Don’t be misled by their petite bottle or silky texture; face serums are skincare powerhouses packed with a serious dose of ingredients that can lead to visible change in your skin. In addition to helping boost moisture and hydration levels, many serums are formulated with concentrated amounts of effective ingredients that target specific skin concerns.
Serums can deliver so much, from visibly brightening dull skin to combating the look of fine lines. They can even serve to minimize the appearance of large pores and create a more even-looking complexion.
So you feel confident in knowing how to choose skincare serums that work best for your needs, we’ve compiled a breezy skincare 101 guide on serums. You’ll learn all about the rockstar skincare ingredients in each of our new Bye Bye Serums, along with when and how to use them for a more bespoke skincare regimen.
Vitamin C Serum: Bye Bye Dullness
What IT Does: Brightens The Look of Dull Skin For a Radiant Complexion
Consider vitamin C serum the kryptonite to dull, tired-looking skin. As the shining star in Bye Bye Dullness, this antioxidant-rich ingredient is one of your skin’s best defenses against free radical damage. That means it can assist in combating premature signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, and reduced firmness. Plus, a serum featuring concentrated amounts of vitamin C can lead to a more brilliant and radiant complexion.
Dullness in skin can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from pollution and UV damage to a natural decrease in your skin’s cell turnover. A serum with vitamin C and E combined—like Bye Bye Dullness— can work to boost your skin’s glow while helping to keep your skin in good condition.
While vitamin C serum can technically be used at night, it really works its antioxidant magic when applied in the morning. Ideally, you should use it in conjunction with an SPF 30 or higher.
To make the job easy, apply our award-winning beauty miracle, CC+ Cream with SPF 50+, which has both vitamins C and E.* In addition to protecting your skin from the sun, this full-coverage foundation is packed with an anti-aging serum for a nourished complexion. Dating all the way back to the ‘90s, studies have shown that when used together, the skincare benefits of both vitamins C and E are increased.I
Hyaluronic Acid Serum: Bye Bye Lines
What IT Does: Reduces The Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles
For many, one of the first signs of aging skin is fine lines. These pesky wrinkles usually show up in areas that move the most on your face, including around your mouth, on your forehead, and near your eyes. Wearing SPF daily and sticking to your cleansing and moisturizing routine can really assist in preventing premature signs of aging.
That said, if you’re keen on doubling down on the fine line fight, then add a potent serum formulated with hyaluronic acid and peptides to your regimen. Here’s the thing: those fine lines and wrinkles often appear more visible when the skin’s dehydrated. Thankfully, hyaluronic acid is a proven skincare ingredient that helps to hydrate the skin.
Our Bye Bye Lines serum contains both hyaluronic acid and the sun-shielding strength of an SPF, not to mention skin-loving vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). In clinical studies, using this serum helped replump skin and smooth the look of fine lines in just two weeks.**
You can use this anti-aging serum during both your morning and evening skincare routines. Its ingredients can also be paired with another serum, like one with vitamin C or one with glycolic acid.
Niacinamide Serum: Bye Bye Dark Spots
What IT Does: Visibly Fades Dark Spots, Hyperpigmentation, and Other Discoloration
An uneven skin tone has a few different causes. For example, dark spots often pop up as we age, acne can lead to lingering post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and some skin disorders can create areas of discoloration.
To reduce the look of dark spots, such as hyperpigmentation and acne marks, it’s important to accelerate skin repair and visibly fade the discoloration. Niacinamide, the headliner in Bye Bye Dark Spots, along with ethyl vitamin C, are some of your best options to do exactly that! In clinical studies, this concentrated serum lessened the appearance of dark spots and discoloration while visibly improving skin clarity.***
In addition to creating a more even-looking complexion, niacinamide has been praised for its skin-strengthening benefits. Scientific studies have found that there’s a noted improvement in the appearance of wrinkles, skin yellowing, and elasticity with consistent topical niacinamide use.II
Glycolic Acid Serum: Bye Bye Pores
What IT Does: Refines The Look of Skin’s Tone and Texture, and Visibly Reduces Pore Size
The road to smoother-looking skin begins with exfoliation. Glycolic acid—a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and a key ingredient in Bye Bye Pores—is one of the most effective exfoliating ingredients in the skincare market.
According to theU.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), glycolic acid can help diminish the look of fine lines and visibly level-up your skin’s overall tone and texture.III It does so by buffing away dead skin cells that have overstayed their welcome.
One of the key benefits of sweeping away these dead skin cells is a reduction in the appearance of large pores. When using Bye Bye Pores consistently in clinical studies, consumers noted a visible reduction in pore size, along with skin that appeared smoother and more refined.****
We recommend using glycolic acid serums in the evenings only, since AHAs can cause photosensitivity. (In other words, they might increase your chances of developing a sunburn. If you do apply at night, make sure you use SPF in the morning.)
Because AHAs are powerful exfoliators, we recommend not combining them with other active ingredients, including vitamin C, enzymes, and retinoids. Doing so could potentially cause skin irritation.
How Do I Use Serums If I Have Multiple Concerns?
If you have multiple skincare concerns, welcome to this not-so-exclusive club. Real talk: lots of us are battling a few different skin issues at once. Maybe it’s dryness, fine lines, and age spots, or perhaps it’s acne, large pores, and hyperpigmentation. Either way, we’ve got you covered.
Write down all your concerns, then the ingredients/products that will help with each. From there, understand which ingredients should be alternated versus paired together. For example, vitamin C and glycolic acid are two active ingredients that should be separated, so you could use one in the morning (ideally vitamin C) and the other in the evening (preferably glycolic acid). Or you might use your retinoid one evening (a la Hello Results Daily Retinol Cream), and then your glycolic acid serum the next evening.
When Should I Use Face Serums In My Skincare Routine?
Generally speaking, all serums should be applied after cleansing and toning, but before your moisturizer. If you’re ever unsure about the order of when to apply skincare products, the rule of thumb is to go from the lightest texture to the thickest.
Because face serums really zero in on specific skin concerns, they can be a worthy addition to anyone’s regimen. The key is to consistently apply the right serum, or serums, that will help you reach your specific skincare goals. Who would have thought a few drops a day could deliver such skin-changing results?
Learn more about layering your skin care.
*The NPD Group/US Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, Makeup Product Sales, January - December 2020.
**Based on expert assessment using clinical grading and consumer self-evaluation in a six week study.
***Based on expert assessment using clinical grading and consumer self evaluation in a 12-week study.
****Based on expert assessment using clinical grading of pores in a six-week study and of skin texture in an eight week study.
- D. Darr; S. Dunston; H. Faust; S. Pinnell. “Effectiveness of antioxidants (vitamin C and E) with and without sunscreens as topical photoprotectants.” Acta Dermato-Venereologica. 1996. 10.2340/0001555576264268
- Donald L Bissett; John E Oblong; Cynthia A Berge. “Niacinamide: A B vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearance.” American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. 2005. 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2005.31732
- Liedtka, Jane; Zhang, Ben; Wang, Jianyong; Tran, Doanh. “Glycolic Acid.” U.S. Food & Drug Administration. 2016.