Skincare Products » Best Body Serums

13 Best Serums for Dull and Dry Skin

Serums aren’t just for your face; you can use them on your entire body too! If you have dull or dry skin, then you likely also occasionally suffer from what looks like hyperpigmentation, and, of course, texture. Body serums can work to not only infuse critical hydration that your skin desperately needs but also slough off dead skin cells, revealing a brighter, healthier complexion. Dare we say they can make your skin glow? If body serums are new to you, read on to learn everything you need to know to pick the right one, plus our recommendations of the best body serums that should be on your shortlist.

In this article:

Our Picks for the Best Body Serums

Body serums are easy to use and don’t need to add that much time to your overall skincare routine. These 13 picks tackle common concerns, including exfoliation, anti-aging, firming, and even a self-tanning solution.

1
Best Overall
REN Clean Skincare AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum
REN Clean Skincare Sephora.com
$42

If you’ll only shop clean beauty products and nothing else will do, the REN Clean Skincare body serum is one of the best to fit your needs. This pick is not only a clean beauty option but is also perfect for minimizing the appearance of dark spots and correcting dullness or uneven texture. This is thanks to the included lactic acid, which is an AHA that helps to gently exfoliate your skin for a glowing complexion.

You’ll also like that the serum tackles dryness thanks to its lightweight lotion texture. It’s perfect for all skin types and also contains probiotic extract, which works to enhance skin renewal. Meanwhile, xylitol encourages water circulation while also protecting the skin’s natural barrier. As a result, you’ll get reduced hydration. Because this is a clean product, it’s also cruelty-free. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features:

  • Format: Lotion-based serum
  • Size: 6.8 oz.
  • Skin Type: Normal, dry, combo, oily
  • Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, probiotic extract, xylitol
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/No
  • Fragrance: Orange

Pros

  • Scrub-free exfoliating serum
  • Great for all skin types
  • Clean beauty
  • Probiotic extract is great for accelerated skin renewal
  • Xylitol protects skin barrier

Cons

  • 10% AHA formula may be too strong for people with sensitive skin
  • Orange scent may be cloying for some

2
Best Budget
Vaseline Intensive Care Radiance Restore Serum
Vaseline Amazon.com
$14.97

Who says that skincare has to be expensive? The Vaseline body serum is perfect if you’re working within a budget but don’t want to sacrifice your skin in the process. This lotion helps to restore the skin’s radiance by infusing hydration that helps to lock in moisture. You’ll appreciate the inclusion of cocoa butter, a moisture-rich ingredient that leaves parched skin looking and feeling significantly better.

Best of all, this is a non-greasy serum that leaves your skin feeling silky soft. It’s especially ideal for people with dry skin, as it can visibly improve the look of your skin by as much as 10 times. Note that this lotion contains micro-droplets of Vaseline jelly, which helps to create a natural barrier to prevent moisture loss throughout the day. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features:

  • Format: Lotion-based serum
  • Size: 6.8 oz.
  • Skin Type: Dry
  • Key Ingredients: Cocoa butter, Vaseline jelly micro-droplets
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: No/No
  • Fragrance: Amber & rose

Pros

  • Moisturizes over time for visibly improved skin texture
  • Non-greasy texture
  • Reverses dry, damaged skin

Cons

  • Not tested for use on the face

3
Best for Sensitive Skin
Nécessaire The Body Serum
Nécessaire Sephora.com
$45

When you have sensitive skin, you have to be mindful of what you put on your body, as one wrong move can leave you with irritation, skin rashes, or worse. Nécessaire offers a great body serum that contains a skin-loving ingredient that helps your skin retain moisture. Hyaluronic acid is a powerful yet gentle ingredient that can hold well beyond its weight in water and helps draw moisture deep into your skin’s layers.

