Make your beauty regimen work for you.
Before we get into our breakdown of serums that pack the most moisturizing punch, we thought we’d give a little refresher on why serums belong in your daily routine in the first place.
Ahead, we address all our most burning serum questions before providing the recommendations on the best transformative formulations for every skin type (mature, sensitive, etc…) and concern (acne, hyperpigmentation, etc…).
The bottom line: do not sleep on the best hydrating serums, truly one of the hardest-working products in any great routine and the easiest way to tailor your regimen to your unique skincare needs.
Are hydrating serums necessary in addition to a moisturizer?
It’s been said that all you really need in life is a good cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen in the morning. And while that’s undoubtedly true, the three-step routine is the most bare-bones version of what your skin needs. Consider it “Level 1” on your journey to formulating your perfect, personalized beauty regimen — an excellent starting point. But if you’re looking to give your skin even more love and nourishment, adding a hydrating serum is an excellent way to level up your routine.
What exactly are serums?
Serums are lightweight formulations with higher amounts of active ingredients to target many skin conditions. The powerful formulas often feature concentrated amounts of vitamin C, antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, retinol, azelaic acid, and more.
Serums are thinner and penetrate the skin to address concerns while moisturizers and creams are thicker and work more on the surface of the skin. Serums can target skin concerns while a cream will help seal those actives into the skin. They really are the powerhouse of products when it comes to your routine.
Where does a serum belong in your routine?
While there can be some debate as to the correct order of beauty operations, the general rule is: cleanser, then serum, then moisturizer. When in doubt, apply your products from thinnest to thickest. For example, in the mornings, cleanse first, then pat your skin dry, apply a vitamin C serum by pressing it into your skin before applying moisturizer and then SPF.
What is the best way to apply a serum?
It’s easy to start slathering on your skincare products with abandon, but there is an art to the application. We recommend applying a few drops to clean fingertips and quickly pressing them into the skin for maximum absorption.
A lot of people would take the applicator and putting it right on the face to apply serums which can risk contaminating your expensive products. An important tip is to press serums into the skin instead of massaging them in. We want to ensure these active ingredients are going into the skin and not into our fingers or palms. So, press into the skin and you can then massage in any residual left on the surface.
Which are the best hydrating serums, depending on your skin type?
In general, serums are fantastic at targeting specific concerns. With things like hyperpigmentation, acne, anti-aging, and even sensitive skin in mind, here are the top recommendations for the best hydrating serums currently in the game.
Best for Sensitive Skin:
Hale & Hush is a line dedicated to sensitive, inflamed skin — rosacea and acne relief. The Soothe essence fights inflammation, reduces redness, and helps support the barrier function. In order to have healthy skin, it must begin with a strong barrier.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin:
This serum offers a combination of retinoid, lactic, and salicylic acids to improve the appearance of large pores and calm oily, blemish-prone skin.
Best Hydrating Serum for Mature Skin:
We love this product as a gentle alternative to retinol. This is a skin-resurfacing treatment that helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Myong, the creator behind this line has a patented skin delivery system SOVAS-5, that packs a punch while still being gentle.
Best with Vitamin C:
While there isn’t a serum that can change the size of your pores, we recommend using this vitamin C serum in the morning to gently and effectively clear pores and boost hydration.
Best for Hyperpigmentation:
This gentle, non-retinol solution to fade discoloration.
Best Affordable Serum:
This serum not only boosts hydration; it is formulated with a tri-ceramide complex which supports a healthy barrier function.