Vitamin C serums brighten your complexion, nourish your skin, and decrease inflammation as well as irregular pigmentation to leave your face glowing. Maelove's Glow Maker serum is the best vitamin C serum we've tested because it's affordable and effective.
Getting a face lift doesn't have to mean going under the knife. Really, all you need is vitamin C. Over the last few years, a mysterious elixir known as vitamin C serum has seemingly become one of the biggest skincare trends in the world, and while you may not totally get what it is, you'll certainly get why it's so popular. Vitamin C is key to reducing skin inflammation and irregular pigmentation. It's also important for collagen production. Altogether, these aspects make your skin look brighter, smoother, and generally younger. And while you may think that your 20-something face doesn't need any help (yet), it is certainly the case that the sooner you begin taking care of your skin, the longer it will look youthful. We spoke to Dr. Kathleen Suozzi, dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, and she typically recommends that her patients start using a vitamin C serum in their 20s as a way to help prevent sun damage. While this antioxidant appears naturally in many of the foods you consume on a daily basis (think: fruits, kale, broccoli, and the like), it's actually quite difficult to get the vitamin straight to your skin. Enter vitamin C serums, compounds that are spiked with the powerful, natural substance and meant to keep your skin looking tight and bright. When choosing your serum, you'll want to keep a few things in mind. First off, be sure to read the label for ingredients. While this seems like an obvious tip, you are putting this stuff directly on your face, so you'll want to be sure that everything is as natural and organic as possible. You'll also want a relatively high proportion of vitamin C. If it's only 5% or so, you're really not getting a vitamin C serum anymore. It's important to note though that vitamin C comes in different forms, which all manifest as different names on your skincare product's ingredient list. "The most biologically active form of vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid," Dr. Suozzi says. "More recently, a form of vitamin C called tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate has been used in cosmeceuticals. This form is lipid-soluble and more stable than the L-ascorbic acid version. It is also potentially less irritating as it is not as acidic," Dr. Suozzi tells us. But, given that this is a newer formulation, there is not as much data on the efficacy of the product as there is for the L-ascorbic form. Second, think about how sensitive your skin is. If you tend to react strongly to all sorts of different compounds, you'll want to be sure that you choose a serum that's safe for you and your complexion. If you're sensitive to fragrance, this might include choosing an option that doesn't have any perfumey additives. Third, consider what you really want your serum to do. Are you looking to brighten your skin? Smooth it? Hide spots? Various serums will serve various purposes, so it's good to go in with a game plan. We have an explainer piece where we break down the benefits of vitamin C serums. Finally, you'll want to keep price in mind. Some vitamin C serums can run well over a hundred dollars and considering that you're only buying a small bottle at a time, that can be quite the investment. There are, luckily, more affordable options on the market as well. Here are the best vitamin C serums you can buy:
Best vitamin C serum overall: Maelove Glow Maker Best budget serum: No B.S. Vitamin C Serum Best luxury serum: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum Best concentrated formula: COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid Best scented formula: Korres Wild Rose 15% Vitamin C Spotless Serum
Updated on 2/25/2020 by Remi Rosmarin: Updated prices, links, and spoke with a dermatologist for additional insight. The best vitamin C serum overall
Maelove's Glow Maker Vitamin C serum is a potent blend of vitamin C, ferulic acid, and hyaluronic acid. It's also surprisingly affordable at $28. Maelove CEO Jackie Kim had a simple goal when she created her company. She wanted to make skincare "radically affordable," and it's safe to say that she's achieved that with her cult-favorite $28 Glow Maker Vitamin C serum. It's sold out multiple times, but it's currently in stock at the time of writing this. The Glow Maker's goals are threefold: hyperpigmentation, smoothing, and hydration, and its ingredients all lend themselves to one of those goals. In the Glow Maker, you'll find vitamins C (15% L-ascorbic acid), E and ferulic acid for antioxidation protection, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and a proprietary