20% Off Bright New Year Sale + Free $46 SkinCeuticals Gift* Shop Now


Skin Care

What is a Serum and Why Do I Need It?

What is Serum and Why Do I Need It?

If you don’t have the first clue what a serum is, you’re not alone. Serums are easy to misunderstand because they're not like any other skin care product, but they're also one of the most essential steps in a well-rounded routine. We’ll show you what serums are and why they’re the best way to get the results you’re looking for.

What is a Serum?

Serums are skin care products that deliver high concentrations of active ingredients to your skin. Serums have formulas tailored to specific skin concerns like acne, hyperpigmentation or wrinkles, and can include potent ingredients like glycolic acid, vitamin C and peptides. Serums also tend to have the lightest consistencies of all your skin care products, ranging from water-like essences to gels and even oils.

How Do I Use Serums?

You should always apply your serums first, for a couple of reasons. First, since your serum has the highest percentage of active ingredients, applying it to freshly cleansed skin gives it the best opportunity to deliver those ingredients where you need them the most. Second, a serum’s light consistency has a hard time getting through thicker products like moisturizers, so if you apply it after your other products, you’re not getting the full benefits of your serum.

How Much Serum Should I Use?

Less is more when it comes to serums. With most formulas, you only need a few drops for your whole face, neck and décolletage, so don’t go overboard! Serums are formulated with the precise amounts of active ingredients your skin can absorb at one time, so using more won’t give you better results and may even lead to irritation if you have sensitive skin.

Is a Serum Right for My Skin Type?

There’s a serum out there for you, no matter what your skin type is! Just make sure you’re up to speed on the best ingredients to use for the skin issues you want to target.

  • Vitamin C is great for mature skin (and most other skin types, too) because it stimulates collagen production to firm skin and smooth wrinkles, with the plus of brightening skin tone!
  • Dry skin loves ingredients like niacinamide, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, which helps bind essential moisture to skin for a plumped, dewy finish.
  • Oily Skin types should looks for ingredients like exfoliating glycolic acid and lightweight hydrators like hyaluronic acid that balance oil production.
  • Even those with sensitive skin can use serums with gentler formulations and skin-soothing ingredients like cucumber, chamomile (often you’ll see this listed as “Bisabolol” in the ingredients) and rosemary extracts.

DefenAge 8-in-1 BioSerum combines eight serum technologies and is a good choice if you aren't sure what face treatment is right for your skin.

What Serums Do You Recommend?

LovelySkin LUXE Cellular Anti-Aging Peptide Serum: This is one of our absolute favorites for its soothing water-gel texture and unique blend of peptides, apple extract cells and Persian Silk Tree extract. These advanced ingredients work together to repair cellular damage and build collagen for a firm, radiant complexion.

LovelySkin LUXE Cellular Anti-Aging Peptide Serum

Jan Marini C-ESTA Serum with DMAE Complex: We love this silky serum because it’s packed with all the good stuff—vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and DMAE to firm and tighten skin. It glides on, absorbs quickly and layers well with your other skin care products.

Jan Marini C-ESTA Serum with DMAE Complex

NIA24 Intensive Moisture Double Serum: This dual-chambered gel serum contains nourishing lipids, six types of hyaluronic acid and 3% patented Pro-Niacin to lock in moisture at every layer of your skin, repair sun damage and strengthen your skin barrier.

NIA24 Intensive Moisture Double Serum

Replenix Retinol Smoothing Serum 3x: This retinol serum is a great fit for normal skin types, and it’s also available in different strengths for other skin types. With 90% green tea polyphenols in addition to 0.3% retinol, it gives you all the rejuvenating benefits of retinol without the irritation or flaking.

Replenix Retinol Smoothing Serum 3x

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel: With a cooling gel texture and soothing cucumber and olive extracts, this serum is perfect for sensitive and rosacea-prone skin to calm redness and irritation while delivering a boost of vital moisture. Its antioxidant-rich formula is also ideal for post-procedure skin to protect and speed the healing process.

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel

Do you have questions about what serum is best for you? Let us know in the comments!

Shop This Blog

  • Promotes a more radiant complexion
  • Minimizes fine lines and wrinkles
  • Fights signs of fatigue
Quick Shop +
$100.00 was $125.00
Staff Favorite
4.8 out of 5 stars
Based on 76 reviews
  • Lifts and tightens skin
  • Diminishes fine lines
  • Boosts collagen production
Quick Shop +
4.7 out of 5 stars
Based on 190 reviews

Visibly improve the look of sun-damaged skin with NIA24 Intensive Moisture Double Serum. Inspired ...

Quick Shop +
$65.10 was $93.00
4.2 out of 5 stars
Based on 18 reviews
  • Diminishes fine lines and wrinkles
  • Provides antioxidant protection
  • Enhances skin tone and texture
Quick Shop +
Product Discontinued
  • Oil-free
  • Soothes irritation
  • Reduces post-treatment redness
Quick Shop +
4.6 out of 5 stars
Based on 119 reviews

About the Author

Zach is a content writer at LovelySkin. He loves movies, sci-fi novels and helping people improve their skin.

Other Posts by Zach


Leave a comment
Commented By
- August 21, 2020

It’s always so sweet and also full of a lot of fun for me personally and my office colleagues to search your blog a minimum of thrice in a week to see the new guidance you have got.

Commented By
- August 11, 2020

I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details about

Commented By
- July 28, 2020

This comment has been removed.

Commented By
- September 28, 2017

Is there any Serum that can be used on Rosacea type skin?

Profile Picture for Elizabeth
Commented By
LizzMama - September 21, 2017

Also, just curious. I work in advertising and marketing. The serums/skincare that you feature in your blogs - do those skincare retailers have to pay (like advertising) to be mentioned as a favorite in the blog?

Profile Picture for Elizabeth
Commented By
LizzMama - September 21, 2017

Wow Zach! You know how to eloquently discuss skincare! I Love Lovelyskin and the blog! I hardly ever read blogs (That I sign up for), which come to my email, but you guys always hit the nail on the head! As a fellow nerd and skincare FANATIC - bravo!


Return to the top
Need Help?
Email Us
Customer Care Hours
Mon - Thur 9 - 6 p.m. CT
Friday 9 - 5 p.m. CT
Sat 9 - 3 p.m. CT
Sun / Holidays Closed
New Year's Day Closed