24 Best Face Serums in 2023 to Target Any and All Skin-Care Concerns

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If there’s one step in our daily skin-care routine that we dare not skip, it’s applying serum. The best face serums deliver a highly concentrated, potent dose of active ingredients to the skin and target a range of skin concerns in one go. Whether it’s antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, peptides, botanical agents, or any number of other ingredients, serums are able to carry smaller molecules deep into the skin, where they exert the most benefit.

Kenneth Howe, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, explains that “in contrast to moisturizers, serums don’t contain air-tight, occlusive ingredients, which allow them to penetrate more deeply into the epidermis, carrying their active ingredients with them.”

Another reason why these facial serums are a mainstay for skin-care novices and lovers alike? The good ‘ol feel factor. “Serums are the new moisturizers,” New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, tells Allure. “They are perfect for layering — like a primer on clean skin before makeup or sunscreen.”

Luckily, there’s a world of options out there, including vitamin C serums and thirst-quenching formulas infused with hyaluronic acid, to suit whatever your skin type and concerns may be. In fact, we’ve got 24 of the best face serums below (many of them recommended by dermatologists, and all of them tested by us), so keep scrolling to find your new favorite.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

  • For Every Skin Type: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

    Allure editors, dermatologists, and our readers all agree: the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic serum is worth every single penny. As its name suggests, this Allure Best of Beauty- and Readers’ Choice Award-winning elixir is formulated with a potent trifecta of antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid to brighten your complexion, reduce discoloration and the appearance of fine lines, and improve firmness all at once.

  • For Every Skin Type: Dermalogica BioLumin-C Serum

    When your skin needs a brightening boost, look no further than Dermalogica’s BioLumin-C Serum. It’s one of the best vitamin C serums on the market because it contains the radiance-boosting, free radical-targeting, and skin tone-evening antioxidants alongside lactic acid, a gentle alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates dry patches and dead skin cells. To reduce inflammation, these key ingredients are paired with soothing and conditioning chia seed extract.

  • For Every Skin Type: Chanel Sublimage L-Essence Fondamentale

    Yes, the Chanel Sublimage L-Essence Fondamentale is pretty pricey, but this skin texture-refining formula is worth every penny, considering that it’s infused with quite a few complexion-nourishing ingredients. The standout additives in this formulation are vanilla planifolia water for its antioxidant-rich benefits and solidago extract, an ingredient known for its ability to heal wounds. Hydrating hyaluronic acid also makes an appearance to bind much-needed water onto skin while glycerin seals in moisture and supports the skin barrier.

  • For Every Skin Type: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DermInfusions Fill + Repair Serum

    Whether you’re looking to achieve a plumper, firmer, or brighter complexion, the new Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DermInfusions Fill + Repair Serum can help. Though the main job of this day-and-night serum is to smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles, you’ll also notice hydration and brightening benefits, thanks to its intensive blend of water-replenishing hyaluronic acid, firming peptides, and radiance-boosting niacinamide.

  • For Every Skin Type: French Girl La Flore Botanical Serum

    Botanical oils are the most decadent way to moisturize your skin and the French Girl La Flore Botanical Serum’s blend of 27 conditioning oils is as luxurious as it gets. The potent mix of mostly foraged hydrators — jojoba, rosehip, geranium, raspberry seed oils, and more — seals in moisture while leaving skin looking dewy and refreshed.

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    For Every Skin Type: L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

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    For Every Skin Type: La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum

    Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Connecticut, says that no matter your skin type, La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum is a great place to start when it comes to adding serums to your routine. “This serum combines concentrated pure hyaluronic acid, madecassoside, and vitamin B5 for tons of hydration without the irritation,” she explains.

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    For Every Skin Type: Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum

    Peach & Lily’s Glass Skin Serum has a long list of fans (including us), and it’s all due to its cocktail of ingredients that treat a range of skin concerns in one heavy-hitting formula. Those include niacinamide for brightening dark spots and scars from breakouts, peptides for boosting collagen production, centella asiatica-derived madecassoide for soothing, and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration. It’s oil-free so it’s safe to use on acne-prone skin, but beneficial for all skin types.

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    For Every Skin Type: CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum

    New York-based board-certified dermatologist Shari Marchbein, MD, is a fan of CeraVe’s Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum — and hyaluronic acid serums in general — because this molecule is a humectant that attracts and binds to water molecules and increases the water content of the skin. That’s something everyone can benefit from. “Skin hydration is important because hydrated skin looks plumper, healthier, and more vibrant,” she tells Allure, noting that it’s an especially high-priority ingredient in colder months.

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    For Mature Skin: SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum

    Board-certified dermatologist Heidi Prather, MD — who is based in Austin, Texas — has noticed that many technology-driven serums are turning their focus on elastin and collagen to enhance skin elasticity, which is one of the reasons SkinMedica’s TNS Advanced+ Serum has become so popular in her Texas practice. “The formulation feels silky and smooth on your skin and provides a powerful combination of growth factors and plant-based antioxidants to boost collagen and elastin,” she says.

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    For Mature Skin: Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum

    Sunday Riley’s buzzy A+ High Dose Retinoid Serum packs a punch when it comes to gently smoothing the appearance of fine lines over time. It’s one of the best retinol serums for its gentle formulation that’s suitable for even sensitive skin types, as Allure‘s associate beauty director Sarah Kinonen has vouched before.

