Serum – miracle in a bottle. Or at least that is what skincare brands would like you to believe. Serums are big in the skincare industry and they are not going away. Shopping for a serum can be a bewildering experience even if you are not a skincare noob. Majority promise miraculous results within days. You want anti-aging benefits, but your skin is dehydrated too. What if you want something that is anti-aging AND that will minimise the appearances of pores? When you factor in the cost (serums can be mindbogglingly expensive) it is easy to understand why the mere thought of finding the right serum can give you shopper’s anxiety.
What are serums?
Serums are high concentration formulas that are meant to penetrate deeper into the skin and deliver faster results than your run-of-the-mill moisturizer. Normally they are water based, but some can be oil-based too. They can be all natural, with high concentration of actives, super high tech and everything and anything in between.
When to use a serum?
As always read the instructions. Ideally you would use a serum as a part of your morning and evening skincare routine. However which serum you will use and when depends on the ingredients list. Serums that contain retinol for example are best used in the evenings. We prefer to use a vitamin C serum in our morning routines. Alpha Hydroxy Acids can be used both morning and evening.
In your routine the serum should go after the cleanse and/or tone step and before your moisturizer.
What to look for in a serum?
It all depends on the state of your skin and what you would like to achieve (in social media speak what are your #skingoals). Taking good care of your skin is such an individual thing and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It is possible that your skin is both oily and dehydrated. Or acneic and mature. Or dry and sensitive.
We cannot stress this enough – one thing you should learn to do is read the ingredients list of products. This way you will learn two things – a) which ingredients to look for in order to address your skin concerns and b) that more expensive does not equal better quality. To give you an example – there are some pricey anti-aging serums on the market. But before you hand over half of your rent money because the brand claims their serum will erase years off your face, read the ingredients list. If retinol is at the very bottom of the ingredients list and it is anti-aging you are after, it might be prudent to spend your money elsewhere. Here are some of the most common ingredients to look for based on your skin type (this is by no means an exhaustive list).
Mature skin – Retinol. Vitamin C. Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Antioxidants.
Acneic skin – Retinol. Beta Hydroxy Acid. Alpha Hydroxy Acid. Vitamin C. Zinc.
To help you in your search for a serum here are Ishtar Skinlights’ serums at a glance:
Clarity-C Vitamin C Serum – with 18% stabilised C ester Sodium Ascorbyl Phostphate. All skin types can benefit from a vitamin C serum, but particularly combination skin.
Bioactive 1% Retinol Serum – suitable for all skin types. Especially suitable for anyone who wants to treat sun damaged, scarred or aging skin.
EFA Intense Night Repair Serum – oil based serum that contains teprenone (also known as Renovage) and 5% of a patented vitamin C ester. Suitable for all skin types that want to address signs of aging.