Finally: An Acne-Clearing Serum That Doesn’t Dry My Skin

If you’re a frequent reader of Refinery29, you know that I’ve tried pretty much every acne product under the sun. (See here, here, and here!) And while I have several favorites that I swear by, winter presents an added challenge in the form of dry, cold weather. I also travel about once a month, and plane air is also notoriously unfriendly to a finicky complexion.
So when I heard about Versine, a few things intrigued me right away. First is the fact that the entire line is safe to use while pregnant; founder Jennie Gao was inspired to create the brand during her own pregnancy after she spent endless hours researching skincare ingredients to vet their safety. A second core tenet is making skincare a luxurious experience  — we love to see it! Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the brand has an advisory panel of doctors (including board-certified dermatologists and OBGYNs) that work behind the scenes to ensure that products and packaging are safe for both mom and baby (including while breastfeeding!).
The brand currently has two products: The Calm & Hydrate Serum and the Illuminator Multi-Tasking Serum. While they were developed with pregnant people in mind, both are good options for anyone looking for gentler skin treatments that still deliver results. They are also both packed with highly effective ingredients like niacinamide, glycerin, and vitamin C. Since I have oily, acne-prone skin, the Calm & Hydrate Serum sounded right up my alley. Right off the bat, I noticed that it was way more hydrating than other acne serums I’ve used in the past. This was a really good thing, especially since there’s a common misconception that you shouldn’t moisturize acneic skin; just like with dry, normal, or combo folks, oily, breakout-prone skin can get dehydrated — which can end up exacerbating breakouts. 
According to the directions, you have to shake the serum before dispensing — I’m assuming this is because the product can separate if left alone. I used about three to four pumps for my whole face and applied it right after washing my face in the morning. There was no noticeable scent, and the texture was milky and lightweight. Despite it being a "crème-serum," it didn't feel heavy at all, and absorbed pretty quickly, leaving a dewy finish.
For an acne serum, I was surprised at how mild this formula was. My skin tolerates azelaic acid and niacinamide well, but if either of those can feel spicy on your skin, know that going in and maybe start out using it every other day and work your way up to once or twice daily, depending on your tolerance. (And if you're wearing it during the day, don't forget the SPF.) Since Versine’s whole thing is “gentle actives,” I wouldn’t expect a product like this one to clear up severe, allover breakouts. Personally, I tend to get hormonal breakouts concentrated on my lower jawline and chin, and for those annoying yet generally manageable flare-ups, this product has been wonderful in maintaining clear, decongested pores. 
The Calm & Hydrate Serum retails for $80, so it’s definitely not cheap. (A bundle of both bottles is also available for $128, for a savings of $32 versus à la carte.) However, if you're looking for a serum that truly pampers your skin while addressing breakouts and hyperpigmentation, well? You're looking at it.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

More from Skin Care

R29 Original Series