But you’ll also like that this product contains niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3), which aids in skin renewal. Meanwhile, ceramide NP is a plant-based ingredient that improves hydration and leaves your skin looking plumper. Conscious beauty lovers will appreciate that this is a vegan-friendly and cruelty-free product. Even better, this is a fragrance-free and hypoallergenic formula that’s been dermatologist-tested. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features:

  • Format: Gel-based serum
  • Size: 5.1 oz.
  • Skin Type: Normal, combo, oily, sensitive
  • Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, plant-based ceramides
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • Fragrance: Fragrance-free

Pros

  • Intensive hydration thanks to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid and ceramide NP
  • Aids in protecting natural skin barrier
  • Hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • Thinner texture may not be ideal by itself for people with very dry skin

4
Best Organic
One Love Organics Gardenia Tea Antioxidant Body Serum
One Love Organics Dermstore.com
$39

Harsh or questionable ingredients can be off-putting, especially for something that you’re supposed to apply topically to your body. One Love Organics’ body serum is a unique option that comes in a spray bottle but is derived from natural ingredients. It’s one of the best body serums, especially if you prefer to layer it with your favorite lotion.

It contains antioxidants that help to protect your skin from free radicals naturally found in the environment. This includes antileukine 6, which is a sea botanical that helps to smooth and firm the skin while protecting it from environmental stressors and dryness. You‘ll also like the inclusion of pumpkin seed oil, a natural form of salicylic acid for exfoliation, and sea buckthorn oil, which is rich in omega-7 to condition your skin. Buy it at Dermstore!

Key Features:

  • Format: Oil-based serum
  • Size: 4 oz.
  • Skin Type: Dry, aging
  • Key Ingredients: Pumpkin seed oil, sea buckthorn oil, green tea
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • Fragrance: Gardenia

Pros

  • Lightweight formula that absorbs quickly
  • Can be layered with lotions
  • Can be used on hair and body
  • Contains antileukine 6 for smoothing and firming
  • Certified organic

Cons

  • May be too expensive for some

5
Best Exfoliating
Farmacy Honeymoon Glow Body 12% AHA/BHA Resurfacing Body Serum
Farmacy Sephora.com
$40

Nothing makes your skin look dull like an excess of dead or dry skin. Banish it to reveal a beautiful glow with the Farmacy body serum. The higher acid content is thanks to the inclusion of 10% lactic acid and 2% BHA. You’ll also get glycolic acid, a gentle natural exfoliator. This clean beauty pick is also perfect for managing dryness.

Along with the AHA and BHA content, you’ll also get a proprietary blend of honey and shea butter, which provides ultra-hydrating humectants, soothing antioxidants, and even amino acids. Additionally, prickly pear leaf juice works to replenish your skin’s moisture barrier. Conscious shoppers will love that this serum is cruelty-free and comes in recyclable packaging. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features:

  • Format: Lotion-based serum
  • Size: 4.7 oz.
  • Skin Type: Normal, dry combo, oily
  • Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, salicylic acid, honey, shea butter, prickly pear leaf juice
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/No
  • Fragrance: Fruity honey

Pros

  • Clean beauty
  • Ideal for correcting dullness or uneven skin texture
  • Hydrating formula that can correct skin dryness
  • Works as a natural exfoliator

Cons

  • Smell may be too strong for some people

6
Best Anti-Aging
Josie Maran Argan Milk Intensive Hydrating Body Renewal Serum
Josie Maran Amazon.com
$44

Your skin needs can change through the years, which is why the Josie Maran offering is the best body serum designed to tackle the specific needs of mature skin. This unscented serum is designed to exfoliate and nourish your skin, thanks to the inclusion of argan milk, argan oil, pineapple enzymes, and lactic acid.

You’ll like that it’s designed to specifically target common concerns for mature skin – crepey skin, elasticity loss, and wrinkles. With use, you’ll reveal softer, smoother-looking skin. It also helps to control texture and dull skin tone. You’ll like that it’s a cruelty-free serum that’s vegan-friendly and free from parabens, sulfates, gluten, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, formaldehyde, peg, and mineral oil. Buy it on Amazon!

