The Beauty Serum Guide: All you need to know about Serums

What exactly are serums? Why are they so pricey? What should we look for in the ingredient label?

Thanks to Allure magazine, here’s a quick guide to serums and why tiny bottled serums are so pricey yet so effective!

WHAT IS A SERUM?

While there is no formal definition of a serum, typically they’re the most potent part of a skin-care line and are used as part of a layering skincare routine. In case you need a refresher course on a proper skincare routine, click here. Formulas are usually water-based with a touch of silicone, which helps them glide over your skin. Nowadays, there are serums for just about every skincare concern whether its brown spots, wrinkles, dullness, etc.

WHAT INGREDIENTS WORK BEST IN SERUMS?

Serums give active ingredients direct access to your skincare issues (wrinkles, brown spots, pimples) without the interference of moisturizers. Ingredients to look for are:

  • Retinol: Stimulates cell turnover
  • Vitamin C: UV-damage protection
  • Alpha Hydroxy, Glycolic, Lactic: Cuts through upper layers of skin
  • Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid: Penetrates deep into pores to treat and prevent breakouts

DO I NEED MORE THAN ONE SERUM?

Serums aren’t necessary to include in your skincare regiment unless your goal is to find a skincare product with the most potent and active ingredients. Instead of using multiple serums, find one that has the most active ingredients for your skintype. The best time to apply a serum is in the evening before bedtime since it allows the maximum time on the skin. Don’t forget to use sunscreen and antioxidants in the morning.

WILL PAIRING MULTIPLE ANTI-AGING SKINCARE PRODUCTS BE MORE EFFECTIVE?

Applying 2 kinds of serum with the same ingredient won’t get rid of your skincare issues twice as fast – in fact, it’ll cause the opposite reaction and will just irritate your skin and may cause dryness and other skin damage. Our advice if you want to use multiple serums? Consult with your dermatologist to find out if your serum combinations are potent or lethal for your skin.

WHAT IS THE BEST PACKAGING FOR A SERUM?

Bottled serums (like our MLC Moistraiser a-VC below) are best since they help keep sun and oxygen from breaking down sensitive ingredients, like vitamin C and retinol.

MLC Moistraiser a-VC (Moisturizing Toner Serum)

WHAT KIND OF SERUM SHOULD I LOOK FOR?

There are serums for each skin type and skin concern. Make sure you check with your dermatologist on the right serum for your skintype!

Dark Spots:

  • Look for the ingredient of Hydroquinone, which decreases the production of melanin and increases it breakdown. For those with sensitive skin, try  serums containing Arbutin, Kojic, Azelaic Acids, Licorice, or Vitamin C.

Wrinkles & Sagging:

  • Try serums with Retinol, Tetrapeptides, and Pentapeptides will firm the skin and can fade wrinkles over time. Argireline also relaxes wrinkles.

Dry Skin:

  • Look for a serum with Hyaluronic Acid which hydrates and plumps skin but don’t slather on moisturizer until 15 minutes after application in order to give it time to absorb.

HOW SHOULD I APPLY A SERUM?

  • Always apply serum first (click here to see the full skincare routine application order) to freshly-washed, clean skin and wait at least 2-3 minutes before applying your next face product. You only need a dime-size amount to fully cover your face so use sparingly!

WHAT IS THE SHELF LIFE OF A SERUM?

The expiration date of most serums are 2 years but always check the labeling to be sure.

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