The best facial serums contain the targeted skincare ingredients that your complexion needs to address any skin concerns you may have. Y’know: dryness, pigmentation, fine lines or lack of glow. And the best face serums have the ability to penetrate much deeper and improve your skin health better than your face cream ever could.
Basically: while a cleanser and SPF are important, think of your facial serum the best place to make a skincare routine investment. A more lightweight and potent moisturiser which will allow you to personalise your regime.
That said, tracking down a suitable face serum for your age, skin type and budget is not always easy. So, we’ve enlisted the help of Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist at Skin 55 – and tested countless new face serums – to help you find your perfect serum match.
What are the benefits of using a face serum? | Can you use a facial serum daily? | At what point in my skincare routine should I apply my serum? | Do you still need to use a moisturiser after your serum? | Our full reviews.
Meet the expert:
- Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist at Skin 55
Best face serums at a glance:
- Best vitamin C serum: Medik8 C-Tetra Vitamin C Serum, £39, Medik8
- Best for fine lines and wrinkles: The Silk Serum, WAS £98 NOW £78.40, Tatcha
- Best hyaluronic acid serum: Perricone MD High Potency Hyaluronic Intensive Serum, £79, LookFantastic
- Best niacinamide serum: Kate Somerville EradiKate Blemish Mark Fading Gel, £58.22, Space NK
Is a facial serum good for your skin?
Yes. Serums do work and they’re the best way to customise your skincare routine and target a particular skincare concern. You’ve just got to make sure you choose the best serum for your age and skin concerns (be that fine lines, acne or pigmentation) if you want it to be effective.
For example, if you’ve got dehydrated skin, you need something packed with hyaluronic acid, because it plumps skin and is the equivalent of giving it a big old drink of water. If you want to target wrinkles, pick up serum that contains retinol, which boosts collagen as well as skin cell turnover to keep skin looking fresh, plumped and rejuvenated.
Can I use facial serum daily?
Absolutely. It’s recommended that you use your facial serum twice daily, depending on the ingredients. Some serums contain key ingredients like retinol or exfoliating acids such as lactic acid that remove dead skin cells and can make your skin more prone to UV damage – these should generally only be used at night.
Where in my routine do I apply a facial serum?
You should apply your face serum after cleansing, exfoliating and toning and before your moisturiser or facial oil, eye cream and SPF. A facial serum can be used alone, but since they tend to be so lightweight, they’re easy to layer. Pro tip: invest in one of the best silk pillowcases to ensure everything soaks into your skin properly.
Do you need a moisturiser after a face serum?
This is up for debate among skin experts. Moisturisers and serums are the main way we can treat our skin to an injection of potent ingredients. Doubling up on these ingredients can enhance results, or it can be too much for your skin and you might start to notice some sensitivity. Also, if you have oily skin and are already using a hydrating serum, you may find that you don’t need a moisturiser on top. On the flip side, if you have dry skin, a moisturiser can help lock in all that nourishment and boost the hydrating benefits.
How to choose the best facial serum for you:
Everyone’s skin is different – if you suffer from dehydrated skin and you’re hoping to get some hydration going, look for a serum containing hyaluronic acid, aloe vera extract or vitamin E. If it’s an anti-aging serum you’re after, retinol is the gold standard, and to brighten your complexion, anything with vitamin C that can help boost collagen production and help maintain your skin’s elasticity is bound to be a sure-fire hit. And if you want to treat sun damage or have more sensitive, acne-prone skin, you might want to go for a gentler fragrance-free option.
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