This “Skin Armor” Serum Deserves A Spot In Your Summer Routine

It’s officially a staple in mine.

Written by Taryn Brooke
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Face oils tend to get a bad rap. They can be heavy, greasy, and clog pores—a nightmare for those with acne-prone skin. Though I’m not terribly acne-prone, my skin is sensitive, and I tend to stay away from face oils out of fear of disrupting my skin’s balance.

I decided to forgo my “no oil” rule when I learned about the Dualist Balancing Oil-Serum ($95), a super-luxe, hybrid elixir meant to act as both a hydrating serum and a moisturizer. The promise? This multi-tasking serum will help smooth and plump even the most acne-prone and sensitive skin girlies out there.

Despite my reluctance to incorporate an oil into my skin care routine — and swap out some of my favorite serums and moisturizers in favor of Dualist — I decided to put it to the test.

Here is an honest review of the multi-tasking serum.

Fast Facts

  • Price: $95
  • Best for: All skin types, and especially for those who want to streamline their skin care routine.
  • Your rating: 10/10
  • Benefits: Clean, vegan, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic.
  • What I love: This oil-serum is super lightweight (even for the hot days of summer) and leaves your skin feeling hydrated all day. It also gives your skin an added glow whether it’s worn alone (with SPF, of course) or under makeup.

Dualist Balancing Oil-Serum

The product combines the deep moisturizing properties of an oil with the hydration from hyaluronic acid, and has the added bonus of skin softening and strengthening benefits from its antioxidant-rich ingredients. Ultimately, it gives you the instant glow of an oil combined with the long-term benefits of a serum — all in a single step.

Years of care went into the product’s formulation, which heroes what the brand calls its “Armure du Visage (or, “Armor of the Face”) complex. It contains botanical oils with free-radical fighting properties —namely, Pataua Oil, Prickly Pear Seed Oil, and Jojoba Oil — plus low molecular weight hyaluronic acid.

Key Ingredients

  • Pataua Oil: Sourced from a rare palm tree native to the Amazon basin in Brazil, this oil is rich in oleic acid (omega-9) and other fatty acids, and helps prevent trans-epidermal water loss.
  • Prickly Pear Seed Oil: Derived from Moroccan cacti, this oil is rich in oleic and linoleic acids, which help to nourish the skin and protect against free radicals.
  • Jojoba Oil: Rich in Vitamin E, this skin care ingredient contains anti-inflammatory properties to help calm skin irritation.
  • Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid: This humectant draws water into the skin to aid in hydration and smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Avocado Oil: Avocado oil seals hydration into your skin without clogging pores, and leaves behind a soft and supple finish.

First Impression: Instant Win

I tested Dualist oil-serum for three weeks, but saw results almost immediately. Though I was initially hesitant to swap out my hydrating serums and moisturizer for this hybrid elixir, any preconception I had about facial oils disappeared when I saw my skin in the mirror the next morning.

My face looked bouncy, smooth, and radiant. Overall, it just looked better than it had in a while, which means a lot considering I’m a beauty editor who tests products for a living.

I used the formula twice daily as recommended, and was thrilled to discover that I only needed a few drops to cover my whole face. The application itself was seamless: I simply pressed the product my skin in an upward motion before following up with my usual SPF and makeup.

Aside from the improvements I saw in my skin — hello smoothness and even skin tone — my foundation layered seamlessly on top of it and looked notably less cakey, and I even used a little bit of the oil to enhance the look of my highlighter.

Aside from my love of the product itself, I was also sold on the company’s skin care philosophy: “We call the brand Dualist because every ingredient in our formula serves at least a dual purpose, and we wanted to bring an approach to skin care that was multi-use, multi-benefit. We like to say, you can do two things at once, your skin care should be able to as well,” explains Mariah Summers, founder of Dualist.

Final Verdict: You Need This Product

The combination of powerful ingredients with multi-tasking benefits makes this product a winner for me. To have an armor against free radicals and the ability to leave it nourished and hydrated in one product. Absolutely, yes. Not to mention, it won’t clog your pores, it’s light, and a little of the product goes a long way. 10/10.