Building a solid skin care routine from scratch can be quite overwhelming, to say the least. There are so many products on the market, all claiming to do different things. How are you supposed to know what is actually worth your time and money?
One product that you may have seen but are unsure of its purpose is face serum. There are countless variations of serums, each with its own unique benefits.
If you're a skincare newbie, it's easy to get lost in all the jargon. But don't worry, we're here to help!
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about face serums, including what they are and what they can do for your skin.
What Exactly is a Face Serum?
In the context of your nighttime skincare regimen, face serum is comparable to the main course in a three-course meal.
It's the product you use after cleansing and toning your skin before applying your moisturizer.
Face serums are usually made up of smaller molecules that can penetrate deep into the skin and deliver active ingredients to where they're needed most.
They tend to be lighter in texture than creams or lotions, making them ideal for oily or acne-prone skin types.
Many persons are perplexed as to why they should use a serum rather than a moisturizer or face cream on their skin. While there isn't an ironclad rule, studies show both should be used and applied in layers.
Because a face serum is less dense and allows active compounds to reach the skin faster, it goes on first after using a cleanser.
However, you must also seal the serum to maximize its effectiveness, which is why a moisturizer or face cream is applied next.
Consider a face serum as the secret weapon for treating discoloration, dullness, fine lines, and acne-- and a moisturizer as the key to keeping your skin hydrated.
What are the Benefits of a Facial Serum?
Now that we know what a face serum is, let's dive into some of the advantages of using one in your skin care routine.
1. Doesn't feel heavy or greasy
Face serums are typically lighter in consistency than face creams, making them ideal for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
They won't clog your pores or leave your skin feeling heavy and greasy like some moisturizers can.
If you have oily skin, using a face serum can help to mattify your complexion and control excess oil production.
On the other hand, if you have dry skin, face serums can help add hydration without making your skin feel overloaded with product.
2. Fast-acting and provides visible results
One of the best things about face serums is that they are fast-acting and provide visible results.
This is thanks to their small molecule size, which allows them to penetrate deep into the skin.
Active ingredients in a face serum can quickly target specific skincare concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, and acne.
You'll start to see a difference in your skin after just a few weeks of using a face serum.
And, because they're so concentrated, a little goes a long way.
You only need to use a pea-sized amount of face serum per application.
3. Protects the skin from future damage
Many face serums contain antioxidants like vitamin C, which can help to protect the skin from future damage.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and helps to brighten the complexion.
It also provides protection against environmental aggressors like pollution and UV rays.
Active ingredients like astaxanthin, resveratrol, green tea, ferulic acid, and Vitamin E also offer antioxidant benefits.
Face serums with these ingredients can help prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
4. Protects the skin from free radicals
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and lead to premature aging.
They are caused by environmental aggressors like pollution, UV rays, and cigarette smoke.
A facial serum with antioxidant ingredients can help to neutralize free radicals and prevent the onset of premature aging and oxidative stress.
Everyone can be a victim of premature aging, regardless of their age, skin type, or lifestyle. Even more so when you have dry skin!
That's why it's important to use a face serum with antioxidant ingredients, as we mentioned.
5. Reduces the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
If you're concerned about the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, using a face serum can help.
Many face serums contain active ingredients like retinol, which has been shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that stimulates collagen production and cell turnover.
This helps to smooth out the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and gives the skin a more youthful appearance.
6. Best for sensitive skin
Face serums are typically more gentle than other skincare products like face creams and moisturizers.
This makes them ideal for those with sensitive skin.
If you have sensitive skin, look for a face serum containing calming ingredients like chamomile or aloe vera.
These ingredients will help to soothe and calm the skin.
Face serums are also a good option for those with rosacea or other inflammatory skin conditions.
There are many different face serums on the market, so it's important to choose one that is right for your skin type and concerns.
If you're unsure where to start, we recommend speaking to a skincare specialist or dermatologist.
They can help you choose a face serum that will address your specific concerns.
7. Absorbs easily into the skin
Another benefit of face serums is that they are quickly absorbed into the skin.
This is thanks to their small molecule size, which allows them to penetrate deep into the skin.
This quick absorption means that the active ingredients in a face serum can start working right away.
You'll see a difference in your skin after just a few weeks of using a face serum.
Different Types of Face Serums
Now that we've gone over some of the benefits of using a face serum, let's take a look at some of the different types that are commonly available.
