Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Face Serum

Last updated on December 1, 2021
Best Face Serum

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Face Serums

View All Recommendations
Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Top Pick

InstaSkincare Hyaluronic Acid Fragrance-Free Face Serum

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval


Hyaluronic Acid Fragrance-Free Face Serum

For a solution that both hydrates and nourishes, there’s this serum, which uses hyaluronic acid to provide protection while also reviving the skin. The ingredients are natural, and you won’t have to worry about overwhelming fragrances. This 8-ounce bottle will last a while even with twice-daily use as recommended.

Overall Take

Plentiful SupplyYou'll get 8 ounces of serum with this bottle, giving you months even with twice-daily use.

 Runner Up

Cerave Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Gel-Cream Face Serum


Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Gel-Cream Face Serum

This serum includes hyaluronic acid, ceramides and vitamin B5 to nourish and protect your skin. The formula creates a protective barrier while also locking in moisture. You’ll get 1 ounce of serum that you’ll apply before applying your moisturizer each day.

Overall Take

Daytime WearApply this serum under your makeup each day to give your skin extra protection.

 We Also Like

RoC Multi Correxion Skin Tightening Face Serum


Multi Correxion Skin Tightening Face Serum

Just 1 ounce goes a long way with this serum, which combines a blend of Vitamin C and nonapeptide. The serum promises results in just one week after daily use. You’ll apply just four to six drops once to twice each day immediately after cleansing.

Overall Take

For Long-Term UseThis face serum requires daily application over time to start to improve your skin tone.

 Strong Contender

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

L’Oreal Paris

Revitalift Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

With 1.5% hyaluronic acid mixed with Vitamin C, this serum is designed to improve your skin’s radiance and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. The lightweight formula doesn’t feel uncomfortable on the skin, so you can either wear it under makeup or alone while sleeping. There are no fragrances, parabens or synthetic dyes.

Overall Take

Versatile OptionThis serum from a trusted brand works with all skin types, from oily or combination to sensitive or mature.

Buying Guide

Throughout history, humans have been looking for the Fountain of Youth. While you may not be able to turn back time, the beauty industry is packed with products designed to stave off the signs of aging at least a little longer.

But most consumers know by now that creams can only go so far. That’s where serums can come in. While results are never guaranteed, it’s important to look at how each of them works before you invest in one.

The ingredient of the moment appears to be hyaluronic acid, a substance found throughout your body that is known for its moisture-retention properties. Hyaluronic acid starts to deplete as a person ages, adding to the aging effects caused by the loss of collagen and elastin. The beauty industry has found a way to create hyaluronic acid in a lab using bacteria, and that’s the ingredient you find in so many face serums today.

But do these hyaluronic-acid products work? According to clinical research, the key is in the size of the molecules. Larger hyaluronic acid molecules only hydrate on the surface, which helps, but for best results, you’ll need hyaluronic acid in both larger and smaller molecules so that the smaller molecules can sink deeper into the skin and work on the lower layers.

You’ll also find ceramides in some beauty products. Ceramides are found in skin cells and, in fact, make up 50% of the outermost layer of skin. As with hyaluronic acid, ceramides diminish over time, so topical application is designed to replenish what you’re losing. The idea is to gradually diminish the dull, dry skin that comes from lost ceramides to improve the appearance of your face, neck and other areas where you’re applying the serum.

Another product you’ll find in some of today’s face serums is caffeine. In small amounts, caffeine’s antioxidant effects can help protect cells. But some classic skincare ingredients remain popular today, including Vitamins C and B5.

What to Look For

  • Serums come in multiple sizes, but you’ll notice many are in 1-ounce bottles. You’ll only apply a small amount each day, so even tiny amounts can last a while. One great thing about these smaller sizes is that they travel more easily than larger beauty products. That makes it easy to take your serum on the go with you.
  • Serum should be massaged onto the skin using upward motions. You’ll typically only need a few drops.
  • Exact application instructions vary based on the serum you choose, but usually you’ll put it on a freshly washed face, beneath your moisturizer and makeup. Some skin types will find that serum is enough, with no moisturizer needed, but many people choose to use both.
  • Fragrance sensitivities are important, but even if you don’t have a sensitivity, you might want to look for serums that eliminate scents. This will help you avoid creating a layering of fragrances from your serum, moisturizer, makeup and other beauty products.
  • It can take time for a new beauty product to take effect, especially with ingredients like hyaluronic acid. The product may promise results in a few days, but it’s more likely you’ll have to apply faithfully every day for several weeks to start noticing a difference.
  • Some beauty products can be heavy on the skin, making them difficult to wear under makeup. Look for a face serum that isn’t greasy while also forming a light layer on the skin.
  • Wrinkles aren’t the only issue serums can help alleviate. You’ll also find serums that help with blemishes and spots, as well as puffiness under the eyes. Knowing your particular problem areas can help you identify the best cosmetics to help you overcome them.

More to Explore

Skincare has evolved significantly over the past 6,000 years. Evidence has revealed the earliest known use of cosmetics was in Ancient Egypt, when cosmetics were used both to look good and protect people from bugs and weather. To keep their skin in good shape, Ancient Egyptians used ingredients like castor, sesame and moringa oils in hopes of keeping aging at bay. For cleansing, they’re believed to have used a soap paste made from clay and olive oil. Moisturizing was done using a honey and milk mask, as well as milk baths.

One thing that hasn’t changed much is the method of exfoliation. Ancient Egyptians knew the benefits of dead sea salts for healing and freshening their skin.

From our partners