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*This* is the face serum your skin needs

Anyone else feel like adding another step to the ~skincare routine~ sounds classy, but how do you actually decide what works for your skin? The world of skincare is bright, shiny and full of goodies, but trying too many things at once—or worse, using something your face wants to say no to? Nightmare fuel.

That's why we want to dive into serums. You know, the step you see influencers take after cleansing and toning their faces. These powerful liquids are hyper-concentrated solutions to different skin sitches. The trick is to find the one (or two) that works best for you.

No matter your skin type, it's important to be delicate when it comes to adding a new step to your routine. Using too many products at once or adding steps in at the same time can do more harm than good. Start each new serum with a patch test on your inner arm to make sure you don't have a negative reaction.

Our best rule of thumb? Keep your routine minimal and find one or two new serums to fit into your routine—one for mornings and one for night. And as always, lock in all those good ingredients with a hydrating and soothing lotion.

So whether you're a sensitive-skinned sweetie or you want to stop breakouts before they start, there's something for everyone. Let's break down our top five:

Vitamin C


@gabriellerizzo

Use it when: You want to start experimenting with serums. Vitamin C is gentle for most skin types, and you'll notice glowier, dewier, firmer skin. It's an all-purpose serum perfect for your daily routine.
Added bonus: Vitamin C promotes collagen production, which helps brighten and strengthen skin. Try using it in your morning routine to wake up your face!
Try: Glossier Super Glow, $28, glossier.com

Hyaluronic Acid


@heyskinjunkie

Use it when: Your skin is craving some *serious* hydration.
Added bonus: While hyaluronic acid retains water and naturally keeps your skin hydrated, it also firms, leaving skin dewy and supple. Plus, hyaluronic acid is gentle on sensitive skin, so it's a great starter serum.
Try: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $18, neutrogena.com

Niacinamide


@glowskinjunkie

Use it when: You want to strengthen your skin and reduce acne scarring and redness.
Added bonus: Niacinamide boosts your skin's elasticity, which means smoother, softer skin. You might also see a decrease in oil. Woohoo!
Try: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $6, ulta.com

Salicylic Acid


@clean_b_

Use it when: You want to beat breakouts, STAT. Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid, which means it acts as a natural exfoliant (no, not like a sugar scrub, BHAs help to gently shed and remove dead skin). It also clears and minimizes pores.
Added bonus: Salicylic acid acts as a pimple preventer, cleaning out pores and killing bacteria before it becomes acne. It also helps brighten and smooth skin. Just be sure to start slowly, using the serum every other day to avoid over-exfoliation.
Try: Facetheory BHA Exfoliating Serum S3, $25, facetheory.com

Retinol


@paulaschoice

Use it when: You want to minimize pores and strengthen skin while fading dark spots or acne scars. But start slowly! Retinol is a more intense serum and can be hard for sensitive skin. Try using it once a week and slowly build up to using it more regularly.
Added bonus: Trust, you do not need to worry about anti-aging products yet, but using a retinoid does help minimize the appearance of fine lines...the same way it helps fade dark spots.
Try: Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Treatment, $13, paulaschoice.com

Slider image: @glossier

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by Erin Sargent | 2/5/2022
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