So many of you have been asking me, what is a face serum and how to use it correctly?
If you are confused, so are many others. Read on here to find what is a serum, what a serum actually does, why you should use them, when they should be used, and what type of serums to be used for different skin types – with very useful tips.
What Is Serum?
Serum is a skin care product, typically an aqueous (water) based formula that contains concentrated high performance ingredients. It is made up of smaller molecules, which allows the active ingredients to penetrate deeply into the skin instead of lying on the surface. This way, it can deliver highly-concentrated doses directly into your skin, which makes them great for targeting specific skin concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, acne or hydration.
When To Apply Face Serum?
A basic rule about when to apply any skincare product is always thinnest to thickest – the thinner the consistency, the earlier you should apply it. So essentially, you should apply skin care beauty products in this order: serums, then oils, then gels and finally creams, always applying sun protection last. And remember to keep a gap of few minutes between each application for the products to absorb.
Another reason for serums to apply first is that they are highly concentrated and active. That is why a serum is applied to the skin after cleansing but before moisturizing in order to deliver potent ingredients directly into the skin.
How To Use Face Serum Correctly?
(i) Start with clean face. The right way to use a serum is after cleansing (and toning if you use a toner in your routine) and right before your moisturizer.
(ii) Take a pea-sized amount of serum in the palms of your hands. Bring it to skin temperature by warming it up between your palms, so that your skin accepts it readily.
(iii) Gently spread it evenly over your face and neck (also décolleté if you like) using natural weight of your hand-palms. Gently massage the serum into your skin for a minute. When done, proceed to apply your regular moisturizer and make-up as normal.
Which Serum Is Right For Your Skin?
When shopping for a serum, picking one that suits your skin is a complex task. Here are the guidelines to help you:
(i) Acne Prone Skin: Choose products that contain Vitamin C (increases collagen production, enhances skin’s repair process, and reduces inflammation), retinol (an antioxidant, reduces inflammation) and salicylic acid (unclogs pores) and zinc (soothes irritation, regulates oil production).
(ii) Oily Skin: Pick a serum containing salicylic acid and/or glycolic acid.
(iii) Dry Skin: You should look for serums that contain Vitamin E (an antioxidant, protects cells from oxidative damage), niacinamide (improves skin elasticity), glycolic acid (gently exfoliates and lightens discoloration) and hyaluronic acid (retains moisture).
(iv) Dull Complexion: Choose serums that have antioxidants like green tea extract, resveratrol, ferulic acid (these fight free radicals, enhance effectiveness of sunscreen by day, and stimulate cellular repair and healing by night).
(v) Aging Skin or Combination Skin: Select serums with both vitamin C and retinoids.
Natural Beauty Tips: I have heard many people saying that serums are a waste of time, and as a matter of fact they are, if you use them incorrectly. But if applied correctly, serums are a helpful addition to your skincare regime. Read on to find how to apply it correctly.
(i) Always read the instructions before applying. Don’t get tempted to apply more. As serums are so jam-packed with nutrients, a little bit goes a long way. Rather apply too little and add, than having to wipe the excess off.
(ii) To achieve maximum penetration of the active ingredients into your skin, make sure to apply when your skin is clean, warmed and slightly moist, so cleanse thoroughly first. Placing a warm damp towel over your face will help to widen the pores and leave your skin slightly moist.
(iii) Apply tiny dots of serum all over your face and then promptly distribute the serum evenly all over, using short light but firm strokes. Do not stretch, pull or rub the skin.
(iv) While your skin is still wet after applying the serum, tap the skin surface very lightly on either side of your face using the fingers of your both hands for about half a minute. This technique will ensure that the entire serum soak deep into the layers of your skin.
(v) Let the serum dry out completely, which can take about 3 minutes. When your face feels dry on touch, only then you should proceed to apply oils, eye cream and moisturizer in a similar manner. When your last application sink in fully and skin surface dries out, apply your foundation and normal makeup.
(i) If your skin tingles on applying a serum – don’t worry. It means the active ingredients are penetrating your skin in order to do their job effectively. Types of serum ingredients that cause tingling sensation include vitamin C and retinoids.
(ii) Since not all serums will work with all moisturizers, we recommend use serums and moisturizers from the same brand so that their ingredients are compatible with each other. Alternatively, read the serum instructions to check if it says that it can be included in your normal beauty routine.
(iii) Serums tend to be on the pricier end of the skincare gamut. It’s so because of their ability to sink into your skin, paired with the fact that they are super concentrated and potent. But if it’s the results you are after then should you not be ready to loose some bucks?