‘I’m a Derm, and This French Drugstore Serum Contains One of the Most Best-in-Class Ingredients You Could Ask of Skin Care’

Photo: Getty Images/ Guido Mieth
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While I’m truly in love with the entirety of the Avène line (the French pharmacy brand makes up a big chunk of my personal product lineup), one unsuspecting serum came out of left field and is now a fixture in my morning and evening skincare routine: Hydrance INTENSE Rehydrating Serum ($38).

I never thought a hydrating serum would be such a cornerstone of my facial hygiene, but here we are. Avène’s thermal spring water—the magical fountain of youth in France—makes this hydrating serum a potent potion that heightens the effects of all my other skin-care products (more on that in a sec). It soothes my skin for retinol treatments, deeply quenches so my other serums can absorb more effectively, and leaves a dewy, bouncy glow to my complexion. Lightweight, yet intensely moisturizing, it’s not oily whatsoever. I bring it with me on airplanes and to any of my high-elevation mountain excursions; it’s the perfect remedy for dry, tight, uncomfortable skin in between my AM and PM routine.

Experts In This Article
  • Mona Gohara, MD, board-certified dermatologist and associate clinical professor at Yale University

As noted, a bulk of its superpowers come from clinically studied prebiotic water from the Avène spring in France, but those effects are bolstered by a “patented lipidic trio” called Cohederm, that is said to help “restore cohesive barrier and prevent water loss.”

The true magic trick, as mentioned, is this serum’s ability to make all my other skin care even more effective. Moisture levels of the skin influence absorption; by hydrating the skin, you’re allowing the other products in your routine to more deeply penetrate the corneal stratum.

“The most common skin goals are hydration and moisture, and for good reason,” says board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD. “Skin that is hydrated does indeed absorb product at a more effective rate, because hydrated skin is refreshed and healthy; dry, flaky skin can impede your product’s absorption.”

My parched peau drinks this right up, but even if you have oily skin, this could work as a lightweight moisturizer. It’s got the derm seal of approval, too. “I love this serum from Avène,” says Dr. Gohara. “It not only works for [already] hydrated skin, but it also soothes the tightness and discomfort that is common with dehydrated skin, thanks to the brand’s best-in-class healing-helper: thermal spring water.”

Again, though, don’t just take my word for it. Browse any site in which this product is available for purchase, and you’ll be treated to dozens of pages of glowing reviews.

reviewer at Dermstore notes that this serum ensures she doesn’t wake up “feeling like a piece of luggage from the 1970s,” and it helped restore her moisture barrier so she can use AHA and retinol. Another on Amazon says, “I have oily, sensitive, cystic acne-prone skin with large pores, but still need hydration and this product works great on its own, and under foundation.”

Yet another on Ulta says, “I have never written a review in my LIFE. I have had red, itchy dry patches around my nose for months. I've tried every product you can think of and I bought this today. I used it after I washed my face and the redness around my nose is GONE. I REPEAT GONE. I HAVE SENSITIVE DRY PEELING SKIN AND THIS PRODUCT SAVED MY LIFE. ONE USE.” And there you have it. Case closed. Buy the serum.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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