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Facial Serums: Choosing the Right One for Your Skin

Close up of glass applicator tip showing hydrating serum texture

When it comes to achieving skincare goals, facial serums are a great place to start. These high-powered fluids are a must-have step in a skincare routine, but they can be a bit confusing. There’s no shortage of formulas and star ingredients. When should you apply serums? Do they really work? Here, we’ll help you navigate the world of serums and help you choose the one that’s best for your skincare concerns — and to help you get that glow everyone wants.  

What are face serums?  

Thinner, lighter, faster, more potent: A serum is not a moisturizer. Think of facial serums as lightweight moisturizers — they’re typically a liquid formula — that contain a higher concentration of active ingredients. These include Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, Niacinamide and Glycolic Acid, to name a few. Serums are known for their effectiveness and are typically used to address specific skin concerns from acne to anti-aging.  

Why are serums more expensive than creams?  

Serums vs. creams: Why are we always paying more for the former? Serums contain higher concentrations of active ingredients. As opposed to creams, there are fewer thickeners in the formula. From a pharmaceutical standpoint, it’s also important to keep in mind that serums’ expiration time is typically shorter, as the lack of these thickening ingredients makes them less stable. If you’re using a serum, you may want to try to use it daily once you open it.  

Why do we need serums in addition to moisturizers?   

Serums penetrate deep within the skin’s surface to deliver targeted treatments to your skin. We recommend that you follow up your serum (or serums!) with a face cream to help seal in the serum and add benefits — in addition to rich, lasting moisture. To target crow’s feet or fine lines around the eye area, applying an eye serum in addition to your eye cream can help deliver an anti-aging boost.  

When should you start incorporating serums in your skincare routine?   

It’s a good idea to incorporate serums into your skincare routine when you have a targeted goal you’re looking to achieve. In other words, it’s never too early! Whether you want brightness, a more even skin tone, diminished fine lines and wrinkles, improved texture or acne addressed, a serum delivers the ingredients your skin needs in the right concentration. Always choose the serum that aligns with your skincare goals. Being consistent with your Regimen is key to see visible results. Use your serums in your routine daily, morning and evening, after your toner.  

What are the most popular skin concerns that face serums help with? 

Aging and moisturizing/hydrating are the most popular skin concerns to target. How to select a serum to supplement your basic skincare routine? If you’re new to serums, we recommend choosing either our REDEFINE Intensive Renewing Serum or Active Hydration Serum, depending on your skin’s needs.  


For aging skin, increasing skin cell turnover requires a serum with retinoids, like REDEFINE Intensive Renewing Serum.  It harnesses the skin’s natural renewing powers to dramatically correct and prevent the visible signs of aging. Formulated with Retinal-MD Technology, a form of Vitamin A that’s more potent than Retinol but gentle enough for daily use, this nighttime serum empowers skin’s natural renewing process to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while revealing vibrant, younger-looking skin.  


When it comes to moisturizing and hydrating, a Hyaluronic Acid-packed serum is your best bet. Here, the delivery system is important to achieve younger-looking skin. Active Hydration Serum is an oil-free face serum that delivers all-day hydration and boosts the performance of products you layer on top. It raises your skin’s hydration level by 200% after just one use and maintains continuous hydration for eight hours*, transforming dry skin into younger-looking, younger-acting skin. With consistent use over time, Active Hydration Serum helps increase skin’s moisture retention and improves skin’s moisture overall. It features 3D3P Molecular Matrix, which contains 30% Glycerin and cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid to draw moisture from the atmosphere and lock it on the surface of the skin. Glycerin is known to prevent moisture loss while Hyaluronic Acid deeply hydrates and plumps the skin. For best results, apply Active Hydration Serum daily after cleanser and toner. Use it as a layering serum before applying a moisturizer and your other skincare products.  

When should you apply face serums and why should they go on prior to your cream/lotion?   

The general rule is that you apply the thinner textures first. What goes onto your skin first gets priority when it comes to absorption—serums are packed with active ingredients, so they must be absorbed into the skin before layering on occlusive products. Thicker lotions or creams go on after to hydrate and moisturize.  

How quickly will you see results when using your serum daily? 

When looking for a serum, check to see if the clinical results are available. For example, the clinicals for Active Hydration Serum, revealed that 100% of participants had an increase in skin’s moisture retention after 1 week and 94% of participants saw an improvement in moisture after 2 weeks**. As with any R+F Regimen, you want to ensure you’re being consistent, using your serum morning and night every day to see the best results for your skin. Remember to be patient! It can take weeks or months for results to show on your skin.  

*Based on an 8-day U.S. clinical and consumer study. 

**Based on a 2-week U.S. clinical and consumer study. Results may vary depending upon multiple factors: age, gender, skin type and condition, concomitant products used, health history, location, lifestyle and diet. 

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