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Facial Serums: the new holy grail for your face

Illustrations by: Tara Presnell


Treat yo’ skin.

Facial serums (not to be confused with facial oils) have recently been popularized by the beauty industry. The thin liquid, has made its way, in cute packaging, onto beauty shelves in stores, and many beauty bloggers’ flatlays around the internet. Some of us are just trying to figure out what the heck a serum is.

The goal of a serum is to give each user a squeaky clean and light feel to their skin, but also provide hydration without the heaviness that can accompany your typical moisturizing products. Depending on the product, serums can be used on their own or in combination. We’re breaking down what a facial serum is, and why this is a great *treat* for your skin.

What is a serum (it sounds weird) and why should I try one? According to beauty platform, Into The Gloss, “A serum is a skincare product you can apply after cleansing but before moisturizing [skin],” Most users of serums find themselves using serums for a specific use, for example dull skin. This is due to the fact that the active ingredients like minerals and vitamins, are highly concentrated, meaning they have an amount of ingredients that is able to seep into the skin, and protect from certain skin concerns. For example, if you have dull skin, we recommend Glossier Super Glow serum as its main ingredient is vitamin C, which is proven to brighten up your skin and make it, well, glow.

Although they are used for specific skin concerns, “facial serums aren’t moisturizers,” says beauty subscription service, Birchbox. Serums don’t contain the ingredients that are commonly found in a moisturizer. Most serums aren’t used for moisturizing, but for a source of hydration for the skin. A benefit to serums not being a moisturizer is that they are never greasy, making it easier to layer your skincare products and find no additional oil on the skin. For dry skin, we recommend The Body Shop’s Vitamin-E moisture serum, it is infused with oils such as rice bran oil and wheat germ oil which nourish and provide moisture for the skin, keeping it hydrated for the whole day.

Why should you put this on your face? It gives you a more intimate relationship with your face. You have hand-to-face contact, which has been dubbed a no-no in the beauty industry, as hands can contain spreadable bacteria. This is why it is such a unique product for skin. As blog, Style Caster, explains, serums don’t contain any unnecessary ingredients that can negatively affect the current state of your skin. For example, if you have oily/acne-prone skin, serums with soothing ingredients such as retinol (a vitamin) “will past the outer layer of your skin and deliver their greatness deep down,” thus preventing further breakouts and even oilier skin. For oily/acne-prone skin we recommend Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Antioxidant Concentrate serum, as it absorbs excess moisture, and leaves a matte finish.

What’s the $$$ like? Serums from any skincare brand can run you upwards of $30, which can be considered a lot depending on your circumstances. Beauty blog Byrdie interviewed cosmetic chemist, Joyce de Lemos, about shelling out the money for high-end skincare products. Before investing in an expensive product, she suggests the buyer “take the time to do [their] research,” and look into the brand you’re buying from. If that’s not possible, she promotes looking for ingredients that are guaranteed to work. “Retinol is one of them—so much science has been done on the value of it. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and ferulic acid have all been proven by science to work.” When you’ve done the research, you will feel more comfortable about where your money is going.

What we can take away from facial serums is that they are a product that can combat most skin concerns. If you want to treat your skin, pick up a serum for a little something extra in your skincare routine. After applying, the right ingredients, might just leave your skin feeling plentiful and bouncy. What a prospect!

*all serums mentioned are cruelty-free, so no animals were harmed in the making of your skin being happy :)


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