13 Effective Anti-Aging Serums to Target Fine Lines, Texture, and Tone

Aging gracefully 101.

By Lourdes Avila Uribe
Marie Kouadio stress breakout

It’s never too early (or too late) to jump on the skincare bandwagon. As a longtime proponent of preventative skincare, I seek out powerful active ingredients to target signs of aging before they become noticeable—and serums are the go-to in my preventative arsenal. But in a sea of beauty brands with 100s of serums, the question is: what are the best anti-aging serums for your 30s? Well, we tapped a dermatological nurse to give us a streamlined selection of serums that actually work.

Even though I’ve used prescription retinol and invested in preventative treatments like peels and lasers for years, I was oddly hesitant to jump on the serum bandwagon in my 20s. Somewhere along the way, I became super paranoid about layering on too many active ingredients and potentially causing my skin to break out. Not to mention I was hesitant to add yet another step to my routine.

Irrational? Maybe, but it’s only now in my late 30s that I’m finally on board with serums. The trick is finding products that work not only with your skin type and concerns, but also in tandem with your other skincare products. For example, you don’t want to use a vitamin C serum at night if you also use retinol as it can cause irritation. Not for everyone, but it is a common side effect.

Refining and adjusting your skincare routine is all a part of aging gracefully, along with a little trial and error to discover what works best for you. Luckily, we have the wonderful dermatological nurse and celebrity aesthetician, Natalie Aguilar to help us figure it all out. Keep reading for her insights on serums along with the best anti-aging serums for your 30s.

Featured image by Belathée Photography.

Stella Simona nighttime routine
Image courtesy of Stella Simona

The Benefits of Anti-Aging Serums

There are numerous benefits to using an anti-aging serum. As we age, fine lines become deeper, skin becomes thinner, laxity is more prevalent, skin tone starts to become uneven, sunspots surface, and skin becomes drier (and sometimes sensitive, too). Aguilar says serums can address these concerns by not only preventing but also correcting them. 

The beauty of serums is they benefit all skin types and target specific skin concerns. Most serums can be used all over the face and neck in order to hydrate, protect, brighten, or firm. Others are used on specific areas to target specific needs like lightening a brown spot, tightening crepey areas (such as the neck), or treating active blemishes. 

Diana Ryu skincare products_best anti-aging serums for 30s
Image by Teal Thomsen

Who should use anti-aging serums?

Since skin aging typically starts at age 25, Aguilar notes that it’s important to start using anti-aging serums, as well as creams, in our 30s. This is when we really begin to notice that our skin oftentimes looks tired and less radiant. This is the decade you need to get serious about using serums and moisturizers if you really want to preserve and maintain your youthful healthy skin. 

Shanika Hillocks applying serum in bathroom mirror_best anti-aging serums for 30s
Image by Michelle Nash

Serums vs. Creams

Serums are the one skincare product that contain the most potent active ingredients to help visibly change and enhance our skin. They also absorb quickly into the skin and can provide various benefits due to their thin consistency, allowing the ingredients to penetrate deeper.

Creams and lotions are designed to hydrate and prevent dehydration by creating a protective barrier. Creams occlude and lock in moisture. Lotions are also intended to hydrate the skin but have a slightly thinner consistency than creams. For clients who prefer a more lightweight feel on their skin as well as clients prone to acne or oiliness, Aguilar recommends using a lotion as opposed to a cream. 

Ingredients to Look For in Anti-Aging Serums

  • vitamin C
  • amino acids
  • vitamin B
  • retinoids
  • cell-communicating peptides
Inge Theron applying serum
Image by Teal Thomsen

The Best Anti-Aging Serums for Your 30s

True Botanicals Renew Repair Nightly Serum

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Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Instant Firming Serum 

u003cpu003eIf oil-based serums aren’t for you, then check out this lightweight nourishing serum from Caudalie. It reduces the signs of aging thanks to a powerful antioxidant that works as a natural alternative to retinol, hyaluronic acids, vegan collagen alternatives, and peptides.u003c/pu003e

Dr. Barbara Sturm Super Anti-Aging Serum

u003cpu003eAn astounding amount of celebrities are obsessed with Dr. Sturm’s products, and this serum is no exception. Purslane and skullcap extracts rejuvenate and nurture skin while also reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.u003c/pu003e

Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum

u003cpu003eIf you’re looking for a natural, gentle, and clean (but still ultra-effective) serum, then check out this beauty. It’s made with bakuchiol (a plant-based retinol alternative), u003ca href=u0022 acidu003c/au003e, and u003ca href=u0022

The Ordinary Buffet Anti-Aging Serum

u003cpu003eNot all serums have to cost an arm and a leg to be effective. This multi-peptide, lightweight serum is full of nourishing active ingredients that target signs of aging and support long-term skin health. Read our honest review of u003ca href=u0022 Ordinary productsu003c/au003e.u003c/pu003e

Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster Serum

u003cpu003eThis lightweight serum is chock-full of eight peptides that refine deep wrinkles, lines, and discoloration along with amino acids that moisturize and antioxidants that calm and soothe skin. It’s one of our u003ca href=u0022 Paula’s Choice productsu003c/au003e.u003c/pu003e

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum 

u003cpu003eRestore skin’s radiance while addressing a range of skin issues including signs of aging with this brightening and balancing serum. Vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, nourishing omegas, and ceramides are infused in this luxurious face oil.u003c/pu003e

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Serum

u003cpu003eBrighten dull skin with this hydrating powerful vitamin C and collagen serum. It’s like taking a vitamin for your skin.u003c/pu003e

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

u003cpu003eThis is a great way to dip your toes into the serum pool. It’s shockingly effective and gives you a truly vibrant glow but without overly strong active ingredients that may irritate newbie skin.u003c/pu003e

Maelove Glowmaker Antioxidant Serum

u003cpu003eThis vitamin C serum is stabilized with vitamin E, ferulic acid, and hyaluronic acid, which helps make it more effective.u003c/pu003e

Clarins Double Serum

u003cpu003e21 plant extracts, including turmeric, work together to target wrinkles and increase skin’s radiance. It hydrates, soothes, visibly tightens pores, and brightens skin.u003c/pu003e

Sunday Riley A High-Dose Retinoid Serum

u003cpu003ePack on the powerful ingredients with this highly concentrated retinol-infused serum. It’s clinically proven to target fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, breakouts, uneven tone, and environmentally damaged skin. Sounds good to me!u003c/pu003e

Origins Plantscription Multi-Powered Youth Serum

u003cpu003eUse Origins’ most comprehensive anti-aging serum on the face, neck, and chest. It targets 15 signs of visible aging thanks to its powerful plant-based active ingredients.u003c/pu003e

This post was originally published on September 17, 2021, and has since been updated.