The Main Ingredients
Face Serum – It will depend on your skin concerns and your goals. You can buy a serum that focuses on a single ingredient or combines several. Another option is to use one formulation in the morning and something different before bed. The nourishing, moisturizing, and protective ingredients are great during the day (think hyaluronic acid and antioxidants like vitamin C). The rejuvenating or super healthy options work great at night (vitamins A, AHA, BHA, and peptides are excellent).
To get you started, Dr. Barbara Strum, aesthetic physician and founder of her eponymous skincare line, recommends hyaluronic acid as the ideal ingredient for almost all skin types, especially those prone to dehydration. For skin prone to congestion, zinc, niacinamide, and salicylic acid (a form of BHA) are great options. For an uneven skin tone, vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid, and niacinamide will help. Finally, for people concerned about fine lines and wrinkles, vitamin A and its many derivatives (retinol, retinoic acid, retinoids) will be your best friend. You can also try peptides and amino acids for an extra boost.
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It is important to note that since serums often contain higher concentrations of active ingredients, the price is usually higher. That doesn’t mean you have to stretch an arm and a leg to get a quality product, but they tend to stand taller than a cleanser or sunscreen.
Face Serum Rest assured, Hallie’s list is full of Grade serum options. It’s hard to have favorites, but because we have to, we’re going to call Skinceuticals CE Ferulic for their unparalleled powers of shine and smoothness. Clinical Active Serum to be one of the best clarifying serums on the market, and the soothing serum from Dr. Barbara Sturm. Not only is it milky and light, but it contains a cocktail of plant-based actives to calm and soothe the skin.