What To Look For In A Serum

If you’re not already using at least one serum as part of your skin-care regimen, you’re in for a treat. Serums are the boosters of the skin-care world, delivering concentrated ingredients in a short amount of time. If you have specific complexion goals, like minimizing fine lines or reducing pigment, you might want to add one or more serums to your arsenal. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

What is a serum?

Thin, light and easy for the skin to absorb, a serum is a potent vehicle for delivering ingredients that enhance radiance, improve skin tone, calm redness, protect the skin against environmental damage and/or minimize fine lines. Even though some serums provide a boost of hydration, a serum won’t be as moisturizing as a lotion or a cream. Instead, it’s best to use a serum first, then seal it in with a moisturizer. 

The benefits of using a serum

Because serums are concentrated and absorb so quickly, they’re better at treating your skin than many other skin-care products. Depending on the ingredients in the formula, your serum may have these benefits: 

  • Brightening: A serum with antioxidants helps to protects the skin against aggressors like UV light that can cause pigment in the skin. A brightening serum may also include ingredients to help breakdown pigment that’s already visible.
  • Anti-aging: Antioxidants also helps prevent premature skin aging. Some serums may help reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines and improve elasticity in the skin.
  • Hydrating: Though a serum is never going to provide the same level of moisture (a.k.a. oil) as a face cream, it can help plump your skin with hydration (a.k.a. water).
  • Repairing: A serum may help your skin repair itself and smooth out rough texture.
  • Soothing: Some serums also help calm sensitive, irritated skin.

Good-for-you ingredients to look for in your serum

There are hundreds of useful natural ingredients on the market, each with different benefits. Here are just a few that help improve the look and feel of your skin:

  • For anti-aging: Rose water, matricaria, camellia, basil, grape, grapefruit
  • For protection: Niacinamide, green tea, moringa
  • For hydration: Rosehip, cucumber, avocado, candelilla, aloe
  • For brightening and radiance: Carrot tissue oil, geranium, mandarin
  • For calming: Jojoba, peppermint, sweet almond, clary, cornflower, calendula, chamomile, baobab, lavender

How often to use a serum
For the best results, use a serum in the morning and at night. If you have multiple serums, each with different benefits, you might want to apply one serum to start your day and a different one before bed. Serums that are rich in antioxidants should be applied in the morning so they’re able to fight the oxidation caused by UV light, pollution and daily stresses that plague the skin during the daytime.

How to apply a serum

The first step of your skin-care routine will always be cleansing. The last step (of the morning) will always be sunscreen. Otherwise, you should apply your skin-care products from thinnest to thickest: 

  • Toner or facial mist
  • Serum
  • Eye cream
  • Lotion or cream

Don’t forget to massage your products into your skin from your forehead down to your chest and give them several weeks of consistent use to work their magic.