I'm going to be honest. I've never honestly felt the need for a specific serum. Maybe because I'm fresh into my mid-twenties, maybe because I have phases where I bother with one particular beauty item at a time. I mean, that masking craze was real: I surrendered most of my nights and weekends to it, and now I'm obsessed with acids. Or maybe, a thick moisturizer that does the job feels enough most days.
But, enter the second-wave skincare craze (the first wave, if you remember, was marked by the time beauty products were sold to women by feeding off their insecurities) where beauty is self-care, feel-good, and so, so addictive. Put social media into the picture, too, and boom: everywhere you click, everywhere you log in, there is a skincare review. So, how exactly can we navigate this entire pool of information on what to slap onto your skin when its waters are not always clear? Research. Or, having hundreds of tabs open about which serum to use and where it should go in your routine.
As it turns out, though, you don’t actually have to choose. Yes, layering serums is possible! We know that nobody got time for that in-depth research either, so we already did the trying and buying so you don't have to. Read all about our fave serum combos below!
1. Hyaluronic Acid + Retinol
Everyone knows hyaluronic acid is actually the fountain of youth. BUT if you need some extra catching up with sun spots or wrinkles (like you got into skincare late), retinol is your best friend, too. Just make sure you use retinol at night and you load up on SPF in the daytime—retinols and retinoids, after all, enhance cell turnover, and why would you let all the anti-aging go to waste with the number one aging element, the sun? Keep your guard up, girl.
IMAGE Clarins, Murad, Banila Co
Hyaluronic Acid: CLARINS Hydra Essentiel Bi-Phase Serum, P3350, Rustan's
Retinol: MURAD Retinol Youth Renewal Serum, P5050, Beauty Bar
SPF: BANILA CO Hello Sunny Essence Sun Stick Fresh SPF50+ PA++++, P1150, SM North Edsa
2. Retinol + Ferulic Acid
Ferulic acid is fairly a stranger to a lot of skincare newbies, so to brush up on our skincare basics, this is a plant-based antioxidant that boosts vitamins in other skincare and even SPF. That said, if you want to amplify any result, I would choose anti-aging. Pair this one with retinol because together, they're the skin's dream team: ferulic acid lets retinol sink deeper into the skin all while pumping up production of your own natural collagen like you're six years old again—they're coming for you, deep-seated lines.
IMAGE Sephora, Deciem
Retinol: FIRST AID BEAUTY Skin Lab Retinol Serum, P3808, Sephora.ph
Ferulic acid: THE ORDINARY Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%, P710, Beautymnl
3. AHA + Hyaluronic Acid
This combo is literally an AHA moment because these two acids are such a great mix. Hyaluronic acid or HA, like we previously mentioned, is a total hydration hero because it attracts moisture into the skin (Tip: Use with a rich moisturizer at night and wake up plump-skinned). But it'll work wonders for you if you're using an exfoliator like alpha hydroxy acids because these are made to slough off dead skin chemically. They work well, and sometimes, too well—so here's where HA comes in by letting the AHAs do all the peel work, while HA takes care of keeping the skin nice and hydrated.
IMAGE Pixi, Peter Thomas Roth
AHA: PIXI Overnight Glow Serum, P1628, Glamourbox
Hyaluronic Acid: PETER THOMAS ROTH Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum, P3500, SM Megamall
4. Vitamin C + Acids
You might've heard about this lowkey forbidden combination, but consider that myth busted—like with most beauty things, skincare tolerance is different between everybody. Depending on whether your skin can withstand it, go for the vitamin C + acid combination, but do take heed this important note: it's all about timing. If, like mentioned, your facial skin is pretty tolerant, use vitamin C in the mornings (with solid sunscreen obviously), then deploy your acids in the evening. Still scared? Maybe begin with a low-percent, daily-use acid first before graduating into the big guns.
IMAGE The Body Shop, COSRX
Vitamin C: THE BODY SHOP Vitamin C Skin Boost, P1495, Shangri-la Plaza
Mild BHA: COSRX Perfect Poreless Liquid, P990, Beautymnl
5. Vitamins A + C + E
Look Ma, I'm finally taking my vitamins! Through my pores, that is. There's a lot of good found in putting these vitamins on your skin, especially all together: While Vitamin C works to brighten and lighten acne scars, Vitamin E takes care of moisture and tissue repair, and Vitamin A reduces sebum production and promotes healthy growth of new skin cells.
IMAGE V&M Naturals, Its Skin
Vitamin A and C: V&M NATURALS CPC+G Oil, P350, V&M Naturals
Vitamin E: IT'S SKIN Power 10 Formula VE Effector, P599, Beautymnl