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Skin-care routines are becoming a bit extensive, don’t you think? It used to just be a three-step process, with a cleanser, toner and moisturizer. These days, however, with facial oils, eye creams, sunscreen and everything else on the market, a beauty regimen can take all day. And that is before you even get to a makeup process. But what if there was a singular product that was part skin-care item, part makeup product? Enter the serum foundation.
Before we get into the serum foundation, let’s take a quick refresher on the benefits of serum itself. Though we’ve already acknowledged that skin-care routines can get quite extensive, serums are actually a fantastic step to bring in, if you haven’t already. “A serum is a lighter product that generally has a high concentration of active ingredients to address specific skin issues,” said Dr. Michele Farber of Schweiger Dermatology Group.
Serums are made up of smaller molecules that penetrate deep levels of the skin, meaning that they can give you targeted results for specific skin-care concerns, delivering powerful ingredients right where they’re needed. “Vitamin C and antioxidant serums help neutralize environmental damage and address pigment discoloration,” said Dr. Farber. “Retinols can also be found in serums and these are fantastic for anti-aging and boosting collagen.”
So if a skin-care serum can correct color and improve flaws within the skin, imagine the power of a serum foundation, tinted to offer immediate color correction yet formulated with nourishing ingredients to make your skin the best version of itself.
Here is what you need to know about serum foundations: They are more lightweight than traditional powder or cream foundations. Many would argue that a serum foundation feels more like a tinted moisturizer than a foundation. These products will feel good on your skin and provide you benefits in the same way any other skin-care item can.
But a word to the wise: Don’t go crazy with any serum, tinted or not. These products hold a potent level of ingredients designed to give your face a boost of what it wants, so you want to make sure you’re introducing the right ingredients your skin actually needs.
“The wrong product can be irritating particularly to sensitive skin,” Dr. Farber said. “Just look through the ingredient list to know what you’re using.” And what should you be using? Whether you’re completely sold on the serum foundation or are in the market for an added step in your skin-care routine, here’s how to find the right product for you.
Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation SPF
A silky serum foundation made with zinc oxide, cordyceps and artemia to recharge the skin’s appearance and defend against environmental stressors.
$69 at Bobbi Brown
Dior Diorskin Nude Air Serum Foundation
A virtually weightless fluid serum designed to enhance complexion and provide sheer color correction to reveal a radiant, healthy glow.
$53 at Dior
Glossier Super Serums
An untinted trio of “supplements for your face,” formulated to act interchangeably to provide the specific boost your skin desires each day.
$65 at Glossier
BareMinerals BareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation
A liquid foundation powered by an antioxidant- and vitamin-C-rich serum for a brightening look and protection against environmental stressors.
$30 at bareMinerals
Perricone MD No Makeup Foundation Serum
An anti-aging serum chock-full of DMAE and neuropeptides, plus tinted with a semi-matte finish that takes the “no makeup” look to new heights.
$60 at Perricone MD
The Ordinary Serum Foundation
A foundation with moderate coverage and a lightweight feel, designed with pigments that are treated for a rich, highly saturated effect.
$6.70 at The Ordinary
Crop Antioxidant Facial Serum
A fully organic, COSMOS-certified facial serum derived from aloe vera and rosehip oil to penetrate deep into the skin to form a protective barrier and restore a natural glow.
$38 at Crop Natural
Yves Saint Laurent Youth Liberator Serum Foundation
Designed with the brand’s patented Color Tune-Up Complex, this serum foundation provides an anti-aging treatment and medium to full coverage for a healthy complexion.
$70 at Yves Saint Laurent
Epicuren Pro Collagen + Serum Amplifier
A serum with a multitiered approach to enhancing collagen within the skin for a naturally youthful glow and a long-term approach to preventing signs of aging.
$82 at Epicuren
Envy Medical Glycopeel
Another traditional serum, this is created with glycolic acid to exfoliate and encourage cell turnover to naturally reduce signs of aging and minimize dark spots.
$70 at Envy Medical
Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Flawless Serum Foundation
A foundation built to perfect skin through concentrated plant-derived ingredients, such as hydrating coconut alkanes and antioxidant-rich technology for a comfortable wear and radiant look.
$44 at Juice Beauty
Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation
A cruelty-free, paraben-free serum crafted with chameleon pigments to match skin and ingredients designed to smooth and strengthen skin, perfect for all-year-round wear.
$42 at Josie Maran
Dr Roebuck’s Perky Collagen Boosting Serum
A plant-based serum that combats dull skin and revives firmness and elasticity for a natural glow.
$60 at Dr. Roebuck’s
Decorté Moisture Liposome
A serum whose Liposome Technology formula hasn’t changed for 21 years, as it promotes healthy, hydrated and radiant skin.
$95 at Saks Fifth Avenue
ILIA True Skin Serum Foundation
A weightless serum with a velvety finish that nourishes skin using a potent blend of active botanicals like aloe leaf, rosehip oil and jojoba oil to soothe irritations and tame redness.
$54 at Ilia
Credit photo. StyleCaster