As if formulating a skin care routine was not hard enough due to the wide range of choices of just a face wash, we are starting to see a rise in the (marketing) use of facial serums. And while facial serums vary from texture and feel, to scientific acid names that I can not pronounce, I have not found anything or anyone who could explain exactly what a serum is and why it should be a part of your daily skin routine (and if it’s even necessary). Believing that you may be facing the same struggles, here are some tips in finding the right serum for you.
What is a serum?
If you ever wanted a lighter, more targeted, and faster acting moisturizer, then a serum is what you’re looking for. Depending on the specific skincare concern you are trying to tackle (hydrated skin, wrinkle reduction, dark circle removal, etc.) a facial serum usually contains only the active ingredient that will work directly towards that goal (vitamin c, retinol, hyaluronic, etc.). They are made of smaller molecules then moisturizers, so it is a very high concentration of what ever active ingredient that the brand is using.
With all those benefits, can I skip my moisturizer?
That’s not something I would recommend. It is true that serums hold many moisturizing benefits, but because they are usually water-based and are rid of thickening agents and ingredients that keep water from evaporating. Because of this lack of a barrier, I would still keep your moisturizer in hand, but you know your skin best! If you choose to use a serum that you may feel is thick and very moisturizing, then use a lighter moisturizer.
Well then, when do you use a serum?
A serum is suppose to be used after cleansing your face, but before applying moisturizer. Usually 1 to 3 drops will suffice because of how concentrated the formula is. If you have dryer skin or skin conditions like eczema, wait at least 15 minutes before applying your serum so that you do not irritate the skin. Lightly pat the serum into your skin (with thicker serums I rub it into my skin in a circular upward motion). Then, apply your moisturizer as you normally would. Read the directions of your serum to see if you should be using it once or a twice a day (but don’t go for any more than that as to cause any irritation to the skin).
Okay I’m sold. Where do I start?
First and foremost, start with your dermatologist (if you don’t have a dermatologist, Derma Di Colore is a great practice specializing in skin concerns of darker tones). Serums carry a hefty price tag, and you should be purchasing what is necessary for your skin concern. Different ingredients offer different results. For example a vitamin C serum would work really well for someone with acne-prone skin, whereas if you’re looking for hydrating benefits, a hyaluronic serum is a better option.
So you can’t even share some of your favorites?
If you really want some suggestions, here are some favorites. My skin concerns usually deal wit dryness and wanting to add a glow, especially in winter months.
Glossier Super Pack – This pack of serums is a perfect trail to see which serums work best for you. Super bounce contains Hyaluronic acid to help with hydration. Super Glow contains vitamin C to brighten dull skin. Super Pure contains Niacinamide (vitamin B3) that aids in soothing and purifying skin.
Cosmedica Skin care Hyaluronic Acid Serum– helps to brighten and add moisture to the skin.
Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum – this serum is more like a facial oil that promises to answer all your skincare needs using 100% organic and natural essential oils and botanicals.