Versed Skincare Just Breathe Clarifying Serum

Versed Skincare

Just Breathe Clarifying Serum

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 19.99
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We’re impressed with Versed’s Just Breathe Clarifying Serum – a product designed for oily and combination skin that isn’t laden with irritants or alcohols, just good-for-skin ingredients.

Things start out on the right foot with this serum’s packaging – an opaque blue bottle with a dropper dispenser that protects its beneficial ingredients from light and air exposure. The serum is lightweight, easy to apply, and works well both over and under other skin care products.

Front and center among the ingredients is brightening and pore-refining niacinamide, plus soothing willow bark extract, horse chestnut, and a small amount of soothing licorice. There’s also hydrating zinc gluconate and sodium hyaluronate. True to Versed’s claims, these ingredients can work in tandem to calm inflammation, which can be a factor in triggering excess oil production.

There’s also some salicylic acid in this serum, which is the gold standard when it comes to exfoliating deep inside pores. However, Versed makes no claims regarding the salicylic acid on its website or its packaging, meaning it’s likely not in high enough amount to make those claims. Still, even in smaller amounts it can serve as a pH adjuster and have soothing and hydrating properties, so it’s good to see here.

Best of all, this is free of the fragrance and irritants so often seen in serums designed for oily skin, so that’s another positive to add to the list. The only reason it doesn’t snag our highest rating is that the formula would be better served with additional beneficial ingredients. Still, nice job, Versed!

  • Serum texture is lightweight and easy to apply.
  • Contains a good amount of brightening and pore-refining niacinamide.
  • Includes soothing willow bark, horse chestnut, and licorice extracts.
  • Contains hydrating zinc gluconate and sodium hyaluronate.
  • Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
  • Fragrance free.
  • Formula would be more impressive with additional beneficial ingredients.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Stress, diet, hormones, falling asleep in your makeup one too many times—sometimes it seems like breakouts are lurking around every corner. But it’s okay. Just breathe. (That advice applies to both you and your skin.) Let it chill out with a serum designed to clear out impurities and manage excess pore-clogging sebum. The dynamic trio of willow bark extract, niacinamide, and a zinc blend work together to calm inflammation (the root of skin’s problems), decongest pores, and soothe redness, keeping skin’s little freak-outs at bay.

Water, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Zinc Gluconate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Salicylic Acid, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Biotin, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Caffeine.

Versed Skincare is the creation of Katherine Power, former West Coast fashion editor of Elle magazine and co-founder of the LA-based fashion company Clique Brands. Versed is positioned as the sister brand of the company’s Who What Wear clothing line sold at Target, and so Versed is sold there as well as other retailers.

Versed’s philosophy is straightforward: offer affordable, effective skin care products that are both vegan and, in the brand’s words, clean. “Clean” is an ambiguous phrase in the beauty industry that lacks a standard, regulated definition (it varies from company to company), but in this instance it means that there are no so-called “toxic” and “questionable” ingredients in Versed’s products.

While some of these ingredients – such as formaldehyde and artificial fragrance – are certainly best avoided, others are labeled as bad based on outdated research, poorly designed or inconclusive studies, or simply anecdotal evidence, and not on the conditions (or concentrations) in which these ingredients are actually used in real-world skin care applications.

That aside, Versed has an attractive aesthetic that goes along with this clean philosophy: pastel-colored packaging with plain type that explains what each product’s purpose is and calls out key ingredients in each. For the most part, Versed products are packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients; however, there are a few instances of clear and jar packaging, which compromise the benefits of some ingredients, particularly antioxidants.

The formulas from Versed are  a mixed bag. Some contain a host of beneficial ingredients while totally avoiding irritants, others are good but basic, and some others include fragrant plant extracts and oils that pose a risk of sensitizing skin (and we should be clear – fragrance, both synthetic and natural, can irritate skin). It really is a situation where the products are best judged on a case-by-case basis, as the hit-or-miss nature of the line requires more scrutiny than simply choosing based on product claims and skin type.

Despite the extra effort needed, Versed does have some good products to offer, and the convenience of being available both online and in a major retailer like Target, will have a lot of appeal to a good number of people. You can learn more about Versed at

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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