7 Face Serums That Really Work

A crucial step in any skincare routine, face serums are the A+ students of your skincare routine, going above and beyond to deliver a highly concentrated dose of ingredients formulated to target specific skin concerns, fast.  

Serums typically have a thin gel or cream consistency – thicker than a toner but lighter than a moisturiser, and should be applied after cleansing/toning and before moisturising. As a general rule, apply hydrating or protecting serums (think: antioxidants and hyaluronic acid) in the morning, and repairing serums (starring ingredients like retinol or AHAs) at night. 

Serums are easy to integrate into a basic skincare routine, but if you’re wondering how to choose the right one for you, your best bet is to think about your skincare goals – whether that’s targeting fine lines, boosting hydration, brightening dull skin, or clearing blemishes. 

Below, we’ve shared eight tried-and-tested face serums that will deliver results based on your biggest skin concern. 

1. Best serum for excess oil and blackheads

Niacinamide and zinc are a dream team if redness, blackheads, and oiliness are causing your skin to freak out, which is why The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% has racked up over 2000 rave reviews. The lightweight formula absorbs quickly and fights the battle on two fronts – triggering cell turnover and strengthening the skin barrier to improve congestion and fight against bacteria. 

2. Best serum for dryness

As its names suggests, Dr Jart’s Ceramidin Serum is packed with ceramides – lipids which effectively act as the ‘cement’ that holds your cells together. Because ceramides strengthen your skin barrier and prevent moisture from escaping, they improve hydration levels – this results in smoother, softer, healthier skin over time.

3. Best serum for fine lines and wrinkles

Also known as vitamin A, retinol is a powerful active ingredient which is widely considered to be one of the best ingredients for fighting signs of aging – like fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation. Skin Proud’s Recharge Overnight 0.5% Retinol Serum is one of the highest rated out there, with reviewers hailing its ability to improve skin’s tone and texture without triggering irritation. 

4. Best serum for antioxidant protection

Antioxidants protect skin from environmental damage so they’re beneficial ingredients to have in any skincare routine, but especially if you live in a city or want to prevent early signs of aging like loose skin and fine lines. Featuring a cocktail of antioxidants in a hydrating aloe versa-based formula, Aesop’s Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum can be used morning and night for plumper, healthier skin. 

5. Best serum for breakout-prone skin

If you’re prone to breakouts and don’t feel like your regular masking routine is quite cutting it, Dermalogica’s Age Bright Clearing Serum fights breakouts on two fronts – reducing inflammation and congestion with salicylic acid while niacinamide controls sebum levels and fights red marks. 

6. Best serum for dull skin

Skin looking a bit dull? By BEAUTY BAY’s Oil-Serum Hybrid has a potent formula will bring back the brightness and keep skin looking glowy all day. It absorbs quickly and brightens skin instantly with vitamin C-rich kakadu oil so is a perfect addition to your morning routine. 

7. Best serum for redness

Cica (also known as centella asiatica or tiger grass) is renowned for its ability to help calm and heal skin – it soothes irritation and fast-forwards the skin’s repair process. Dr. Jart+’s Cicapair Repair Serum has a particularly potent formula which is perfect for patting onto angry skin for immediate relief.