By Jen Adkins
The best skin care product to splurge on is a facial serum. Serums are used under your moisturizer and have the ability to penetrate deeper into your skin's layers. Many serums definitely fall into the "splurge" category, but don't think you're out of luck if you're on a budget.
We think that the best place to find out how a product works is by consumer reviews, and we've scoured user reviews of many facial serums and narrowed down the list to the 9 highest reviewed serums, each $30 or under. Here they are in no particular order.
Boots No7: Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum was tested independently for 12 months and showed definite positive skin changes in many who participated in the trial. 70% saw improvement on their photo-aged skin in those 12 months and wrinkles were reduced by up to 50% in 4 weeks.
Actual consumers who reviewed the product noted positive changes and super-smooth skin after just weeks of using it. Real changes with fine lines and wrinkles were noted by many to be most noticeable after 2 months of use. Apply this serum to your skin morning and night after washing. This product won a Good Housekeeping Anti-Aging Award in 2010.
Olay Regenerist takes a different approach than exfoliating serums which quickly turn over top layers of skin bringing fresh new layers to the surface. Regenerist uses amino-peptides which help renew the outer layer of your skin gently.
Reviewers note smooth skin, slight reduction in fine lines and wrinkles and smaller pores. It's also noted that people in the oily to combination skin category have given this serum positive reviews. But note, if you dislike fragrance, pick up the unscented bottle, as many reviewers commented on this strong fragrance in this serum. Daily Regenerating Serum received an Allure Editor's Choice Award.
Burt's Bees Naturally Ageless Serum is a great choice for those looking for a gentle, natural approach to anti-aging. The active ingredients in this serum are Pomegranate, Evening Primrose and Borage Oils which give the serum antioxidant potency and hydration to your skin.
Reviewers noted an all-around positive change in skin's texture and appearance, though some did note it was a bit too greasy for their already oil-prone skin. But for those who fall in the dry skin category and are looking for overall healthier skin, this is a great product to add to your morning routine.
Roc: Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum is great for those looking to diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Roc anti-aging products always get top reviews from beauty editors and consumers alike. This serum contains Retinol, which speeds up your skin's cell turnover, bring fresh new skin cells to the surface. It also contains ingredients to tone and tighten the skin, which makes it great for those who are losing tone in their skin due to aging.
Many of the consumers who used and reviewed this serum saw what was promised - reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, better skin tone and some noted their sun spots lightened tremendously.
Looking for a brighter complexion? Try Avalon Organics Vitamin C Vitality Facial Serum. Vitamin C is widely used in anti-aging products because it is an antioxidant that helps your skin fend off free-radicals which cause aging signs. According to Avalon Organics, this serum will help boost collagen and elastin production, stimulate cell renewal and increase healthy circulation.
Reviewers note that it's not necessarily the best choice if you want to get rid of deep wrinkles or fine lines, but if you're looking to help give your skin an inner makeover and you're looking healthy, glowing skin, it fits that bill. And also good to know, reviewers note how wonderful this citrus-scented serum smells.
Derma E: DMAE Alpha Lipoic C-Ester Serum is a good serum option if you are looking for skin-tightening results. The most note-worthy ingredients in the bottle are Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE (Dimethyl MEA). Alpha Lipoic Acid is potent anti-oxidant and DMAE is a known skin toning ingredient. Both of these ingredients can be found in serums that cost much more than Derma E's serum, priced at the time of this review at only $22.50.
Reviewers noted a reduction in redness, lightening of age spots and sun damage and overall brighter skin tone.
Kiss My Face: Ester C Serum is again a good choice for those maybe in their 30's who are looking to give an overall makeover to their skin, yet, not quite looking for the deep wrinkle repair that they'd get in Roc's serum.
Ester C Serum contains skin soothing aloe and Ester C which is a multi-tasking ingredient that is known for its ability to lighten skin discolorations, reduce fine lines and build collagen. Ester C is also a great anti-oxidant.
Reviewers most noted skin tone improvement, reduction in blotchy skin and a reduction in pore size. Those with oily skin liked the light hydration that came from using this serum and some felt it enough moisturizing for their skin.
Beauty Without Cruelty's Vitamin C Vitality Serum contains both Vitamin C and Co Q10 which will help brighten your skin and improve your skin's texture and clarity. It also contains Vitamin E and A which are anti-oxidants that will, with regular use, fend off free-radicals which cause aging signs.
Consumers who reviewed this product noted overall positive changes in their skin's texture and were hooked. It's important to note that some reviewers with very sensitive skin didn't do well with this product. A few reviewers tried mixing this directly to their moisturizer to tone down the potency a bit, and while it did work for some, if you have very sensitive skin, we'd recommend trying another serum.
The word on the street about L'Oreal Paris' Youth Code Serum is that it is almost identical, but even better than its daughter company, Lancome's much more expensive product, Genifique. In fact, one reviewer had been using Genifique for years before trying Youth Code and she's amazed at the results and is happy to be saving the extra money.
Youth Code Regenerating Serum claims to help reduce signs of stress, fatigue and aging and many reviewers state it does just that. Reviews of diminished lines, especially around the eyes, were plenty. Also a fresher, brighter complexion was seen by many and overall younger skin was noted as well.