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25 Best Face Serums to Target Every Major Skin Concern

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Photo by Anna Efetova/Getty Images

While we have our skincare routine down pat, there are some nights and mornings when we just can’t deal—and so we skip a few steps. We know you’ve been there too. But in our hurry, there's one product we never forget to apply to our skin: our trusty face serums. These potent skincare products target every major skin concern you can think of: fine lines, dark circles, blemishes, dryness, dullness—the list goes on and on. When you use the right face serum, it can help you achieve the flawless complexion of your dreams. Who doesn't want that?

Not all serums are the same though. Some are better at treating discoloration and sun damage, while others work hard to brighten and hydrate. So before you purchase any face serum, it's important you know exactly what it targets and how it will help your complexion. We've rounded up the best of the best face serums for any and all skin issues you can think of. Scroll through the list now to find the one that'll save your complexion!

1. Best Face Serum for All Skin Types:

SKINCEUTICALS C E Ferulic®

SKINCEUTICALS C E Ferulic®
Courtesy of SKINCEUTICALS

This serum is truly one of the best on the market. What makes this vitamin C serum so magical is the advanced environmental protection it offers due to its blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid. It's clinically proven to reduce damage caused by free radicals generated by UVA/UVB rays, ozone pollution, and diesel exhaust. Whether you have dry, normal, combination, or sensitive skin, this serum will hydrate, brighten, and firm your complexion.

2. Best Resurfacing Face Serum:

DRUNK ELEPHANT Protini™ Powerpeptide Resurf Serum

DRUNK ELEPHANT Protini™ Powerpeptide Resurf Serum
Courtesy of DRUNK ELEPHANT

DRUNK ELEPHANT offers a number of skincare products we love, including face serums. But this one really takes the cake. This mega-strength serum can help dramatically improve your skin's tone, texture, and bounce in only a few months. That's all thanks to the ultra-concentrated blend of 11 peptides, growth factors, and amino acids. When we say this is packed with everything your skin needs to be soft and supple, we mean it.

3. Best Face Serum for Acne-Prone Skin:

GLOSSIER Super Pure

GLOSSIER Super Pure
Courtesy of GLOSSIER

Not only is this serum gorgeous to look at, but it also packs quite the punch. Niacinamide and zinc work together to rebalance and reset your skin in as little as four weeks. So if you're looking for something to clear up your complexion fast, GLOSSIER Super Pure can help get rid of breakouts in no time at all. Plus, it'll make it really hard for them to come back—bye bye, breakouts!

4. Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum:

THE ORDINARY Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

THE ORDINARY Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Courtesy of THE ORDINARY

What sets this formula apart from the rest is the use of three forms of hyaluronic acid with varying molecular weights that offer multi-depth hydration and visible plumping. The vitamin B5 also boosts surface hydration, so you won't have to worry about dry skin making a comeback. Did we mention it's also vegan? That makes us love it that much more.

5. Best Face Serum for Darker Skin Tones:

DR. BARBARA STURM Darker Skin Tones Hyaluronic Serum

DR. BARBARA STURM Darker Skin Tones Hyaluronic Serum
Courtesy of DR. BARBARA STURM

Those with darker skin tones will greatly benefit from this hyaluronic serum. Crafted by world-renowned dermatologist Dr. Barbara Sturm, this specific formula provides instant hydration, supports natural skin barrier function, and helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines. The coveted anti-aging ingredient purslane reduces signs of irritation to support a more even complexion. Go get your glow!

6. Best Hydrating Face Serum:

NEUTROGENA® Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum

NEUTROGENA® Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum
Courtesy of NEUTROGENA®

NEUTROGENA has been saving our skin for years now and their Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum is no exception. Purified hyaluronic acid is the star of this serum, delivering an intense amount of hydration that will leave your skin glistening all day long. Even better, it's oil-free, non-comedogenic, and can even be worn under makeup. Those who swear by this serum appreciate that it doesn't leave their complexions feeling too greasy, while also being gentle enough for more sensitive skin types.

7. Best Face Serum for Sensitive Skin:

GLOW RECIPE Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum

GLOW RECIPE Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum
Courtesy of GLOW RECIPE

Finding a serum that will treat sensitive skin concerns without making them worse is more difficult than it should be. Thankfully, GLOW RECIPE Avocado Ceramide Recovery Serum is here to save the day (and your skin). Key ingredients such as avocado butter, avocado extract, ceramide-5, allantoin, and rice milk work together to reduce visible redness, strengthen and recover irritated skin, and strengthen the skin barrier to ensure your complexion is protected from various skin stressors. Free of parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, silicones, phthalates, synthetic dyes, fragrances, and drying alcohols, nothing in this delicious formula will upset or agitate your skin.

