Fact: The whole skincare game can be freakin' confusing. So many brands! So many products! So many fancy words! So many monies! My goodness. So, please don't feel you're the only one who is utterly bewildered by it all. Feeling overwhelmed is very much allowed.
Invariably, one of the major areas you'll struggle with is trying to navigate the (often virtual) aisle of serums. Like, we know they're good for our skin, but 11/10 times you'll end up feeling that you need a science degree to figure out what your skin *actually* needs. And we get it - there's nothing worse than doshing out your hard-earned pennies on something that ends up making your skin freak out. Ugh.
With that in mind, it’s worth investing a bit of time into researching a serum to make sure it meets your skin's needs, before taking the leap and chucking it in your shopping basket. But we get it - Googling these kinda things is just A LOT.
To save you some time trawling through the web like a lost lamb, we thought we'd answer the most common serum-related questions in one place. We asked women from our You Beauty Facebook group what they wanted to know about serums - and for the love of glycolic acid, did they have questions! (They did).
Because we're no experts (fooled you!), we asked Nica Marcello, who is the National Education Manager for Estée Lauder and Tom Ford Beauty (she has a whopping 21 years of experience in the industry under her belt #nobiggie) to give us the rundown on what we should look out for when it comes to choosing a serum.
Alrighty. Let's go!
Before we get into it, can you tell me exactly why I need a serum?
OK, basically a serum is a product that delivers a super-concentrated hit of ingredients to the skin. They're like the heavy-lifters of the family and are used to target specific skin concerns. Lightweight and fast-absorbing, these guys get to the root of the problem and address it, STAT (hey, breakouts and pigmentation) - that's why they tend to be a bit pricier, fancier and eat way more caviar than your other skincare products.
So, should we be looking for one 'super serum' to do it all? Or should we find and layer a couple that address different issues?
We are BIG, LOUD fans of product layering. All about it. But - as Marcello points out - you need to know what you actually want to target before just slapping on a bunch of fancy serums.
"The most important factor to consider when choosing a serum is what time of day you are going to use it, as well as the needs and concerns you have with your skin," Marcello told Mamamia.
That's because different serums are designed for day and night, in order to target specific skin concerns. For example, retinol and most BHA/AHA acids should only be used at night, because exposing your skin to UV during the day will only reverse the benefits, said Marcello.
"Our skin goes into repair mode when we sleep. Choosing a serum for nighttime use that helps to optimise the skin's own natural repair process would amplify the benefits of your serum," she added.
In saying this, there are some do-it-all serums that can benefit your skin throughout the day AND night (such as Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex - a shiny new updated version of the cult Advanced Night Repair, which now works even harder to boost your skin's collagen production). These kinds of gems are good for normal skin types that aren't all needy and forever wanting attention in a particular area.