The no makeup look is big this season, but if your skin is dull, flaky, has sun damage and is congested (just like mine) obtaining the fresh face look is no easy feat. The past couple of weeks, I’ve been diligent about incorporating an exfoliating serum, a gentle chemical exfoliant, into my skin care regimen to help boost luster, increase cell turnover and keep pores clear. I use the serum three times a week at night after cleansing and wake up to smooth, brighter skin.
Most exfoliating serums contain an acid—usually glycolic and salicylic—brightening and anti-inflammatory ingredients that work together to dissolve dead skin, help improve texture and leave a glowy, more even complexion. The best part is that they increase cell turnover gently, while still being potent anti-agers. You can apply a night cream on top of the serum for more moisture, but I find them hydrating enough to use on their own.
If you find yourself using harsh physical exfoliants (gritty scrubs, oscillating brushes) and feel it’s time to take a break, think about these friendlier exfoliating serums. Here are three for different skin types that will help turn back the clock and leave your skin ready for the no makeup look:
NIA 24 Rapid Exfoliating Serum ($82) has been my go-to serum three to four nights a week. It goes on silky and never irritates, containing plant-based exfoliators such as prickly pear and willow bark to increase cell turnover, pro-niacin to help repair, red algae to brighten spots and rose bud to keep pores clear.
L’Oreal Age Perfect Cell Renewal ($19.99) contains lipo hydroxyl acid (LHA) a derivative of salicylic acid to stimulate cell renewal and golden micro-reflectors for an instant luminous glow. This serum can be applied daily in the morning and night and works well for normal to dry complexions.
glōtherapeutics Renew Serum ($40) is a good option for acne-prone skin with a mix of glycolic acid, retinol and salicylic acid to help stimulate exfoliation, improve sun damage and keep pores clear. It’s also infused with plant extracts and vitamins to nourish the skin. Apply this serum at night for better skin in the morning.
photo taken by Vix Walker