It’s taken me a long time to get my head around serums. I thought they were just another thing that skincare companies were trying to convince me I needed - and frankly, I thought I was doing well by using eye cream and moisturiser.
I still don’t think they’re necessary for everyone, but if you’re concerned about ageing, dryness or dehydration (or in my case, all 3!), then serums are your secret weapon. Packed with active ingredients, their formula is lighter and finer than a moisturiser, so they penetrate deeper into the skin where they’re really needed. Different formulas have multiple benefits, but key attributes include helping the skin regain & retain moisture; increasing collagen production and protecting against environmental pollutants.
There are so many to choose from, but over the last six months, these three really stood out for me: Murad Sleep Reform Serum, Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum and Vichy Lift Activ Youth Enhancing Serum.
Murad Sleep Reform Serum
Essentially a good night’s sleep, bottled, this highly sophisticated serum encourages skin repair and renewal during sleep to reduce signs of ageing.
“…improves collagen production potential by up to 62% while encouraging relaxation to soften the appearance of facial expression lines. Scientifically proven ingredients stimulate the proliferation of cells responsible for collagen production by 78%.”
Murad is a brand I’d wanted to try for a long time - I believe in its science and found this product a pleasure to use. It left my skin looking noticeably rested; a proper beauty sleep potion! Frustratingly this is way out my usual price range, though as I type, my skincare guru, Caroline Hirons’ words echo through my mind…
“And don't want to spend money on a derm? I see that £200 handbag honey. Your life, your skin, your priorities. But remember this: you only get ONE SKIN. You can always buy that handbag later.” Caroline Hirons, Beauty Mouth (go follow her blog - it’s all kinds of awesome - and after meeting her in real life I’m utterly in awe of her skin!)
Murad Sleep Reform Serum £89 (I know, I know!) BUT Beauty Bay currently has 20% off Murad, making it £71.20 (go on… read Caroline’s quote again!).
EDIT, thank you to one of my favourite followers, Catherine, for letting me know that you can get 33% off any Murad purchases until end Aug 2012 with code "YOUMAG" at Murad.co.uk (Catherine highly recommends the starter kits!)
Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum
French skincare brand Caudalie is really special - one of the earliest brands I really fell for (& was heartbroken when my local Space NK discontinued, but it’s back - hurrah!).
As the name suggests, one pump of this serum is like a nutritious drink for the skin and leaves my face heaving a huge sigh of relief. 97% natural, active ingredients include Grape Water, Hyaluronic acid & Grape-seed Polyphenols for deep, continual hydration.
Super light in texture, it sinks in and feels deeply soothing, yet incredibly gentle and leaves my skin feeling plumped and soft. Despite having dry skin, I can often get away without additional moisturiser when I use this.
“A moisturizing bubble: The S.O.S Thirst-Quenching Serum continuously captures and diffuses water deep within the skin to restore its moisture balance and leave it feeling soft and fresh.”
The light citrusy fragrance makes it even more of a pleasure to use, with mandarin blossom, lemon leaf, cucumber water and fresh mint. I try to save this for days when my skin needs a little extra tlc and will most definitely replace it when empty.
Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum costs £26.10 at Feel Unique.
Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Youth Enhancing Serum
I’ve been really impressed with the Vichy skincare I’ve tried and this is no exception. This product was Marie Claire Prix D'Excellence Beauty Award 2012 International Winner, and Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended 2012.
An intense anti wrinkle serum, it feels smooth and velvety on application and gives the complexion an instant boost.
“Vichy has identified… a driving force behind the natural renewal of essential collagen fibres and the surface skin layer: the Derm Source. This formula enriched with Rhamnose, a naturally derived active ingredient found in a Brazilian plant, helps stimulate activity in the Derm Source.”
I love this kind of pipette style dispenser, particularly for such a liquid product - it’s quick, easy, hygienic and lets you see exactly how much product you’re using.
I prefer to use this with an additional moisturiser on top. Serum should always be applied first, before moisturiser; people often get confused about this, but applying serum first allows it to seep deep into clean skin where it’s really needed. You may find that you need less moisturiser on top of serum, so it should go a little further.
I like to use this on special occasions or nights out for the instant boosting effect, though as with all of these products, I have also used it consistently on a daily basis for around one month.
Vichy Lift Activ Serum 10 Youth Enhancing Serum costs £25.05 at Escentual.com (15% discount; normally £29.50)
Which one is for you?
- For significant anti-ageing: Murad Sleep Reform Serum (check out the range for several other ‘day’ serum formulas)
- For instant hydration, softeness and added dewiness: Caudalie SOS Serum
- For an instant softening effect: Vichy LiftActiv Serum
Do you use a serum