Serum is the targeted product in your skincare routine. While cleanser cleanses and moisturiser moisturises – mostly by acting as a barrier layer and locking hydration into the skin – there is no verb “to serum”. Serum treats. It is the skincare cavalry, sent in to make a dent in enemy lines or, in some cases, physical lines on your face and neck.
If there is something about your skin that you want to change – dehydration, pigmentation marks, bumpy texture, areas of discolouration, congested pores or fine lines – serum is your guy. The problem is that serums can be expensive.
While I do think they are the best place to invest in your skincare routine, investing looks different for everyone. A basic hydrating serum can be bought relatively cheaply, but if you are looking for efficacious, active ingredients, the price of a serum can jump to more than €100 without breaking a sweat. There are affordable options out there for every age group and most skin issues, though.
If you’re aged over 50, you’ll want something hard-working and targeted. Be prepared to layer a couple of serums if needed in order to tackle different skin issues. If you’re after a general all-rounder, though, Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler + Elasticity Anti-Ageing 3D Serum (€43 at pharmacies nationwide) works to minimise pigmentation spots and deeply hydrate and plump the skin, all while helping with firmness.
Consider incorporating a retinol serum twice or more weekly if you haven’t already. Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol Nightly Renewing Complex (€35 at glossier.com) is great for all skin types from dry and mature to oily and younger. Retinol is the most effective topical ingredient we have, and it refines texture, regulates excess oil, diminishes pigmentation and generally resurfaces the skin. Use this one at night and apply moisturiser afterwards. As with all retinol, ensure you wear SPF during the day as it sensitises skin to sunlight.
Blemishes and breakouts are a major skin concern for many of us, and that isn’t limited to active breakouts. Blemish-prone skin will also invariably feature blackheads, enlarged pores and red or dark scarring after active spots have calmed down. Caudalie Vinopure Blemish Control Salicylic Serum (€31 at pharmacies nationwide) is lovely. Salicylic acid is a proven decongestant, so it helps with prevention as well as cure, keeping clogged pores and consequently spots to a minimum.
However, with hormones, diet and the stress of this godforsaken economy, some breakouts are inevitable. Minimising the scarring after the fact can be a battle and concealing a mark where you had a bad blemish three months ago is one of the most infuriating aspects of a make-up routine. Selfless by Hyram is the new range by YouTube skincare influencer Hyram Yarbro. The Retinol & Rainbow Algae Repair Serum (€29 at selflessbyhyram.com) has a lovely, fast-absorbing texture, and impressive price point. It combines retinol and the oft-overlooked tranexamic acid to minimise pigmentation overnight, along with squalene to prevent any dryness.
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Spotlight Oral Care Kit for Sensitive Teeth (€30 at pharmacies nationwide)