May 20, 2019 at 09:47AM by CWC
Whenever people used to ask me the one skin-care product worth splurging on, I would immediately tell them, “serum.” I’d always been down with $8 cleansers and toners and moisturizers, but was a big (and misinformed) believer that “effective” and “expensive” were two adjectives that went hand-in-hand when it came to a serum.
Well, I was wrong, and would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to any of my friends who I led astray into dropping major dollars on serums (my bad, guys!). Because as the drugstore aisle’s skin-care offerings become better in general, so too has their selection of serums. While serums as a category tend to be pricier than the other elements in your regimen because they’re made with more highly concentrated ingredients, you no longer need to break out the Benjamins in order to find one that truly works.
On Monday, a new line of under-$20 products called VERSED joined the clean beauty ranks at Target. As of today, you’ll find its brightening, clarifying, and firming serums among other skin-care superheroes from new brands like Sweet Chef (the affordable off-shoot of K-Beauty favorite Glow Recipe) and ApotheCARE Essentials, and ones we’ve loved forever like L’Oreal and Neutrogena.
The key to shopping for serums—drugstore or otherwise—is to have a keen eye for both buzzwords and ingredients. So if something is bragging about being “brightening,” be sure to check for vitamin C; if it’s meant to be hydrating, look out for moisture-locking winners like hyaluronic acid; and if you’re looking for something calming, peep the label for niacinamide.
To avoid having to spend hours in the drugstore aisle, we combed through—and tested—the selection for you. Peep our favorite drugstore serums for every skin concern, none of which will run you more than 25 bucks.
Shop brightening serums
Shop hydrating serums
Shop calming serums
Shop anti-aging serums
Shop serums for discoloration
While you’re at the drugstore, be sure to peak at the baby aisle for an assortment of affordable clean beauty products, and stock up on this skin care that dermatologists don’t go a day without recommending.