the final step before you head out the door!
Serums are essential to the 10-step K-Beauty routine, read our guide to all things Korean skin care here.
5 Reasons To Use A Face Serum
So, you know what a facial serum is, but why should you use one? Let's take a closer look:
If you're looking for serious hydration, a serum is a must for your skincare routine. And we're not just talking to dry skin sufferers here - a face serum is a great option for oily and acne-prone skin too!
The best hydrating serum is a hyaluronic acid serum, a hero ingredient in the skincare world that can hold and retain up to 1000 times its weight in water. In a skincare product, it acts as a humectant to attract water from the environment into your dermis, helping your skin to feel more flexible, supple, and soft.
Applying a lightweight serum before your moisturizer will help your skin absorb these super moisture magnets quickly, while the moisturizer on top will work to seal in the serum and allow it to get to work.
More helpful reading by RenewSkin Inc.: Pumped lips
Between pollutants, harsh sunlight, hot and cold weather conditions, and humidity, our skin is up against the world on a daily basis.
Exposure to pollution and UV rays causes a build-up of free radicals in the body, these are waste particles that cause our skin cells to degrade over time. Free radicals attack our cells, and a build-up can cause premature aging and an array of other health issues. At our best level of fighting fit, our metabolisms can remove these waste particles naturally. However, when we are under stress or exposed to excess pollutants, we do not remove these free radicals so easily.
The good news? This is where an antioxidant serum comes in to save the day. Antioxidants work to eliminate free radicals from our bodies, so we want to make sure we include plenty of antioxidants in both our diets and our skincare routines.
The best face serum will contain some form of antioxidants, whether it's vitamin C, green tea, or glutathione, and the high concentration of these free-radical-fighting ingredients will get to work quickly and effectively to keep your skin healthy and radiant.
An antioxidant serum can even offer great supplementary benefits to your sunscreen, protecting your dermis against environmental and UV damage for optimal skin health.
More helpful reading: Summer skin care.
While serums are effective in protecting against harmful pollutants and chemicals, they can also help your skin to actively repair existing damage.
You might be feeling the effects of too much alcohol, sugar, or sun in your skin, due to the oxidative stress these habits have placed on your cells. Your collagen and elastin production may have slowed down over time, which may account for your skin sagging or feeling tired and dull.
Thankfully, the best face serums with active ingredients like antioxidants, collagen peptides, retinol, or exfoliating AHAs and BHAs can help rejuvenate tired skin and repair some of the damage done. They work by sloughing off the dead skin cells and revealing a fresher layer beneath, with some working to boost your collagen production to encourage a firmer, more youthful complexion.
More helpful reading:
4. Reverse The Signs Of Aging
A face serum will generally contain a potent concentration of anti-aging ingredients like collagen peptides, retinol, vitamins, and hyaluronic acid. These work to hydrate, exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin, often while boosting your collagen production.
Thanks to their efficiency in reaching the dermis, serums are an effective and safe way to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, which can produce visible results in a short time frame.
Face serums are a great non-invasive option for anyone looking to plump up their skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles without opting for botox or collagen fillers.
More helpful reading: How often to get a facial.
5. Brighten & Even Skin Tone
If you're suffering from dull or uneven skin tone, dark spots, blemishes, or hyperpigmentation, here's one more reason to reach for the serum dispenser.
These skin concerns can be really irritating and can knock your confidence, but the reality is that they become increasingly likely as we age. Some areas of your face can get darker than others, most commonly around the eyes and mouth, due to those skin-destroying free radicals we mentioned earlier. These free radicals account for excess melanin production resulting in age spots and a dull, discolored complexion.
Luckily, a serum can step in to help resolve these issues with its high antioxidant content. Antioxidants like vitamin C and glutathione can help brighten and lighten the skin, resulting in a more even complexion. Face serums containing exfoliating acids like glycolic or salicylic acid can also be effective in repairing these issues, working to remove dead cells and reveal the younger, fresher skin beneath.
The right serum will help you say goodbye to heavy concealers and hello to naturally bright and even skin!
More helpful reading on skin blemishes.
Our Top 10 Best Face Serums For Dry, Oily, Mature, & Combination Skin
Considering all of these amazing health and beauty benefits, you might be eager to get your hands on a bottle of the best facial serum for your skin – stat! Luckily, there is a huge array of options and skin care brands available on the market, and we've done the research to find out the very best serums for the face available for every skin type.
So, here is our list of top rated face serums available today, chosen by our beauty team at Taut HQ.
1. Taut Intensive Recovery Face Serum
Considering the superpowers that antioxidants can work on our skin, we can't find any serum better than our Taut Intensive Recovery Face Serum. This hero skin-care product has been specially formulated with 7 botanical herbal extracts, each one boasting powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The highlights include German chamomile, which works to restore healthy fats and moisture in the skin, as well as green tea, which works to eliminate free radicals and reduce sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles.
