• UO Beauty: Intro to Serums

    Let's get straight to what works: from ultra-hydrating to acne-fighting, here's everything you need to know about serums.
    Illustrations by Victoria Skovran

    Hydrate + Moisturize
    These concentrated formulas seal in moisture and promote the appearance of soft, dewy skin. If you're just diving into the world of serums, these are usually the easiest to incorporate into your routine since their main ingredients focus on hydration. Mario Badescu's Herbal Hydrating Serum is an oil-free, hydrating gel serum that can be worn alone or on top of your favorite moisturizer. There are added colors in this one, so if you have overly sensitive skin, we recommend the H20+ Beauty Oasis Hydrating Booster which is formulated without parabens, mineral oil or phthalates.

    See all Hydrate and Moisturize serums here.

    Clean + Balance
    These are serums that tone and balance to help clarify and rejuvenate problem skin. Our favorite serum in this category is the Valjean Labs Facial Serum in Restore. With a price point of $18, it's super affordable and an easy way to get started in the whole serum game. The Restore serum has niacinamide (a skin-clearing ingredient) and zinc.

    For another affordable option, check out the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. (Doesn't it sound refreshing?) It's $23 and has killer reviews.

    See all Clean and Balance serums here.

    Brighten + Glow
    These serums use oils and vitamins to exfoliate, enhance and refresh. Mario Badescu's Vitamin C Serum is a classic Vitamin C serum that does exactly what you hope it does: smooths, brightens and softens. For a cheaper Vitamin C option, go for the Valjean Labs Facial Serum in the Glow formula.

    See all Brighten and Glow serums here.

    Shop All Serums