This Serum Shortened my Skincare Routine to Just 3 Steps

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Face oils have been a skin-care staple for centuries. The past few years, these products have spiked and dipped in popularity, depending on the mood du jour (er du Instagram?!) surrounding whether or not they’ll make you break out, or on the contrary, will refine your complexion. If you are new to the world of facial oils or skeptical about if they’ll actually deliver results, opting for a lightweight, oil-based serum is a solid place to start.

Whimsy Official’s Halcyon Botanic Serum ($95)

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The Whimsy Official Halcyon Botanic Serum “was developed to solve a major problem in the skin-care market,” explains co-founder and CEO, Victoria McAbee. Since many facial oils are formulated with essential oils and filler ingredients, these types of products can often agitate skin. This one, however, only contains eight ingredients—watermelon oil, rosehip seed oil, camellia seed oil, apricot kernel oil, strawberry seed oil, borage oil, jojoba oil, and carrot seed oil—and was developed with all skin types in mind. It’s allergen free, essential oil free, vegan, natural, and low comedogenic, and when used regularly, it’s meant to smooth, hydrate, and brighten your complexion.

According to Ted Lain, MD, board-certified dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer at Sanova Dermatology, since “sebum is comprised of lipids or fats, like squalene, fatty acids, wax, and cholesterol, these ingredients can be copied in a topical product intended to improve the health and appearance of the skin.” The Whimsy blend does this by mimicking the natural oils that your skin already produces with ingredients like “jojoba oil, which is a plant-based oil that…closely resembles natural human sebum,” explains Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist.

In addition to the lipids in the serum that are intended to replace sebum, “many of the botanical extracts also contain antioxidants, intended to protect the skin from free radicals and prevent sun damage,” explains Dr. Lain. Free radicals can create multiple different problems, key among them redness, hyperpigmentation, and acne. This oil takes aim at all three: The use of borage oil helps to calm and reduce redness and inflammation, the strawberry seed oil brightens; and the watermelon oil contains alpha-linolenic acid to help unclog pores.

As somebody with combination skin but a very oily T-zone, I’ve personally steered clear of most face oils (especially during the sweaty, summer months), so was a bit skeptical before trying this oil-based product. Cut to: one month later. I’ve used the Whimsy Official Halcyon Botanic Serum every morning and night, and I’m officially a convert. Because of how quickly this serum absorbs, how light it feels, and the fact that it made me look like I was wearing highlighter—without wearing makeup at all—this product has quickly become my go-to. In favor of a nine-step routine, I’ve whittled my regimen down to four or five droplets of the serum, a sunscreen, and a cleanser.

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