In fact, even if you consider yourself to be a connoisseur of beauty products and treatments, it can still be confusing to understand what exactly your favourite serums are doing for you.
To help break it down, we’ve compiled this quick and easy guide. Keep reading for all the important details you need to know!
Serums 101: What Are Serums and What Are the Benefits of Using Them?
Sometimes referred to as face serums, skincare serums, or elixirs, the term ‘serum’ typically refers to a concentrated cosmetic formula, usually containing active ingredients and focused on addressing specific concerns.
In almost all cases, serums tend to be of a thinner consistency compared to creams or other treatment products, so that they are able to easily penetrate the skin and work deeper within the epidermis.
The primary perk of this is that serums are one of the best options for effecting real skin transformation as well as targeted treatment of various conditions and concerns. From sensitive skin, to acne, ageing, hyperpigmentation, and more, there’s a serum for just about everything, and just about everyone can benefit from including at least one in their regular rotation.
Finding the right serum can be tricky - there are so many to choose from, but how do you know which is right for you? We’ve broadly grouped 3 common categories of serums together and explained what they do to help make it easier for you to choose.
Serum Types: What To Look for and What To Choose
Understanding that options for serums can be virtually limitless, it may seem overwhelming to know which ones you actually need in order to deliver the best results and benefits for your skin.
To make the process easier, it can be helpful to look at a few different types that tend to be universally beneficial to most skin types.
Antioxidants are amazing for both protective and corrective benefits. In particular, Vitamin C is a powerful ally for the skin, helping to boost skin immunity, support collagen synthesis, and brighten dull or dark spots. You may also want to look for an antioxidant blend with other free radical fighting staples like Vitamins B, D, and E.
Another reason to reach for antioxidants is that they work to soften existing signs of ageing, while preventing newer wrinkles and pigmentation from taking place. Antioxidants perform the critical role of neutralising free radicals - harmful molecules that can cause skin cell damage resulting in deeper wrinkles, uneven skin, and collagen loss.
All skin types need hydration and moisture, so hydrating serums are a great way to keep skin replenished and refreshed causing congestion in the pores. The key ingredient in many of these types of formulas is hyaluronic acid, which binds with water and helps keep it locked in the skin. Added hydration can also help to keep skin looking smooth and supple.
Hydrating serums help to keep water where it needs to be - in your skin. Keeping skin fully hydrated can temporarily plump wrinkles, making skin look smoother and wrinkle free. Another reason to reach for hydrating serums is to help maintain a healthy moisture barrier.
This all-important part of the skin helps to protect it from acne and wrinkle-causing external stressors, as well as support your skin’s natural ability to hold onto hydration.
As we age, the skin can require a bit of a boost to keep it performing at a youthful rate. For this, Retinol serums are the go-to, as they work to aid in cellular turnover and can reduce common concerns such as uneven tone, texture, sun damage, scarring, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Retinol - and other Vitamin A derivatives - after often considered the gold-standard for anti-ageing. However, that doesn’t mean it’s the only ingredient to reach for! Peptides are also fantastic anti-ageing ingredients in their own right, as they can instruct skin to produce more collagen and soften the appearance of wrinkles.
Tips for Use: How to Use Skincare Serums
For getting the absolute best results from your serums, proper application order is key. Starting with skin that has been freshly cleansed is always recommended.
As a general rule, products should always be applied in order of consistency from thinnest to thickest, so serums should go on after toner, but before any moisturisers, creams, SPF or makeup.
Rather than rubbing serums in, a best practice is to simply dab on a bit of product all over and pat it gently into the skin. If you are using more than one serum, any water-based serums should go on first, followed by oil-based formulas. It’s also a good idea to allow about 30 seconds between layers, to ensure that each product is properly absorbed and able to perform at maximum efficacy.
Or, if you’d like all the legwork done for you to create a skincare routine for your skin type, try our completely free skin analysis. You’ll get top tips for your skin type, plus a tailored routine to help reach your skin goals - completely free.