When it comes to must-haves in your skincare routine, it's safe to say that serums rank pretty high on the list – perhaps second only to sunscreens. After all, they are among the most hardworking beauty products that target everything from acne to aging, dryness, and dullness.
With so many different types of serums on the market, it can be tricky to navigate which one is best for you and whether it deserves a spot in your skincare routine. To that end, we've put dozens of them to the test to bring you our pick of the best serums – hydrating, brightening, anti-ageing, acne-control, and everything else in between!
Photo from Avène
Best Drugstore Serum For Hydration: Avène Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum
Beauty Awards judge Xin Lin Khaw considers this serum a personal favourite. It is deeply hydrating and layers well with other moisturisers for a smooth, hydrated finish. Despite its light formulation, it works perfectly to plump up dry and dehydrated skin.
Photo from Glowfully
Best Mid-Range Serum For Hydration: Glowfully Deep Sea Glow Serum
This powerful yet lightweight serum is infused with niacinamide, snow fungus, and Velvet Horn: a power-packed trio that left Beauty Awards judge Cinddie Teo's skin feeling as smooth and plump as a baby's bottom.
Photo from ORBIS
Best Mid-Range Serum For Acne: ORBIS CLEARFUL Lotion M
This serum aims to get to the root cause of acne by targeting clogged pores, and excessive sebum production. Those with oily and acne-prone skin will appreciates its light, non-clogging formulation that gets absorbed quickly. After a few weeks of use, our tester experienced less breakouts and sported a more even skin tone.
Photo from DERMA LAB
Best Drugstore Anti-Ageing Serum: DERMA LAB Agedefy Double Power Retinol Concentrate
This drugstore serum works just as well (if not better) than its more expensive counterparts. That's because it is formulated with two times the retinol (retinoic ester and retinol ester) to fight the signs of ageing. Within four weeks, you notice less prominent lines and wrinkles, as well as a visibly more vibrant-looking complexion.
Photo from CNP Laboratory
Best Mid-Range Anti-Ageing Serum: CNP Laboratory Hyaluronic Derma Tension Serum
Our tester likes her serums to have moisturising properties, no matter its main function. That's why this CNP laboratory serum scored the highest in her books. Its high concentration of hyaluronic acid and collagen has a hydrating and plumping effect. Even better, adenosine helps with skin elasticity.
Photo from Dr.Jart+
Best Pore-Refining Serum: Dr.Jart+ Pore-Remedy PHA Exfoliating Serum
7 percent PHA makes this serum gentle yet effective on enlarged pores and uneven skin texture. After two weeks of daily use, our tester noticed that her blackheads were visibly reduced. It also feels refreshing and lightweight when applied onto the skin, leaving no sticky feeling.
Photo from Drunk Elephant
Best Brightening Serum: Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum
This is a crowd favourite – and for good reasons. Drunk Elephant's brightening serum contains a supercharged antioxidant complex with 15 percent l-ascorbic acid, ferulic acid, and vitamin E. Together, this trio works wonders to lighten dark spots and give your complexion an overall glow and firmness. We also rate it highly for its updated packaging that allows users mix their C-Firma Fresh themselves and maximise its potency once they're ready to start using the product.
Photo from Glowfully
Best Brightening Serum: Glowfully Plumicious Brightening Serum
Tied for best brightening serum is also Glowfully's superfruit-packed serum. We rate it highly for its unique yet powerful formulation that's packed with everything you need to get the coveted glow. Kakadu Plum, Illawarra Plum, and Burdekin Plum are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, while Lime Pearl gently exfoliates the skin. It is topped off with niacinamide, tranexamic acid, and licorice to further calm the skin for an overall healthy glow.
Photo from CNP Laboratory
Best Calming Serum: CNP Laboratory Mugener Ampule Intensive Facial Soothing Solution
Those with troubled and sensitive skin will can find comfort in CNP Laboratory's lightweight serum that's formulated with Snail Mucin Extract. Not only does this soothing solution relieve redness, our tester also its texture and how easily it is absorbed into the skin for a non-sticky finish.
Photo from Sulwhasoo
Best Dark Spot Correcting Serum &
Best Premium Asian Beauty Serum: Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum EX
Most brightening products can have a drying effect. GirlStyle Beauty Awards judge Ying Cui, however, loved how Sulwhasoo's Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Serum EX was strong yet effective enough on her sensitive skin. It managed to lighten some of the sun spots on her face without triggering her eczema. For those in search of an all-in-one anti-ageing solution, this luxurious but lightweight serum is a must-try.
