Skin Sessions: The Serum

Skincare Serums

beauty | beauty diary

June 2017

Serums – you’ve heard of it and I bet you own at least one (and probably several more) yourself. But what is it exactly? And what does it do? It’s not really a moisturizer but it does hydrate the skin. So other than being really expensive – which they are – what is it?

In our first Skin Sessions series, we’ve put together a list of key elements of things you need to know about serums. So the next time your significant other tries to get you to explain your latest splurge, you’ll know what to say! Here’s all you need to know about serums!

What is it? 

A serum is a skincare product that you use after you’ve cleansed your skin and before you apply your moisturizer. It is highly concentrated and usually comes in a thinner and lighter texture than a moisturizer. 

What does it do?

Because of its thinner texture, it penetrates into the skin better. With a serum, you’re basically hydrating your skin into the deeper layers you normally wouldn’t reach with a regular moisturizer. The richer formula keeps your skin hydrated much better, making it feel more plump and alive. Serums may be expensive, but because it’s highly concentrated, it is an unmissable skincare product that – with your moisturizer – will help you battle dry and dull skin better.

How is it different from a moisturizer and an essence?

It is thinner in texture and more concentrated than a moisturizer. Whether it’s much different from an essence is debatable. Some say serums and essences are practically the same – they’re just named differently for marketing reasons. In Asia, essences tend to play a bigger role in skincare routines. In fact, most serums sold here are sold as essences in Asia. So are they the same? They’re both highly concentrated products, both used between cleansing and applying moisturizer. Essences used to be a much more watery substance, used before the serum. But nowadays essences are thicker and said to pack more ingredients than serums, making serums practically obsolete in the Asian skincare market. 

What order do I use it?

You use your products in order of thickness. You start with the thinner formulas, working your way up to thicker creams. So ideally – toner, serum or essence and last, moisturizer. 

What about oils? 

Oils are becoming more popular nowadays. They’re completely different from serums though. But there are hybrids on the market – the oil-based serum for instance (as opposed to the regular water-based serum). The thing to remember here is that the water-based serum is used before your moisturizer, whereas the oil-based serum is used after your moisturizer. Oils seal in all the products you’ve used previously so any oil-based skin product you have should go last.

What else do I need to know? 

That is, assuming you’re still here! It’s a lot of information – I know. What you need to know before buying a serum is what your skin needs. What is your skin type? What problems do you have? There are serums that target wrinkles specifically and also ones that aim to reduce acne. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for in a serum, it always helps to go to the store for advice from a skin expert!