If you're looking for a refreshing lift, this brightening serum offers the perfect triple action formula to hydrate, repair, and protect your skin. It penetrates deep into the dermis to hydrate and plump up the skin, reducing wrinkles while repairing the damage caused by free radicals and stress.
This serum also acts like a shield for your face, offering daily protection from UV rays and the blue light that radiates from our computers and smartphones.
You'll also be happy to know that it is a 100% botanical formula, with no nasty chemicals or additives, making it a perfect option for sensitive skin types.
Try incorporating Taut Intensive Recovery Serum with derma rolling for anti-aging and skin-brightening results!
2. Taut Hydrate Hyaluronic Acid Supplement
Okay, so this is not technically a serum, but hear us out.
The main reason serums are worth their weight in gold is their ability to hydrate and repair the skin at a deeper and more potent level than a moisturizing lotion.
But what if we told you that there is a way to hydrate your skin on an even deeper level?
Taut Hydrate is a hyaluronic acid supplement designed to moisturize and plump up your dermis from the inside out. Much more powerful than applying topical lotions, our high-potency, plant-based hyaluronic acid formula can significantly increase the moisture content of your skin from within.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance that works to attract and hold moisture where it is needed in the body, but unfortunately, our reserves diminish over time. By replenishing your natural hyaluronic acid levels, Taut Hydrate is extremely effective in reducing wrinkles and imperfections while making your skin feel supple and soft.
Meanwhile, its complementary ingredient, grape seed extract, is a natural and powerful antioxidant that works to eliminate free radicals and brighten your skin tone.
And the best news is that it won't just improve your facial complexion, it can also get to work on your whole body!
More helpful reading:
3. Taut Collagen Mask + Vitamin C
Taut Collagen Mask combines the benefits of a vitamin C serum with intense hydration and firming effects through the magic of marine collagen peptides.
Specially formulated to target sagging, dull, and dehydrated skin, this refreshing sheet mask replenishes your skin's collagen resulting in a firmer, more youthful complexion. Our hydrolyzed collagen has been broken down into nano-sized molecules designed to penetrate through your pores, deep into the skin's layers for maximum moisturizing and anti-aging benefits.
Combined with hyaluronic acid, botanical squalene, and vitamin C, this luxurious treatment offers the full spectrum of antioxidant and hydrating benefits with results in just 15 minutes.
And there's no need to follow up with a moisturizer or serum, our Collagen Mask is an effective one-stop-shop for toning, hydrating, and repairing the skin.
More helpful reading: Vitamin c for face Renew Alliance.
4. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1% Serum
The Ordinary's Niacinamide and Zinc serum is a high-strength vitamin and mineral formula, and one of the best options for oily and acne-prone skin.
Niacinamide, otherwise known as vitamin B3, has anti-inflammatory properties to calm redness, clear blemishes, and soothe your complexion. With a high concentration of 10%, it is a potent formula and a little goes a long way.
The 1% zinc in this serum works to balance sebum production, keeping oiliness and shine at bay.
Overall, this super serum clears blemishes and minimizes the appearance of pores, making it a great addition to an acne-free skincare routine.
One caveat we need to add is that you should be careful mixing this formula with vitamin C, as they can negate each other's effectiveness. Keep them in separate routines, and The Ordinary recommends using this particular formula in your morning routine if you can.
More helpful reading: Skin care regimen.
5. BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner Serum
Another one of the best facial serums on the market today is BeautyStat's Universal C Skin Refiner Serum. This innovative vitamin C serum by BeautyStat is a cult classic, formulated with 20% L-Ascorbic acid. If that doesn't mean much to you, you should know that this acid is the most potent form of vitamin C, and 20% is the highest concentration allowed in skin-care products.
L-Ascorbic acid has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, and it can also improve the texture of the skin and create a brighter complexion.
BeautyStat have combined their potent vitamin C formula with green tea and squalene for an extra antioxidant boost, so this is one truly hydrating and brightening serum. However, sensitive skin types need to be careful of the high acid concentration in this serum and might need to patch test or gradually build tolerance before using this product regularly.
6. Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum
Looking for a good face serum you can apply before bed?
Revitalift skincare series by L'Oréal Paris is a winning product, namely its 10% pure glycolic acid serum.
Its potent concentration of glycolic acid offers effective exfoliating properties, gently removing dead cells to promote younger, more radiant skin.
This is a night serum, best for use in the evening as glycolic acid can cause sensitivity to sunlight. L'Oréal recommends that you use a broad spectrum SPF 30 or above the following morning, to ensure your face is fully protected from UV rays.
Overall, this serum is a boon for reducing dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles - perfect for mature skin. If you have sensitive skin, start by using this serum one or two nights a week and build up your tolerance gradually, leading to every night use when you have adapted to the formula.
