You learned early on to cleanse and moisturize your skin, and that's worked up to now. But what once worked doesn't always stand the test of time, so if you're looking at your skin and wondering how to "up your game," start out simple by adding an ageless skin secret weapon - SERUM.
More advanced routines suggest many other added steps, but you can start simply with a serum; it can quickly help you target specific skin concerns and works well as the middle step in-between your existing cleanser and moisturizer. Serums work deep within the skin to improve its condition and enhance your makeup application and finished look. Because of this, serums have become very popular with many types on the market. Lillian Fallon of beauty and fashion magazine Verily interviewed esthetician Lindsey Blondin about skin routines and the importance of serums:
“Serums seem to have exploded on the market, so naturally, I was skeptical of their efficacy. Is it just hype?"
"Turns out, not hype. Blondin explains that serums have the smallest molecules that can enter the skin's cells, therefore giving you the most benefits out of all the steps in your regimen.”
Here's a serum 101 to help you navigate the basics:
What is Serum & Why Use It?
Fear not, if you don’t know what a serum is or how to use it. Many people don’t. Technically a serum is a product that you apply after cleansing and before moisturizing (or after toner, if you use it). For more on full skincare routines and the products to use see our article, "Build a Skincare Routine." Serums are quality, highly concentrated skin products, formulated with active ingredients targeted to improve specific skin concerns. They have smaller molecules and leave out the heavier ingredients moisturizers include, including allowing them to penetrate deeply into the skin; giving you the ability to analyze your needs and add the right serum that will help you target specific concerns.
Serums differ from moisturizers, and both should have a place in your skincare routine. Serums can be very hydrating and include ingredients that help improve the moisture level in your skin, but moisturizers have a more lotion-like consistency and provide a barrier on top of the skin to keep moisture in.
How to Add a Serum to Your Skincare Routine
There are many ways you can use a serum depending on what you buy. Always read the directions on any product you purchase to understand the recommendations directly from the brand. Serums are lighter weight than moisturizers so for someone with oily skin they can be used alone followed by sunscreen during the day. If you have drier skin, you can layer them under your moisturizer. Try different application methods day and night to see what works best for you. You can change it up by using the product one way in the am and another in the pm. Layering has become very popular in skincare and layering a couple of serums over each other allows you to customize the benefits you are applying to your skin. Make sure you wait a few minutes before adding the second product giving the first one time to absorb.
Don’t overuse serums, because they are so concentrated a little goes a long way and will still improve your skin. A couple of drops or pumps of serum (which are often packaged in a dropper or airless pump) is all you need to cover your face and neck and get amazing results.
Types of Serums to Consider
Serums are available covering a wide range of benefits, from improving wrinkles and skin tone to firming skin or treating acne. They are also available in water or oil-based formulas. If you are looking for the best serum for oily skin and don't want to put a heavy product on, a water-based formula may be right for you. If you have dry skin, you may want to try an oil-based formula. What really matters is the combination of ingredients in the serum you are considering which usually include anti-oxidants, peptides, unique plant ingredients, retinol or hydrators. When purchasing a serum consider the benefits you are seeking and the number of performance ingredients in the formula. Lesser-priced serums usually focus on one key benefit and feature fewer ingredients, more robust products have a range of benefits and multiple active ingredients. Depending on your needs, some people purchase multiple single-benefit serums and alternate or layer use; while others seek a robust serum that becomes their go-to treatment product. Whatever you choose give serums a try - your secret weapon to ageless skin!