Image via La Petite Voyageuse
Serums seem to be everywhere lately. Bloggers, experts and novices alike are singing their praises, but many are still perplexed by what exactly sets them apart and how they should be incorporated into one’s routine. Not to be written off as merely the latest skin care fad, we’re here to clarify why serums are here to stay and how and when to use them. Below, we share everything you need to know about serums for healthy skin.
What is a serum and how do I use one?
Though they differ based on uses (under-eye, face, body) and specific skin concerns (fine lines, dark spots, etc.), what most serums have in common is that they contain a high concentration of active ingredient goodness. Think vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, and the like. Basically these are the same elements that do the hard work for any product, but they are purer and more abundant in a serum and not combined with any extra unnecessary “stuff.”
Face serums should be applied after toner (if you use one, which you should - here’s why) and before your moisturizer (should you opt for one in addition to serum - those with especially dry skin tend to favor using both). If you have normal to oily skin, a serum is probably all you need to follow up with after toner. Body serums are usually best applied onto damp skin after the shower/bath. Because serums don’t contain SPF, make sure to also incorporate a product with sun protection when applying in the morning and planning on heading outside.
What are the different types of serums?
Serums can be water based or oil based. Water based serums are generally formulated to hydrate the skin (using ingredients such as water, hydrosol, glycerin, and aloe vera), plump/firm the skin (using ingredients like hyaluronic acid) and deliver water soluble Vitamin C. Oil based serums deliver high contents of nutrient rich vitamins, essential fatty acids and antioxidants to nourish the skin and protect it from free radicals and environmental damage.
How are serums different from moisturizers?
Serums don’t contain blocking agents such as petrolatum or mineral oil and also typically contain fewer lubricating/thickening agents. They are also lighter in texture than most moisturizers. The larger molecules of a moisturizer do not penetrate the skin as far as a serum does, therefore serums generally absorb faster and deeper than a moisturizer. They also pack a stronger dose of the most effective nutrients.
When should I start using a serum?
They say prevention is the best cure. With this in mind, it’s never too soon to start using a serum, considering the powerful anti-aging benefits they boast. In fact, the longer you use them, the better. Much in the same way that you need to exercise and eat healthy foods throughout your life in order to maintain good health as you age, skin care has both immediate and long term effects. Though you’ll notice some visible results right away, serums continuously undo previous damage while preventing new damage over time. Your future skin will thank you.
Why are serums often so costly?
As in life, when it comes to serums: you get what you pay for. All of those benefits don’t come cheap. Active ingredients are the priciest to source and produce, especially when compared to thickeners and other fillers found in many creams and moisturizers. However, because they're so effective, a small amount goes a long way. Most serums come with pumps or dropper applicators for this very reason. All it takes is a few drops so those seemingly small bottles will actually last you several months, when used daily.
In the same way that eating fresh fruit and vegetables is better than taking vitamins, your skin will benefit from you opting for natural, undiluted serums rather than their synthetic alternatives. Make sure to avoid any serums containing silicone or synthetic fillers as these can trick your skin into temporary smoothness, but eventually cause dehydration and even inflammation.
Why are we serious about serums?
Serums contain a higher concentration of active ingredients and have a consistency that helps those active ingredients reach deeper layers of your skin. If you have dry skin, a serum will deliver the active ingredients needed to help treat it rather than merely provide moisture temporarily. If you have oily skin however, a serum can give you enough moisture without trapping it (which can lead to clogging and breakouts). Because of their long term benefits, the time to start using a serum is now. Lastly, a little bit goes a long way so their hefty price tags are warranted and should not be a deterrent.
In fact, a serum is where it all began for MUN. Our inaugural product offering, No.1 Aknari Brightening Youth Serum, does triple duty as a face, under-eye and neck treatment that’s suitable for all ages and skin types, day or night. Inspired by the incredible brightening and anti-aging benefits of prickly pear seed oil, it led to the inception of the MUN brand and shaped our philosophy.
Learn more about the benefits of using serums for healthy skin by discovering our No.1 Aknari serum HERE.