Best Organic: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum
Courtesy of Detox Market
All-natural blend of 22 active botanicals
Richly moisturizing formula
Another option that has fan-favorite status, this formula is all about harnessing the power of plants. More specifically, it touts 22 active, organic, and wild-crafted botanicals that are chock-full of everything from antioxidants to vitamins to essential fatty acids. In short, it moisturizes, nourishes, and protects, a universally good pick for anyone looking to improve the overall health and quality of their skin. Its so good and effective that the brand only makes one other product.
Benefits: Hydrates, nourishes | Skin Type: All| Dosage: 5 to 6 drops | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
What Our Testers Say
“Ive been using this beloved serum for years after a fellow beauty editor recommended it to me, and its been a staple in my routine ever since. Even though it feels more like an oil than a serum, it doesnt break my skin out the way other face oils do. Instead, it leaves my skin looking smooth and glowy every time. I like to dispense a few drops into my hands and rub them together to activate the serum, as the brand suggests, before I press it into my face. I cant say for sure if this application method actually makes the product more effective, but it does make me feel fancy.” Karli Bendlin, Senior Editor
How We Chose The Best Serums For Oily Skin
We chose these serums based on criteria we think are good indicators of quality and safety, and for varying price points.
We looked for ingredients shown to reduce oil and balance skin thats prone to acne. These include:
- salicylic acid
- AHAs and BHAs
We considered products that have earned awards and certificates and are preferred by dermatologists and our medical review team.
Mamaearth Skin Plump Face Serum
The Skin Plump Face Serum by mamaearth is formulated with hyaluronic acid, rosehip oil, olive oil, castor oil, and coconut extracts. Hyaluronic acid replenishes your skin and helps increase collagen production and skin elasticity. It absorbs moisture and holds it in, leaving your skin smooth, soft, and radiant.
Coconut extract and rosehip oil fight the visible signs of aging and provide hydration. Olive oil moisturizes your skin and minimizes age spots, wrinkles, and blemishes. It also helps reduce excess sebum production and cleanses the impurities in the pores. With regular use, this face serum leaves your face naturally glowing, firm, and clean.
Key Ingredients: Coconut extracts, Rosehip oil, Castor oil, and Olive oil
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Maelove Moonlight Retinal Serum
Dr. Garshick adds that retinol works to regulate skin cell turnover, which improves the skins texture and tone. The Maelove Moonlight Retinal Super Serum uses a form of vitamin A that is thought to be more effective than retinol but less irritating than a prescription retinoid, making it an effective option for those with sensitive skin who are unable to tolerate a prescription or higher potency retinol, she says.
Sensitive Combination Skin Precautions
Those with combination skin thats also sensitive need to be more mindful of what products they use and when they use them.
For instance, sensitive skin is more susceptible to sun damage due to its weakened protective barrier against the external environment. To avoid damage or further irritation, it is advised to protect your skin and only use vitamin C at night.
The high strength of serums may cause irritation in sensitive skin. One way to prevent this is by breaking the thin-to-thick product application rule and applying your serums after moisturizing. This allows your skin to receive a more toned-down version of the products benefits.
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Skincall 15% Vitamin C + E + Ferulic Acid Serum
For Dr. Engelman, vitamin C is an essential ingredient for any skin care routine. Everyone should be using vitamin C its a super-ingredient for preventing and reversing skin damage, including signs of aging, she says. In addition to fighting free radical damage, vitamin C improves cell turnover and helps stimulate collagen production. This new launch from Skincall contains 15% pure vitamin C to protect the skin from environmental aggressors, brightens skin, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and hyperpigmentation.
Wow Skin Science Retinol Face Serum
The Retinol Face Serum by WOW Skin Science helps revive dull, acne-prone skin. Retinol promotes cell renewal and helps smoothen scars and fine lines, fade pigmentation, and nourish and brighten the skin. This serum also contains jojoba oil, vitamin B3, vitamin E, witch hazel, and aloe extract.
Jojoba oil controls excess sebum and moisturizes the skin, while vitamin E protects the skin from free radical damage. Aloe vera soothes acne, irritation, and redness. Vitamin B3 and witch hazel help restore the lipid barrier in your skin and keep it soft and supple. These ingredients improve your skins elasticity and give a boost of radiance.
Key Ingredients: Jojoba oil, Vitamin B3, Vitamin E, Witch hazel, and Aloe extracts
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How To Apply Face Serum
Once youve picked the best face serum for your skin type and what skin concerns you want to treat, its important to know how to use it. A skin care routine generally has several steps to layer products based on the formulas specific consistency. A good rule of thumb is to use your lightest products first and end with your heavier creams.
Serum is meant to be used after cleansing but before moisturizing, says Dr. Garshick. But if you have an essence or toner in your routine, she says to use those on first, followed by a serum, to ensure maximum penetration of the serums key ingredients.
