Now is the time to winter-proof your skin with some fabulous face-saving serums
At this time of year your skin needs all the help it can get, and a hard-working serum could be just the ticket! These potent complexion-boosters are packed full of concentrated active ingredients to get serious results. Whether you want to increase hydration, banish wrinkles, minimise blemishes or calm redness, there’s a serum out there with your name on it.
When to use them
While moisturisers contain emollients to soften the surface of the skin and lock in hydration, serums are formulated to sink deep down to target your skin on a cellular level, so the best time to use them is after cleansing and before moisturising “Serums are important as they penetrate further into the skin than creams,” says Sarah Jayne Tipper, clinical trainer at cosmeceutical brand Pure Swiss Aesthetics (purseswissboutique.com) “Think about the cream protecting the skin by lying on the surface while the serum works beneath the surface working its magic!”
Choosing your serum
Because these clever complexion boosters are intense doses of actives ingredients such as vitamins, peptides and antioxidants, you’ll often find that the price tag reflects this. But they are certainly worth it as they really get the job done and you’ll only need a couple of drops a day for flawless results. Remember, a good serum should soak into your skin almost immediately rather than sitting on top of it. When you’re choosing your product, don’t go for pretty packaging, it’s the stuff on the back that matters. Look out for some of the below ingredients depending on your skin type…
Good skin is healthy, radiant and evenly toned with unclogged pores so lots of serums contain a cocktail of skin-boosters to do just that. Keep your eyes out for ingredients such as brightening liquorice and vitamin C, skin-strengthening ceramides, peptides or squalene and hyaluronic acid for plumping out wrinkles. Star serum Green People Age Defy Hydrate and Renew Serum contains 22 beauty enhancing actives including green tea, rosemary leaf extract and aloe vera to plump and nourish the skin.
Mature skin has to deal with a number of issues: wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, a loss of fat and a lack of plumpness. To combat this, choose nourishing serums packed with potent antioxidants like pomegranate extract, vitamin C and grape seed plus omegas 6 and 9 oils to make up for a lack of lipids. Team with peptides for plumping plus vitamin E to protect the cell and soya, which is a natural collagen and elastin booster. Star serum Caudalie Premier Cru Serum is a blend of potent antioxidants including resveratrol, viniferine, polyphenols and anti-ageing agents such as hyaluronic acid to reduce signs of ageing. £90, caudalie.com
Your aim here is to soothe inflammation and avoid harsh irritants so look for a gentle serum that works to support the skin’s natural processes and contains anti-inflammatories such as zinc, arnica, soothing aloe vera and goldenseal to neutralise redness and prevent inflammatory cell damage. Star serum Dr Hauschka Night Serum contains apple fruit hydrosol and apple blossom extract to support the skin’s natural rhythms while guiding it through its essential night-time work. £39.50, drhauschka.com
Products that contain retinol and salicylic acid should be your first port of call if you’re prone to acne as they all help to reduce visible inflammation. Other ingredients to look out for include probiotics, which will help with general skin health, green tea as it contains beneficial antioxidants and willow bark extract, which will lessen redness. Star serum Swiss Code Pure Repair contains bifidus extract, an active ingredient to reverses cell damage and prevents premature ageing while reducing acne with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. £90, pureswissboutique.com
If your face is looking a little lacklustre, search for brightening ingredients such as green tea extract and vitamin C, along with naturally occurring acids such as lactic, glycolic and ferulic acid to exfoliate the skin and gently lift away dead cells. Star serum Botanics All Bright Radiance Concentrate Serum contains naturally exfoliating alpha hydroxyl acids from the hibiscus plant to improve skin texture and tone. £8.99, boots.com
If your skin is craving moisture, opt for serums with a high percentage of hyaluronic acid. This amazing thirst quencher naturally binds water to its molecules, plumping out wrinkles and giving you a fresher and younger-looking complexion. Other hydrators such as ceramides, amino acids and essential fatty acids strengthen the skin’s barrier and help build strong cell membranes. Star serum Elemis Pro-Collagen Super Serum Elixir packs an allnatural blend of powerful actives, such as peptides to plump the skin and hyaluronic acid to prevent water loss. £49, elemis.com
Look for serums with exfoliating properties such as liquorice root, glycolic acid, alpha hydroxyl acids and retinol. Also keep your eyes peeled for red seaweed, which has an inhibitory effect on melanin production that helps skin pigmentation. Star serum Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening & Tone Correcting Serum is formulated with waiwera water, mamaku black fern and raspberry oil and is scientifically proven to brighten skin and reduce freckles. £41.99, antipodesnature.com
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