Best Facial Serum for Your Skin Type

What's the Best Facial Serum for Your Skin Type that you've tried?

I don’t know if I’ve found the perfect one myself, as I am pretty terrible at staying true to one for long (I just fall off… I can moisturizer nightly, but the extra step of serum I’m not-so-good at!). Looking for recs for drier skin types (that’s what I’d want a serum for). The one that I have liked and used more routinely was Ole Henriksen’s Vitamin C serum.

— Christine

61 Comments

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Anne Avatar

I’ve got dry, quite sensitive skin with some mild rosacea so those issues are what I’m looking at addressing with a serum. I actually use two- one in the morning and one in the evening. In the morning I use the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum, which is a really good one for dry and/or dehydrated skin, and great for sensitive skin. In the evening I use Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum, which is also hydrating but also good for evening out skin texture. It’s technically an anti-aging serum as well so people older than my mere 27 years may like it. Neither have exacerbated my rosacea or irritated my skin, and the redness has gotten better. If I HAD to pick one, I’d probably go with the FAB one if hydration or redness is your top issue, and the Origins one if it’s uneven skin tone/surface or anti-aging.

Beth Avatar

I also use the Paulas Choice antioxidant serum. I mix it with a few drops of her Resist Vitamin C booster and it absorbs easily into my skin. It’s not greasy at all. I follow with her moisturizer and sunscreen for daytime. At night I alternate with her Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum and follow with her moisturizer. Paulas Choice skincare products are the best I have found for my dry skin.

Nicole Avatar

I’m a hopper myself. But, when I finally got Retin A in my routine a few times a week. I think that made a huge difference in the texture and clarity of my skin. I’m 40 so it was stressing me. I recently finished a super expensive serum called TNS Essential Serum by SkinMedica. It was close to $300. It honestly made a big difference in my skin.Yes, I realize I’m going to need to plunk down the $ again to keep it up. I’m going to have to wait a couple of weeks to buy it because my mortgage and car payment are due at the beginning of the month! lol! It did last about 3-4 months.

Nicole Avatar

I totally get it! I thought in it for a long time. My dermatologist suggested it along with another one called HA5 . I don’t use that. I tried it in the office and it felt dry . Plus, I like Perricone Hyalo plasma used thin under moisturizer for hylaurnic acid replacement. The place where I bought mine offered no reruns and no samples . Just in office testing. I really didn’t notice anything until about 6 weeks in. But , it’s the only thing that’s helped with dark spots and the texture of my skin. My skin feels firmer. No I don’t work for them. But , I wish I did ! I researched it up and down and sideways and decided to not by it discounted on Amazon due to knock offs and counterfeits . When I thought about the 2 or 3 $100 price range serums I may have been buying over the months that I have had it, I think I was not too much more . At least that’s what I’m telling myself, lol. I’m squeezing out the last bits now. Going to be tough to go without it until my next two paychecks. LMK if you have any questions or if you decide to try it Tammy! ?

CeCe Avatar

Paulas Choice Skin Recovery in winter and Resist Anti-aging the rest of the year. I use them at night, mixed in with moisturizer. If I’m going outside for an extended period of rime, I will wear it under sunscreen.

Ray Avatar

I mentioned this one in the poll yesterday: Lately I’m loving the Humphrey’s witch hazel toner – the softening Lilac version. It contains hyaluronic acid, B5/panthenol (great for anti-aging), aloe, a million different tea antioxidants, papaya (for brightening and exfoliating), and glycerin. It can work on its own as a light moisturizer for oily skin, and it also makes a great base for a richer moisturizer. You can get a big bottle at Walmart for under $10.

Humphrey’s makes an oil-control witch hazel toner with vitamin C and other citrus ingredients. I don’t like the formulation as much as the lilac one, but it’s a good cheapie option for someone who wants to try a vitamin C product.

Annette Avatar

Vitamin C serums (favorite: NuFountain C20) and fermented serums (favorite: Missha Time Revolution Night Repair).

Estee Lauder Night Repair is supposed to be a better formulated version of the Missha but for the cost savings, I’m very happy.

Celia Avatar

My skin is on the oily side and my main issue is enlarged/clogged pores. My favorite serums are either retinol or vit c-based. Algenist has Lifting & Firming (retinol with lovely moisturizers) and a nice vitamin C that I boost with Paula’s Choice vit c booster. I also like Paula’s Choice Ultra-Light Antioxidant formula. All pair well with corresponding treatments, sink into the skin easily, and are made with balanced and working ingredients.

