How to Find the Perfect Facial Serum For You

It's easier than you think.

Caitlin M.
ByCaitlin M.

You already have your favorite moisturizer. And you've got your facial oil on lock. So why even bother with a serum? You might be tempted to think that bottle of serum is just an added bonus—a few extra minutes added to your routine—but as it turns out, the skincare product is so much more!

So what exactly are serums? Think of them as boosters to help combat a specific concern. They're potent, highly targeted treatments, which are often meant to enhance an already-set skincare routine. "Serums tend to be much more lightweight per volume milliliters," adds Dr. S. Manula Jegasothy, Founder of Miami Skin Institute. "They also tend to have fewer ingredients and a much lighter texture or feel." Although it doesn't much matter when you apply your serum, Dr. Jegasothy says they're ideal for applying in the AM thanks to their texture. "A lightweight serum can provide a nice base for your makeup without weighing your skin down too heavily!" she says. Bottom line: They're nothing like your fave moisturizer or oil.

Curious as to which serum is right for you? We're making it easy with this guide!



Anti-agers are a top player in the serum category—and for good reason. Complete with retinol, collagen boosters, antioxidants, and more, serums are excellent vehicles for delivering potent active ingredients directly to skin.

$$$: Algenist Retinol Firming & Lifting Serum, $102 at Sephora

$: L'Oréal Revitalift Triple Power Concentrated Serum Treatment, $24.99 at Kmart

Under-the-radar find: Indie Lee Swiss Apple Facial Serum, $130 at


Oil or acne control:

It might seem counter-intuitive to slather an oily serum on oil or acne-prone skin, but actually, serums can work wonders on blemish-ridden skin. Thanks to pore-tighteners, skin balancers, and hydration boosters, serums can be just what over-active skin needs.

$$$: Clinique Acne Solutions Acne + Line Correcting Serum, $44.50 at Sephora

$: Boots No7 Pore Refining Serum, $18.99 at Target

Under-the-radar find: Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum, $185 at SpaceNK



Common ingredients in serums that boast maximum moisture include vitamin E, jojoba oil, mineral oil, and hydration superstar, hyaluronic acid. The great thing about these serums is although they treat even the driest skin, they're light enough to go under makeup!

$$$: Tatcha Luminous Overnight Memory Serum Concentrate, $110 at Sephora

$: e.l.f. cosmetics Soothing Serum, $12 at

Under-the-radar find: Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum, $69 at



Redness is a problem that haunts many, but by looking out for a few ingredients, you can minimize irritation and unwanted rosiness. Keep your eyes peeled for green tea extract, milk proteins, and yep, even caffeine as active ingredients.

$$$: Skin Inc. Pure Serum Mist, $55, at Sephora

$: First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum, $36 at Sephora

Under-the-radar-find: REN Evercalm Anti-Redness Serum, $46 at Sephora


Even, brighter skin tone:


Lastly, serums can work wonders for evening discoloration, for hiding dark spots, and for brightening skin all over all. The most obvious ingredient to seek out if brightening is your main concern is vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant known for its anti-inflammation properties. Another skin tone savior to keep an eye out for: willow bark, which aids in cell turnover.

$$$: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, $80 at Sephora

$: Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C BB Serum, $18.99 at Walgreens

Under-the-radar find: Onomie Powerful Priming Serum, $50 at

Which serum do you swear by? Join Influenster and let us know in the comments!

About the Author
Caitlin M.
Caitlin M.
Runner. Music lover. All things nachos. Follow me on Instagram: @caitlinsmiller