It’s honestly overwhelming sometimes when you walk onto the beauty floor of any department store and are faced with a sheer flood of choices. Even for someone like me, who on average spends probably 87% of her time thinking, dreaming, using or talking about beauty products, the amount of options out there can actually induce makeup-anxiety.
And that is why, dear friends, I’ve decided to start rolling out a series of ‘Best Of’ posts, to help break down the plethora, nay, sea of choices we have when it comes to skincare and makeup.
Starting off with serums; a category which I think is sometimes neglected by younger audiences, shooed away as ‘something I’ll use when I’m older’. But serums nowadays aren’t just formulated for anti-aging purposes. I’m pretty sure there’s a serum on the market targeted towards nearly every skin concern and personally, I am all here for that.
What are serums anyway?
So glad you asked. A serum is the step in between cleansing and moisturising, and is typically designed to pack a powerful punch, with concentrated ingredients that can target the skin more directly than your average cream. Depending on the instructions on the bottle, you can apply your serum daily AND even use different serums in the morning and evening.
So, without further adieu, here is my breakdown of the best serums you need to target all your skincare concerns.
Scroll down to the bottom of this post to shop all the products I mention.
Best serum on a budget.
Let’s ease into this category with something that won’t break the bank, shall we? The Ordinary’s ‘Buffet’ serum is a nice starting point for any serum-virgins out there. They call it a multi-technology serum as it contains multiple hyaluronic acid complexes and 11 amino-acids designed to help fight signs of ageing and hydrate the skin. It’s a good all-rounder which shouldn’t offend any skin types and help provide an extra boost of moisture and goodness into your skincare routine.
Best for hydrating.
I’ve been using the new Physiolift serum from Avène for more than a month now and quite frankly it is my go-to whenever I have particularly parched skin. It’s marketed as an anti-ageing serum, which I’m sure it is, but that’s not why I use it. I love it for its moisturising formula which includes a complex mix of Hyaluronic acids which helps plump the skin like nobody’s business. Plus, like all Avène products, its especially formulated for sensitive skin. That combined with its excellent hydrating abilities also makes this a must-have for hungover mornings.
Best for plumping.
When I asked the attendant working at the Kiehls counter for a serum, he looked at me and said, ‘Oh, you should use the Hydro-Plumping Retexturing Serum Concentrate, it’s anti-ageing’. After I got over that ridiculously long name, I was offended for a hot second – as if I need an anti-aging serum?! But in all honestly, I’m glad that man mildly offended me that day because this is my favourite serum to use in the morning because of how deliciously plumped it makes my skin look. The texture has an almost silicone-type slip so I find it fills out any fine lines and is awesome prep for makeup.
Best for brightening.
When it comes to skincare efficacy, it’s really hard to beat Paula’s Choice. Although I only discovered the brand earlier this year, it has soon become one of my favourites and in particular, the Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol has shot straight into my daily skin routine. The formula is rich and smooth and is packed with anti-oxidants to brighten and refine your skin. It feels absolutely divine upon application and whenever I use it at night especially, I wake up with skin softer than a cherub’s bottom – true story. Bonus points for containing retinol for extra anti-aging benefits.
Best night serum.
This one was kind of a no-brainer. This product is so cult in the beauty world it couldn’t be more iconic if it tried. The Advanced Night Repair serum from Estee Lauder is designed to be used at nighttime, so that its ‘moisture magnet’ formula which is packed with Hyaluronic acid can work its magic while you sleep. I find that when I use this consistently, my skin looks more radiant, more even-toned and just feels more hydrated in general. My only gripe with this is how seriously expensive it is. Like, I honestly struggle to even when I look at how much one tiny vial of liquid costs but does that stop me from buying it? Take a guess.
Best for anti-aging.
Another pick from Paula’s Choice, the Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum from the Resist line has such a rich, silky, beautiful texture that it feels almost like velvet when you apply it to the skin. It blends together pure retinol, Vitamin C and antioxidants to help firm the skin and target fine lines. Besides having more hydrated and smoother skin after using this, I also noticed that fine lines especially around my mouth seemed less apparent. Obviously my fine lines and wrinkles are small fry considering I am under 30, but I can already notice them and anything that makes them less apparent is fine by me.
I won’t go into too much detail on this one because I did a full review on Arbonne but the Intensive Renewal Serum from the RE9 Advanced Collection is superbly hydrating and contains Vitamin C for extra brightening effects. It’s definitely my favourite ‘natural’ serum and I would use it when my skin is either feeling extra sensitive or is particularly good and I don’t want anything very harsh on my skin.
I hope this breakdown helps combat makeup-anxiety you may feel and shines some light on why serums are so goddamn good! Let me know in the comments which category – makeup or skincare – you’d like me to tackle in this ‘Best Of’ series.
Are you into serums? If so, which ones are you loving right now?
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