Tammy B Avatar

I am 50 and I started using Skinceuticals CE Ferulic about 5 years ago. I use prescription strength retin A at night, CE Ferulic under my
moisturizer during the day, and my skin is in such good condition that most women think I am wearing foundation when I am actually bare-faced. My skin may be my best feature.

Jacqueline Avatar

I have dry and sensitive skin. My preference is a Vitamin C serum which contains Hyaluronic acid for the extra moisture boost. I hate that so many companies feel the need to add Limonene (a known skin sensitizer and irritant) and other citrus peel oils (also irritants) to their Vit. C serums to add that “citrus” scent. Luckily I have found several serums online that don’t have the unnecessary fragrances.

Off topic but related to my skin care routine, for retinoid products, I prefer to only use them in night creams (you are more susceptible to sun damage and should always use sunscreen during the day). This way if my skin is going through an extra dry phase, I can switch to a non-retinol night cream for a few days to help get my skin back to normal while still being able to use the Vit. C serum twice daily.

If you can’t tell already, I take my skincare very seriously! Haha!

Nancy T Avatar

I use 2 every night, religiously. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum (Vite C), and Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Serum. Both help my skin cope with living in a very dry, hot climate, and advancing age related issues. Only warnings I would put out there, is that back when I first started using the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, I was using it a.m. AND p.m., it lightened my face to the point where it no longer matched my upper chest, arms or anywhere else I’m not usually covering up! It looked bizarre! Now I only use it at night, and that’s sufficient.

MissJae1908 Avatar

I just purchased the Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Serum from Ulta. It had great reviews. I’ve only been using it for a week or two, but I hope that I like it.

Stephanie Avatar

I have normal skin, and am a bit drier in the winter. I have dried a boatload of serums, and hands down Lise Watier Sublimessence is the best of the lot. It does all the things it purports to do. It takes a few weeks, but I swear by the stuff.

Mindy Avatar

I have acne-prone skin and the Skincueticals Age & Blemish Defense Serum has been hands down the best product at keeping my skin clear. I’ve tried to go without it since it’s a pricey product but I’ve learned my lesson. I will keep using it because it truly does help keep me from breaking out.

Katherine T. Avatar

OMG, if you have dry skin, you must try Tony Moly Timeless Ferment Snail Emulsion (gold and white bottle). It’s been a TOTAL game changer for my +45 yr old skin, the best skin product I’ve come across in 2 years. I picked it up on sale on Hautelook, and noticed a difference within a few days. The first ingredient is snail slime filtrate ( 45% concentration per box instructions), so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck, but it’s not goopy, slimy, or heavy. Best way to use it is a drop on damp skin, like after a warm shower. It does leave behind some tackiness on face, but that means it’s locking in moisture, and it binds really well to whatever creams, sunscreens, foundation you layer on top. I’ve been using 2x a day, morning and night, and my skin looks great. It also has brightening and anti-aging ingredients, so I like to layer it with retinols and vitamin C serums, and it seems to “supercharge” everything to make it work even faster. I have some age spots/pigmentation, and have tried a number of products to get rid of them, but this cocktail seems to be working fast, as my face is visibly brighter and better hydrated after only a few weeks of use. I’m hoping they come out with a value kit, so I can try more products from the Timeless line.

Katherine T. Avatar

It’s really hard to find! Sephora, Ulta, Urban Decay Outfitters, and online beauty websites have started carrying some TonyMoly products, but not the Timeless Snail line as it’s pricey and a lot of USA consumers might be turned off by snail slime, and the internet is full of fake TonyMoly products. But TonyMoly does have a USA website you can order from, with a limited return policy. I checked, and they have a couple of sample kits available, which I might go for. Otherwise, I suggest signing up for Haute Look emails and trying to catch another sale. Hautelook is owned by Nordtrom’s and they often have Korean beauty brands on sale. I got the Emulsion for $40 (think regular is $60-70) but it’s a big bottle, think 140 ml (or 4.7 oz), so per oz, it’s not bad at all per oz.