Key Features:

  • Format: Milk-based serum
  • Size: 6.7 oz.
  • Skin Type: Mature, dry
  • Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, argan oil, argan milk, pineapple enzymes
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • Fragrance: Fragrance-free

Pros

  • Lightweight yet moisture-rich hydrating formula
  • Targets crepey skin, wrinkles, and skin elasticity
  • Ideal for combatting dry and dull skin
  • Designed free from common synthetic additives

Cons

  • Thinner texture may not be ideal for people with very dry skin
  • Strong scent may be overpowering for some

7
Best Overnight
Moroccanoil Night Body Serum
Moroccanoil Sephora.com
$62

If you like the idea of a product that works while you catch 40 winks, then the Moroccanoil Night Body Serum is one to try for your bedtime routine. This antioxidant-rich serum is formulated with argan and tsubaki oils to firm your skin, while holy basil extract protects it from environmental stressors. Vitamin C ester works to smooth and strengthen your skin for a more radiant complexion.

This product has been clinically tested with proven results. After one week of use, an independent study in women between the ages of 21 to 40 found that all respondents reported having skin that felt silky and velvety. Meanwhile, 96% of respondents noted that their skin felt intensely nourished and had decreased roughness. After four weeks of use, 98% had skin with visibly improved appearance, 95% felt their skin was suppler, and 93% saw improvement in their skin’s texture. Pick it up it at Sephora!

Key Features:

  • Format: Oil-based serum
  • Size: 3.4 oz.
  • Skin Type: Normal, dry, combo, oily
  • Key Ingredients: Argan oil, tsubaki oil, holy basil extract, vitamin C
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/No
  • Fragrance: Spicy amber

Pros

  • Lightweight texture
  • Vitamin C ester to create a more radiant complexion
  • Paraben-free formula
  • Designed to work overnight while you sleep
  • Clinically proven to create visible results in as little as one week

Cons

  • First ingredient is dimethicone
  • A little pricey

8
Best with CBD
Saint Jane Beauty Luxury Body Serum
Saint Jane Beauty Sephora.com
$58

For beauty lovers that want to incorporate more CBD-infused products into their routine, the Saint Jane Beauty serum is the best one to try. This clean beauty pick is ideal for correcting redness and dryness and is perfect for all skin types. It’s a vegan-friendly, cruelty-free option that is infused with full-spectrum CBD that incorporates rich cannabinoids from the entire plant.

There’s also a brightening botanical blend that contains 28 highly active botanicals that help to hydrate and rejuvenate the skin. This includes sandalwood, raspberry, rosehip, and lemon myrtle. You’ll also get sunflower seed oil, which is rich in omega and vitamins to help protect your skin without clogging your pores. Buy it at Sephora!

Key Features:

  • Format: Oil-based serum
  • Size: 4 oz.
  • Skin Type: Normal, dry, combo, oily
  • Key Ingredients: CBD, sunflower seed oil,
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • Fragrance: Citrus-vanilla

Pros

  • Contains 200mg of full-spectrum CBD
  • Exfoliating fruit acids help to remove dull, dry skin
  • Brightening botanical blend to also hydrate and rejuvenate skin
  • A clean beauty pick

Cons

  • May not be as effective for people with known skin conditions
  • Bottle design makes leaking more likely to occur

9
Best Self-Tanning
Coola Organic Sunless Tan Luminizing Body Serum
Coola Ulta.com
$48

We all know that lying out in the sun to get a bit of color is bad for you, but that doesn’t mean that some of us will forego that sun-kissed glow. Fake your glow with the Coola tanning body serum, which is designed to give you a streak-free, transfer-resistant tan that can last for up to three days! Better still, you can apply it daily to build up to your preferred tan level and to maintain it. This vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and eco-certified Cosmos Organic product is designed to be lightweight so that it quickly absorbs into the body.

You’ll also like that it contains light-reflecting mica for a radiant, dewy glow. This pick from Coola is another great product that’s been clinically proven through independent consumer testing. A study of 250 panelists unanimously agreed that it had a lightweight application and illuminated the skin. Meanwhile, 91% noted that it created an even and natural-looking tan, while 81% agreed that it didn’t have that typical self-tanner scent or transfer onto clothing or sheets. Buy it at Ulta!