Photo from Pixi
Best Multi-Tasking Nighttime Serum: Pixi Overnight Glow Serum
Formulated with both aloe vera and glycolic acid, the Overnight Glow Serum toes the fine balance between gentle yet efficacious. Its not-too-rich texture makes it easy to layer with other skincare products. After a few days of trailing this product, our tester woke up with a smoother and brighter visage.
Photo from Neutrogena
Best Multi-Tasking Daytime Serum: Neutrogena Hydro Boost™ Hyaluronic Acid Serum
The Hydro Boost™ Hyaluronic Acid Serum is beautifully lightweight but still packs a punch, thanks to its ultra hydrating ingredients. Besides micro and macro hyaluronic acid, it is also loaded with humectants such as Pro-vitamin B5 and prebiotics to give parched skin an instant boost. Our tester loved its light, almost watery texture which absorbed quickly into her skin in just minutes without leaving a sticky finish. After a few days of using testing this water-based serum, she noticed that her skin looked radiant and felt more supple. An added bonus is its fragrance-free formulation that makes it suitable for sensitive skin.
Photo from BioEffect
Best Premium Serum: BioEffect EGF Serum
At $169, this serum is certainly doesn't come cheap. But is it worth the splurge? We certainly think so! It contains a first-of-its-kind Barley EGF (a skin-rejuvenating and moisture-binding protein) that is said to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. While the EGF Serum may be more suited for mature skin due to its rich formulation, our tester noticed that her skin looked plumper and her fine lines less visible, especially around her forehead, neck and chest.
Photo from EVERSOFT
Best Drugstore Serum For Sensitive Skin: EVERSOFT Hydra Nature Ricebiotics Repairing Serum
Chockfull of skin-loving ingredients like Korean rice water, pro-vitamin B5, vitamin B3, hyaluronic acid & ceramide III, this gentle and soothing serum is like a refreshing thirst-quencher for dry, sensitive skin. Just a few drops were enough to give our skin a mochi-like plumpness and a radiant glow – with none of the stickiness of a heavy serum.
Photo from Nap & Glow
Best Mid-Range Serum For Sensitive Skin: Nap & Glow Snowflake Concentrate
This powerful serum is specially formulated for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. That’s because the Snowflake Concentrate is packed with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredients. In addition, its lightweight formulation allows it to penetrate deep into the skin. It replenishes moisture loss and stimulates cell turnover for a clearer, smoother, and more radiant complexion. Says GirlStyle Beauty Awards judge Xin Lin Khaw: “I really love how soothing and hydrating it is, and how plump and calm my skin feels after application."
Get it at Nap & Glow, #04-10 Bugis Cube, or place an order via WhatsApp here.
Photo from Avène
Best Drugstore Serum For Acne: Avène Eau Thermale Cleanance Comedomed
Comedoclastin™, a plant extract from the seeds of milk thistle, is the active ingredient that gives this serum its powerful acne-fighting abilities. Within 5-7 days of use, our tester noted her blemishes were less visible, noticeably around her T-zone and jawline. While there was little effect on her blackheads, she liked the serum's fast-absorbing and non-greasy texture.
Photo from Neogen Dermalogy
Best Mid-Range Asian Beauty Serum: Neogen Dermalogy Real Ferment Micro Essence
Fermented skincare? Yes, it's a thing and it works. The Real Ferment Micro Essence is potent yet lightweight, and chock-full of natural fermented ingredients such as Bifida ferment lysate, saccharomyces ferment filtrate, Betula alba juice and rice ferment filtrate that all work together to hydrate, brighten and firm up skin.
Photo from Jung Beauty
Best Probiotic-Infused Serum: Jung Beauty Probiotics Firming & Brightening Eye Serum
Probiotics are not what you'd usually find in your skincare, but Jung Beauty has found a way to incorporate them into an eye product we love. This firming and brightening eye serum lives up to its name: upon application, we noticed an almost-immediate tightening effect around our under-eye area, as well as gradual lightening of our dark circles. The light serum formulation and cool metal application are plus points, especially for Singapore's humid climate.
Photo from Nuggela & Sule
Best Eyelash Serum: Nuggela & Sule Amazonic Serum Eyelashes
There are plenty of eyelash enhancing products in the market but what makes the Amazonic Serum a winner in our books is its dual lengthening and volumising effect. It takes a while for visible results but it's worth the time and effort. After three weeks of (consistent) use, our tester noticed that her sparse lashes were starting to look thicker and longer. More importantly, they became stronger too; our tester experienced less lash fall outs even after using a cleansing balm to remove her eye makeup.