If you really want to make your skin look its best for your wedding, using a serum is a must. (We’re all for eating well and promoting a bridal glow from the inside out, but a few great products can help, too.) Of all the skincare products on the market, serums contain the most concentrated amount of active ingredients, meaning they’ll have the greatest impact on your complexion. There are serums out there to take care of everything, from hormonal acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation to large pores, dullness, and dry skin.
To make your serum most effective, use an alcohol-free toner beforehand. (So you’d cleanse, tone, apply serum, and moisturize.) Cleansing, of course, gets rid of all of the dirt and oil. Toning, by pressing it into your skin with a cotton ball, will pick up anything the cleanser missed. It will also gently exfoliate so that the serum can go deep inside of your pores to work from the inside out. (Our favorite toner is Biologique Recherche Lotion P50—it’s the holy grail of toners and has a cult following of basically every beauty editor we know.)
How you apply your serum is important, too. Most of the pros suggest putting a few drops onto your hands and then gently pushing it into your skin using an upward motion. Rubbing products onto your skin can sometimes be too irritating. Plus, pushing it into your skin will help it to better absorb.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s the fun part: name dropping some of our all-time favorite serums. The ones we love the most are pretty much do-it-all products, and will give your complexion a radiance like no other. Here, the best serums for brides-to-be.
iS Clinical Active Serum
This salicylic acid serum is a game changer. Honestly. You can see results overnight. It takes care of everything: It diminishes hormonal acne, hyperpigmentation, large pores, fine lines, and just gives you an overall even, healthy glow. (We’ve been using it for about two months now, and hormonal breakouts are practically nonexistent.) The first few times you use it, you might feel a minty tingling sensation on your skin. That just means it’s working.
SHOP NOW: Dermstore, $135
Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum
This serum is the only product Vintner’s Daughter makes, and it’s gained a massive celeb following. The founder, April Gargiulo, spent two years sourcing the best natural botanicals (it’s completely organic) to create a natural serum that adds radiance, moisture, and clarity to the skin. It contains a blend of 22 skin-loving botanicals and essential oils like turmeric, grapeseed oil, avocado, carrot seed, lavender, nettle, dandelion, and much more. The best part? It’s not greasy at all—even those with oily complexions love how well it sinks into their skin.
SHOP NOW: Neiman Marcus, $185
Biologique Recherche Serum Placenta
We get it: this one might sound weird. Like, placenta? It smells weird, too, but that’s not the point. The placenta proteins in it accelerate the skin’s natural healing and rebuilding process, so use this on whatever needs healing, from red acne marks to dark under-eye circles. It’s also great to use if you’ve just exfoliated or had a peel, because it boosts the skin’s natural buoyancy and strength, making it less susceptible to the outside elements.
SHOP NOW: Shop Rescue Spa, $68
Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum
Vitamin C is the main ingredient in this serum, and it’s the best ingredient to get that coveted bridal glow. It brightens, evens skin tone, and boosts collagen production, not to mention it wards off the detrimental effects of UV rays and free radicals. Vitamin C is usually difficult to keep potent, but the technology of this one makes it stay effective. (Still, Vargas recommends using it within 30 days for maximum effectiveness, so make sure you stay regimented with it!) We noticed a difference quickly—within just two days—but of course, the longer you use it, the more dramatic an improvement you’ll see.
SHOP NOW: Dermstore, $150
Shani Darden Resurface Retinol Reform
For those who haven’t been able to use a retinol product without reacting to it, you’ll love this serum, which exfoliates, brightens, keeps acne at bay, refines pores, and smoothes fine lines—but ever so gently. Some retinols are harsh and lead to red, flaky skin (especially for first-time users), but for us, there wasn’t any adjustment time needed. Along with retinol and exfoliating lactic acid, it also contains aloe vera to soothe and calm, and vitamin B3 to boost collagen and skin tone.
SHOP NOW: Amazon, $95.99