Raeanne Avatar

I have always had oily, acne prone skin, until I made some good changes to my skincare routine over the last year. My skin is much more normal now, with occasional oily days due to hormones. My favorite facial oil is Paulas Choice Lightweight Antioxidant Serum, which serves as my primer and daytime moisturizer when my skin is normal to oily, and an extra layer of nightime moisture as needed (usually in the winter). That, coupled with gentle cleansers and a really good BHA exfoliant, have dramatically improved my skin!

Gillian Avatar

I’m the same Christine. In fact I’ve also used up the that same serum and it’s the only one I’ve ever finished! I’m tempted to try the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. Well I have already tried it since my Mum has it so she let me borrow it for a bit. I did quite like it, it made my skin lovely and soft but I didn’t have it for long enough to see just how it worked on my skin.

Also my acne is finally clearing up so does anyone have any recommendations for a serum or even a different kind of product that can help clear the residual red marks? They take forever to go away!

Lauren Avatar

i have also been using the truth serum for hyperpigmentation, and also the pixi glow tonic all over the face once as week and targeted to my hyperpigmentation twice a week. i also like to balance with a moisturising serum or my oily skin becomes dry which feels odd

Claire L Avatar

I don’t get on with serums unfortunately as they always make my sensitive, acne-prone skin break out. Oils are fine, and so are mild acid toners and mild retinols. I do like Murad’s Wrinkle and Blemish Reducer which covers both issues though. I think it’s the silicones in serums that make me break out. I adore facial oils though, my favourites at the moment are deluxe samples of Decleor 5 flower oil and Oskia Restoration oil. I put one of these on after cleansing and toning then putting on either Caudalie Divine Oil or Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse oil on top as I have dry/dehydrated skin. I have tried Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Oil from a deluxe sample but it didn’t do enough for me to justify the price.

MissJae1908 Avatar

Same here! My face is an oil slick! I must say that I haven’t found a serum, but I use sheet masks 2-3 times a week, I kinda use those as my serum. I’m obsessed with them!

fancie Avatar

I’ve only tried two so far, Lancome Genifique and Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defense Serum. I like both but Genifique is definitely my favorite between the two. It was pretty hydrating and made my dry skin feel soft and supple. Genifique also improved the way my skin looked over time too. I noticed a difference in my fine lines and my skin didn’t feel as dry either. The Juice Beauty one is still pretty good too. I just wish it was a little more moisturizing

jaz Avatar

I liked the ole Henricksen one, but haven’t purchased it yet. I don’t know if I can commit to it- I like a simple skincare routine that uses as few steps as possible.

Dee Avatar

When I lived in a cold northern climate my favorite was Philosophy When Hope is Not Enough serum under Dermalogica Active Moist. I don’t know how to explain it, but it didn’t just add moisture – it made my skin look better overall. Healthier and almost glowing. Since moving to a humid southern climate I treat my dry cheeks with Dermadoctor Kakadu C serum under whatever moisturizer I need a the time. This serum is pretty rich, so I only need 1 drop on each cheek. I tried the Philosophy No Reason to Hide and got beautiful balancing & evening results in just a week, but shortly after that my skin changed and I can’t use it anymore. It’s one that I’d love to go back to, if it didn’t sting my skin.

good luck finding one you like!

Beth Avatar

I’m 67, have dry skin, & live in Florida. I’m loving Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement and (summer) Kate Somerville Quench Oil Free Hydrating Face Serum or (winter) Kate Somerville Quench Hydrating Face Serum. Both are wonderful & together are great!

Ariane Avatar

YonKa serum is a wonderful combination of essential oils. It has a blend of Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Cypress and Geranium. Vitamins E & F. Tremendously hydrating and healing. Awesome for dry lips n cuticles as well. I can’t live without it!

Genevieve Avatar

Just LOVE Physicians Formula Argon Oil to use after my nightly shower – it is the best. And at such a reasonable price too. Perfect for dry and/or ageing skin.
I also use Neutragena’s Deep Moisture Serum on top of the oil (once the oil has soaked in) as well. I have just started using it and so far, so good.

Ally McBeagle Avatar

I have very oily skin and extremely sensitive skin. I like Korres Black Pine Serum. It’s very lightweight and I can use it under moisturizer, primer and foundation. I had stopped using it because I thought it stopped working. Big mistake. After trying 6 other brands, I repurchased it!