Key Features:

  • Format: Tanning lotion-based serum
  • Size: 5 oz.
  • Skin Type: Normal, dry, combo, oily
  • Key Ingredients: Shea butter, sunflower seed oil, mica, glycerin
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • Fragrance: Natural piña colada

Pros

  • Can be used regularly to maintain glow
  • Contains 70% certified organic ingredients
  • Lightweight formula
  • Promises up to 3 days of streak-free, transfer-resistant tan
  • Incorporates mica for an illuminated, dewy look

Cons

  • Has a metallic scent that may be unpleasant for some

10
Best for Pregnancy
mio Get Waisted Stomach Firming Serum with Niacinamide
mio Dermstore.com
$38

When you’re pregnant, you have to be more mindful of the products you use, as some can have ingredients that could be harmful to your baby. But at the same time, as you watch your waistline expand, you might want to prevent stretch marks and ease tummy itchiness as your bundle of joy grows. The Mio body serum is a tummy-firming cream that’s baby bump-safe even though it contains caffeine.

You’ll also get other skin-loving ingredients, like red marine algae to protect and hydrate your skin, a smooth booster complex, and a feel-good complex made of Indian fig extract and monk’s pepper berry for added hydration and calm. And in an independent consumer trial, 87% of the 60 respondents agreed that after four weeks of use, their skin looked and felt smoother. This is a vegan-friendly pick that’s also cruelty-free and available at the Dermstore.

Key Features:

  • Format: Lotion-based serum
  • Size: 4.2 oz.
  • Skin Type: Normal, dry, combo, oily
  • Key Ingredients: Caffeine, niacinamide, red marine algae,
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • Fragrance: Fresh

Pros

  • Safe topical caffeine for baby bumps
  • Niacinamide to smooth skin and add hydration
  • Feel-good complex to boost hydration and create wellbeing
  • 100% natural fragrance
  • Aids in toning skin

Cons

  • Some people may not like that this has a fragrance

11
Best for Cellulite
Lord Jones Bump + Smooth CBD Body Serum
Lord Jones Sephora.com
$60

Cellulite is a reality for many people. And while it’s perfectly natural, it’s also perfectly okay if you’re not a fan of having it on your body. The Lord Jones CBD-infused body serum is designed to target and minimize the appearance of cellulite, wherever you happen to have it. It features a four-acid blend of both AHAs and BHA to create a non-abrasive chemical exfoliant. You’ll also get hemp-derived CBD, which works to restore and soothe your skin.

And ceramides help to infuse moisture while improving your skin’s moisture barrier. Along with targeting cellulite, this pick is one of the best body serums for tackling rough and bumpy skin, dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles. It’s a clean beauty pick that’s also infused with hyaluronic acid to reveal more radiant, smoother skin. Get it at Sephora!

Key Features:

  • Format: Lotion-based serum
  • Size: 3.38 oz.
  • Skin Type: Normal, dry, combo, oily
  • Key Ingredients: Glycolic acid, salicylic acid, hemp-derived CBD oil, hyaluronic acid, ceramides
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/No
  • Fragrance: Fragrance-free

Pros

  • Designed to target rough and bumpy areas, including cellulite
  • Can also be used to tackle dullness and uneven texture
  • Glycolic acid to gently exfoliate and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration
  • Exfoliates and soothes
  • Clean beauty

Cons

  • May be expensive for some
  • Thinner formula may not be as effective with hydration for people with very dry skin

12
Best Firming
boscia Peptide YouthRestore Firming Body Serum
boscia Dermstore.com
$35

While the primary key to keeping your body firm is exercise, there’s something to be said for having a good firming serum in your arsenal. The Boscia body serum contains an effective set of ingredients designed to work as an age-defying solution to help your skin maintain firmness, elasticity, and moisture balance. Tetrapeptide-3 helps to stimulate cell renewal while also targeting premature signs of aging, like folds and ridges in the skin or premature creasing.

