Serums can penetrate deep into the skin and deliver very concentrated anti-ageing ingredients. While they’re often the most expensive item in your skincare routine, they’re definitely worth the investment. They can brighten your skin, speed up cell regeneration, even out your skin tone, and fight fine lines and sagging.
However, even the best serums need to be applied correctly so you can maximize the benefits. Here are some tips.
Wash your face with lukewarm water, which will help remove any dirt and open up your pores. If you have dry or flaking skin, gently buff it with a washcloth or a facial brush. Pat your face with a towel, but leave it slightly damp.
Spray a facial mist
Moist skin is 10 times more permeable than dry skin. So your skin can absorb the serum better, use a facial mist or a toner poured into a spray bottle. “The spray instantly leaves just the right amount of moisture, and is more convenient than patting in toner with your fingers. Most people don’t have the patience to do that!” says facialist Anna Rowland.
Use only a few drops
You don’t need a lot of serum — just a few drops, or a pea-sized amount, will do. Massage well into the skin, adding only if you’ve missed a spot.
Don’t moisturize right away
Wait 3 to 5 minutes before applying anything on top. This gives your skin time to absorb it — which helps both your serum and your moisturizers work better! “Many people who complain that their skincare products are too greasy or don’t absorb well are just making the mistake of applying them immediately after the other. You have to let them sink into the skin,” says Rowland.
You can use a brightening serum one night, and a hydrating serum the next. That helps you solve several skincare issues, and also prevents any side effects. For example, some serums that remove dark spots or treat acne contain acids that dry out the skin. A hydrating serum counteracts that, so your skin always stays balanced.
Here are some of the serums that got our editors all excited in the recent 2019 Beauty Awards.
Human Nature Overnight Elixir
Best Serum if you want natural ingredients
Wake up with soft, radiant skin! The Human Nature Overnight Elixir is made of 100% natural premium oils (which they call 9ActivOil Nutritives) that work their magic while you sleep. You serum made of a premium blend of 100% natural oils for soft, radiant skin overnight.
While it’s one of the best serums for dry and ageing skin, this also works for people with oily or combination skin.
“My skin just used to be oily but after using this product, I noticed that it’s much less than before. I used to get zits during the time of the month, but now I only get teeny tiny ones. My skin also feels more plump and healthy. I really love the effect this has on my skin. Super worth it!” says Katrina Marie.
Beauty reviews also gushed about the mild, natural smell and how it absorbs really quickly. “I used this and the Human Nature Sunflower oil and my acne marks have started to fade. I love it!” says Glory.
HXS Concentrated Face and Neck Serum
Best serum for firmer jawline or V shape
As we grow older (and our collagen and elastin levels go down) we start to see a loss of definition along our cheekbones, jawline and neck. This serum tightens and tones the skin. If your skin is starting to sag, or you want to prevent jowls and laughlines, this is the best serum for you.
This serum has special 3D hyaluronic acid, for an immediate tightening and lifting effect. It also has a blend of 5 peptides (one of the best anti-ageing ingredients). Together, these help your skin in many different ways:
- Stimulates tissue generation
- Reinforces protein synthesis in your cells
- Strengthens collagen structure
- Boosts collagen production
- Enhances nutrition of your skin cells
DR GL Essence Anti-Aging
Best all-in-one toner, essence and serum
This anti-ageing powerhouse is packed with the antioxidant powers of four peptides, which rejuvenate your skin at the cellular level. It neutralizes free radicals, stimulates collagen production, and lifts and firms your skin.
It also contains Portulaca Oleracea Extract, which can heal and soothe your skin. Arginine, another powerful skin ingredient, also stimulates collagen and keeps your skin hydrated.
The light formula can act as a toner and essence (allowing you to apply other serums on top of it), but we also like using it as our daytime serum. ‘I have very oily skin, so I don’t like applying a lot of skincare products in the morning.
“My magic combination is cleanser, DR GL Essence, sunblock and a sheer foundation,” says one beauty review. “For me, this is the best serum — it works, it feels great on the skin, and it saves steps and time in my skincare routine.””
Sage & Ylang Radiance Defense
Best serum for dark spots and dull skin
Pollution, sun exposure, lack of sleep, poor diet and stress can leave your skin looking dull and lifeless. Bring back the radiance and glow with this concentrated serum. It contains 15 phytonutrients and vitamins that brightens your skin, protects it, and enhances your skin’s natural defenses.
Aside from brightening your skin, the Sage & Ylang Radiance Defense serum also moisturizes, repairs, tones and firms. It has Vitamin C and E, which can soothe irritation and strengthen your skin cells.
The serum has received lots of five star reviews. “I am always outdoors because I love going to the beach and road trips. My skin looks blotchy and uneven, and the skin around my forehead and nose gets dry,” says Sam. “After using this serum for a week my skin started to look so much better. The flaking has disappeared and it feels softer and looks healthier.”
“I notice changes to my face after applying the serum 2 times daily after toner. My face looks radiant and evenly toned, after the serum application; followed by moisturiser, sunscreen, foundation. I love the fragrance too!” says Cecilia.
Academie Scientifique De Beaute Marvelous Formula
Best serum for fine lines
Get 57 anti-ageing ingredients in a single formula! This truly “marvelous formula” is perfect for anyone who’s already seeing the early signs of ageing. It has:
- 11 vitamins
- 7 minerals
- 5 oligo-elements that slow down ageing
- 21 amino acids that rebuild the skin
- 5 sugars that are part of skin cell formation
- 4 stem cells extracts to reverse ageing
- 2 vectorized ingredients, which help maximize the efficiency of the other ingredients
Academie Scientifique De Beaute Marvelous Formula is super concentrated and super effective. Apply twice a day to see amazing results. “I am over 40 and I have never seen my skin look this good,” says one beauty review. “My skin is smoother, brighter and firmer. I like its texture, too! I recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a powerful anti-ageing serum,” says Martha.