More helpful reading by RenewSkin Inc.: How to get rid of forehead lines
7. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum
Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum is a popular option and offers great results for a budget price.
This is a retinol serum with hyaluronic acid, offering both anti-aging and moisturizing benefits. The retinol targets crows feet and forehead wrinkles, working to leave skin feeling younger and more radiant. This serum also contains glucose, which works to accelerate the effects of retinol in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Meanwhile, hyaluronic acid plumps and hydrates the dermis.
All in all, this is one great anti-wrinkle serum with a convenient price tag, boasting results in as little as one week.
More helpful reading on crows feet here.
8. ExLinea Peptide Smoothing Serum
ExLinea's Peptide Smoothing serum is a product endorsed by dermatologists including Dr. Cynthia Price, who describes it as being like botox in a bottle. It is a powerful anti-wrinkle serum containing peptides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E.
Peptides work to firm and tighten sagging skin, minimizing the appearance of crow's feet, laugh lines, and forehead wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid provides a moisture boost for the face, and vitamin E works its antioxidant magic against free radical damage.
This is a powerful fragrance-free hydrating serum, suitable for all skin types, but especially effective for mature skin thanks to its anti-aging properties.
More helpful reading: How to get rid of jowls
9. Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum
Tata Harper's Resurfacing Serum is an innovative, all-natural formula that packs a punch of 9 acids to rejuvenate and exfoliate your face.
This resurfacing serum combines AHAs and BHAs, including the regular favorites; salicylic, lactic, and glycolic acids. Salicylic acid derived from willow bark works to exfoliate and remove dead cells, while jojoba seed oil, arnica extract, and lemon extract work as antioxidants to brighten the skin and fight against free radicals.
Its star ingredient is tomato carotenoids, which work to reflect UVA and UVB light and color correct your skin tone throughout the day for a radiant shine, making this a true glow serum perfect for daily use.
10. Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum
Skinceuticals C E Ferulic facial serum is a regular winner in beauty editors' lists of top-rated face serums, thanks to its trio of antioxidant ingredients; vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid.
This serum contains a potent 15% L-Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) designed to brighten and rejuvenate tired complexions. Meanwhile, pure vitamin E works to restore the lipid layer of your skin, and ferulic acid neutralizes free radicals and stabilizes the two vitamins.
This hydrating serum can help protect your face against pollutants and environmental damage while moisturizing and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Hydrate and Brighten Your Complexion With Taut's Ms. Magnifique Transformation Program
If you're looking for a real transformation for your skin, with visible and long-lasting results, we've got the perfect solution for you. Ms. Magnifique is a beauty bundle containing three of our favorite skin-loving products; Taut Premium Liquid Collagen, Taut Collagen Masks, and Taut Bright.
This unique transformation program provides a combination of liquid collagen supplements designed to plump up your skin and reverse the signs of aging, collagen face masks for luxurious hydration, and Taut Bright, our antioxidant supplement that works to even skin tone and brighten your complexion.
While we certainly agree that a face serum can have an array of amazing benefits for your complexion, at Taut we truly believe that healthy, supple, radiant skin comes from within. Adding beauty supplements into your daily skin-care routine will help you get to the root of dull, dehydrated, and sagging skin and treat those issues from the inside out.
Taut Liquid Collagen is a delicious orange drink with a potent 13,000mg of marine collagen peptides in every bottle – the highest concentration available on the market today. These hydrolyzed marine collagen peptides work to replenish your natural supplies of collagen, working rapidly to deliver maximum skin rejuvenation and offering results that are immediate, visible, and long-lasting.
Our premium formula is also packed with antioxidants like grape seed extract and vitamin C which are the key to healthy skin cell rejuvenation and growth. Factor in the moisturizing effects of hyaluronic acid and the anti-aging effects of elastin peptides, and you've got yourself the secret to healthy, youthful skin in every bottle.
Taut Bright is our other skin-hero that works synergistically with our collagen products to fight dark spots and hyperpigmentation caused by aging, stress, sun damage, and pollutants. It contains a powerful dose of L-Glutathione, otherwise known as the mother of all antioxidants, which works to eliminate free radicals and keep your skin cells healthy.
These super skin benefits are maintained by a third and final component – Taut Collagen Mask. This luxurious treatment works like an antioxidant-rich hydrating serum and an intensive moisturizer all in one, all while boosting your collagen supply and providing serious and visible anti-aging benefits.
Together, the Ms. Magnifique bundle works to hydrate, fight fine lines and wrinkles, as well as rejuvenate tired, dull, and uneven complexions, with visible results in just three weeks.
So why not try these superstar supplements and moisturizing masks alongside your new favorite serum, and listen as the compliments rush in about your newfound radiant glow!
More helpful reading: