While moisturizers absorb into your skin to keep it hydrated, the smaller molecules of serums allow ingredients and nutrients to absorb even deeper into your pores for more effective treatments. Think back to high school biology class for a second: remember how your skin has three layers? A moisturizer will only absorb into the top layer of your skin, but a serum can absorb through all three layers. If you've got a skin issue that really needs to be addressed, such as fine lines or an uneven skintone, a serum is definitely the way to go. If hydration and protection is all you need, a moisturizer is your best bet.
Serums work best when applied at night on slightly damp skin. It should be applied after toner (or after washing your face, if you don't use toner) but before your moisturizer. Some serums provide all the hydration your skin needs, so you won't even have to use a moisturizer! If not, though, wait at least five minutes to allow to serum to really soak in before applying anything else. Applying it right before bed allows the serum to absorb overnight for maximum effectiveness.
There are many different kinds of serum to target different skin issues, but here are a few standouts to keep your skin glowing and gorgeous whether you need aging protection or general skin improvement.
Peter Thomas Roth Radiance Oxygenating Serum ($65): I'm obsessed with oxygen-related skincare products. Even though there isn't a whole lot of scientific evidence to back it up, my skin always feels incredible after I use oxygen products. I can't think of anything more amazing than oxygen soaking deep into my pores.
By Elizabeth Dehn The Serum ($48): Elizabeth Dehn (AKA Beauty Bets) is my beauty blogging hero. Her skincare collection just launched this week, featuring luxury products with all natural ingredients! The Serum contains eleven different plant-based oils to target any skin complaint you can think of AND smells like roses.
Boots No. 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum ($23): Seventy percent of reviewers on Drugstore.com can't be wrong; they all saw noticeable results, and eighty five percent saw an improvement in skin texture. These reviews almost exactly reflect the company's clinical trials, so if you want a great skincare bargain, look no further.