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There’s no other at-home skincare product quite so powerful as a skin care serum! Intended for use alongside (not instead of) a moisturizer, it’s a lightweight liquid designed to deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients, for dramatic results. And good news: there’s a skin care serum for every beauty goal.

Looking for a serum for uneven skin tone? Fade dark spots fast with Dermalogica’s PowerBright Dark Spot Serum. Want to erase fine lines and diminish deep wrinkles? Sunday Riley High-Dose Retinoid Serum has appeared as ‘best retinol’ in a list of the best serum for aging skin by Oprah Daily, where Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum also featured as ‘best for mature skin’. Struggling with acne? Bareminerals Correctives Blemish Remedy is an excellent serum for oily skin which also treats existing breakouts. These are just a handful of our many favorites - scroll on down to find the best skin care serum for you.

FAQs on skin care serums

How do I figure out what is the best serum for my skin?

First, you’ll need to figure out your skin type. An easy test is to wash your face with a gentle cleanser and then wait half an hour without putting any products on. If by the end of it your skin has developed a shine, you have oily or combination skin and should look for a balancing serum with oil-control ingredients such as zinc. On the other hand, if your skin is left feeling tight and dry, you have dry skin and should look for a skin care serum packed full of hydrating, moisturizing ingredients (and if you ask us, CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum is the best serum for dry skin when you’re on a budget!)

If neither of the above apply, and after 30 minutes your skin feels hydrated and comfortable, then you probably have ‘normal’ skin. In this case, the best skin care serum for you is going to be whichever one targets another specific skin concern you’d like to address such as dullness, discoloration, or signs of aging.

Remember that it’s best to use one or two serums only in your skincare routine. Too many can overstimulate the skin and lead to irritation, so pick your serums wisely!

How do I identify a good quality serum?

Price will give you some indicator of the quality of a skin care serum, since if the price is very low (certainly below $10) it’s unlikely it contains the high concentrations of active ingredients you’re buying it for. However, if you’re feeling put off by a higher price tag, remember that since a good-quality serum is so concentrated, a little goes a long way which makes it worth the investment.

It’s also a good idea to check the list of ingredients, and specifically the order they appear in. Skin care ingredients are listed from largest to smallest quality, so if the key active ingredients appear towards the start of the list (or at least in the middle) then it’s a good sign that there’s a sufficient amount of them to deliver results!

Is serum only for the face?

Usually when we hear “serum”, we think of facial serums. But body serums exist too! Clarins Renew-Plus Body Serum for example is a great body serum for dry skin.

As for using a face serum on your body, you can do it but you’ll get through your small bottle of serum much quicker than if you were using it on your face only. Why not try mixing a small amount of your facial skin care serum into your body lotion, rather than applying the serum directly?