What exactly is a serum?
A serum is a lightweight blend of water, pure active ingredients, and (sometimes) small amounts of oil. A serum is different from a moisturizer in its ability to absorb into the skin. But, what really sets serums apart are their high concentration of pure, active ingredients. While moisturizers are designed to hydrate and protect, serums sink into the skin to do the heavy lifting. Serums are designed to tackle specific complexion concerns such as aging, dryness, dullness and acne, among a number of other issues. A serum should complement the other products in your skincare routine.
When to apply a serum
After cleansing and toning, a serum should be the very next step in your routine. Because they are highly concentrated and designed to address specific concerns, they should stay as close to the skin as possible. Modern cosmetic serums cannot go deeper than the epidermis (or top) layer of the skin. However, serums use small skin-compatible oil bubbles called liposomes or lipovectors to deliver the active ingredients, allowing the serum to soak into the skin more effectively. The key to serum application is to avoid applying your serums over moisturizers or other heavier products, which can make it harder for serums to reach your skin and reduce the effectiveness of their active ingredients.
Day vs. night
There is no specific rule for when you should apply your serums, but it’s best to think about what your skin needs and when. Serums that include Vitamin C and other protective ingredients are great for morning application to ensure your skin is protected all day. Retinoids and peptides are great at night to work with your skin as you sleep. But, keep an eye on your labels and make sure you’re using SPF if any of your serums cause increased sun sensitivity.
The 411 on Clean Ingredients
Due to their high concentration of active ingredients, serums are traditionally a more expensive skincare investment. The type of ingredients can vary widely depending on the goal of the serum. Below are some of the most popular clean active ingredients.
Hyaluronic Acid, also known as hyaluronan is naturally found in your skin. As a serum ingredient, it acts like a water magnet, penetrating your skin and holding water to deliver deep hydration. You can find hyaluronans in our Keep Young And Beautiful™ Instant Firming Beauty Shot.
Vitamin C is a topical antioxidant, radiant enhancer, that helps stimulate collagen production, and offsets the damage caused by free radicals from pollution and UV light. Vitamin C is a key ingredient in our Radiance Perfection Serum.
Retinoids (Bakuchiol) are a natural, gentler alternative to traditional retinol. Like retinol, it stimulates cell turnover and collagen production but is suitable for sensitive skin and doesn’t cause the irritation associated with traditional retinol. Bakuchiol is found in our Bio Retinoid™ Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate Oil.
Peptides are found in our Keep Young And Beautiful™ Firming And Smoothing Serum. Peptides are strings of amino acids that act as the building blocks of protein, including collagen in the skin. They are the key to keeping your skin firm and plump.