Ahhh the not-so-humble and (generally exceptionally expensive) serum. With it’s ‘way-too-thin-to-do-anything’ consistency and dewy influencers spouting the INCREDIBLE, AMAZING, and SKIN-IMPROVING benefits of without any explanation, serums are easily the most mysterious item in my beauty bag.
So many women have no idea wtf a serum actually is and wtf they do. Worse, they’re spending their hard-earned (or in some people’s case – earned) cash on ridiculous products with only marketing to back up the formula, no results or science.
To set the record straight on serums, once and for all, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to serums and the prods on the market worth your coin.
YOUR SERUM GUIDE
WTF is a serum and what do they do?
Think of a traditional skincare product as plain water and a serum as Hydralyte. The latter packs a bigger punch and is vastly more effective. Serums are formulated with a higher concentration of the active ingredients found in your other skincare products, with the intent of delivering powerful ingredients directly into the skin. Sign me up!
Why is the consistency of most serums so sad?
If you’ve used a serum before, you’ve probably been shocked at the thin, sometimes gel-like consistency, as generally ‘high-performance’ products have a much more substantial feel to them. Well, serums are formulated in light consistencies for good reason. They’re made up of smaller molecules, which penetrate deeper into the layers of skin that you want them to be hitting. Thicker consistencies sit on top of the skin and won’t absorb as much, meaning they make the appearance of your skin better but aren’t helping the issues going on underneath. Name a more iconic duo than serum and thicker moisturiser, I’ll wait.
When do I use a serum?
After cleansing when your pores are nice and open, apply a light layer and massage into your skin. Then lock it in with your moisturiser or oil so it can work its magic.
What serum do you recommend?
Like any beauty product, it takes trial and error to find a product that works for your skin. We do have some recommendations up our sleeves though, so listen up, these are serums you need:
Avène Hydrance Intense Serum – AU$60
Ok so this product is so science-y I can’t even dumb it down for myself, let alone this article. Seriously look at this shit!?
But what I can tell you is that Avène IS SUCH a beautiful skincare brand, especially if you have sensitive skin. I have horribly reactive skin and have never had an issue with a product. This serum is lightweight and perfect for anyone looking for an entry-level hydrating treatment that a) won’t send you broke, and b) cause issues with your skin.
This is so nice if I’ve been naughty and sticking my head in the sun as it targets the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone. I love most products Arbonne releases and this serum is BEAUTIFUL. It contains antioxidants and essential botanicals to help restore a youthful-looking glow.
HydroPeptide Power Serum – AU $199
The perfect serum for skin that’s dehydrated and has uneven texture, this power-packed treatment delivers advanced peptides, antioxidants and a growth factor activating extract to immediately improve skin health while revealing a firmer, years younger appearance.
Nu Skin ageLOC Future Serum – AU $299
This is one of those super ‘science-y’ products that has a shitload of research behind it. The Nu Skin scientist, Dr Mark Bartlett, has the formula patented ATM after a massive deep dive into gene expression.
“The ageLOC Future Serum is the most advanced anti-ageing product Nu Skin has ever created as it delivers the maximum concentration of ageLOC to the skin. ageLOC is Nu Skin’s patented anti-ageing formula which was developed by our team of scientists after years of research into gene expression. Through research and clinical studies what we found was that while the DNA code was fixed for life, the story only begins with the code…We now know that DNA in each cell takes cues from the environment, thus the expression of the DNA code can be influenced and changed. Nu Skin’s ageLOC patented technology is the emphasis of understanding the ageing process. Identifying genes whose expression changes with age and then learning what nutritional cues (AKA active ingredients) can reset them for a more youthful appearance.”
TLDR: You’re DNA cells change as you age but Nu Skin’s serum resets them to their OG condition.
It melts into the skin so quickly so you don’t need to wait long before slathering on something else. It restores firmness, hydration and radiance to parched, lacklustre complexions. It’s formulated with a high concentration of hyaluronic acid and Okinawa red algae, restoring moisture while plumping, smoothing and firming skin. PLUS it has a hint of gold to grant an ethereal, shimmer-free glow. It hydrates skin for hours and provides the most perfect, smooth base for makeup application come morning,
It wouldn’t be a list without The Ordinary amirite! I personally have never tried any of the products but this serum received overwhelming support from the office full of gals. A high-performance anti-aging serum, The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5%, targets multiple skin concerns such as pigmentation, wrinkles, and uneven texture.
Aesop Lucent Facial Concentrate – AU $125
A vitamin C-rich layering serum that soothes, replenishes and balances skin with its complex blend of anti-oxidant, lightly hydrating and conditioning ingredients. It’s oily enough to feel hydrating but not greasy AND has that gorge Aesop smell.
Jurlique Herbal Recovery Signature Serum – AU $135
Ugh, I adore this product so much, it’s so so lovely. Boosts radiance and leaves skin feeling firmer and more supple.
Supple Skin Co. Dew Drops Serum – AU $42
This serum is an oil-based product specifically formulated for oily and acne-prone skin. How you ask? Well, the key ingredient is Organic Hemp Oil. Hemp oil has a 0% comedogenic rating, which means no clogged pores! It’s also high in lavender oil, which is an over-achieving essential oil. It penetrates pores and kills bacteria, prevents and heals breakouts; plus calms redness and reduces inflammation.