Dr. Engelman recommends applying a serum to a damp face. Depending on the products packaging, youll pump out or use the dropper to put product into your hands and rub together to distribute product evenly then gently pat the product all around your face. She says to let it set for at least a minute before you apply other skin care products on top.
Serums can also be used at different points throughout the day, according to Dr. Garshick. She says that some products, like serums with vitamin C, are designed to protect skin during the day while others, like a retinol or acid-based serum, are more beneficial for a nighttime routine.
Serums intended to calm or hydrate skin can work both during the day and night. When used at night, Dr. Garshick says youll wake up with healthy skin that looks and feels refreshed.
Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power
Looking for the best Korean serum for oily skin? This is the one you must try.
You probably already heard about the brand. COSRX Its by far the biggest brand in terms of sales and popularity.
This is the serum that did wonders for my skin back in the day the main reason was because of the Snail Essence.
Snail essence is known to improve the skin tone while also protecting it from getting damaged. Even if you have perfect skin already, this is the one you must try.
Once you start using this, your oily skin will disappear within days.
Never have I seen a serum that works this well, and Ive tried many different serums.
So if you havent been using this serum already, youre missing out big time.
Remember that time when you forgot your keys at home.
Well, thats exactly the same feeling you should get when you dont use this serum, especially if your skin is extremely oily.
Thats basically forgetting your keys every day.
Dont be like that and take action immediately. This is the serum you must have, and use it consistently for at least a few weeks before you make any conclusions.
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Vitamin C Serum With Ferulic Acid Vitamin E And
Dr. Brenner Serum for Brightening and Anti-Aging
Dr. Brenner Vitamin C Serum with Ferulic Acid, Vitamin E, and Hyaluronic Acid
This affordable vitamin C serum combines l-ascorbic acid with other potent ingredients to brighten, even skin tone, increase firmness, and fight against signs of aging.
This is an excellent product for those looking for a budget-friendly, fragrance-free vitamin C serum. It contains a 20% concentration of vitamin C, which works to fight signs of aging and even skin tone while defending against damaging oxidative stress. The formula also contains antioxidant-rich vitamin E and ferulic acid, which have been proven to increase the efficacy of vitamin C.
- Some reviewers complain that it feels sticky on the skin
In addition to the ingredients mentioned above, this vegan and cruelty-free vitamin C serum contains hyaluronic acid, which helps attract moisture to the skin and lock it in for a plump and hydrated complexion.
Water, Ethoxydiglycol, L-Ascorbic Acid 20%, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Laureth-23, Tocopherol 1%, Sodium Hyaluronate 1%, Ferulic Acid .5%, Panthenol, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol
National Center for Biotechnology. “Vitamin C in dermatology”
Accessed Jan. 27, 2022.
Faded Serum For Dark Spots & Discoloration
Topicals Serum for Improving Skin Texture and Tone
Topicals Faded Serum for Dark Spots & Discoloration
This lightweight cream serum is packed with ingredients that are proven to brighten while minimizing the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, scars, blemishes, and dark patches for a more even skin tone and texture.
This brightening serum is packed with effective ingredients that will help improve skin tone and texture. Tranexamic acid minimizes the appearance of dark patches and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, while niacinamide further fades discoloration. Azelaic acid works to brighten, minimize blemishes, and improve skin texture.
- Some reviewers complain about the smell
When first starting out with this product, apply once weekly to allow your skin to adjust. After a few weeks, you can increase your usage to two to three times per week.
The Inkey List Serum for Hydration
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid
This affordable serum uses the power of hyaluronic acid and other potent ingredients to hydrate, plump, and smooth the skin.
Hyaluronic acid is a super effective skincare ingredient that attracts and locks in moisture to maintain the skins hydration levels. This hydrating serum is formulated with multiple molecular weight hyaluronic acid, which is able to hydrate different layers of the skin. Its an excellent choice for those looking for a budget-friendly hydrating serum.
The Inkey List Niacinamide
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How To Choose A Serum For Combination Skin
Simple! Look out for the following features in the product before buying:
Skin type: Many people confuse combination skin for oily skin or vice versa. Hence, you must first figure out your skin type before choosing the product. Also, never use an oily skin product on combination skin as you may end up worsening the condition rather than improving it.
Lightweight and non-greasy: Nobodys goal is to have a greasy and heavy feeling on the skin. So, before you add the product to the cart, check if it is weightless, non-sticky, and non-greasy for the best experience.
Hydration formula: Lack of moisture can turn combination skin dull and lead to fine lines in extreme cases. So, no matter the serum you choose, always make sure it hydrates your skin to help it look plumper and healthier with every use.
Pore-refining solution: Since combination skin is prone to dirt and oil build-ups, its ideal to choose a formula that exfoliates pores and prevents breakouts too.
