The 20 Best Face Serums of 2021, Hands Down

But since there are so many different variations of serums out there, you might be wondering how to actually shop for one. “Choose your face serum based on the concern that you wish to address,” recommends Imahiyerobo-Ip. “Serums are generally pricier than the average over-the-counter skincare cream. How do you know if the serum is worth purchasing? Look at the ingredient list. The active ingredient should be at the top of the ingredient list. If it’s not, then you’ll know that the serum isn’t going to deliver the results you desire.”

When it comes to choosing an effective face serum, Hartman says to keep these three things in mind:

1. Active Ingredients: “Choose active ingredients that target your skin concerns and dermatologic conditions,” Hartman says. That might mean vitamin C to brighten and even skin tone, or hyaluronic acid for hydration.

2. Your Skin Type: For oily skin, consider a lighter and more aqueous serum. For dry skin, try an oil serum. “Those with sensitive skin must avoid serums that contain too many acids,” Imahiyerobo-Ip says. “Acids such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, citric acid, or retinoic acid all exfoliate the skin. If your serum contains acids and you have sensitive skin, you may experience skin irritation and redness.”

3. Consistency of the Serum: Again, go with a lighter formula if you have oily skin and an oil-based formula for drier skin.

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