mix of botanicals (grape seed extract, aloe, aurantium dulcis, and magnolia) for nourishment and easier makeup application. Thanks to the aforementioned extracts, folks with sensitive skin shouldn't have negative reactions to this particular serum. As we've mentioned previously, the $28 Glow Maker is remarkably similar to the much pricier SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum. If you check out the ingredients of each solution, you'll find that they're nearly identical, but have a $138 price difference. We've found that Maelove's offering does a fantastic job brightening your complexion and lightening your dark spots, and has the added benefit of absorbing quickly into your skin. And while "glowing" skin often seems to be code for oily skin, that's not the case with the Glow Maker. Really, it just makes you look brighter. My skin is generally on the drier side, which made me a bit nervous that Maelove's serum would add to this problem if I were to apply the Glow Maker consistently. Happily, that hasn't been the case at all. Rather, it seems that the serum has helped alleviate flakiness and peeling, something I wasn't necessarily expecting from the get-go. If you don't love the Maelove Glow Maker, you have 100 days to try it out and return it for a full refund. We don't anticipate you using that option. Pros: Extremely affordable, quick-absorbing, makes skin look brighter without looking oily, good for sensitive skin Cons: Due to its popularity, the Glow Maker is frequently on backorder Read our full review on Insider Picks The best budget serum
If you experience discoloration from acne or sun spots, No B.S. vitamin C serum can help lighten them over time. Far be it from me to ever suggest that your skin is in any way imperfect, but if you're looking to make it more perfect by reducing the number of sunspots, acne scars, or other discolorations that may have come about over time, there's a serum for you. The aptly named No B.S. vitamin C serum is one of the best in the market for getting rid of hyperpigmentation, and as an additional bonus, it won't break the bank. As its name suggests, the No B.S. serum hangs its hat on what it doesn't include in its compound. You won't find any parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances (which means that it does smell a little funky). But you will find plant-based ingredients like Aloe Vera, coconut oil, and jojoba oil, as well as hyaluronic acid, retinol, and salicylic acid, all of which help to smooth out your skin and give it that healthy glow associated with such serums. It's not entirely clear what percentage of the serum is vitamin C, but seeing as it's the fourth listed ingredient, chances are it's pretty potent. Plus, vitamin C is the primary ingredient for actually fighting pigmentation, and given how well the No B.S. formula completes that task, it's safe to say that there's enough of the antioxidant. The hyaluronic acid coupled with pomegranate and green tea extracts help to smooth away lines and makes the serum safe to use underneath your eyes. Plus, you can rest easy knowing that No B.S. formulas are never tested on animals, and better still, the company donates one product for every product sold. Using the No B.S. serum on the daily hasn't proven to be problematic for me. I generally put it on in the morning before applying moisturizer and have certainly noticed an improvement in my overall complexion when it comes to smoothness and brightness. And for just $40, it feels like a steal. Pros: Great for scar and hyperpigmentation reduction, cruelty-free, safe for sensitive skin Cons: Doesn't smell great Read our full review on Insider Picks The best luxury serum
The OG SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic is a pricey but effective blend with 15% vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid. It's been a fan-favorite since 2005. It's been over a decade since the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum was first released, and in more than 10 years, it doesn't seem as though any other vitamin C serum has truly been able to unseat the original queen from her throne. Sure, the SkinCeuticals is expensive (it's certainly the priciest on this list), but when push comes to shove, this is one of the most tried and true options on the market. And nothing lasts this long without having some rhyme or reason behind it. The serum contains 15% vitamin C, along with vitamin E and ferulic acid, both of which aid in brightening your skin and reducing signs of aging. Ferulic acid is particularly important in serums, not only because of its anti-aging capabilities but also because it prevents the vitamin C from oxidizing. In other words, it helps to ensure that your serum is shelf-stable because if you're paying well over $100 per bottle, you don't want to lose half the bottle simply because you were being judicious about your application. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic contains just 12 ingredients, each of which were included only after extensive testing. This reliance on cold, hard facts has certainly contributed to the formula's longstanding popularity — there are no gimmicks or big marketing plays around this serum. It just works because it's been designed to do so. As dermatologist William Kwan told Refinery 29, "It has scientifically proven effectiveness that I knew would catch on." Many dermatologists recommend the serum, including Dr. Suozzi. Other than the fact that C E Ferulic has become a cult favorite since its 2005 release, there's really nothing trendy about the serum. It doesn't make any outsized promises, nor does it smell like flowers (really, it smells like hot dogs). But what it does do is grant your skin environmental protection by neutralizing free radicals from UV rays and ozone pollution. It also makes your skin look noticeably younger, and no matter how unadvanced you may be in years, believe me, you can always look more youthful. Pros: Tried and true formula, no gimmicks, helps skin look more youthful, extremely stable Cons: Expensive Read our review of the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic serum The best concentrated formula
COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid contains 20.5% vitamin C — higher than many other comparable formulas. Because it's so potent, mix it with your moisturizer to acclimate your skin before applying directly onto your face. There are vitamin C serums and then there are vitamin C serums, and if anything deserves the italics, it's the COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid. This beloved product is part of the Korean beauty regimen, which automatically gives it an extra dose of legitimacy. I mean, seriously — Have you ever tried a K-beauty product that doesn't work wonders? The first time the Lightning Liquid launched on Soko Glam, it was gone within the hour. Successive restocks have proven just as popular, and even today, it's one of Soko Glam's bestselling products. Once you've tried it, it's not difficult to see why. Created as a collaboration between Korean skin-care line COSRX and online beauty retailer Soko Glam's CEO, COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid is no ordinary vitamin C serum. Rather, it's packed to the brim with an impressive 20.5% ascorbic acid, aka vitamin C. That makes it one of the most potent serums on the market, and one of the most effective. The high dosage of vitamin C allows Lightning Liquid to help reduce scarring and other irregularities in your skin extremely quickly. And even if you think that you don't have these sorts of issues with your skin, you'll be able to benefit from this particular serum. It helps remove dead skin cells, which gives your skin more room to glow. Plus, Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told Allure, "[Vitamin C] may even help protect the skin from pre-cancerous changes from UV light exposure by neutralizing free radicals." Of course, you need a high concentration of the antioxidant for this to prove true, which makes Lightning Liquid particularly unique. Using the COSRX product requires a bit more care than some other serums due to its potency. Rather than applying it directly to your skin, you'll likely want to add a couple drops to your moisturizer. If you don't see any irritation in a couple weeks, then you can start applying one or two drops to your skin every other day, but always follow it up with a good moisturizer to provide dry-out. Pros: Extremely high vitamin C concentration allows you to reap all the benefits, inexpensive, extremely effective at reducing discoloration Cons: Could cause skin to dry out, not the best for sensitive skin The best scented formula
Korres Wild Rose 15% Vitamin C Spotless Serum is infused with wild rose oil to help brighten and tone your skin. It also has a subtle rose scent that smells much more pleasant than other formulas. Who says making your skin look good has to smell bad? Certainly not the Korres Wild Rose 15% Vitamin C Spotless Serum. As you might surmise from its name, this is one serum that doesn't smell like water you've been boiling lunch meat in (because yes, that is what most of these serums smell like thanks to their high concentrations of ascorbic acid). Korres, however, has saved you from smelling like a sandwich with its serum that is infused with wild rose oil, which not only works to make you smell floral and delightful, but also aids in brightening, toning, and softening your skin. Another serum with a relatively high dosage of vitamin C, the Korres formula contains 15% of the antioxidant, which helps to tone down the appearances of