Chelan Avatar

I’ve been using the Olay Regenerist Resurfacing Night Serum for about 3 years or so. It’s amazing when my skin is so dry that I’m getting flakes everywhere because it has glycolic acid to exfoliate and it’s also amazingly hydrating. Sadly I recently learned it’s been discontinued 🙁 I think Murad has a similar product but its twice as much of course….

Nika99 Avatar

I have an oily t zone but mostly combo skin and I love all the Algenist Power and Genius lines.I have been switching a lot of my skin care over to it.I use the under eye Power serum and Genius C facial serum followed by Power facial serum all by Algenist they are pricey but I’ve been seeing results.They also have a Bi-Phase Oil peel that is amazing I had got a deluxe sample of it from Sephora,loved it and got a full size of the peel from Algenist.com for a sale price of 50% off.

KJH Avatar

Historically, oily and acne prone. I’m 67 also, so the hormonal crap had died down. Now it’s fairly normalized, thanks to PC’s info on BHA and pH, but there are wrinkles. (No $#!¥ at my age…). Paula light Resist for the Face, regular/ heavy Resist for eyes and peri oral. Don’t use the Vit C at night enough. Also do the hyaluronic and Retinol boosters on alternating days in with moisturizer. It takes some time for the heavier Resist to sink in, and one of the serums (maybe the skin balancing?) does not play well with eye makeup, at least for me. Adding the antioxidants has made a great difference. I see some choices in the responses that PC beautypedia rates well, notably the CE Ferrulic and Drunk Elephant. I never buy any skin care with more than one star deduction on beautypedia. Spent decades on HE products that did zero for acne, and now I know why. PC has not given me refined skin; it cannot change genes, thanks, dad. But it looks better than it did for the thirty years before I used it.

Cat Avatar

I’ve been using Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum for three years now and I can really tell a difference in my skin if I stop using it for a few nights. I’ve tried other serums but I always come back to Caudalie.

Tracey E. Avatar

Lancome Visionnaire and Bobbi Brown Extra Repair serums have been my go to products for addressing anti-aging, uneven skin texture and tone, and combination, sensitive skin. I’m researching Paula’s Choice and Drunken Elephant for additional anti-aging benefits and to assist with periodic redness.

Nina Avatar

I’m happy to say that I found the perfect serum in my local drugstore for like 3 euro 🙂 However, I do not have specific things I want to target, so that may be a reason I am so happy. It’s the Balea Q10 serum if anyone happens to be in Germany and wants to try it 🙂

ALthough I did have a sample of the Estee Lauder advanced Night repair serum and it was very nice as well.

Leslie Avatar

I have two favorites from Lancôme…..Genefique and Visionnaire. Both are excellent. They smooth the skin and give me a perfect canvas for my foundation (I also use Lancôme Renergie moisturizer and foundation). I never skip the serum step unless I’m just staying home or rushing out to the grocery store lol.

Arpita Avatar

I have got normal to dry skin; so now in summers, it is quite normal. I have never faced any major issues with my skin… I am eating the same, using the same; non expired cosmetics; having the same hormonsl cycles. Yet this summer, i am having so many breakouts. Really dont know what to do.. Since i have never faced such a situation ever before in my life. What do i do Christine. Nothing seems to be working.

Justine Avatar

I too love the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum. Works great day or night! I also love the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel for a good evening AHA serum. For day or night, I also like First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum for moisture. I prefer the Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum for day (though it’s good for night too) since it’s hydrating, a bit mattifying, helps with skin texture, and primes the skin well before makeup. To help control acne, I use a prescription called Aczone once (originally twice) a day. I can layer most of these serums (except invigorating night gel) on top, then moisturizer (sunscreen during the day).

Laura Avatar

Mentholatum Melano CC Anti-Spot Essence. I have sensitive, oily skin, but it could definitely work for a lot of skin types because the texture is almost oily, but completely sinks in without leaving a residue. It’s an asian vitamin C serum and one of the few that doesn’t irritate my skin (Ole’s Truth Serum was also okay, but I didn’t see any results). It has really brightened my skin and helped get rid of PIH. And of course vitamin C is an excellent preventive antioxidant. I get it off Amazon and wouldn’t want to be without it!

jasmine Avatar

You have to use serums with Hyaluronic acid because it holds water within the outer layers of skin, making them appear plumper and soften any lines or wrinkles. I use the Lady Soma Renewal Serum because it has aloe Vera, witch hazel and hyaluronic acid. HYALURONIC ACID WORKS!

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