Anti-aging signs: There is never a particular time or age to start using an anti-aging serum. Hence, before the aging signs become too noticeable, its preferable to pick a product that boosts hydration and ensures younger-looking skin always.
Best For Dewy Skin: Tatcha The Dewy Serum
Hadasei-3 Complex includes fermented blend of antioxidants
Creates dewy complexion when worn under makeup
This top-rated serum has a milky texture and leaves dry skin feeling spongey with just one application. Tatcha’s Hadasei-3 complex includes a fermented blend of antioxidants, lactic acid, algae and green tea extract to effectively exfoliate without irritation. The formula is ultra-hydrating and excellent under makeup, especially if you’re trying to create a dewy, glass skin look.
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La Roche Posay Glycolic B5 Glycolic Acid Serum
Another Dr. Luke fave is the La Roche Posay B5 Glycolic Acid Serum. This gentle exfoliator will reveal smoother and brighter skin overall, due to its formula driven by glycolic acid, tranexamic acid, and vitamin B5, which together will resolve discoloration and improve skin tone. Its also oil, fragrance, and alcohol-free so that it works for even the most sensitive skin.
How To Use Serums In Your Combination Skin Routine
As a rule, skin care products should be applied beginning with the product thats thinnest in consistency to the thickest. When layering products, allow time for each layer to dry to prevent pilling, or collecting on top.
Some serums are better suited for use at night than day. Any serum containing retinol, vitamin A or AHAs should be used at night as they can increase your skins sensitivity to the sun.
If your combination skin is on the oily side, you may be able to use a hydrating serum during the day in place of a moisturizer. But if you omit the moisturizer, youll still need to wear sunscreen containing at least SPF 30.
Is A Serum Necessary For Combination Skin
Serums arent an absolute necessity for a solid skincare routine. If you want to keep things super simple, a basic routine will include a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a sunscreen to keep your skin clean, hydrated, and protected. That said, if there are specific skin issues youd like to target, serums can be incredibly beneficial. It all comes down to what your specific skin goals are.
Skinmedica Lytera 20 Pigment Correcting Serum
Skinmedicas Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum is Dr. Garshicks go-to for hyperpigmentation, thanks to its corrective ingredients, tranexamic acid, resorcinol, and phytic acid. It will not only prevent the appearance of new dark spots, but one of its marine extract also works to strengthen the skins barrier.
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Best Serum For Pigmentation: Mamaearth Skin Illuminate Face Serum With Vitamin C & Turmeric
Say goodbye to hyperpigmentation and give your skin a radiant look with Mamaearths Skin Illuminate Vitamin C Face Serum. Vitamin C is one of the most potent anti-aging agents loaded with antioxidants. This serum is enriched with vitamin C targets fine lines and brightens and firms the skin. The antioxidant-rich turmeric in the serum adds a natural radiance to the skin, while the plant-derived squalene boosts collagen production. This face serum is suitable for all skin types and helps enhance the overall health of your skin.
Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, Turmeric, and Squalene
Olay Total Effects 7 In One Daily Serum
The 7 in One Daily Serum by Olay Total Effects is infused with green tea extract, vitamin B3, pro-vitamin B5, niacinamide, glycerin, vitamin E, and vitamin C that nourish and heal the skin from within. While green tea helps protect your skin cells from damage, vitamins C and E helps clear the skin and fight free radical damage. Niacinamide restores moisture loss and induces cell regeneration.
This nourishing face serum provides intense moisturization and reduces signs of dryness. It also possesses anti-aging properties and targets age spots. With regular use, the serum can restore your skins elasticity and minimize large pores. It has SPF 15, which protects your skin from sun damage too.
Key Ingredients: Green tea, Vitamin E and C, Glycerin, and Niacinamide
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Best Calming: Dr Barbara Sturm Calming Serum
Courtesy of Nordstrom
No matter whether its a chemical peel, a little too much sun, an international flight, or just day-to-day stress thats making your skin freak out, this serum is the solution. Along with the brands hero ingredient, purslane, which hydrates and protects cell membranes from free radicals, it also has a plant-based complex of Cardiospermum, echium, and sunflowera trio that helps quickly calm and soothe redness and irritation.
Benefits: Reduces redness, soothes irritation, hydrates, protects against free radicals | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 fl. oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Yes
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti
Dr. Engelman explains that combination skin tends to be oily in the T-zone area and dry on the rest of the face, which makes it trickier to treat. Elizabeth Ardens Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum 2.0 has protective and anti-aging benefits from antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, along with balancing and brightening botanical extracts, says, making it a great choice that can be used daily.
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The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
Dr. Garshick says that patients with oily skin should opt for ingredients that will reduce excess oil production, exfoliate the skin, and unclog pores. She points to The Ordinarys Salicylic Acid 2% Solution to help minimize irritation while decongesting pores and removing dead skin cells. This serum was also recently relaunched with a new water-based formulation to further reduce any potential irritation from the salicylic acid.