The fastest way to treat your skin needs? Bag yourself a good serum
The best face serum is potent and powerful. It’s also the powerhouse in your skincare routine.
With roots in Japanese beauty, the best face serum will deliver a more potent dose of skin benefiting ingredients than your day cream. In other words, you definitely need one in your routine. We promise you won’t regret it for the change to your skin is worth it.
With a much lighter consistency than face creams, they contain a higher concentration of active ingredients. The smaller molecular weight can penetrate the skin much deeper than a heavier cream. In fact, serums are the ones that do all the hard work. If you could only use one skincare product for the rest of your life, we’d say grab a serum.
They help combat a number of skin issues, everything from dehydration and wrinkles, to dullness and pigmentation. Once you’re done applying the best face serum, be sure to follow up with one of the best moisturisers for dry skin, or one of the best moisturisers for oily skin, depending on your skin type.
What is face serum?
If you’re not yet clued up on the powers of face serum, allow Consultant Dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk to clear the fog. ‘Serums are lightweight fluids containing powerful active skincare ingredients,’ she explains. ‘They are designed to be applied to the skin after cleansing and before moisturising. Their light, thin, fluid texture means that they are readily absorbed into the skin in order to deliver their effects which range from boosting hydration to increasing radiance and fighting off wrinkles.
‘Moisturisers, on the other hand, tend to have a thicker consistency. They are designed to trap moisture in the skin and reinforce the skin barrier in order to protect us from infection, irritation and allergy.’
How to choose the best face serum
There are so many serums out there it’s tricky knowing which one is right for you. ‘Almost any active ingredient can be harnessed in a serum formulation,’ Dr Kluk explains. ‘Some examples include hyaluronic acid for smoothing and plumping; vitamin B5 for hydration, vitamins C and E to protect from environmental stressors, like UV radiation and city pollution that contribute to premature skin ageing; niacinamide for pigmentation and peptides for improving firmness and reducing fine lines.’
These sound great! We bet you’re thinking, I should use all of them! Not so fast. ‘It can be tempting to think that we will benefit from all of these and to try to incorporate too many different ingredients into a skincare routine at any one time,’ Dr Kluk warns. ‘[But] overly fussy routines risk causing breakouts and irritation.
‘It is better to make a list of your goals for your skin, focus on the top one or two priorities and select agents that tackle these first. In due course, these can be adjusted as your needs change.’
Best vitamin C serums
If, when you look in the mirror, your skin looks a little lacklustre and in need of a boost or you’re concerned about pigmentation, then you need a vitamin C serum in your life. There are plenty on the market, but we’re huge fans on the Balance Me Repair Serum. It has a 98% naturally derived formulation and helps to brighten dark spots and boost radiance. With the added bonus of hyaluronic acid, it also helps to keep your skin flushed with moisture.
Best face serum for dry skin
Nothing, and we mean nothing, is better at hydrating skin than hyaluronic acid. This serum, whilst a bit spenny, is so good we basically slather our entire bodies in the stuff. Hyaluronic acid appears naturally in the skin and it’s job is to retain moisture. retaining moisture. As one molecule, it can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water. You need this in your life if you get dry flaky patches.
Best anti-ageing serum with retinol
Retinol is the bees knees. A retinol serum, plus SPF worn every single day, is said to the ultimate duo to fight the signs of aging. Retinol (a vitamin A derivative) was first used to help acne sufferers, which incidentally it does help with, but people started noticing how much it helped with fine lines and wrinkles. This Beauty Pie serum is a wonder – it’s got encapsulated retinol, which makes it super gentle on the skin, and also has hyaluronic acid (all hail HA) and lactic acid, which gently exfoliates. It’s basically a super serum. Hence the name.
If there’s one beauty tip we can give you, it’s to use a serum. Here’s our round-up of the best of the rest…
A cult classic serum and one of the most affordable anti-ageing products that really delivers on the market. Giving skin an instant anti-ageing boost, fine lines and wrinkles appear reduced after a few uses, and results improve over time. Add a little into your foundation to increase its skincare benefits and give a sheer, radiant finish. There were waiting lists and actual queues out the Boots doors when it first launched and it keeps getting better.
The multi-award winning Double Serum is the only intensive anti-ageing treatment serum rich in 20 plant extracts that boosts the skin's vital functions. An innovative serum with a two-phase system that targets all aspects of skin ageing in one complete skin care concentrate.
Specially formulated to tighten, renew and protect the skin around the delicate eye area. Use before bed for an overnight lift or give eyes an instant brighten after a sleepless night.
This beauty editor favourite contains sea buckthorn and skin-repairing reishi, irritant-soothing chaga and cordyceps mushrooms, which are used in Chinese medicine to heal, promote longevity and improve health. The soft and smooth formula is easily absorbed into skin and over time reduces redness and gives skin a more even appearance.
This beautifully-textured skin serum contains a milk extract to firm, brighten and rejuvenate skin. Use twice a day alongside Eve Lom's cult classic treatment cleanser.
Containing a high concentration of the brand's signature miracle broth, this anti-ageing (and super-soft) skin serum plumps skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Skin feels softer after the first use.
Caudalie are all about using powerful natural ingredients - they have a whole range that uses the skin from the grapes from their French vineyard for goodness sake. In this range, which works wonders to help reduce blemishes and unclog blackheads, it harnesses the power of a natural salicylic acid.
You know that feeling when you touch your skin and it feels like there are tiny bits of sand just under the surface? When it feel rough to the touch? If that's you, use this every night for about a week and you'll notice that you wake up to softer and brighter skin.
The original. The classic. Here are a few facts about the serum that everybody loves. In one year, Estée Lauder sold over 5.7 million bottles of ANR globally. It reduces the appearance of the key signs of ageing, it hydrates and illuminates. It was the first skincare product to use hyaluronic acid. The formula has been patented until 2033.
Sunday Riley's Good Genes used to be made from a concoction that included 5% lactic acid. It was a firm favourite. But then EU regulations put a stop to it, because of the high level of lactic acid. Thankfully this new version, with glycolic acid instead, does the same incredible work at fighting signs of sun damage, brightening the complexion and generally decongesting the skin. If you were a regular user of the original, we recommend using it every other day to let your skin get used to it.