We know serums have been around for a while now, but which ones are the best? Despite the mass interest, there's still a hint of confusion, cynicism, uncertainty-all of the above, really-over whether it is absolutely necessary to add a serum into our regimens. вЂњEveryone knows that a serum is a skin booster, but because it's more expensive, they think it's not necessary,вЂќ explains Howard Murad, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Murad skincare. However, there's more to serums than just giving the skin a quick pep talk. If you're puzzled or just totally over the long-winded, science-packed explanations about why you need one, wonder no more.
Here are the essential things you need to know (without the bits you don't).
What is a serum?
Just think of it as your hardest-working skincare product. вЂњA serum contains more active ingredients than other products and is more of a targeted skincare treatment,вЂќ Murad says. вЂњIt helps repair and prevent existing and future damage, meaning it is more powerful than a moisturiser, which is designed to hydrate and protect the skin rather than treat a specific concern.вЂќ Although primarily for ageing, you can find one for other skin concerns too: вЂњUse it to tackle things like blemishes, pigmentation and dry skin,вЂќ he adds.
Why do I need one?
It's tricky because the skin needs hydration over anything. So why would you choose spending money on a serum over, or as well as, a moisturiser? Don't worry, we hear you, but trust us when we say it's worth it to use both. вЂњWhat most people may not realise is that a serum also enhances the benefits of the other products you're using, which means your whole regime is working harder,вЂќ Murad says.
Okay, I'm convinced. When do I start using it, and at what point in my regimen?
вЂњYou should really start thinking about the ageing process during your 20s,вЂќ Murad says. вЂњYour choice of serum needs to reflect your skin concerns to help you see a difference in your skin and get the most out of your product,вЂќ he adds. вЂњApply it after cleansing and toning and just before your moisturiser.вЂќ
How do I know which one to go for?
It's easy-think about what results you want to get from your serum, and check the label for the relevant ingredients. вЂњFor example, if you want radiant skin, look for a serum that contains vitamin C for brightness,вЂќ Murad says. (We love Murad Advanced Active Radiance Serum, $90.) вЂњOr if you want to target blemishes, go for pore-clearing ingredients like salicylic acid and retinol to speed up cell renewal and improve skin texture.вЂќ
We've already sung the praises of theВ newest serum formulas to hit our desks, but below, we've pulled out our life-long favourite serums for each and every skin job.
Best for Hydrating:Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Serum $48Shop
There are so many hydrating ingredients at play here: first, angelica leaf extract is retaining existing moisture, while smart algae extracts are delivering extra doses. Oh, and there's our old friend hyaluronic acid. But if you like your HA straight up, try one of these serums.
Best for Brightening:Indeed Labs Vitamin C24 $25Shop
With tonnes of vitamin C, this serum gives tired, lazy skin a new lease on life. The extra shot of hyaluronic acid is just an added bonus. Sound good? These other vitamin C serums might be up your street too.
Best for Anti-Ageing:Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Supreme $45Shop
Containing 10% rhamose, a type of sugar that boosts collagen in the dermis, Vichy's serum is great for eeking out fine lines and restoring lost volume.
Best for Sensitive Skin:AvГЁne Hydrance Optimale Hydrating Serum $38Shop
When skin gets reallyВ dehydrated, you'll want to ply it with a load of hydrating skin actives-but if you're also battling with the added pressure of sensitivity, you'll want something that's kind to skin. AvГЁne's serum does both, containing a unique complex to protect skin's water reservoirs without sending you into a flushed frenzy.
Best for Pigmentation:Oskia Renaissance Brightlight Serum $136Shop
If little sun spots or hyperpigmentation have started to smatter your complexion, something like Oskia's serum will be brilliant at balancing out the differences in skin tone. It contains 13 bio-available actives that minimise melanin transfer to the skin, reducing the visibility of discolouration.