13 Clean, Natural & Organic Serums For Every Skin Concern
Serums put in the capital-W in Work: These potent tonics and elixirs are packed with powerful active ingredients to target any number of skin concerns, from acne to fine lines. As far as order in your routine goes, it should go right after your daily wash (and toner, if you choose) so the ingredients are better able to penetrate the epidermis. Some serums are for nighttime only, some work better during the day, but the majority are suitable for twice daily.
Because serums are results-driven, really think about your skin care goals before making a purchase: not only because this will likely mean you're happier with your product, but serums tend to cost more as they contain higher concentrations of more expensive ingredients. (You don't want to spend a pretty penny on something only to come to the realization that your main concern is dark spots, not texture.)
Here, we outline the best serums on the market and who they are most suited for given your skin care needs.
Collagen production: Marie Veronique Vitamin C+E+Ferulic
Collagen is the most essential structural component to your skin; it keeps things tight, firm, and youthful. It declines with age, as well as due to oxidative stress, UV damage, and so on. So if you want to keep your skin looking healthy, you must encourage collagen production. Vitamin C is collagen's strongest ally: Not only does it help your body make more collagen, but it stabilizes the collagen you already have naturally. But this serum goes a step further and adds vitamin E and ferulic acid, which supercharge vitamin C and helps it penetrate the skin cell.
Vitamin C+E+Ferulic, Marie Veronique ($90)
Healthy aging: January Labs Triple Active Reclaiming Serum
While it's best to get specific with your intended skin goals, sometimes the outcome you're looking for is simply to help your skin age healthier. This serum does just that by using three distinct pathways. The first is a unique retinol derivative that will effectively encourage skin cell turnover without irritation. The second is a stable form of vitamin C to even tone and, yes, stimulate collagen production as noted above. And the final is niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that aids your cells' mitochondria so the skin acts more youthful at the cellular level.
Triple Active Reclaiming Serum, January Labs ($86)
Allover glow: Ranavant Botanicals Radiant Rani Brightening Facial Serum
Inspired by ancient ayurvedic skin care traditions, this serum is infused with saffron; women have been using the antioxidant-rich spice as an at-home brightening agent for centuries. Not to mention, saffron is one of the world's most precious commodities and per unit is more valuable than gold. In this thoroughly modern version, the saffron is coupled with other emollient actives to soften the skin texture as well.
Radiant Rani Brightening Facial Serum, Ranavant Botanicals ($90)
Smoothing: Grown Alchemist Instant Smoothing Serum
This liquid almost has a pillow-like quality when you apply it to the skin: That's thanks to the three different types of hyaluronic acid in this. Hyaluronic acid, if you need a refresher, is the water-loving molecule that's naturally found in the skin. Like many things, we lose it as we age—this is one of the reasons our skin gets drier as we get older. By replenishing the molecule topically, you can help your skin hold in water all day long. And with better water retention comes smoother skin.
Instant Smoothing Serum, Grown Alchemist ($95)
Texture: Biossance Squalane 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum
Texture concerns are notoriously hard to treat, as it takes the perfect balance of gentle exfoliation and proper hydration to even things out. This achieves that with a potent blend of lactic acid and hydrating squalane. Lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that sloughs off dead skin cells at the surface but won't trigger deeper irritation (it has a larger molecular size, it can't penetrate deep into the epidermis). And even though it's a sensitive-skin-safe acid, this is further buffered with squalane to really infuse the skin with moisture.
Squalane 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum, Biossance ($62)
On-the-go: Tatcha The Serum Stick
Serums usually aren't of the "toss in your purse and use all day" variety. This solid gel serum is the exception. It's made with squalane, hyaluronic acid, and Japanese lemon balm so you can layer on moisture all day. This is especially helpful if you work in a dry office setting or live in an arid environment. If you are one to find your skin parched midday, it's worth keeping this on hand.
The Serum Stick, Tatcha ($48)
Hydrating: Josie Maran Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment
This 100% natural emollient is a game-changer for those with dry skin. The treatment magically blends together purified water with their signature argan oil, which is rich in fatty acids, vitamin E, and other nutrients. The result? A unique milky texture that sinks into skin with ease and hydrates all day long.
Pure Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Treatment, Josie Maran ($56)
Redness: Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Mushroom Relief Resilience Advanced Face Serum
Red skin is irritated skin. And irritated skin is the result of a damaged skin barrier. To heal that skin barrier, you can apply calming yet strengthening ingredients. This serum uses a rich blend of adaptogens—like chaga and reishi mushroom—to build up your skin's resiliency. The formula leaves even sensitive skin feeling calm and comforted.
Mega Mushroom Relief Resilience Advanced Face Serum, Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins ($57)
Sensitive: Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum
It should come as no surprise that a product from Dr. Barbara Sturm is on a best-of list of any kind. Given that the founder herself has said that her main goal of skin care is to bring down inflammation, you know that her sensitive skin care products are bar none. (Sensitive skin is inflamed skin.) This ultra-light fluid contains botanicals like cardiospermum, echium, sunflower, purslane, and sweet almond oil—each active meticulously sourced and formulated.
Calming Serum, Dr. Barbara Sturm ($250)
Dark spots: Korres Wild Rose Spotless Serum
Dark spots—caused by sun damage, age, hormone, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation—may feel like they'll just never go away. And while fading dark spots does take time, you can speed up the process with antioxidants. This serum is made with a stable form of vitamin C at a very potent 15%, as well as a proprietary complex that reduces the size, number, and intensity of skin discolorations.
Wild Rose Spotless Serum, Korres ($68)
Every day: Susanne Kaufmann Skin Care Line F Face Fluid
Somewhere between a serum and a lotion, this silky, light fluid is perfect for those who may not know exactly what they are looking for but want to take better care of their skin overall. Why is this such a well-rounded option? Because it's packed with simple yet efficacious ingredients that target dehydration, tone, oil imbalances, and uneven textures. Think calendula blossoms, chamomile flowers, and witch hazel. You can't go wrong with this one.
Skin Care Line F Face Fluid, Susanne Kaufmann ($88)
Acne: Versed Just Breathe Clarifying Serum
If your skin runs oily and your pores are prone to clogging, look for clarifying ingredients in your serums. Also: Since acne is inherently inflamed, you should also find one with ingredients that calm skin, too. Seem like a tall order? This easy option has a willow bark extract, niacinamide, and zinc blend to calm inflamed skin, clean out pores, and soothe redness.
Just Breathe Clarifying Serum, Versed ($19.99)
Post-acne: True Botanicals Clear Repair Serum
Breakouts are one thing, but what comes after them? That's the real issue. Anyone with acne-prone skin knows that a zit is only a fraction of the battle, and if you want glowing, healthy skin you have to keep treating the damaged skin so it won't scar. This serum helps do just that with olive leaf extract, black willow bark, and hyaluronic acid—while also helping control sebum production to keep new breakouts from forming.
Clear Repair Serum, True Botanicals ($140)
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.