Serums hit the skin care industry like an explosion over the last few years. All of a sudden we see them popping up in the mainstream as the ultimate key to unlocking your best skin yet… and I have to say, they just might be. I discovered the power of serums over the last few years and I LOVE them. They have made the biggest difference in my skin routine.
However, like most new things, there was a learning curve. On its face, a serum just seems to be a clear product with an abundance of contradictions: It’s moisturizing, but you still use a moisturizer. It can be oily, but it is not necessarily a face oil. It can be watery, but is it an essence?
So first, what is a serum?
Serums are skincare products you can apply to your skin after cleansing but before moisturizing with the intent of delivering powerful ingredients directly into the skin. Due to their smaller molecule size, they penetrate deeply into the skin and deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients. This makes them a great tool for targeting specific skincare concerns, specifically the signs of aging.
What is NOT a serum?
It is not a moisturizer. Serums are full of moisturizing ingredients (hyaluronic acid, ceramides) to help skin retain moisture. But, that doesn’t make them moisturizers in the traditional sense because they do not create a barrier on top of the skin like face lotions and creams.
It is not a face oil. Serums are water-based. Face oils are, as you can imagine, oil-based. This distinction is important since water-based products go under creams, while oil-based products should go above them due to their inability to absorb into the skin.
It is not an essence. Essence is a water-based skin care product that contains a high content of active ingredients to hydrate, protect, and boost the overall health of the skin, which mirrors a serum. The two mainly differ in texture, serums are gooier and more concentrated, while essences are watered-down with a more fluid feel similar to a toner.
Now that we have the basics down let’s take a deep dive into the dos and don’ts of serums. I know that they will change your skin for the better and if anything, add a touch of luxury to your self-care routine.
Find a balance between price and quality.
The most expensive serum is not always the best, just like the cheapest is not always the worst. I recommend striking a price-quality balance while keeping in mind the whole concept behind a product: the skin type it addresses, ingredients, and overall beauty experience.
Chose the serum that fits your skin’s needs
Different skin care products provide different results. Each item in your skin regimen should have a specific job, and serum is no different. They are specifically designed to be a delivery system and solve a specific skin concern. If you suffer from acne, it is recommended to look for serums that contain a high dosage of Vitamin C. If you are on team dry skin, then Vitamin E might be your perfect match. If you are looking for something that is great for aging skin then serums like this one from YINA will bring a glow to your skin and is great for combination and oily skin.
Remember that less is more.
Serums are very concentrated, so be careful not to apply too much as this might irritate the skin. Less is more applies in this case, and always patch-test accordingly.
Don’t ignore major skin conditions.
If you have skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea consult a specialist before choosing your serum, to avoid harmful consequences for your skin.
As with anything, it might take a little trial and error to find your perfect solution, and your needs will change with the seasons and as you age, but the best thing about serums is that there will always be one available, regardless of what journey your skin is on.