Best face serums for sensitive skin

Flare ups, breakouts, inexplicable bouts of redness or dryness… those with sensitive skin: trust us, we feel your pain.

If you do happen to fall into this camp, when it comes to the skincare game, you can often feel like you’re missing out - changing up routines and persevering to find a product that won’t send your face into a meltdown can seem unappealing.

Face serums can seem particularly sketchy. Though long hailed as the miracle worker worth investing in, finding one with the right active ingredients to revitalise and hydrate your skin without irritating it can be tricky. When you add into the mix that they’re likely to be the most expensive item in your regime, you might just be tempted to avoid them all together.

The good news is, a couple of drops a day usually does the trick and you won’t have to wait months to see results. We’ve also done the hard work for you by rounding up the best serums for sensitive skin currently on the market, all of which boost your natural glow, minimise ageing and kick start your skin’s natural metabolism.

ALLEVEN Total Face Serum

The latest product from cult beauty favourite ALLEVEN, the Total Face Serum has you covered on all sides. Not only for skin prone to flare ups, this serum smooths away wrinkles, shields from blue light and restores radiance and firmness - all whilst keeping your skin moisturised and pollutant free. Dark or uneven spots caused by sun damage and sensitivity are evened out thanks to the advanced molecular formula, which includes a peptide from Mohawk Protein, prebiotic sugar derived from Kernel Corn, Niacinamide and Marine Extract.

Though available in only 50ml, one pump is enough to get an even coverage across the whole face and the creamy texture sinks into the skin quickly. What you’re paying for here is the formula created using advanced technology, which helps form a defensive barrier between the skin and the atmosphere.


£110 | ALLEVEN

Nuxe Essential Antioxidant Serum

Chia seeds, it turns out, are not just for breakfast - they’re actually full of antioxidants, which is why they are the hero ingredient in this certified organic serum. Containing 99 per cent natural origin ingredients, this Nuxe offering claims to protect the skin from harsh external factors as well as boost natural radiance.

Those who are regularly dealing with breakouts will particularly enjoy the calming nature of this product, which helps counterbalance some of the drying effects of acne targeting cleansers without leaving skin feeling too oily - the formula has a water based texture and leaves skin feeling just the right amount of hydrated.


£36 | Nuxe

Glossier Super Pure

Glossier's serums are especially formulated to help you achieve glowy, clear skin at home. Super Pure forms part of a trio and is the best serum to turn to out of the three if you suffer with sensitive skin. Five per cent Niacinamide aims to balance out the complexion whilst the Zinc PCA works to minimise pores without drying them out. The best time to use this one is when you feel a hormonal breakout starting or, if you suffer with them throughout the month, everyday morning and night.

Packaged in a heavy glass bottle with a pipette for administering, the formula is a water based gel - quite different from most other serums - meaning you won’t be left with an oily sheen after use, which is great if your skin errs on the oily side anyway. It claims to help reduce bumps and clogged pores as well as clear up the complexion within a month of consistent use but we definitely noticed calmer skin within a couple of weeks.


£24 | Glossier

Wildsmith Skin Copper Peptide Serum

Copper Peptide is the new kid on the block in the active ingredients arena and has been lauded for its ability to activate cell metabolism, boosting the skin’s ability to provide the energy needed to regenerate collagen and elastin as well as overall cell renewal - in other words, it helps boost the skin’s ability to regenerate itself, which begins to degrade naturally as we get older. Also including pure hyaluronic acid (another magic ingredient) to hydrate and Kahai oil to smooth out fine lines, it’s got all bases covered when it comes to youthful, refreshed looking skin.

In practice, the serum is lightweight and travels well across the skin, meaning two pumps will surface for the whole facial area and, once applied, is easily absorbed. You’ll definitely notice the heady, relaxed scent - a blend of all the delicious botanicals packed within - and the instant cooling effect on the skin, making it ideal for application right before bed.


£95 for 30ml | Wildsmith

StriVectin Hyaluronic Dual-Response Serum

If you suffer with sensitive skin but also find it drying out as the seasons change, this is the best serum for you. Through a dual chamber bottle, StriVectin delivers a double target approach, with the first chamber offering deep hydration through six forms of hyaluronic acid and the second combining NIA-114™ and ceramides that help the skin retain moisture. The result? Skin that looks dewy and visibly plump throughout the day.

Though our skin naturally produces hyaluronic acid - a powerful molecule that can lock in up to 1,000 times its weight in water - this production diminishes with age, so investing in a serum that can boost your natural resources is worth doing. With each use, skin looked noticeably more dewy and vital, providing a smooth and refreshed base for moisturiser and makeup.