spots, while brightening your overall skin tone for a more luminous glow. What the serum does not contain is anything that Sephora customers (which is to say, all of us), have indicated we'd like to avoid — that includes sulfates, parabens, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, and triclocarban. And even though this serum smells good, it's not relying on artificial scents to achieve that result. While some serums work best on specific skin types, the Korres offering seems to be surprisingly effective across a wide range of customers. Oily and dry skin types alike can benefit from the bi-phase serum, and as someone with both dry and sensitive skin, I haven't had any issues while using the Korres thus far. Shoppers at Sephora seem to be in love with the Spotless Serum, with one reviewer raving, "I am obsessed with this serum. It has made my skin look so amazing I barely wear foundation. Using this at night I wake up with nice clear soft skin." Pros: Great rosy smell without being overpowering, 15% vitamin C, works well for fading discoloration and evening tone Cons: Some customers have complained that the serum is too oily Check out our other skin-care product buying guides
The best anti-aging serums Using a serum as part of your skincare routine is essential to keep your skin looking youthful and to keep those darn wrinkles at bay. Considered the superheroes of skincare, serums are packed with powerful ingredients that penetrate deep into the skin. Anti-aging serums deal primarily with fine lines, wrinkles, and dehydration, but also tone, texture, and dark spots. Some of the best anti-aging ingredients to look out for are vitamin C, for brightening the skin, hyaluronic acid for plumping it up, and retinol, a vitamin A derivative that treats a multitude of skin concerns from wrinkles to acne.
The best makeup remover It's good for your skin to remove makeup every night, but it can be a pain without the right makeup remover. We've done our research and tested the best makeup removers on the market to come up with our top recommendations. Whether you're a devout double cleanser or prefer removing makeup on the fly, there's something on our list for everyone.
The best face moisturizers for every skin type Face moisturizer is an essential skincare product, but the various brands are far from "one size fits all." Just as everybody is different, so is every skin type. Whether you count yourself dry, oily, combination, or anything else, we've got you covered with some great recommendations that are right for your skin type.
The best eye creams and serums When talking about skin-care regimens, eye creams and serums tend to be products that a lot of folks skip. "I'm already using a moisturizer," they think. "Why do I need a separate cream for under my eyes?" But this can be a mistake. The biggest reason being that the skin under your eyes is actually a lot thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of your face; therefore, it needs to be treated differently. If you're looking to cover up dark circles, keep the undereye area hydrated, or diminish the appearance of fine lines, we have a great eye cream that'll fit your needs.
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Serial founder Ning Li previously built 2 multimillion-dollar businesses. Sales at his new cult beauty brand Typology have doubled during the pandemic.
Serial entrepreneur Ning Li founded skincare brand Typology in France and is now launching it in...Serial entrepreneur Ning Li founded skincare brand Typology in France and is now launching it in the UK even as the pandemic bites into consumer spending. Typology joins cult beauty brands such as The Ordinary and The Inkey List in disrupting big, expensive brands with minimalist ingredients, beautiful packaging, and lower prices. Li is the serial founder behind furniture site Made.com and home decor firm MyFab. Typology is backed by French billionaire Xavier Niel, among other investors. Li told Business Insider that international expansion during a pandemic makes sense because marketing is cheaper, and skincare sales are up from consumers under lockdown. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Most founders are looking to hunker down during the pandemic, but serial founder Ning Li is busy expanding. Li is the founder of Typology, a Paris-headquartered beauty brand that taps into the contemporary craze for ethical skincare for well-informed consumers. Li previously cofounded and ran furniture site Made.com, and home decor company MyFab prior to that. Made.com has long been rumored to be on the brink of an IPO, while MyFab was partially sold for $4.3 million. He stepped down as Made.com's CEO in 2016, and spent the next two years dabbling with different projects including, briefly, training as a chef. He founded Typology in 2018 and, while a newcomer to beauty, can boast strong direct-to-consumer credentials. The startup offers beautifully packaged skin serums, oils, and hair care products and is now live in the UK after initially focusing on France and Belgium. Typology undercuts fancy $300 serums and creams Typology's sell is that all its products are vegan and cruelty-free; you can see the (minimalist) key ingredients on the label; and the beautiful bottles fit through your letterbox. It all looks very trendy, with its perfume bottle-like flacons and clear labeling of key ingredient percentages. Anyone who has bought products from brands like The Inkey List or The Ordinary will recognize the aesthetic. And as with the competition, the price is another key selling point. Typology's products look high-end without the high-end price tag. For example, a 15ml Typology bottle containing a 0.3% concentration of the anti-aging ingredient retinol costs £14.80 ($18). Browse through the website of cosmetics retailer Space NK however, and a similar 15ml bottle with an unspecified concentration of retinol costs up to £254 in the UK or $300 in the US. Typology can afford to keep its prices low, Li said, because it currently only deals with consumers direct and has no partnerships with physical or online retailers who will take a slice of the sales. Li says his goal is to demystify skincare. The entrepreneur is married to Roxane Varza, a former TechCrunch journalist and coding advocate who runs the biggest startup factory in Europe, France's Station F. The two have a baby girl, and Li was introduced to the mystifying world of cosmetic ingredients when he tried to buy some moisturizing cream for her. "I'm a bit of a control freak as a person," he told Business Insider. "I'm also very skeptical ... one day I was buying a cream for my daughter, who's now two, and I started Googling — you look at the back of a cream and you start reading those long names, and most of the names I don't understand." Mainstream branded cosmetics are not necessarily unsafe — the likes of L'Oreal, P&G, and other major brands have thousands of scientists who spend years working on formulations. But how companies concoct their formulations has not historically been especially transparent, partly because successful formulations are closely guarded trade secrets. That frustrated Li, who went on a learning expedition and discovered that some ingredients don't necessarily provide any long-term benefits. One example is silicone, which can help a cream or product sit smoothly on your skin. A downside to silicone, Li notes, is that it may be toxic for the environment. One Typology product range, Ten, consists of products with ten or fewer ingredients. "It's a very minimalist and pared-back approach to skincare," said Li. Almost all the products are formulated by the company's own chemists and pharmacists and produced in partnership with labs in France. The startup raised a $10 million seed round in 2019 from backers including French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel and the UK's Firstminute Capital, with most of the money going towards R&D in its first year. For canny beauty fans, Typology's branding and positioning bears similarities to other disruptors and in some instances, its products are more expensive than, say, those offered by The Ordinary. Still, as the hardcore beauty fans on Reddit's r/SkinCareAddiction forum note, competition is good. Expanding in the middle of a pandemic Typology launches in the UK as citizens continue to face furloughs and redundancies, and as the economy plunges into a recession. But the lockdown has caused odd shifts in consumer behavior — makeup sales may be down, but skincare is up. According to a report from UK retailers Waitrose and John Lewis, skincare sales were up 183% through April. Typology has felt the benefit, Li said, saying that orders had doubled since before the crisis. He pointed to Typology Raw, the startup's range of essential oils. "Pre-crisis we used to ship 300 [or] 400 a day," he said. "Now per day we ship over 1,000 Typology Raw products." Since Typology's products fit through the letterbox, he added, the startup has so far been able to ship with France's national post service, which has remained reliable through the pandemic. Another cost saving has been on marketing. The bulk of Typology's customers, Li said, come via word-of-mouth recommendations, but the remaining 20% come through expensive acquisition channels. With economic activity stalling and businesses closing, there are fewer firms bidding for online ad space and driving up the price. There isn't much point paying for online ads if no one can visit your store, or you can't ship products. But Typology, Li said, has been able to take advantage of the cheaper ad space. That, Li said, has given the