Skincare routines are getting longer. Any reluctance to add one more step would be well understood. But say that, in spite of a prodigious routine, your skin is still dry, or you love your day cream, but it doesn’t pack a big enough punch. Enter: serums.
Serums aren't technically a moisturiser. Sure, they can be packed with moisturising ingredients that help retain moisture, but they're not traditionally moisturising. Best to use a facial gel, cream or lotion to lock in the moisture content.
What is a serum?
A serum is a light to medium consistency product, typically oil or water based, that is applied after cleansing, and either before or after* moisturising. Serums typically contain ingredients at a higher dosage than a moisturiser, which deliver active ingredients to the skin quickly, helping to tackle common skin issues such as patchiness, dryness, acne or pigmentation.
*This is a little contentious, but if you're applying an oil-based serum then you'll want to lock in the hydrating component of your moisturiser instead of creating a barrier before a water-based product which defeats the object.
Why use one?
Serums are a great product for delivering active ingredients to the skin quickly, often showing visible results in a shorter period of time;
Often formulated with ingredients that contain vitamins, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories, they can help protect your skin free radicals and future damage;
Serums with a light texture can feel better for individuals with sensitive, acne-prone or oily skin types as they're not so heavy on the skin and absorb quickly;
That light consistency also means they're a great base layer if you prefer a skincare routine with several steps, and if you're going on to apply make up. Drying foundations will have a harder time when your skin is primed with a juicy serum;
Notes to bear in mind:
Serums aren't technically a moisturiser. Sure they can be packed with moisturising ingredients that help retain moisture, but they're not traditionally moisturising. Best to use a facial gel, cream or lotion to lock in the moisture content.
There are lots of different types of serum on the market, from all-encompassing formulations that give skin an overall boost, to solely hydrating, brightening or anti-aging. Some work better during the day, whereas others work best overnight when left to remedy skin without other products.
Take care when using serums with acids, particularly if you're combining with other skincare products that contain acids as you don't want to upset your skin. Avoid mixing with sunscreens, which should be applied after all other skincare has had a chance to sink in to the skin, and always as a standalone product.
I know there's a lot of lingo, but to clarify, boosters are the next level up on serums. They tend to have formulations with only a couple, more potently dosed ingredients and are designed to treat more specific concerns. We'll get stuck into this next time...