Serums. You’ve heard of them, no doubt, but do you really know what they are, what they can do for your skin and how to properly integrate them into your skincare routine? Serums are an incredibly effective, potent, accessible and uncomplicated step to take your skin to the next level!
So, what exactly is a serum? A serum is a highly concentrated topical liquid of active ingredients distilled to target specific skincare needs and concerns. They’re neither toner nor moisturizer, rather a method of enhancing your skincare goals, be it hydration, acne fighting, anti-aging, or soothing, among others. Essentially, a serum will get you where you want to go faster and more effectively.
Typically gentle enough to use daily, apply your serums after toning and before moisturizing, morning and/or night. Though integrating serums into your skincare routine is as easy as it comes, let’s dig in a bit more to explore the science behind serums and the specifics around their usage.
Water Soluble vs. Oil Soluble
There are two types of serums: oil-soluble or water-soluble, meaning, a given serum is either oil-based and containing ingredients able to be dissolved in oil, or water-based and containing ingredients able to be dissolved in water. There are some ingredients, like vitamin C, for example, that can be both water or oil soluble (check out Dr. Barbara Sturm’s The Good C for an outstanding oil soluble vitamin C). Oil and water are equally critical for a well moisturized, well nourished, plump complexion, so a mix of products ranging from oil-based to water-based is worth considering and experimenting with.
While water-based products are able to be absorbed by the skin quickly, oil-based products penetrate deeper, but at a slower rate. The deep penetration of oil-based products is incredible for its ability to create a layer of protection around our lipids, or, the fatty acids below the surface of our skin. This oil barrier around these fatty acids aids in protecting us from environmental pollutants and harmful UV rays, making oil-based products an incredible resource for reinforcing protection and prevention. But remember, this does not mean you can skip the sunscreen!
Can a serum be a moisturizer?
No. And this isn’t a technicality. Moisturizers are formulated with stabilizers and thickening agents called occlusives, which essentially make the molecules of moisturizers and creams too big to penetrate deeply below your epidermis so that your product can accomplish their job of acting on and moisturizing the outer most layer of your skin. Moisturizers are designed to seal in your products and lock in moisture, keeping the surface of your skin hydrated and protected. Moisturizers and creams act differently than serums, even moisturizing serums. Don’t forget to keep moisturizing!
Can I use more than one serum?
Yes! You can change and alternate serums indefinitely! Keep in mind, though, that your skin can only absorb so much product so it's not recommended to use more than two serums at once. If you have more than two serums you’d like to incorporate into your skincare regimen, it’s recommended that you alternate serums (i.e. Hydration on Monday, Acne on Tuesday, Soothing on Wednesday) instead of applying them consecutively in a single routine. If you are layering serums, you should always apply the lighter/thinner of the two products first.
Day or night, and why?
Estheticians often claim that the evening is the best time to apply serums, as they say our cells are at peak regeneration at night when we are sleeping. However, this does not mean that there is no serum appropriate for daytime use. A water-soluble hyaluronic acid serum (such as Bynacht’s revolutionary Hypercharged Glass Skin Serum containing 8 varieties of hyaluronic acid), for example, is an excellent way to protect your skin from free radicals, dryness and irritation throughout the day.
Here are a few more incredibly effective serums that can enhance your skincare routine immediately!
Haoma’s Radient Face Serum: Brightening and revitalizing, HAOMA Radiant Face Serum is vegan, made with clean ingredients, and provides an instantly noticeable lift to the skin. Bonus, it's packed with antioxidants.
Decree’s Treat Tincture: Decree Treat Tincture is the gold standard for a night serum and is packed full of youth-enhancing actives and hydrators. With continued use, the carefully dosed actives work hard to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, strengthen and plumps the skin, and improve skin texture and tone. The precisely dosed, hard-working ingredients include an age-defying apple stem cell blend and a skin-smoothing, fine line-reducing, wrinkle firming retinoid complex. Combined with moisture boosting squalene and hyaluronic acid this serum leaves your skin plumper, firmer, radiant and more lifted.
MBR’s Tissue Activator Serum: A highly concentrated state-of-the-art serum that stimulates the dermal tissue functions. Stimulated dermal tissue function promotes the formation and generation of collagen fibers to provide elasticity and more visibly defined skin contours. Reduces the appearance of dark shadows, especially around the eyes, mouth and chin.