company runway even as other startups furlough employees, or seek government handouts to survive. "Initially we thought we were going to need more capital," he said. "And the initial business plan was [that] it would be logical to raise a new round at the end of the year. But we are trading now at more than two times than before and costs actually went down. "We're considering, that if the momentum stays, we could be in a situation where we don't need funding ever again because we are self-sustaining. It's too soon to tell ... but we are definitely positioning ourselves to grow aggressively but also profitably." Brent Hoberman, an investor in Typology and the cofounder of Made.com alongside Li pointed to Li's history of building successful direct-to-consumer startups. Made.com, he noted, was built in the wake of the 2008 financial crash, and Typology may replicate its success. "You've got existing businesses and incumbents being a bit deer in the headlights, and when you're younger, smaller, more agile, you can react quicker," he said. "This is a time you can go back to direct online marketing ... suddenly costs have tumbled. It's a moment to seize market share."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
I’ve been using these drugstore skin-care products for more than 9 years — here’s why they’re ideal for my sensitive skin
For years, I struggled to find skin-care products that didn't irritate my super sensitive skin or...For years, I struggled to find skin-care products that didn't irritate my super sensitive skin or leave me broke. Simple Skincare was developed for people with sensitive skin, and products are free from harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrance, artificial color, drying alcohol, and more. I've been using three of its products — Replenishing Rich Facial Moisturizer, Micellar Facial Wipes, and Water Boost Hydrating Sheet Mask — for more than years without irritation. Here's what each of them does. For years, I struggled to find the right skin-care products that wouldn't leave my sensitive skin with new breakouts, irritation, or dry patches, or my bank account with a negative balance. Forget haystacks — for me, finding a skin-care line that didn't irritate my sensitive skin or cost a fortune was like finding a needle in a pile of needles. Until I started using Simple Skincare more than nine years ago. Products are developed specifically for people with sensitive skin. They're hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, and ophthalmologist-tested, and free from harsh chemicals like synthetic fragrances, parabens, and drying alcohol. Instead, formulas contain natural and soothing ingredients like aloe, plant extracts, and minerals. They're vegan and free of animal cruelty too. The best part of it all though? All products are under $12 and widely available from Walmart to ULTA, so I never have to trek far for refills. Here's exactly what I've been using for more than nine years: Simple's Kind To Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturizer: The year was 2010 and I was a very price-conscious grad student in NY looking to combat my winter-wrecked skin, which rebelled against every drugstore moisturizer I tried. And while I would've loved to drop $50 on a bottle of organic argan oil — which was one of the few products that worked on me — it was a luxury I literally couldn't afford. I came across Simple's Kind To Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturizer at my local CVS and took a chance because it was probably one of the last ones I didn't try in the entire beauty aisle. I've never looked back. It was the first one that didn't leave my skin overly oily, itchy, or with new breakouts in the morning. Made with a cocktail of hydrating ingredients like allantoin, glycerin, and bisabolol, my face was left so fresh and soft. My favorite part is that this moisturizer doesn't contain any artificial perfumes. While I love orange ginseng and lavender, my crazy allergies don't allow me to wear anything with a lingering smell. It's also less than $9 a bottle — seriously, that's less than the price of Chipotle's Burrito Bowl. Simple Micellar Facial Wipes: Once I knew that Simple was the skin-care line for me, I was in the market of replacing a few of my most-used beauty products. Next up? Makeup removers. Just like the moisturizer, Simple Micellar Facial Wipes. are gentle on my super sensitive skin but powerful enough to get rid of sweat, city grime, and tough waterproof mascara. No wonder it has a 4.7-star rating with more than 1,400 Walmart reviews. Simple's Water Boost Hydrating Sheet Mask: I've tried a ton of sheet masks, but many of them left my face feeling itchy. But Simple's Water Boost Hydrating Sheet Mask is infused with gentle minerals and plant extracts that don't irritate my skin. I'll use it for 15 minutes and just massage the excess product into my skin. It's immediately hydrating and addresses five signs of dehydration — dryness, roughness, tightness, dullness, and lines. There are no artificial fragrances, dyes, or drying alcohol either, and it costs less than $5 for a pack of two. Buy Simple's Kind To Skin Replenishing Rich Moisturizer from Walmart for $9.22 (originally $9.97) Buy Simple's Micellar Facial Wipes from Walmart for $9.89 Buy Simple's Water Boost Hydrating Sheet Mask from Walmart for $4.48 Shop all Simple Skincare products on WalmartJoin the conversation about this story »
