by Olivia Rogine

You may have noticed a trend in beauty: going au naturale. But the real question is, how can you achieve the effortless look without actual effort? A great facial mask paired with chugging a gallon of water a day might do the trick, but the real secret sauce is using serum.

What exactly is serum?

Serum, at its core, is a magical combination of highly concentrated active ingredients that help your skin stay moisturized without it being classified as a “moisturizer.” Yes, you still need that.

With so many serums out there, it can be difficult to know the difference between all of them, because not all serums are created equal. But there is a serum for everyone — dry skin types, oily skin types, sensitive skin types, you name it. So let me break it down for you.

The Crowd Pleasers: Supers and Squalane

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The cream of the crop, the best of the best — you get the picture. Meet, the crowd pleasers, supers and squalane.

The Top Three

If you are a product junkie like me, chances are you know all about Glossier, the new brand that has taken the beauty industry by storm. Glossier’s take on serum is that there is no silver bullet for your skin woes. Each skin problem should be addressed separately by one of their three Super Serums: Super Bounce, Super Glow, and Super Pure. I’ve tried all three and I’m a believer. Each Super is vastly different in texture and active ingredients but when used in rotation they are incredible:

  • Super Bounce combats your skin’s dryer days.
  • Super Glow is your skin’s wake up call when your face is feeling dull.
  • Super Pure is your stressful week is in full force and you feel a breakout coming on.

Squalane: The All-In-One

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I think it’s time for me to come clean right about now. I have naturally clear skin. While I am thankful for my good genes it also means that I don’t need much on my face. A core part of my minimalist facial routine is Indie Lee’s Squalane Facial Oil. Say what? Squalane, like the oil squalene that is naturally found in you and me.

It’s easy to get these two mixed up, so let me explain. Squalane is the self stable, hydrogenated 100% saturated oil that is derived from the unsaturated squalene oil (with the e). All of this it to say, squalane oil is really damn good for your skin. It’s weightless, naturally antibacterial, and works wonders for dry, oily, and combination skin. Sounds too good to be true, I know. But you have my word. And I was a Girl Scout.

Personalization is Key: Picks For Every Skin Type

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Supers and squalane may have won the people’s choice but they don’t work for everyone. If you need to address your finicky skin, try these top picks for every skin type!

Serums and Facial Oils

The Dry Skin Pick

My good skin genes only go so far. Yes, I have dry skin. Very, very dry skin. The kind of dry skin that is borderline painful in the harsh winter months. To the ladies out there reading this who know exactly what I’m talking about, I am so sorry. But have no fear, I have a game changer here. It’s time to meet your match, dry skin — Patyka Lotus & Cotton Quenching Serum. This serum calms and hydrates irritated and dry skin almost immediately. Each time I put on this liquid gold, my skin thanks me!

DO: Wait 15 minutes before putting on moisturizing oil after washing your face. Putting oil immediately on your skin after washing can make your skin even even dryer so make sure to lock in all of the moisture you can with a good quenching serum.

DON’T: Buy Chia Seed Oil and other products known for the burning effect. This will irritate your dry skin, trust me!

The Oily Skin Pick

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I know it doesn’t sound logical to put oil on already oil prone skin. But if your skin is prone to producing too much oil, then finding the right serum is key. While I personally don’t experience oily skin, Credo Beauty has a variety of serums that will do the trick. I hear African Botantics’ Neroli Infused Marula Oil is a crowd pleaser.

DO: Look for a lightweight and anti-clogenic serum that is rich in Vitamin C. Light serums are known to penetrate the skin quickly without leaving a heavy layer of additional oil on the surface. Any serum that contains Vitamin C will fight against acne for pimple-prone skin so it can’t hurt.

DON’T: Use a thick oil that is sticky to the touch. Thicker facial oils coat the skin and fill already-oily pores, which is the last thing you need.

The Sensitive Skin Pick

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If you have sensitive skin like me, Kyris Clearing Serum should be your go to. Whether you experience seasonal eczema, rosacea flare ups, or your skin is just plain fussy - Kyris has you covered. The active ingredients in this serum help inflammation and redness; just what the doctor ordered!

DO: Find a mild serum with natural calming ingredients like lilac, green tea, lavender, and tea tree. These ingredients have soothing properties to reduce the redness that usually comes with sensitive skin.

DON’T: Try an intense formula with non natural ingredients. If your skin is sensitive, treat it as such. Non-natural ingredients tend to be harsher which will only agitate your skin. So it’s best to stay away from peeling masks and acidic formulas!

I hope you can incorporate supers, squalane, or a serum into your daily beauty routine. Perhaps more importantly, don’t forget to embrace your natural beauty and enhance your skin care by going au naturale.

Olivia Rogine is a full-time events manager for a political media company in Washington, D.C. She runs her own lifestyle blog, Liv in DC, and you can follow her on Instagram @livin.dc.

Feature image by That Grace Girl. Kyris photo by Carina Jung. All other post photography by Olivia Rogine.