Best Face Serum

When it comes to skin care, the one question we as beauty editors get most often is, What is a serum? Followed by, do I need one? For a beauty product, face serums are strangely complicated: They’re in between a moisturizer, an oil and an essence. You apply serums directly to the skin after cleansing, before your moisturizer, in order to deliver potent anti-aging ingredients into your skin. Many are formulated with hyaluronic acid or vitamin C, the same moisturizing and complexion-brightening ingredients we see in moisturizers and other skin-care products, but in stronger, more effective formulas that penetrate deeper into the skin.

Most serums target a specific skin care concern, like sun spots, fine lines, sagging or dull skin. Others tackle multiple problems at once. There is one downside to extra-effective skin care: The price. Face serums use higher quality ingredients and higher concentrations than your daily moisturizer. Plus, it takes a lot of research and development to create a supereffective serum. The good news: As serums grow more popular in mainstream skin care, we’ve seen drugstore brands launch affordable versions that are as good as the pricier stuff.

There’s a reason why so many beauty products give vitamin C top billing. This powerhouse antioxidant helps brighten skin and protect against wrinkles and fine lines. Since it neutralizes skin-damaging free radicals, a vitamin C-packed serum means you’re working on your skin both present and future. This 10% vitamin C serum contains three forms of vitamin C for triple the antioxidant power. That explains the price tag, but it also means a stronger attack on discoloration and fine lines.