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    For Mature Skin: iS Clinical GeneXC Serum

    iS Clinical’s GeneXC Serum is another option that’s ideal for mature skin types thanks to its potent yet non-irritating formula that addresses visible signs of aging from the inside out. It uses a blend of antioxidants and enzymes, plus L-ascorbic acid (a stabilized form of vitamin C), to target dullness and discoloration. 

  • For Mature Skin: RoC Derm Correxion Fill + Treat Serum

    Out of all the retinol serums we got our hands on, the RoC Derm Correxion Fill + Treat Serum is the best we’ve tried in 2022 — so it’s no wonder it won an Allure Best of Beauty Award. This under-$50 serum also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin for a plumper, suppler complexion.

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    For Dry Skin: Tatcha The Dewy Serum

    For the coldest and driest days of winter (or for people who experience dry skin 24/7), Tatcha’s The Dewy Serum is here to save the day. It has a delightful milky texture and lightly floral fragrance, and features a high 73 percent concentration of Tatcha’s Hadasei-3 complex — which includes antioxidant-rich Japanese rice, plus nourishing and soothing algae and green tea extract. Each of the ingredients is double fermented, producing lactic acid that gently sloughs away roughness and dry, flaky skin. 

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    For Dry Skin: Neocutis Bio Serum Firm

    It may seem like a no-brainer, but Dr. Prather says seeking out a serum with more hydrating factors when you have dry skin is a must. Luckily, if skin thirst isn’t your only concern, a formula like Neocutis Bio Serum Firm can address any unwanted signs of aging, too. “You get the benefits of hydration with sodium hyaluronate,” a form of hyaluronic acid, “while boosting elastin and collagen production through the patented formulation of growth factors and peptides,” she says.

  • For Dry Skin: Fleur & Bee Just Dew It Hydrating Serum

    The name doesn’t lie. If dewy skin is your thing, Fleur & Bee’s Just Dew It Hydrating Serum will be too, thanks to the impressive glow it imparts. Prickly pear seed oil and sea buckthorn oil instantly hydrate skin — a simple but wildly effective duo that leaves no trace of stickiness behind.

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    For Dry Skin: Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

    Laced with the hydrating sodium hyaluronate and moisture-replenishing ceramides, Drunk Elephant’s B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum is essential for anyone needing a little (or rather, a lot of) hydration. “It contains vitamin B5, as well as a watermelon rind, lentil, and apple complex, which combine to deeply hydrate and soothe agitated skin,” Dr. Howe explains.

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    For Dry Skin: Paula’s Choice Resist Omega+ Complex Serum

    Shea butter and jojoba oil are some of the best ingredients out there for soothing and nourishing dry, dehydrated skin. You’ll find both (plus omega fatty acids — hence the name) in the Paula’s Choice Resist Omega+ Complex Serum.

  • For Oily/Acne-Prone Skin: Shani Darden Lactic Acid Exfoliating Serum

    Dark spots be damned, because Shani Darden’s Allure Best of Beauty 2022-winning Lactic Acid Exofliating Serum is here to tackle hyperpigmentation with its hero ingredient. This lightweight serum instantly absorbs into skin while addressing discoloration and texture with exfoliatiors lactic and polyhydroxy acids. These acids are considered gentler than, say, an intensive glycolic acid or BHA like salicylic acid because they have larger molecules, which means they don’t penetrate as deeply into the skin. Meanwhile, a soothing complex of hyaluronic acid, aloe, and green tea target dryness and irritation.

  • For Oily/Acne-Prone Skin: ​​The Body Shop Edelweiss Liquid Peel

    Trust our word, The Body Shop’s Edelweiss Liquid Peel truly exceeds expectations. The super-gentle gel peel, infused with moisturizing moringa oil and antioxidant-rich edelweiss extract, will make your skin much clearer, plumper, and brighter with each and every use.

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    For Oily/Acne-Prone Skin: Neutrogena Hydroboost Hydrating Serum

    Board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD — the director of the cosmetic and clinical research department of dermatology at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital — explains that since many patients with acne also suffer from dryness, a light hydrating serum can be very helpful for oily skin types. He recommends the Neutrogena Hydroboost Serum because he says it “delivers hyaluronic acid to the skin that draws in water to hydrate and plump the outer skin layer.”

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    For Oily/Acne-Prone Skin: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum

    Combining a low price point and an effective formula, The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum uses a potent ten-percent concentration of brightening niacinamide and zinc, which can help as a topical spot treatment for blemishes. It also uses a water-based formula that won’t add any additional shine or oil.

  • For Combination Skin: Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex 30%

    Here’s a truly do-it-all serum for a skin type that does the most. Dr. Prather says Revision C+ Correcting Complex 30% is a great choice for combination skin because its potent tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate formulation — that’s an oil-soluble form of vitamin C — allows the product to stay pH-neutral, preventing irritation from the start. “It is also packed with ingredients that work hard to protect, brighten, and boost your skin health without breaking you out,” she explains.

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    For Sensitive Skin: Alastin Skincare Regenerating Skin Nectar

    Whether your skin is chronically sensitive or experiencing temporary irritation or fragility after an in-office treatment, Dr. Prather says Alastin Skincare’s Regenerating Skin Nectar is a great treatment for getting your skin back to its best self. This water- and fragrance-free formula is so much more than just a soother. “It is preservative-free, bacteriostatic, and the patented TriHex technology is packed with peptides that boost elastin while calming inflamed skin and decreasing downtime post-procedure,” she tells Allure.

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