You’ll also get niacinamide, which works to promote protein synthesis and boosts skin metabolism for enhanced skin texture. Calendula extract works with chamomile, ginger root extract, and bisabolol to provide soothing relief for your skin and tackle inflammation. And finally, hyaluronic acid works to provide enhanced moisture that penetrates every layer of your skin. This pick helps to balance your skin’s pH level while also boosting your skin’s elasticity, firmness, and moisture balance. Buy it at the Dermstore!

Key Features:

  • Format: Gel-based serum
  • Size: 8.4 oz.
  • Skin Type: Mature, dry
  • Key Ingredients: Tetrapeptide-3, niacinamide, calendula extract, ginger root extract, bisabolol, chamomile extract, hyaluronic acid
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • Fragrance: Citrusy

Pros

  • Intensive combination of ingredients to boost look and texture of skin
  • Works to balance skin’s pH to maintain overall health
  • Deep hydration works to plump the skin

Cons

  • May be expensive for some

13
Best Anti-Acne
Truly Black Jelly Blemish Treatment Body Serum
Truly Ulta.com
$28

Acne can be incredibly frustrating, especially as not only do you have to deal with the breakouts, but the aftermath, which can include scarring, hyperpigmentation, or worse. The Truly body serum is the best pick for targeting acne and blemishes. It’s formulated with tea tree oil, witch hazel, and black charcoal – all known ingredients that can improve acne flare-ups without being excessively drying. Better still, this lightweight serum works quickly and helps to prevent future breakouts. And you’ll also get calming ingredients to control irritation and redness. Also, you’ll appreciate that this is a cruelty-free option. Buy it at Ulta!

Key Features:

  • Format: Gel-based serum
  • Size: 3.1 oz.
  • Skin Type: Normal, dry, combo, oily
  • Key Ingredients: Charcoal, witch hazel, tea tree oil
  • Cruelty-Free/Vegan: Yes/Yes
  • Fragrance: Aloe vera

Pros

  • Great for treating acne breakouts on the body
  • Isn’t overly drying
  • Also works to minimize the appearance of blemishes

Cons

  • Contains glitter


What to Look for in the Perfect Body Serum?

The perfect body serum is going to be subjective, as skin concerns can vary widely. While some people are concerned solely about infusing hydration, others may be worried about dull skin, blemishes, hyperpigmentation, and even texture. So, there are a few factors to consider while shopping for the best body serum for your needs.

Consider Your Skin Type and Concerns

As we mentioned above, everyone arrives at the skincare aisle with different issues. While hydration is a baseline feature that every serum promises to provide, many people have a variety of issues that need to be addressed simultaneously. Some common concerns include:

Some common features you’ll find beyond hydration is a focus on cell turnover or skin renewal. Put simply, this usually means that you’re looking at a body serum that also targets exfoliation.

Best Body Serums for Dry Skin

You’re going to want to look for moisture-loving ingredients, such as humectants. For example, hyaluronic acid is known to be able to hold 1,000 times its weight in water and can also deeply penetrate your skin’s layers. For this reason, it’s also a fan favorite for thirsty, dry skin.

Additionally, you might want to prioritize a serum that also supports exfoliation. While this might seem counterproductive, dry skin is also prone to flaking. When left for too long, it can lead to rough and bumpy skin or dullness, which can create the illusion of hyperpigmentation. Consider using a serum with a gentle exfoliator, like glycolic acid (keep it under five percent), lactic acid, or even natural fruit enzyme extracts.

Best Body Serums for Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to pay attention to the ingredients as well as the concentration amounts listed. With sensitive skin, you’re going to want to look for body serums with gentle ingredients. Just like with your face, avoid items that contain harsh chemical additives and fragrances, which can easily irritate you. Also, consider pairing your serum with a moisturizer to help lock in hydration.

