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A Quick Refresher On Why You Should Give Serums a Chance

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During the winter, you’ll find me slathering on a zillion different creams in hopes of defeating my mortal enemy: dry skin. But when spring rolls around, I favor a more streamlined skincare approach and rely on lightweight serums. In fact, I’ll often replace my regular moisturizers with these liquid formulas in the warmer months. There’s just something so unappealing about sleeping with a ton of heavy products on my face once it’s no longer freezing in my pre-war cave of a Brooklyn apartment.

In case you’ve still been anxious about testing them out, here’s a quick refresher on serums: Unlike moisturizers, which are primarily designed to hydrate, serums are made to target various skincare concerns. In other words, if your moisturizer is a generalist, then your serum is a specialist. They treat everything from lackluster skin tone to hyperpigmentation to rosacea, and sometimes accomplish two or three goals at once. I love them because they have a liquid consistency and absorb quickly (crucial when I’m in a hurry to get to bed). And while serums tend to be on the pricier side of the spectrum, they also have the highest concentration of active ingredients of all the components in a skincare line.

It can be tricky to find the perfect serum for your skin—it’s largely a matter of trial and error—but here are a few that I’m loving right now:

  • Vitivia Vitamin Capsules: These single-use capsules take the guesswork out of application. Choose from Vitamin C for daytime to brighten skin or Vitamin A (aka retinol) for night to help reduce fine lines and reverse sun damage. Each 28-pack will last you a month—and you really should use them every day if you want to see a difference.
  • Joanna Vargas Daily Serum: I once got a facial from celeb beauty guru Joanna that made me want to weep with joy when I saw the transformative results. Like her signature treatments, this formula is all-natural and loaded with vitamins to help lessen the appearance of dark spots, along with a dose of moisturizing hyaluronic acid.
  • LaFace Laboratories Hydrating & Purifying Serum: Brainy beauty geeks approve of this innovative formula. It stimulates your skin to produce more of its own natural hydrators (known as glycosaminoglycans) while curbing the growth of abnormal cells.
  • Lierac Paris Concentré Mésolift Toning Radiance Serum: I’m convinced the French have the market cornered when it comes to glow-inducing products. This supercharged serum contains hyaluronic acid, which plumps skin and helps fill in fine lines. The payoff: you can wear less makeup.
  • Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Optimizing Skin Serum: For those whose skin can’t tolerate retinol, this serum is your best bet. It’s made with retinyl linoleate, a milder form of vitamin A that has similar anti-aging effects (ie, fading fine lines and enhancing skin tone). 

—Mai

 If you’re looking for a serum-like formula for your body to replace your winter lotion, check out Caudalie’s Divine Oil.

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