Many people have a basic skincare routine with a cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. But have you considered using a serum on your combination skin?

Read on to learn more about the benefits of serums, as well as the best serums for combination skin.

What is Combination Skin, and Why You Need a Serum

Combination skin refers to a skin type where some areas are oily, but others are dry.

Oily areas tend to exist around the T-zone (the forehead, nose, and chin), while the cheeks are generally dry.

Serum Benefits

Serums are a great way to incorporate active ingredients into your skin care routine.

The actives can help with:

  • Dryness
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Wrinkles

While they aren’t an essential part of a skincare routine, many people choose to work serums into their routine in order to take care of specific skin issues.

Those with combination skin can greatly benefit from adding the right serum to their skincare routine.

How to Choose the Right Serum

You’ll want to choose a serum based on the specific skin issues you want to treat.

There are an abundance of active ingredients used in serums.

These are three of the most common and effective active ingredients you’ll find:

  • Hyaluronic Acid: This ingredient is excellent if you need extra hydration, as it draws in moisture to the skin from its surroundings. This helps the skin retain moisture and stay hydrated.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant that is great for brightening, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles, and helping to fight the signs of aging.
  • Retinol: Retinol increases skin cell turnover, helping to diminish both acne and the signs of aging

Best Serums for Combination Skin

If you’re thinking of adding a serum to your skincare routine, here are some of the best serums for combination skin.

1. Best Overall: Hadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist

Best Overall: Hadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist

Best Overall Serum for Combination Skin

This serum contains hyaluronic acid, making it an excellent choice for those who need extra hydration in their skincare routine. While it intensely hydrates dry and dehydrated areas, it won’t leave the skin feeling greasy or looking shiny. The Hadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist may be applied before moisturizer, or mixed with moisturizer.

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2. Best Vitamin C: Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum

Best Vitamin C: Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum

Best Vitamin C Serum for Combination Skin

If you’re looking for a serum that brightens and fights the signs of aging, this is a great choice for you. In addition to vitamin C, it contains both ferulic acid and vitamin E, which stabilize the formula and increase the ability to protect against sun damage. It also contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin. This formula is free of parabens, fragrances, and dyes. The lightweight serum is non-greasy and absorbs easily into the skin, making it one of the best serums for combination skin.

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3. Best Korean: Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum

Best Korean: Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum

Best Korean Serum for Combination Skin

Those in need of exfoliation for smoother and more even-toned skin should try this peeling serum from Mizon. It contains an 8% concentration of glycolic acid, which gently exfoliates dead skin cells to reveal smooth and even-toned skin. The serum also contains papaya, which brightens and acts as a retexturizer. This formula is rounded out with hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial ingredients.

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4. Best Anti-Aging: Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum

Best Anti-Aging: Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Wrinkle Repair Retinol Serum

Best Anti-Aging Serum for Combination Skin

This retinol serum is one of the best serums for combination skin, particularly if you are dealing with wrinkles. It has a 0.1% concentration of retinol, which is effective yet still gentle on the skin. The serum also contains protective antioxidants and soothing plant-extracts, as well as brightening vitamin C. It has a lightweight texture that absorbs well into the skin, leaving a silky-smooth finish.

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5. Best Drugstore: CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Serum

Best Drugstore: CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Serum

Best Drugstore Serum for Combination Skin

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly find, this is the serum for you. The main active ingredient is retinol, which helps to improve the appearance of signs of aging and boost radiance. It also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, soothing niacinamide, and ceramides that help restore the skin’s protective barrier. The patented MVE technology works to continually release moisturizing ingredients to the skin. This serum is non-comedogenic and fragrance-free.

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6. Best Natural: Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Power Berry Serum

Best Natural: Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Power Berry Serum

Best Natural Serum for Combination Skin

This serum takes a more natural approach to skincare, with 95% natural ingredients. It uses 13 different types of antioxidant-filled berries, including blueberries, goji berries, acai berries, and raspberries. These ingredients neutralize environmental damage and promote a youthful glow. The vitamins, polyphenols, and flavonoids in the berries also revitalize, hydrate, repair, and soothe the skin. The serum is silicone-free, and has a hydrating but light milky-gel texture, making it one of the best serums for combination skin.

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How to Use a Serum When You Have Combination Skin

Incorporating a serum into your skincare routine is simple, follow these steps:

1. What step in your routine do you use a serum?

After cleansing and exfoliating, apply a few drops of serum to your skin and gently message the product into your skin.

Allow to dry, follow-up with moisturizer.

2. How often should you use a serum?

A serum can be applied both morning and night, or when needed. 

  • It isn’t essential that you use a serum on a daily basis.
  • Assess your skin’s needs, and decide what works best for you.

For more intensive serums (containing retinol or acids):

  • You may want to start with applying it every other day to avoid irritation.
  • From there, you can decide if you’d like to build up your usage.

3. Adjust frequency as needed

Combination skin can fluctuate, especially as the seasons change.

Pay attention to how your skin changes, and add or eliminate serums as it seems necessary.

Other Recommended Products for Combination Skin

Looking to complete your skincare routine? Consider these favorites:

FAQ

What step do you add a serum to your routine?

A serum should be applied after toning the skin, if you use a toner. If not, you can apply your serum after cleansing, but before applying a moisturizer.

How often should you use a serum on combination skin?

How often you use a serum depends entirely on your skin and its needs. Most serums can be applied twice a day, but you may find that you only need to apply it as needed. Test out a certain serum, and decide what application schedule makes the most sense for you.

Does combination skin need to use serums?

A serum is not a vital part of a combination skincare routine. The foundation of a skincare routine should include a cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF for daytime protection. However, serums are particularly beneficial, as the potent formulas target certain skin issues.

Summary: Best Serums for Combination Skin

The Bottom Line

While it is not essential that you add a serum to your skincare routine, serums provide a host of benefits and help you deal with specific skin problems.

Any of the above serums are great for those with combination skin, so make sure to choose the one which targets your skin concerns.