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The Best Serums Will Help You Reach Your Dream Skin (Yes, Really)

10 Aug, 2017
By Daniela Massenz
At the close of a long, hard winter (or at any other time our skin needs a helping hand), who're you gonna call? The superhero serums, of course!
 
Think of the word serum and the thought that follows is probably, 'ooh, expensive!' and 'oh, yummy!' Granted, some of our favourites do carry a bit of a weighty price tag - not all, mind you. But these beauty specialists pack bang for buck in every tiny, lightweight drop.
 
These treatments are the crème de la crème of skin care ranges. Their premium price is due to the fact that they usually contain the highest concentration of the most costly active ingredients. And that means they are the most effective options to sort out your skin problems. The bonus? You'll actually save money. You won't be wasting money on multiple products which you think may work; you just invest in one that actually does.

Why do we need them? Isn’t our regular routine good enough?

Not always. Sometimes we have a skin condition that needs an extra specialised, intensive boost. And skin-care experts say that change of season is tough on our complexions so they recommend a serum for a general skin boost. Or we may want to tackle pigmentation, acne and premature ageing problems.
 
As we head for spring, this transition period is a good time to give our skin some TLC. Cold, dry outdoor air, followed by overheated, dry air indoors, can take a serious toll on our skin's hydration levels, which impacts all of the skin's natural processes. The first priority is rehydration, protection and repair and lots and lots of TLC, so it looks gorgeous, glowing and renewed in time for spring.
 
And after a bout of that really nasty flu that's been doing the rounds, which has left us looking grey and feeling haggard, serums are a great skin booster. They are 'emergency' treatments that give you an instant boost in circulation and energy if the face in the mirror is showing signs of battle fatigue.
 
Many serums are designed to be used for a few weeks every few months, but some, especially the anti-ageing ones, are designed for use every day.
 
Related: How to Seriously Improve Your Skincare Routine in a Few Easy Steps

Pick Your Potion

A good serum is often a cocktail of different, complementary ingredients that work together to reach their targeted goal. You can also alternate different serums that are complementary to address different concerns. It's important that you do some homework before choosing your specialist.
 
CAUTION: If you are prone to sensitivity or irritation, check that a serum you're interested in will be suitable for you before you use it, as many contain highly active ingredients. Most serums are free of fragrance and other potential irritants, and there are serums designed purely to soothe and hydrate irritable skin as well as reduce redness and inflammation.
 
Let us help you with suggestions of some of our favourite serums. If in doubt about what your skin needs or what to choose, consult a qualified skin-care therapist or beauty advisor for your best options.

Your Pick of The Best Ingredients

While not all are listed here, these ingredients are generally considered the go-to guys to treat different problems...
 
  • Age-fighting heroes: Retinol, different peptides, vitamins, antioxidants, various hydroxy acids and salicylic acid, plant growth factors like zeatin and kinetin.
  • Antioxidants (your essential ingredients): Vitamins C and E in various forms, particularly L-Ascorbic acid and SkinCeutical’s CE Ferulic patent, resveratrol and grape seed extract.
  • Acne busters: The big kahuna in general skin repair, retinol, as well as those hydroxy acids again: salicylic, glycolic and citric. Acne products should also contain soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients that will reduce irritation and redness.
  • Inflammation-soothing: Botanicals such as calendula, meadowsweet, comfrey, aloe, green tea and camomile.
  • Dehydration: Water-attracting hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and rosehip oil.
  • Pigmentation: L-Ascorbic acid, kojic acid, soy, glucosamine, retinol, liquorice extract and arbutin.
 
FOR ACNE-PRONE SKINS:

Most people with acne-prone skin love the texture of a serum because it is light and usually non-greasy, absorbing easily into the skin. Because they are mostly water based, you'll have none of that greasy feeling you hate so much.
 
  • Celltone Intensive Spot Control Serum 30ml uses a blend of niacinamide (vitamin B3), salicylic acid, sarcosine and tea tree oil to act on problem skins, helping clear breakouts and prevent new ones forming.
  • Bioderma Sébium Serum is a night-time serum used twice a week to remove existing blemishes and refine the skin's texture (the gentle peeling effect of glycolic acid). It also soothes redness and restores radiance. Recommended especially for adult acne.
  • BioNike Acteen Quick Pen Anti-Imperfection zeroes in on spots with various hydroxy acids, soothing allantoin and antioxidant vitamin E.
 
Related: Expert Advice on How to Finally Get Rid of Your Acne
 
AGE-FIGHTING SERUMS: 

Not surprisingly, the area with the most serums is the anti-ageing category, as these address signs of premature ageing from UV damage, our lifestyle and stress. Can you relate?
 
  • Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate is the ultimate serum icon. Reformulated numerous times to take advantage of new advances in technology, the two serums - one water and one oil - are kept apart until the moment they are mixed to be applied to your skin, for maximum potency in addressing global skin ageing.
  • BioNike Defence Elixage Huile Serum R3 re-densifies, repairs and renews (the 3 Rs) with a patented formula that protects the skin's DNA, as well as powerful antioxidants.
  • Olay Total Effects 7X Instant Smoothing Serum is another legend, containing VitaNiacin Complex (Vitamin B3, E and pro-vitamin B5), it helps fight seven signs of ageing: smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, instantly moisturising, exfoliates to even skin tone, minimises pores, leaves skin feeling silky and smooth, enhances radiance, helps restore firmness.
  • Nivea Visage Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Energy Serum combines the powerful antioxidant action of co-enzyme Q10 with hyaluronic acid and creatine for a softening of lines, as well as preventing new formation.
  • Eucerin Volume Filler Serum Concentrate uses three active ingredients to target skin sagging and loss of volume. Magnolol increases the number and size of volume-giving cells, oligo peptides stimulate collagen renewal and hyaluronic acid binds moisture to the skin.
 