£65 | StriVectin

Victoria Beckham Beauty's Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum

At £180 a pop, it’s fair to expect the contents of this bottle of serum to perform nothing short of a miracle. In a collaboration with renowned stem cell scientist Professor Augustinus Bader, Victoria Beckham has launched this Power Serum, which is packed with active ingredients including hyaluronic acid and olive fruit extract, aimed at stimulating the regeneration of cells and protecting skin against hormonal and environmental imbalances as well as modern day stressors such as blue light and pollution.

As you’d expect, the packaging has an appealing luxurious quality to it and is thankfully entirely recyclable. Though it comes with a pipette that promises to be leak proof, getting the product out does take a bit of practice.

As this serum doesn’t have an oily feel, you’ll need around 4 or 5 drops to get an even spread across the face. Super lightweight and residue free, it sinks quickly into the skin, leaving it feeling soft and adding a subtle luminosity. After several uses, we noticed a better overall glow even before the product was applied and a definite reduction in hormonal acne. Worth the investment for the unrivalled ingredients and deeply nourishing effects.


£180 | Victoria Beckham

Diptyque Infused Face Serum

Only launching in May, Diptyque’s new face serum stands out from the rest thanks to its solid stick format, which allows you to roll it across the face, massaging it in as you go before finishing it off with your fingertips. Using its own patented active ingredient - Floracera - this formula combines jasmine, jojoba wax, tuberose and Narcissus Poeticus to create a combination that regenerates skin cells whilst boosting radiance and smoothing out imperfections.

The fragrance is lighter than you’ll find in the brands coveted candles but heavenly nonetheless: the mixture of subtle floral and botanical ingredients gives it a heady, relaxing scent that’ll help to destress both your skin and your senses after a long day - something enhanced by the cooling feel of the serum as you glide it over the skin.

As it’s essentially designed like a giant lip balm, you’d be forgiven for thinking the formula would come out somewhat oily and vaseline like but it’s actually quite the opposite - sinking into the skin immediately, there was no oil residue left at all, making it a particularly great choice for combination and spot-prone skin.


£50 | Diptyque

This Works Stress Check Face Oil

Forming part of a range of products aimed at calming down overloaded skin, the Stress Check Face Oil from longtime trusted brand This Works combines a superblend of botanical oils to bring stressed out skin back to balance. Packed with Vitamin C and E for brightening and Omega 3 for plumping and replenishing, these concentrated oils (including Lavender and Camomile, amongst others) also help to relieve muscular tension, allowing your facial muscles to relax and rejuvenate - ideal if you spend a lot of your time squinting at a screen.

Though oil based, this serum is more lightweight than others and sunk in quickly to our skin. A couple of drops were enough to cover the whole face which helped to eke out the product a bit longer. We loved the divine smell and instant soothing effect as it blended in.


£40 | FeelUnique

The Glowcery Clean Greens

All those green juices we down to give our gut the chance to fight our excesses? Well there’s now a version for our skin, too, courtesy of The Glowcery - a brand new Black-owned skincare brand created to feed our skin the nutrients it needs without a load of chemical additives found in other brands. Vegan, cruelty free and 100 per cent natural, the Clean Greens Serum feeds the skin essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to restore a natural glow, soothe inflammations and moisturise deep within. Ingredients such as the cold-pressed green coffee and moringa oils aid nourishment whilst jojoba oil replicates the skin’s natural moisturiser - sebum - whilst keeping pores clog-free.

A few drops a day (we’d recommend just one or two morning and night before moisturiser) is ideal for those with combination or normal skin tones. After a few days of use, we noticed less oil build up throughout the day, despite skin remaining moisturised and fine lines around the eyes and across the forehead were noticeably reduced.


£33 | The Glowcery

BYBI Supercharge Serum

Vegan, plant powered and cruelty free, female-owned BYBI is a brand you should definitely have on your radar and the Supercharge Serum leads the way as one of its hero products. Made with a blend of essential and seed oils such as Watermelon, Olive and Evening Primrose, it aims to brighten and repair dull, tired and damaged complexions. Aside from the packaging, which is bright, modern and will easily become the prettiest thing you have on your bathroom shelf, the pale green formula comes with a delicious botanical scent that hints at rosemary and jasmine.

This oil goes far so only one or two drops will suffice and sinks in particularly well over the top of moisturiser. Our tester found that evenings were the best time to apply the serum, which then has plenty of time to sink in overnight. It felt soothing and nourishing and after several uses we noticed that usual sensitive skin triggers such as oil build up were much more controlled. At under £40, it’s also one of the most wallet-friendly on the list.


£32 | BYBI


The Glowcery and BYBI deliver gorgeous, hardworking serums at high street prices whilst the Diptyque stick former offers a uniquely luxurious experience, leaving skin feeling replenished without an oily residue. But for those willing to make the investment, the ALLEVEN serum combines the best of active ingredients to deliver results.