Now as an Esthetician and self proclaimed skincare junkie, there are a lot of skincare products that I love. I mean, you should see my bathroom! However, serums are the one category that I am the most obsessed with.
In the last Skincare 101 post/video, we talked about Boosters which are pretty different but also very similar to serums. So let’s dive into serums. What are they? Who needs them? When do you use them? And which one is right for your skin type?
What are Skincare Serums?
Serums deliver powerful ingredients to the skin. They typically are formulated with smaller molecules which means they can penetrate deeper into the skin to deliver a higher concentration of active ingredients.
I think of serums being all encompassing, meaning that they address specific skincare concerns like anti-aging or clearing blemishes. This is usually done through a cocktail of ingredients to address these concerns.
What is the Difference Between a Serum & a Booster?
Well I’m glad you asked. As I mentioned, they are pretty different, but also pretty similar. Boosters are more concentrated and typically one ingredient such as Hyaluronic acid. While serums are more encompassing and address specific concerns with a cocktail of ingredients.
Boosters usually add a “boost” to your skincare routine such as in the case of Hyaluronic Acid that adds a moisture boost to other products. Serums are all encompassing and address concerns such as anti-aging. So an anti-aging serum can have a cocktail of different ingredients to address the concerns of aging.
What is the Difference Between a Serum & a Face Oil
Face oils seem to be taking over the market lately and some are even labeled as a “serum”. So how are they different? Serums are typically water based where as a face oil is well…an oil.
When we apply our skincare we want to work from the lightest in texture to the thickest. So we could use (as I often do) both a serum and a facial oil in our routine. We would apply the lighter, water based serum first and then follow up with a thicker facial oil.
I think it comes down to personal preference but oils can be used both under and over moisturizers depending on your needs and likes. Sometimes, I will do both. If my eczema is flaring up, I may apply a nourishing oil like rose oil, then my moisturizer and a heavier facial oil like argan oil to seal in the moisture.
So Who Needs a Serum?
Well, in my opinion…everyone! I think everyone can benefit from using serums but you need to find the right one based on your skin type and your individual skincare needs. What works for an older skin might not work for a younger skin. An oily skin has different needs than a drier skin.
Think about what your skin needs and what you want to address and work from there.
When Do You Use a Serum?
Depending on the serum and your needs, you can use serums daily and even sometimes twice a day. Typically, we work from lightest to thickest, so in your routine you would cleanse, tone, serum, moisturizer and lastly a facial oil.
Take a look at what you are using and make sure that they can work together. For instance, I use both Vitamin C and Retinol but I don’t think they play well together. So I use the Vitamin C in the morning under SPF and the Retinol at night.
I think of protecting my skin during the day so I look at serums that do that. Such as Vitamin C and other Anti-oxidants. Then for night, I think about serums that will renew, nourish and repair my skin. So at night I use exfoliations, hydrators, anti-agers, etc.
What Serum Should I Use for My Skin Type Then?
This is just a general list of serums to look for by skin type, but please know that not all skincare products work the same for each person. However, this will give you a good place to start.
Acne Skin – look for AHAs particularly with salicyclic acid, Retinol and Vitamin C
Dry Skin – look for anti-oxidants like Vitamin E and exfoliants like glycolic or lactic acids.
Skincare Ingredients that all Skin Can Benefit From
Anti-oxidants – Vitamin C, Grape Seed Extract, Green Tea
Exfoliatiors – Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids
Hydrators – Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid
Anti-Agers – Retinol, Vitamin C, Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, Exfoliators, Matrixyl, Anti-oxidants
I hope that this answered some of the questions you may have about skincare serums. Remember that skincare is a lot of trial and error. Think about how your skin is and how it reacts to things. Then think about what skincare concerns you need to address and find serums that will resolve and help those issues.
If you have any questions and need help finding the right serum for you, leave me a comment below! Don’t forget to check out the recent Skincare 101 Serum video on my YouTube channel for more information too. I also share a lot of my current favorite serums that I use on a daily basis in this video.