PIGMENTATION POWERHOUSES: 

The aim of every product that addresses dark marks and excess patches of pigmentation is to break down existing marks and prevent new ones forming.
 
  • BioNike Defence B-Lucent Anti-Dark Spots Roll-On uses polyhydroxy acids and a biomimetic peptide against dark marks.
  • Dermactin Age Defying Spot Serum is a concentrated formula which helps reduce the appearance of unwanted age spots, freckles and even the most difficult discolorations and dark areas.
  • L’Oréal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum has a three-dimensional formula that targets uneven skin tone, pores and texture, improving the skin's overall appearance.
  • Vichy ProEven Daily Dark Spot Corrector has quadruple power: a patented antioxidant complex, Vichy thermal spring water, hydroxy acids and luminising pearls to tackle your pigmentation woes.
  • Ponds Flawless Radiance Anti Spot Serum uses its patented GenActiv™ COVER technology to fade dark marks and prevent new ones.
 
Related: Pigmentation and Dark Spots Explained: Everything You Need to Know
 
INTENSIVE NOURISHERS:

Perfect for end of winter, ageing skin, very dry skin types and after a depleting illness.
 
  • BioNike Proxera Face Serum for Very Dry Skin has a cocktail of different forms of hyaluronic acid, rose extract, squalene, urea and a host of other nourishing, soothing ingredients.
  • L’Oréal Age Perfect Intense Nutrition Serum gives us highly nourishing and repairing royal jelly (packed with proteins, vitamins and lipids), as well as Pro-Calcium for its strengthening and skin-plumping action.
     
HYDRATING HEROES:
 
  • Bioderma Hydrabio Serum Moisturising Concentrate for very dehydrated and sensitive skins is a year-round all-rounder for all skins, helping skin to relearn to hydrate itself with the Aquagenium patent that includes vitamin PP.
  • Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Intensive Moisture Quenching Serum uses organic ingredients to boost and revitalise the skin's natural hydration, teaching the skin to rehydrate itself. It also helps shield the skin from sudden temperature changes, pollutants and environmental stress.
  • Avène Hydrance Optimale Hydrating Serum for dehydrated and sensitive skin has liposomes which carry concentrated Avène thermal spring water into the skin where it is released over 24 hours to hydrate, soothe and calm skin.
  • Coverderm Maxydrat Serum contains hyaluronic acid and other ingredients to boost skin hydration.
 
SOOTHING SUPPORTER:
 
  • BioNike Defence Rosys Intensive Drops. This cocktail of soothing antioxidants, peptides and glycerrhetinic acid (from liquorice) soothe rosacea-prone skin, reducing redness and strengthening capillaries to help reduce flushing.
 
EYE AREA TARGETERS:
 
These specialist serums often do double duty, treating fine lines and plumping up the eye and lip area.
 
  • IQ Ultra Rich Eye & Lip Contour Serum uses hyaluronic acid and antioxidants to do this.
  • Clarins Extra Firming Eye Lift Perfecting Serum targets puffiness and dark circles with oat and horse chestnut extract and caffeine, as well as firming and lifting ingredients.
 

When do you apply your serum?


Each serum comes with its own instructions, and must be applied either in the morning or evening, but most are applied after cleansing and before a skin cream or lotion.

You can also use different serums on different parts of your face at the same time - for example, an anti-acne serum on a spot prone chin and a hydrating serum on your drier cheek areas.

Soon you’ll be ready for your close-up!

Shop Your Products Now

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Avene Hydrance Optimale Hydrating Serum - Dehydrated and Sensitive Skin

Bioderma Hydrabio Serum - Very Dehydrated Sensitive Skin

BioNike Acteen Quick Pen Anti-Imperfector - Acne Prone Skin

BioNike Defence B-Lucent Anti-Dark Spots Roll-On

BioNike Defence Elixage Huile Serum R3

BioNike Proxera Intensive Face Serum - Dry & Very Dry Skin

Celltone Intensive Spot Control Serum

Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate 50ml

Clarins Extra-Firming Eye Lift Perfecting Serum

Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Intensive Moisture Quenching Serum

Coverderm Maxydrat Serum

Dermactin Equatone Concentrated Dark Spot Serum

Eucerin Anti-Age Volume Filler Serum Concentrate

IQ Ultra Rich Eye & Lip Contour Serum

L'Oreal Age Perfect Intense Nutrition Serum

L'Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum

Nivea Q10 Plus Anti Wrinkle Energy Serum

Olay Total Effects 7X Instant Smoothing Serum

Ponds Flawless Radiance Anti-Spot Even Tone Serum 30ml

Vichy ProEven Advanced Daily Dark Spot Corrector
Visuals: Pinterest
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