Check the Ingredients

While exfoliating ingredients can be beneficial at removing dead or rough skin, they can sometimes be too strong for some skin types, especially if found in high concentrations. For example, glycolic acid, niacinamide, and lactic acid are all naturally occurring exfoliants. All of them are incredibly effective at exfoliating dead, dull skin but can be found in varying strengths in skincare products.

Active ingredients are the products in a serum – or any skincare item – that are designed to target specific concerns, such as dullness and exfoliation. While they’re incredibly effective, they can be too strong for some people. Some active ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and even AHAs or BHAs are usually well tolerated by most people, including those with sensitive skin.

But more powerful actives, like retinol and vitamin C, can be too intense. As a general guide, you should perform a patch test before applying a serum with active ingredients to your entire body. Also, note that concentrations are usually stronger in body serums as opposed to face serums. So, always test before you perform a full-body application.

Also, keep in mind that if you’re incorporating a serum with active ingredients, or very rich moisturizing ingredients (like hyaluronic acid), you may need to adjust the rest of your skincare routine to ensure that you’re not exposing your skin to “too much of a good thing”. For example, hyaluronic acid, in theory, is great, as it helps the skin to regain and maintain moisture, but that depends on whether the product you’re using has large or low molecular-weight hyaluronic acid in it.

While large molecular-weight hyaluronic acid is great at maintaining moisture and protecting your skin barrier, the low-weight version can have the opposite effect and increase irritation because it saps moisture out of your skin. If you pair that with other products that have active ingredients, it’s possible to create new skin woes.

How to Choose the Best Body Serum?
@amandascuteface

Consider the Serum’s Texture

These days, it’s possible to find serums that come in a wide variety of textures. In some cases, they’re really lotions because they’re much thicker than the traditional liquid or oil-based serums you might imagine. But think about your skin concerns and determine which texture is best.

If you’re simply looking for hydration and you have normal skin, then a regular liquid or light oil serum would be fine. Still, you’ll want to ensure that it absorbs quickly, as the last thing you want is to deal with stains on your clothing or bedding because a serum takes too long to absorb into the skin.

However, for people with very dry skin, you’ll want to think about a thicker serum, potentially even one that’s closer to a traditional lotion or heavier cream. In your case, hydration is a priority, and you’ll want to focus on hydration-friendly ingredients, like ceramides which are thicker, penetrate the layers of your skin better, and last throughout the day.

Also, think about if you’re trying to use a body serum to double as a lotion or moisturizer, or as one step that’s part of an overall skincare routine. Not all body serums play well with others, meaning that layering products can be difficult in some cases. When in doubt, check the product description and customer reviews. Brands tend to be upfront about whether or not you can use their product under lotion or if it should be used by itself.


Body Serum FAQ

Body serums are a unique skincare category that’s taken the world by storm thanks to their wide availability and the varieties that are available. But not everyone understands their purpose, especially when trying to figure out where they belong within an overall skincare regimen.

What Are Body Serums?

Body serums are not much different than facial serums. They’re often designed to target specific skin issues, such as dryness, dullness, or even anti-aging. Serums come in a variety of textures and can incorporate a multitude of ingredients designed to tackle everything, from brightening dull complexions to sloughing off rough and bumpy skin.

When Should I Use a Body Serum?

For the best results, you should apply a serum when your skin is still damp. This is especially true if you’re using a serum that contains hyaluronic acid. When your skin is damp, it’s easier for the product to better penetrate the layers of your skin. However, to make the effects of enhanced hydration last longer, it’s usually best to pair your body serums with something like applying a topical body oil, lotion, or cream moisturizer shortly after. This helps to lock in moisture and minimize the chances of experiencing dryness.

Can Body Serums Improve the Look and Texture of My Skin?

If you’ve picked the right serum for your skin concern and are using it consistently, yes, you should be able to visibly see improvement in your skin. In most cases, results aren’t going to happen overnight. But there are some body serums that, with consistent use, can begin to create improvement in your skin in as little as a week.

Photos via Sephora, Dermstore, Amazon, Instagram