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Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Serums

12 face serums that really work – and how to use them.

WHAT IS A SERUM?

A serum is an intensive treatment product applied to the skin after cleansing and before moisturising. Serums are loaded with active, concentrated ingredients and penetrates the skin deeper than regular moisturiser, which is why they are great at treating specific skin concerns, from pigmentation to dehydration. This is also why they are more expensive than other skincare products. Further benefits, depending on which one you choose, range from hydration to anti-aging and brightening.

WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE?

Serums target your skin condition, not skin type – so they are perfect for helping sort out problems like breakouts, signs of aging, dullness and dehydration. This also means you can have a couple of serums on rotation and apply them as needed.

HOW DO I APPLY A SERUM?

Serums go on after cleansing and before moisturiser, morning and night. You can have different ones for morning and night, for instance, a vitamin C serum in the morning for brightening and antioxidant protection, and a retinol serum at night for anti-aging. Apply a few drops of serum in your hands and gently pat into skin. Allow it to sink in for a few minutes before applying moisturiser.

Our favourite serums:

FOR BREAKOUT AND ACNE-PRONE SKIN

Serums for breakout-prone skin act as exfoliators and work to target redness and inflammation. By removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores, these serums help reduce and prevent breakouts, leaving your with smooth, soft skin. Look for ingredients like salicylic or glycolic acid, willow bark, retinol (vitamin A) and niacinamide.

Our pick:
Clinique anti-blemish solutions blemish + line correcting serum
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + zinc 1%
Caudalie Vinopure skin perfecting serum


FOR DEHYDRATED SKIN

If your skin is feeling parched, a daily dose of hydrating serum will help get you back to bouncy glowiness. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, ceramides, vitamin E and aloe vera and avoid silicones and fragrances.

Our pick:
Fresh Rose deep hydration face serum
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench hyaluronic cloud serum
Bioderma Hydrabio Sérum mositurising concentrate


FOR DULL SKIN

Made to promote a more even and balanced skin tone, brightening serums can also help improve dark spots. Ingredients to watch out for include ascorbic acid (vitamin C), alpha hydroxy acids, arbutin and kojic acid.

Our pick:
Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance serum complexion correcting
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C brightening serum
Versed Stroke of Brilliance brightening serum


FOR ANTI-AGING

This is where you want to spend your money – and the number one ingredient to invest in is retinol. An anti-aging serum targets fine lines while also helping alleviate dehydration and dark spots. Look out for retinol (vitamin A), glycolic acid, collagen, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, jojoba oil and hydroxy acids.

Our pick:
Korres Golden Krocus elixir
First Aid Beauty retinol serum
Clarins Double Serum complete age control concentrate

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