This $42 tinted face oil is a lightweight, buildable foundation that covers my blemishes and fine lines
Kosas Tinted Face Oil ($42) is my new favorite foundation. It's a lightweight, medium-coverage base that...Kosas Tinted Face Oil ($42) is my new favorite foundation. It's a lightweight, medium-coverage base that doesn't feel like anything on the skin, even when you build it up. The shade range is quite balanced, with 16 colors designed to adapt to 48 different skin tones and undertones. Though it resembles lighter coverage skin tints, this oil actually does an impressive job of covering up redness, blemishes, and fine lines. I know I'm not alone in my deep distaste for most foundations. Sometimes I get the urge to try a medium-to-full coverage base after watching a particularly glamorous YouTube tutorial, but I always end up regretting it. Most foundations make me look somehow worse, highlighting fine lines and areas of texture I didn't even notice on my makeup-free face. Kosas Tinted Face Oil is a totally different story. The brand sent me a bottle around the beginning of the summer, and it's proven to be a standout in my collection. This foundation has a featherlight, serum-like texture. It's similar to products with much lighter coverage (like another favorite of mine, Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint). But this is an actual foundation, with solidly medium coverage that is buildable. I was initially shocked by the opacity of the formula, considering how thin it is right out of the bottle. This stuff feels truly like nothing on my face, while doing a great job of covering up redness and diminishing blemishes. As the name suggests, this is an oil with pigment. But don't let that scare you off — it dries down to a surprisingly non-greasy finish and absorbs to be fairly undetectable. For reference, I have fairly "normal" skin (not super dry, not super oily), though I do tend to get shiny on my forehead and nose if I don't set that area with a light powder. Though there are only 16 shades, the formulas are self-adjusting so many skin tones can find their ideal match. I've been using Tone 01 (porcelain with pink undertones) and find it to be a great match with my complexion. That being said, hopefully the brand rolls out more shades to fit a broader spectrum of skin tones. You only need a couple of drops to cover your entire face. I use one to three for light-to-medium coverage, but you can build the formula for an even more perfected look. The brand recommends allowing the first layer to dry, which only takes a few seconds, before adding additional coverage with your fingertips or favorite brush or sponge. I also love that I can layer cream blushes and highlighters on top without disturbing the foundation. Despite the oil-based formula, this actually feels more secure and less runny on my face than other foundations, even in the heat. Plus, Kosas pays special attention to keeping formulas good for your skin and for the environment. Tinted Face Oil, like all the brand's products, is cruelty-free, vegan, and gluten-free. As with most things in life, there are a couple of drawbacks to this foundation. First of all, it's extremely liquidy. You need to shake the bottle really well. Even then I find that the product comes out of the squeeze bottle too quickly. Secondly, I sometimes experience product pilling depending on what skin care I've used that day. To minimize the chances, I try to wait at least 15 minutes between applying sunscreen and makeup, which can be time-consuming when I'm in a rush. The bottom line Overall, if you're looking for a comfortable foundation that's not too matte, not too glowy and doesn't enhance your imperfections, I don't think you can go wrong with Kosas Tinted Face Oil. It wears beautifully for hours and doesn't make my face itch like so many other foundations. At $42 for a 1-ounce bottle, it's a bit spendy. However you really need very little product. I anticipate one bottle lasting quite a long time. Pros: Lightweight, long-lasting, 16 shades that adapt to 48 skin tones, Clean at Sephora Cons: Pilling, very runny texture Buy Kosas Tinted Face Oil for $42 at SephoraJoin the conversation about this story »