8. Best Retinol Serum:

THE INKEY LIST Retinol Serum

THE INKEY LIST Retinol Serum
Courtesy of THE INKEY LIST

Retinol serums are a dime a dozen. And everyone has their favorite they'd defend to the death. For us, that happens to be THE INKEY LIST Retinol Serum. Derived from vitamin A, this formula targets fine lines and wrinkles, while boosting skin clarity and evening out the skin tone. Other retinol serums tend to be a bit harsh on the skin, but this one is designed to be gentle and non-irritating. It's really the reason we adore it so much.

9. Best SPF Face Serum:

SUPERGOOP! Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 Serum

SUPERGOOP! Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 Serum
Courtesy of SUPERGOOP!

Sunscreen is a critical component of any skincare routine. Now, we know it's easy to get lazy and not apply it, especially when you don't plan on venturing outdoors, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't slather it all over your complexion. For days when you can't be bothered to add that extra step to your routine, reach for the SUPERGOOP Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF 40 Serum. Vitamin C works to visibly brighten your complexion and SPF protects your skin from UV rays and blue light.

10. Best Collagen-Infused Face Serum:

MURAD Rapid Collagen Infusion

MURAD Rapid Collagen Infusion
Courtesy of MURAD

While collagen is naturally produced in our bodies, production starts to diminish over time. This leads to pesky fine lines and wrinkles popping up all over the face. But that's nothing a collagen serum can't solve, especially this one from MURAD. This fast-acting treatment utilizes a topical filler-like effect that instantly plumps skin and restores youthful firmness by ramping up collagen production. This serum works in as little as two hours to plump away fine lines and wrinkles. Yes, it is magic in a bottle.

11. Best Face Serum for Hyperpigmentation:

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Vitamin C Dark Spot Serum
Courtesy of BIOSSANCE

Struggling with hyperpigmentation is no fun. Thankfully, there is a solution—this bottle of serum right here. The targeted 10% vitamin C treatment will brighten and fade dark spots, while squalane provides weightless moisture and prevents overdrying by delivering active ingredients deep into your complexion. Another key ingredient in this serum is the proprietary white shiitake mushroom extract, which delivers longer-lasting results than other vitamin C serums out there.

12. Best Antioxidant Serum:

AVÈNE A-OXitive Antioxidant Defense Serum

AVÈNE A-OXitive Antioxidant Defense Serum
Courtesy of AVÈNE

No matter how well you take care of your skin, environmental stressors are always going to cause some sort of damage. To better protect your complexion from damaging free radicals, we suggest using this defense serum on your face. This powerful antioxidant serum provides a continuous defense against environmental and lifestyle aggressors to provide you with a brighter, more youthful complexion.

13. Best Exfoliating Face Serum:

HERBIVORE BOTANICALS Prism AHA + BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum

HERBIVORE BOTANICALS Prism AHA + BHA Exfoliating Glow Serum
Courtesy of HERBIVORE BOTANICALS

Plant-based AHAs and willow bark BHA are a powerful duo in this exfoliating serum. Together, they increase skin clarity, decrease the appearance of pores, calm dryness and redness, provide long-lasting moisture, and deeply hydrate, nourish, and help smooth your skin's texture. People who've struggled with acne, oily skin, and the like swear by this serum to exfoliate all those annoying skin problems away.

14. Best Brightening Serum:

CAUDALIE Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence

CAUDALIE Vinoperfect Concentrated Brightening Essence
Courtesy of CAUDALIE

This smart blend of white peony, organic grape water, and glycolic acid is the recipe for a brighter and more even complexion. The brightening serum, which features 97% ingredients of natural origin, eliminates dead skin cells and revitalizes your skin. The brand's signature grape water also hydrates, soothes, and moisturizes your skin so it won't feel or look irritated after you apply it. What could be better?

15. Best Night Serum:

AHAVA Extreme Night Treatment

AHAVA Extreme Night Treatment
Courtesy of AHAVA

In need of a serum that'll rejuvenate your skin while you sleep? This night serum is calling your name. Featuring a blend of potent minerals sourced directly from the Dead Sea, a bio-technology firming ingredient, and peptides, this serum promotes firmness, smooths, and reinforces the skin's natural barrier. All you need to do is apply two to three drops before bedtime, get some beauty sleep, and you'll wake up looking bright and fresh.

16. Best Face Serum for Dry Skin:

ÉVOLUÉ SKINCARE Hydrating Serum

ÉVOLUÉ SKINCARE Hydrating Serum

Quench dry skin with a hydrating serum. This one in particular boasts three different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, plumping your pores and drawing moisture deep into your skin. Not only will you revitalize itchy, tired skin—you’ll also help minimize fine lines and wrinkles. The serum is also specifically designed to soothe more sensitive complexions.

