HOME / DOCTOR'S NOTES / WHAT DO SERUMS DO?
I get asked so often about what a serum is, and how to properly use it. Serums are a super innovative, very modern part of a skincare routine and should be in everybody’s bathroom. Here we’ll take a closer look at this vital skincare step and how to choose the serum that’s right for your skincare needs.
What is a serum?
Serums play a fundamental role in your skin’s overall health and appearance. They are hydrating, skin-strengthening and ultra-nourishing concentrates which can be water- or water-lipid-based. Serums should be used after face cleansing and before a day or night cream; they precede but do not replace a moisturizer.
What do they do?
A serum delivers a concentrated form of ingredients into your skin, either to target a specific skin condition such as increasing hydration, calming irritation, and helping to even out dark spots and hyperpigmentation, or to help you accomplish your skincare goals, such as increasing radiance or adding a layer of protection against UVA/UVB rays or HEV blue light pollution. I call serums the “power tools” of skincare because of their ability to penetrate deep and fast into the skin to address concerns with active ingredients, which are either a certain molecular size or are specially encapsulated to reach a specific skin layer.
How is a serum different from a moisturizer?
Serums are not intended as a substitute for a day or night cream, but rather an important addition. For example, while Hyaluronic Acid in creams is good for supplying the superficial layers of the skin with moisture, it cannot, however, support the skin’s fundamental moisture reservoirs because of the blocking effect of the lipids in a cream. Serums are usually formulated with concentrated amounts of active ingredients; their constituent ingredients have either a certain molecular size or are specially encapsulated to deliver active ingredients to deeper skin layers. So, while creams should be used to nourish the skin with precious lipids and seal the skin as a final step against external influences, serums have a different focus.
How to apply serums
Most of the serums in my Molecular Cosmetics line should be usedbeforeone of my face creams to ensure optimal absorption, but there is a specific order in which to apply them. There are two types of serums: water-based (clear) serums and water-lipid-based serums. I recommend applying the water-based serums (they look transparent/watery) before the FACE CREAM, with the exception of the LIFTING SERUM, which is applied last in your skincare routine, but before makeup and the SUN DROPS SPF 50 which should also be a last step. The water-lipid serums work well on their own, or can be mixed into your moisturizer. And if you want to combine both, use water-based first and the water-lipid-based serum afterwards - and then moisturizer. Whenever you are applying a serum ensure that it has absorbed into the skin before applying the next layer. Then, to ‘seal’ in the serum, you should always apply a moisturizer or face cream over the top. Of course, you may decide to use just one serum and that’s fine too – it’s the ingredient science that’s important for it to be effective and provide your skin with the best benefits.
How to choose the correct serum
I designed a lot of different serums for addressing certain skin needs; calming, clarifying, brightening, hydrating, anti-aging, sun protection, anti-pollution etc. so depending on your specific needs – i.e if you want anti-aging and skin calming benefits, you might decide to include both serums in your skincare routine and they should be applied individually.Here is a brief description of all the serums in the collection: