This article was produced in partnership with Blu Atlas
A men’s skincare routine can range from being super simple (sticking to three basic steps—cleanse, moisturize, and protect) or it can include a multitude of steps, ideally treating skin concerns. No matter where you fall on the scale, incorporating at least one serum into your morning or night routine can help treat skin issues like acne, uneven tone and texture, wrinkles, redness, irritation—you name it.
Serums are lightweight products with a fluid liquid texture that are concentrated with active ingredients. They’ll generally have a higher, stronger percentage of skin-benefiting actives than other skincare products like cleansers or moisturizers. A serum’s lightweight formula is designed to absorb quickly into the skin (so your skin can drink up the ingredients inside).
So whether you’re new to the world of serums or are a certified skincare expert, there’s at least one serum on this list that will transform your skin. Ready to see what they are? We’ve listed 20 of the best face serums for men below.
The Best of the Best Serum for Men: Blu Atlas Vitamin C Serum
You can’t go wrong with adding a vitamin C serum into your skincare routine. Blu Atlas offers the best vitamin C serum for men that protects the skin against damaging free radicals, assists in collagen production, and visibly brightens and evens skin tone.
The Best Splurge Serum for Men: SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
If you’re going to invest 100+ dollars into a serum, go with a SkinCeuticals formula. Their products are scientifically and dermatologically backed, so when they say you’re getting 72 hours of antioxidant protection—you’re getting 72 hours of antioxidant protection.
The Best Budget Serum for Men: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Hyaluronic acid is a skincare staple. But it’s not an expensive ingredient, so don’t pay top dollar for an ingredient you can find in serums (like this one) for less than $10. This hyaluronic acid serum uses three different forms of hyaluronic acid to deliver deep hydration and noticeable plumpness.
The Best Hydrating Serum for Men: Vichy Mineral 89 Prebiotic Concentrate Serum
Vichy’s mineral-rich Volcanic Water, alongside ingredients like niacinamide and vitreoscilla ferment, makes this a hydrating serum that nourishes and restores the skin’s protective moisture barrier.
The Best Antioxidant Serum for Men: Innisfree Green Tea Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Green tea is an amazing antioxidant for the skin and body. In this hydrating serum by Innisfree, a trifecta of green tea works to moisturize, support the skin barrier, and protect against damaging free radicals.
The Best Acne Serum for Men: Typology Mattifying Serum with 10% Azelaic Acid
This mattifying serum is a must-try skincare product for men with oily, acne-prone skin. The formula uses 10% azelaic acid as its acne-busting powerhouse, alongside mattifying ingredients like zinc and organic bamboo extract.
The Best Soothing Serum for Men: Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Advanced Face Serum
This nourishing serum for men uses mushrooms, herbs, and other superfoods to visibly reduce redness, calm irritation, and soothe sensitive skin.
The 20 Best Face Serums for Men
1. Blu Atlas Vitamin C Serum
If you’re looking for a new face serum to add to your skincare routine, a good vitamin C serum is the best place to start. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and skin brightener that’s beloved for its ability to protect skin from damaging free radicals, boost the efficacy of sunscreen, promote collagen production, and even skin tone.
In Blu Atlas’ coveted Vitamin C Serum, vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid (the technical name of vitamin c) works alongside citrus extracts like tangerine and orange to improve the appearance of dark spots and even skin tone. This serum also contains skin-friendly plant extracts like mulberry root extract to brighten and protect skin with its antioxidants, apple extract to smooth and reduce signs of aging, and aloe vera leaf to soothe and hydrate skin.
2. Vichy Mineral 89 Prebiotic Concentrate Serum
Packed with Vichy’s iconic Volcanic Water, this mineral-rich serum is ideal for men who want to hydrate the skin and protect its delicate barrier. This concentrated serum aims to restore and repair skin, bringing it back to total health and vitality.
The formula contains niacinamide to strengthen the skin barrier and prevent moisture loss and vitreoscilla ferment, a nutrient-rich compound known to have skin barrier recovery properties. And, of course, the serum contains Vichy Volcanic Water, an ultra-hydrating and soothing water from the depths of French volcanoes. The Volcanic Water contains 15 skin-benefiting minerals that support the skin and protect it from environmental aggressors like pollution and UV rays. Because it is so hydrating and supportive, this serum works for men of all skin types, including those with mature, aging skin.
3. SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF
SkinCeuticals is known for their patented, scientifically-backed skincare formulas, so if you want to splurge on a serum you know will do its job, look no further. Their Phloretin CF is a vitamin C antioxidant serum that smooths fine lines and wrinkles, brightens dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and provides 72 hours of environmental protection.
The formula focuses on three primary ingredients to give skin these benefits: 2% phloretin, 10% vitamin C, and 0.5% ferulic acid. Phloretin, derived from apples and the root bark of fruit trees, is a potent antioxidant that improves skin cell turnover, brightens skin, and neutralizes free radicals. 10% L-ascorbic acid (aka pure vitamin C) protects skin against free radicals and oxidative stress while supporting collagen production. Ferulic acid, another plant-based antioxidant, protects the skin and amplifies the antioxidant effects of phloretin and vitamin C.
4. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Basic serums don’t make bad serums. So this one is the best face serum for men who like to keep it simple.
In the Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum, you’ll find a simple formula centered around the active ingredient hyaluronic acid (HA). Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, meaning it draws water from the environment into the skin.
The vegan formula uses three different forms of hyaluronic acid (low-, medium-, and high-molecular weight HA) to provide the skin with deep levels of hydration and visible plumpness. This hydrating serum is also supported by vitamin B5, which helps hold water into the skin to maintain its hydration and softness.
5. Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Advanced Face Serum
Made in collaboration with Origins and Dr. Andrew Weil, this mushroom-packed serum is made to calm and soothe the skin. Dr. Weil believes that inflammation is the root of all skin concerns and that mushrooms can help calm skin and restore balance. With this philosophy in mind, the Mega-Mushroom Advanced Face Serum is packed with nourishing plants, mushrooms, herbs, and other superfoods known to support the skin barrier, calm irritation and redness, and leave the skin feeling and looking more resilient.
Star ingredients include cordyceps, fermented chaga, and reishi mushrooms that protect the skin against inflammation and the damaging effects of oxidative stress. Red algae, lactobacillus ferment, turmeric, holy basil, and lady’s thistle are just some of the sublime superfoods found in this serum. You’ll also find conditioners like jojoba and squalane oils which moisturize and nourish the skin.
6. Typology Mattifying Serum with 10% Azelaic Acid
Made for those with combination, oily, and acne-prone skin types, this face serum by Typology uses mattifying plant-based ingredients to control the skin’s production of sebum. While sebum (the oil our skin naturally produces) helps keep skin hydrated and protected, too much of it can lead to clogged pores, blackheads, and acne breakouts.
To combat the effects of too much sebum, this face serum uses a 10% concentration of azelaic acid, a botanically-derived acid known for its ability to regulate sebum production, treat blackheads, and fight acne-causing bacteria. To support this skincare superstar, the serum also includes organic bamboo extract to absorb excess sebum and reduce shine and zinc, the essential mineral our skin needs and loves for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, mattifying properties.
7. Innisfree Green Tea Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Green tea is rich in skin-benefiting antioxidants. So instead of drinking several cups of green tea a day to give your skin its antioxidant fix, just reach for this hydrating serum instead. Ideal for those with normal, dry, and combination skin types, this lightweight serum is infused with a green tea trifecta.
A Green Tea Tri-biotic Complex moisturizes and strengthens the skin barrier, Jeju green tea hydrates the skin for 24 hours, and Jeju green tea seed oil nourishes and moisturizes. Plus, because green tea is packed with antioxidants, your skin will also be protected against environmental stressors and aggressors.
8. COSRX Snail Mucin 96% Power Essence
Don’t let the sound of snail mucin steer you away from the wonders of this hydrating, healing face serum. This nourishing face serum for men is made from 96% snail secretion filtrate—but don’t worry, no snails are harmed during the capture of this natural substance! Snail mucin benefits the skin in a multitude of ways (it’s a real multi-tasker).
For one, snail mucin moisturizes the skin and improves the skin’s barrier function. Snail mucin is also rich in allantoin, a natural compound that calms irritation and promotes cell regeneration. While you can find snail mucin in moisturizing creams, opting for a serum like this one by COSRX gives you a more concentrated supply of the skin-soothing ingredient.
9. The INKEY List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum
Retinol is a must-have skincare ingredient for men concerned with minimizing signs of aging or preventing them. As the most scientifically-studied skincare ingredient, retinol (and its other vitamin A derivatives) gives skin a younger, healthier appearance for the long run. It works to thicken your skin, normalize skin cell turnover, boost collagen production, minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as treat acne, skin dullness, and uneven texture.
This affordable retinol serum by The INKEY List is a great introduction to retinol, as it uses 1% stabilized retinol and 0.5% granactive retinoid to give skin the benefits of retinol in a slow-release, less irritating formula. The formula also uses squalane oil to naturally hydrate and soothe the skin from potential irritation.
10. Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting & Refining Serum
Exfoliation is essential for achieving (and maintaining) skin that’s bright, clear, and even. In this face serum for men, AHA and BHA exfoliants like lactic acid, mandelic acid, and salicylic acid lift away dead skin cells, so skin is smoother and less prone to breakouts.
The formula also contains innovative skincare ingredients like farnesol, which prevents acne breakouts by inhibiting certain bacteria, phytic acid dissolves those annoying waxy plugs clogging your pores, and agarikon mushroom for its natural anti-inflammatory and clarifying properties. Use this pore perfecting serum morning or night on clean skin and watch your pores become tighter and less noticeable after one week.
11. Naturium Niacinamide Serum 12% Plus Zinc 2%
Niacinamide is a skincare ingredient you’ll see a lot in different formulas: from cleansers to creams, but it’s the star of the show in this facial serum by Naturium. At a whopping concentration of 12%, niacinamide is combined with 2% zinc salt to purify pores and refine the skin.
This serum is great for guys who want to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, tackle congestion, balance excess oil production, and rock a smoother, more even complexion. The serum also contains hydrating ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid to reduce dryness and inflammation. All skin types (including sensitive skin) can use this serum morning and night and experience clearer, smoother skin over time.
12. Caldera + Lab The Good Multi-Functional Serum
This 100% plant-based, organic, non-toxic face serum by Caldera + Lab is formulated with 27 active botanicals wild-harvested from the Teton Mountain Range in North America. The serum is multi-functional, so it works to improve skin tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, moisturize, and help skin look smoother and firmer.
Fighting dark spots and uneven skin tone are the plant extracts of frankincense, prickly pear, alfalfa, and yarrow. Ingredients like echinacea and antioxidant CoEnzyme Q10 visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Nourishing oils like jojoba, sunflower seed, and meadowfoam seed moisture skin. While prickly pear oil, nettle, and red raspberry smooth and tighten skin.
13. Selfless by Hyram Salicylic Acid & Sea Kelp Pore Clearing & Oil Control Serum
Another serum for men with oily, acne-prone skin is this Salicylic Acid & Sea Kelp serum. To treat pore size, oiliness, and breakouts, Selfless by Hyram created a multi-action serum that targets acne and excess sebum with active ingredients salicylic acid and niacinamide. Salicylic acid is a BHA that gently exfoliates the skin.
It’s also oil-soluble, so it goes deep into the pores to clear out dirt, oil, and acne-caused inflammation. Niacinamide (aka vitamin B3) regulates the skin’s oil production, strengthens the skin barrier, and visibly brightens and evens skin tone—which is great for those suffering from acne scars and post-inflammatory redness. To ensure skin is balanced, sea kelp calms redness, sensitivity and helps maintain moisture, so your skin isn’t producing an excess of oil.
14. Lumin Anti-Wrinkle Defense
If aging skin is a concern for you, then now’s the best time to incorporate an anti-wrinkle serum into your routine. To prevent premature aging and repair the aging effects of sun damage, Lumin created their Anti-Wrinkle Defense serum which provides skin with a boost of hydration, evens skin tone, and treats fine lines and wrinkles.
In this youth-preserving formula, you’ll find hydrating hyaluronic acid, which instantly reduces the appearance of fine lines. Other key ingredients include vitamin C, which aids in collagen production to help maintain skin structure and clarity, and antioxidant-rich pomegranate extract to protect against signs of premature aging.
15. Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum
This best-selling serum by Biossance gives skin an overnight transformation with 10% lactic acid and nourishing squalane. Lactic acid is a popular AHA that does more than just exfoliate. Yes, it gently exfoliates by dissolving dead skin cells, but it also improves uneven skin texture, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, enhances the effects of other skincare ingredients, and hydrates the skin.
In combination with soothing ingredients like squalane and glycerin, you’ll wake up with skin that feels hydrated and moisturized. This must-try face serum for men also includes clover, a beneficial skincare ingredient that boosts the exfoliating effects of lactic acid and protects skin against UV rays, blue light, and pollution.
16. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Serum
Target facial redness with the soothing powers of tiger grass (also known as Centella asiastica, cica, and gotu kola). Tiger grass is a medicinal plant that has become increasingly popular in skincare thanks to its anti-inflammatory, skin balancing, and healing properties. This antioxidant-rich plant can generally be used by all skin types, but it’s especially worth it for those with sensitive, dry, or irritated skin.
Those with rosacea, acne, or hyperpigmentation will love this plant’s natural ability to calm inflammation, color correct redness, soothe irritation, and speed up wound healing. Dr. Jart+ utilizes this powerhouse ingredient in a gel-like serum alongside other ingredients like cocoa extract, niacinamide, and streptococcus thermophilus ferment to repair damaged skin and soothe sensitivity. So it’s the best face serum for men with inflammatory skin conditions.
17. Xuyoni Synergy Booster
Combining two popular skincare products: a toner and serum into one, this innovative hybrid formula is ideal for men who want to strengthen and soothe their skin. After cleansing, this toner-serum hybrid will balance your skin to the optimal pH and hydration level, getting it ready for your next step, whether that’s more serums or your moisturizer.
Notable ingredients include organic moringa leaves, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that firm, restore, and protect the skin from stress and pollutants; organic chamomile flower extract, which is naturally calming and supportive; and organic Portulaca oleracea extract, a plant extract that’s naturally rich in antioxidants, minerals, and fatty acids. This hybrid serum is also environmentally friendly. So after you finish your first bottle, Xuyoni offers you discounted refill cartridges that save you money and reduce plastic use.
18. Maapilim Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
To lock in moisture after cleansing and before applying your moisturizer, reach for a serum that contains hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water, so you can never go wrong using a serum made with this skin-loving ingredient.
This face serum by Maapilim uses hyaluronic acid as its main active, but it also contains plant-based ingredients like pomegranate bark extract for a dose of vitamin C and aloe vera leaf juice for its moisturizing, healing benefits. The serum also has a fresh, natural scent of coriander seeds, marjoram, and bay laurel, transporting you away to a vacation in the Italian countryside.
19. ZitSticka Megashade Sunscreen Serum
Speaking of innovative skincare formulas: this sunscreen serum by ZitSticka uses a mineral and chemical SPF 50 hybrid to give skin broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays, plus other skin benefits. The lightweight, milky formula is perfect for those with acne-prone skin since it’s non-comedogenic and fights breakouts with ingredients like niacinamide and tea tree oil.
This serum also hydrates and brightens skin with scientifically-backed ingredients like hyaluronic acid (to draw in moisture), ceramides (to boost skin elasticity), vitamin C (to even skin tone), ferulic acid (for antioxidant protection), and colloidal oatmeal (to soothe redness and even skin texture). You can layer this SPF serum underneath your go-to sunscreen or use it as the last step in your skincare routine to protect your face from the sun’s rays.
20. Ole Henriksen Dewtopia 20% Acid Night Treatment
For the men who want clear, hydrated, dewy-looking skin. This night treatment serum by Ole Henriksen uses a potent 20% acid blend of 10% AHAs and 10% PHAs, both of which are exfoliating acids that dissolve dead skin cells from the surface of the skin for a smoother, more even texture.
In addition to its acid blend, this nighttime face serum also includes nourishing ingredients like aloe vera leaf juice, Nordic birch sap, cotton water, and licorice extract. Because this serum contains a high concentration of exfoliating acids, it’s best to use it once to three times a week, depending on your tolerance.
How to Use a Serum
Adding a serum into your skincare routine may sound intimidating to skincare novices. But it’s actually fairly simple. You’ll want to apply serum onto freshly washed skin, using a gentle patting or pressing motion (this will help the product seep into the skin and prevent unnecessary tugging). You can apply the product onto dry skin, but it’s generally best to apply it onto damp (not wet) skin to lock in extra hydration and amplify the active ingredients. You’ll then follow with other serums or your moisturizer.
Some serums can be used day and night, but others are best for the morning or night. For instance, a hydrating serum like The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 can be used day and night. Retinol-based serums like The INKEY List’s Retinol should be limited to nighttime use only, and serums like ZitSticka’s Megashade Sunscreen Serum should only be applied in the daytime. When in doubt about when or how to use a serum, check the product’s label or website for more information.
Ingredients to Look for in a Serum
Antioxidants come in all shapes and sizes. They can be from well-known and well-studied vitamins like vitamins A, C, and E, or they can come from tropical plants, medicinal herbs, and nourishing plant oils like cacao extract, green tea, moringa, or CoEnzyme Q10 (just to name a few).
For your skin, antioxidants help protect against environmental and UV damage that causes immediate skin issues such as a compromised skin barrier and long-term concerns such as wrinkles and loss of collagen. Antioxidants can also help repair damage and signs of premature aging thanks to their soothing, anti-inflammatory, healing properties.
Hyaluronic acid is a popular skincare ingredient that works amazingly alongside other skin-friendly ingredients or as the star of the show in its own serum. This noteworthy ingredient helps our skin maintain healthy hydration and moisture levels because it holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water, drawing that moisture into the skin. All skin types can benefit from this ingredient, but it’s especially powerful for those with dry, parched skin.
If you had to choose just one antioxidant to have in your face serum, go for vitamin C. This potent antioxidant helps to brighten and even skin tone, neutralize damaging free radicals, and support healthy collagen production, so skin stays firm and youthful.
Niacinamide—an active form of vitamin B3—is also an antioxidant! (If you haven’t noticed by now, antioxidants are super important for maintaining healthy skin). But in addition to protecting the skin against environmental aggressors, niacinamide also helps smooth skin texture, refine pores, balance oil production, even skin tone, and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier.
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