There are face serums for all skin types and concerns. Here are a few of the most popular types:
Texture improvement serums
These serums are designed to improve the overall texture of the skin.
They typically contain ingredients like glycolic acid or retinol, which help to exfoliate the skin and promote cell turnover.
This leads to a more even skin texture and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.
Sensitive skin serums
These serums are designed for those with sensitive skin.
They usually contain a soothing, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory ingredient combined with other active ingredients to minimize irritation.
This makes them ideal for those with rosacea, eczema, or other inflammatory skin conditions.
They can also be used by those who have just started using active ingredients like retinol and are looking to minimize the risk of irritation.
Free-radical fighting serums
These serums are designed to protect the skin from environmental aggressors.
They usually contain antioxidants like vitamin C, E, or ferulic acid.
These ingredients help to neutralize free radicals and prevent the onset of premature aging.
Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when using these serums, as they can make the skin more sensitive to the sun.
These serums are designed to provide the skin with extra hydration.
They usually contain hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant that helps attract and retain moisture in the skin.
Hydrating serums are ideal for those with dry or dehydrated skin.
It can also be used by those with oily skin types to help balance the skin's moisture levels.
Hydrating serums also contain vitamin B5, which helps to attract and retain moisture in the skin.
Skin brightening serums
These serums are designed to brighten the skin and improve the appearance of dark spots.
They usually contain pigment-fighting ingredients like vitamin C, niacinamide, or kojic acid.
These ingredients help to inhibit melanin production, which leads to a more even skin tone.
Skin brightening serums can be used by those with all skin types, but they are especially beneficial for those who suffer from dark spots or hyperpigmentation.
These serums are designed to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
They usually contain active ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, or peptides.
These ingredients help to stimulate collagen production and promote cell turnover.
This leads to a reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
Anti-aging serums can be used by those with all skin types, but they are especially beneficial for those beginning to see the first signs of aging.
How to Use a Face Serum
Everyone's skin is different, but on average, you should wait about seven weeks to see how your new serum regimen works for you.
Depending on the serum and your skin's current condition, you may notice initial results in as little as a few days.
Here's how to use your face serum the right way:
Step 1: Proceed with your usual double-cleansing routine. Face serums should be applied to clean and damp skin, so start by cleansing your face as you normally would.
Double-cleanse your face if you wear makeup or sunscreen on a daily basis. If you have sensitive skin, use a gentle cleanser.
Step 2: Apply your toner. This step is important because it helps to prep the skin for serum absorption.
Toner helps restore the skin's pH balance and creates a smooth canvas for serum application.
Step 3: Put a few drops of serum into the palm of your hand. Start with less than you think you need and add more if necessary.
Face serums are concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
Step 4: Apply the serum to your face and neck using gentle patting motions. Avoid rubbing or pulling the skin.
Allow the serum to absorb for a few minutes before applying the rest of your skincare products.
Step 5: Follow up with your usual skincare routine. Finish off with a moisturizer and sunscreen if you'll be spending time outdoors.
You can use one once or twice a day, depending on your skin type and the ingredients in the serum.
If you have sensitive skin, start with once a day and increase to twice a day if you don't experience any irritation.
When's the Best Time to Apply Face Serum?
The best time to apply face serum is after cleansing and toning, but before moisturizing.
This allows the active ingredients in the serum to penetrate the skin and work their magic.
You can apply it in the morning or night, depending on your preference.
If you're using a vitamin C serum, it's best to apply it in the morning to protect your skin from environmental damage throughout the day.
What's the Difference Between a Serum and Face Oil?
Serums and face oils are both skincare products that can be used to improve the appearance of your skin.
However, there are some key differences between these two products.
Face serums contain active ingredients that work to target specific skin concerns and skin tone.
They are usually lighter in texture than face oils and are designed to be quickly absorbed by the skin.
Face oils are mostly made up of carrier oils and essential oils.
They are designed to hydrate and nourish dry skin, and they can be used to address a variety of skin concerns.
Face oils are typically more hydrating, but they can take longer to absorb into the skin.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know everything there is to know about face serums, it's time to find the perfect one for your skin type and concerns.
There are a variety of options on the market, so take some time to read reviews and figure out which one is right for you.
When you find your ideal serum, you'll notice a difference in your skin in no time. Your skin will be softer, smoother, and more youthful-looking.
So what are you waiting for? Go out and find your perfect serum today!