Concentrated yet lightweight, facial serums are the ultimate multi-taskers. They can help boost radiance, hydrate your skin, strengthen your skin’s natural moisture barrier, and even fight the visible signs of aging—it all comes down to choosing the right formula for your needs. Here, we’ll give you the rundown on Kiehl’s very best face serums for every skin type (and concern), from dryness and dehydration to discolorations and more. Keep reading to discover our best facial serum for your skin.
Are Serums Good For Your Face?
Think of facial serums as a way to bolster your routine—you still need the staples (namely, cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen), but adding serum can help give your skin more of what it needs. Though formulas vary immensely, the main benefits of facial serums are that they help address skin concerns (like fine lines and wrinkles or dullness) without leaving your skin feeling heavy or weighed-down. Of course, you’ll have the best results if you choose a facial serum tailored to your specific skin type and needs.
Which Serum Is Best For Your Skin?
As we mentioned earlier, you should always seek to use a serum that’s aligned with your specific skincare needs and goals. Here, we’ll introduce you to our favorite facial serums for a range of skin types and concerns.
Best Everyday Serum:
Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum
Fortify and help defend your skin against stressors with our Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum. Formulated with 11kDa hyaluronic acid and a blend of herbal adaptogens, this potent serum penetrates skin’s deeper layers and helps neutralize the effects of external skin-aging stressors. The lightweight formula is clinically-demonstrated to double skin’s strength and help boost resilience while visibly diminishing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dullness over time. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used alone or layered underneath another facial serum for added skin benefits.
*Based on Strength Index = Composite, average score of clinically graded parameters after using the product for four weeks vs. one week of use.
How To Use: Apply our skin-strengthening serum to a clean face and neck, avoiding the eye area. For twice-daily use, morning and night, under your moisturizer or another facial serum.
Best Anti-Aging Serum:
Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum with Ceramides and Peptides
If fine lines and wrinkles are your main skin concern, reach for Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum with Ceramides and Peptides. The gentle yet highly-effective formula contains a precise daily dose of pure retinol and delivers visible anti-aging results with minimal redness, peeling, or dryness. It’s clinically-proven to visibly reduce wrinkles and firm the skin to reveal a smoother, more refined appearance over time.* It also helps minimize the appearance of enlarged pores and rough skin texture. We recommend using this powerful retinol serum once daily for visibly more youthful-looking skin.
*Results based on expert grading in a clinical test for subjects showing improvement after 12 weeks of use.
How To Use: Apply a pea-sized amount of our retinol serum to your entire face after cleansing once per day, avoiding the eye area. If using during the daytime, follow with broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Best Brightening Serum:
Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Corrector
Dark spots can occur after any number of things, including breakouts and excessive sun exposure. Though anyone can experience dark spots and discolorations, they’re especially prevalent amongst those with darker skin tones. Help brighten the skin and diminish discolorations with Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Corrector, which contains activated vitamin C and peony root extract. It’s clinically-demonstrated to visibly reduce the appearance of a broad array of dark spots, including post-blemish marks and sun spots, and is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.*
*This product was tested on a multi-ethnic panel equally distributed: 25% African American, 25% Asian, 25% Caucasian, 25% Hispanic. Results based on expert grading in a 12-week clinical test on 104 subjects.
How To Use: Apply our dark spot serum twice daily before applying moisturizer and sunscreen. It may be used as a spot treatment or over your entire face.
Best Vitamin C Serum:
Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum
If your skin looks duller than you’d like, we recommend incorporating Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum into your daily routine. This Kiehl’s customer favorite is made with 12.5% vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. It instantly boosts radiance and helps improve skin texture, diminishing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores over time. It’s dermatologist-tested and suitable for all skin types, and can be used daily for visibly firmer, more radiant-looking skin.
How To Use: Cleanse skin thoroughly, then apply our vitamin C serum over your entire face, avoiding the eye area. As the formula blends into the skin, you may experience a feeling of warmth. It can be used twice a day, morning and night.
Best Hydrating Serum:
Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum
Skin needs moisture in order to look (and feel) its best. If your skin is dry, help replenish essential moisture with Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum, which contains glycerin and our unique epidermal hydration filler. The ultra-gentle hydrating serum provides deep hydration and visibly plumps the skin to help improve the appearance of dry fine lines. When used consistently, it also helps improve dullness and boosts skin’s elasticity for smoother, more even-looking skin.
How To Use: Dispense one pump of our serum for dry skin onto clean palms. Apply evenly to clean skin before moisturizer, morning and night.
Best Exfoliating Serum:
Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate
Address dullness and unevenness while you sleep with Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate. Made with sustainably-sourced quinoa husk extract and phytic acid, this exfoliating face serum is clinically-demonstrated to accelerate cell turnover to reveal fresher, more even-looking skin.* When used nightly, it helps visibly improve skin tone and improves the feel of rough skin texture. It’s suitable for all skin types, but is especially beneficial for those looking to help refresh their skin’s appearance.
*Based on instrumental test within surface layers.
How To Use: Follow cleansing and toning steps by applying several drops of our exfoliating serum to fingertips and gently press onto the face until absorbed. After, apply a concentrated serum or nightly moisturizer.
Best Men’s Serum:
Age Defender Power Serum
All of our face serums are unisex, but for men who prefer using products specifically tailored to their skin, we have Age Defender Power Serum. The lightweight, fast-absorbing formula contains cypress extract, adenosine, and energizing caffeine. It helps reduce the visible signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, and firms sagging skin to reveal a more resilient, youthful appearance over time.
How To Use: Twice daily, smooth one pump of our men’s face serum onto clean skin, avoiding the eye area. Follow with the men’s moisturizer of your choice.
Should You Use Face Serum Everyday?
Serum should be a part of your daily (and nightly) skincare routine. We generally recommend applying a pump (or a few drops) of your chosen formula to clean, damp skin after cleansing and toning. Feel free to use the same serum morning and night, or switch it up depending on how your skin feels.