17. Best Face Serum for Oily Skin:

MINTPEAR Rosehip Night Serum

MINTPEAR Rosehip Night Serum

Good skincare doesn’t have to leave any greasy traces behind. If you have oily skin, slather on this night serum without worrying about excess oil. The delicate, all-natural vegan elixir is great for oily and acne-prone skin. Its star ingredient, rosehip (“nature’s Retin-A”), helps minimize dark spots, bring moisture back to dehydrated skin, and erase fine lines. Stir up collagen production while you get your beauty sleep, and wake up glowy and refreshed.

18. Best Face Serum for Combination Skin:

LUÉ BY JEAN SEO Balance Hydrating and Calming Serum

LUÉ BY JEAN SEO Balance Hydrating and Calming Serum

If you have combination skin, you’re probably used to applying a variety of products with totally different purposes. This face serum is the perfect multitasker—sodium hyaluronate gives dry patches a grip on moisture, while the oil-free formula absorbs fast and keeps shine under control. Caring for your combination skin has never been easier, nor has it required fewer products.

19. Best Anti-Aging Serum:

JUICE BEAUTY Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum

JUICE BEAUTY Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum

“Anti-aging” skincare products are all the rage, but we think the point of skincare is to look your best in the skin you already have. The great thing about this vitamin C serum is that it banks on the power of natural ingredients to enhance your beauty and your glow, no matter what your skincare goals might be. The lightweight gel serum is packed with resveratrol-rich grapeseed, which helps fight free radicals, pigmentation, and discoloration while keeping your skin clear and hydrated. Antioxidant-rich jojoba and shea are flanked by essential fatty acids that make skin feel beautiful through all the seasons of your life.

20. Best Firming Serum:

PRIVATE DOCTOR Define Minus Serum

PRIVATE DOCTOR Define Minus Serum

Losing your skin’s firmness and elasticity over time can be a bummer, but it’s possible to sculpt sagging or slackened skin without relying on invasive procedures. This advanced K-beauty serum is a fine alternative to contouring. Sodium deoxycholate defines your skin and smooths rough and uneven texture, while antioxidant-potent turmeric root extract sends nourishment and hydration deep into your pores. Use it on your face, jaw, and neckline, and feel the difference almost immediately.

21. Best Calming Serum:

BYROE Bell Pepper Serum

BYROE Bell Pepper Serum

Bell pepper in a facial serum? It works. The anti-inflammatory properties of the pepper soothe redness and calm irritation within minutes of applying it to your complexion. Not only that, bell pepper is rich in vitamin C, so this serum can also help fade hyperpigmentation and even out your complexion in no time at all.

22. Best Face Serum for Minimizing Pores:

SKINFOOD Peach Sake Pore Serum

SKINFOOD Peach Sake Pore Serum
Courtesy of SKINFOOD

Enlarged pores got you down? Fret not, for SKINFOOD Peach Sake Pore Serum is here to shrink them down to a more manageable size. Japanese sake and peach extract are the key ingredients in ensuring this happens. Together, these two superhero ingredients work to reduce the appearance of pores and control excessive oil production.

23. Best Face Serum for Targeting Problem Areas:

SWEET CHEF Kale + Vitamin B Serum Shot

SWEET CHEF Kale + Vitamin B Serum Shot

Serums are often designed to treat your entire complexion, not just one area of your face. For problem areas that need an extra bit of targeting, try this serum. Kale and anti-inflammatory aloe vera give your skin its daily dose of minerals and nutrients, while vitamin B calms redness, lightly hydrates, and boosts your skin’s protective barrier in the places it needs it most. You can apply it to specific areas for a more targeted treatment, or even it out across your complexion for a gentle refresh.

24. Best Face Serum for a Dewy Complexion:

AWAKE Glow Pill Super Serum

AWAKE Glow Pill Super Serum

Yes, this serum is in fact super. It's basically a multivitamin for your skin. Vitamin B3 (aka niacinamide) helps to fade discoloration and improve skin texture for a youthful glow. Vitamin B5 is a skin-softening ingredient that delivers a plump, dewy complexion with each use. Guess our parents were right about the importance of getting our daily dose of vitamins. Had we known this sooner, we would've taken them a little more seriously.

25. Best Face Serum for Unexpected Breakouts:

SYMBIOSIS SKINCARE [Salicylic + Zincidone] - Blemish Treatment Serum

SYMBIOSIS SKINCARE [Salicylic + Zincidone] - Blemish Treatment Serum

Pesky pimples are no match for the blemish blasting duo of salicylic acid and zincidone. The salicylic acid works to clear out your pores and the zincidone regulates excess oil production to fight breakouts. You can use this serum on a regular basis, though it's also great as a more targeted spot treatment.

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About the author
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Ashley Locke
Ashley is a Long Beach-based freelance writer who loves sharing beauty and skincare hacks with her fellow “lazy girls” out there. When she isn’t writing, you can find her crying while listening to The Maine or watching "The Office".
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Article Last Updated September 4, 2021 12:00 AM