You probably think you have your skin care routine down pat. Cleanse, mask, moisturize, sunscreen—what more could there be? Well, if you haven’t added a face serum into the mix, you may be missing out. Not sure what a face serum is or why, exactly, you should be making room in your routine for one? If you're open to the idea of upgrading your skin care regimen, keep reading to learn all about face serums and the (many) reasons to use them.
WHAT IS A FACE SERUM?
Face serums are lightweight moisturizers that contain a higher concentration of active ingredients (such as hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and vitamin C) than typical facial moisturizers. Known for their effectiveness, face serums are often used to manage specific skin care concerns, such as wrinkles. A serum will also typically be thinner than a moisturizer, which makes them perfect for layering. Serums can come in a variety of different formulas, including gels, oils, and light creams, and they can even have a water-like consistency in some cases.
WHY YOU SHOULD USE A FACE SERUM
We touched on the effectiveness and potency of serums, meaning you’re probably already pretty intrigued. There are quite a few benefits to using face serums that make it easy to see why serums are a popular skin care product. Below, we’re naming four different reasons you may want to add a serum to your routine.
REASON #1. USE A SERUM TO…MINIMIZE THE APPEARANCE OF DARK SPOTS
Daily UV exposure and aging can result in the appearance of dull skin and discolorations like dark spots. Formulated with 10% pure glycolic acid, the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum, leaves skin clarified to reveal radiant skin and a renewed complexion. With daily use after two weeks, dark spots are visibly improved, and within four weeks, fine lines and wrinkles are visibly reduced. Apply the serum at night after cleansing, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen in the morning—alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid can increase sun sensitivity.
REASON #2. USE A SERUM TO…BRIGHTEN THE LOOK OF DULL SKIN
As you age, your skin can naturally start to lose the look of radiance. Before reaching for your highlighter, apply the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Golden Serum to clean skin, both morning and evening. The brightening serum is formulated with golden micro-reflectors to help illuminate the look of skin and stimulate cell renewal, revealing more youthful-looking skin.
Editor’s note: Want to put together an entire skin care routine to combat dull skin? Check out our article, Dull Skin: What It Is, 10 Common Signs, and 10 Tips to Care for It, for more where this came from.
REASON #3. USE A SERUM TO…PLUMP SKIN AND REDUCE WRINKLES
Face serums play a vital role in any effective anti-aging skin care routine. Pick a serum that contains intensely hydrating hyaluronic acid, such as the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Formulated with a high concentration of HA, this serum absorbs quickly to help reveal instantly replenished skin. After just two weeks, you can expect fine lines and wrinkles to be visibly reduced.
Vitamin C is another potent anti-aging ingredient to keep an eye out for when choosing a serum. Reach for a formulation that contains a sizable percentage of the vital antioxidant, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum. Apply either serum after AM and PM cleansing, then follow up with an anti-aging moisturizer.
(P.S. Yes, you can use both serums together to max out on anti-aging benefits! Apply the hyaluronic acid serum, then the vitamin C. Typically, you’ll want to layer serums in order from thinnest to thickest, just like the rest of your skin care products, but we’ll get into that later.)
REASON #4. USE A SERUM TO…HELP BOOST VOLUME
As you mature, your skin can gradually lose moisture and volume, especially in delicate areas like your cheekbones and under the eyes. To replenish volume and moisture retention in these areas, reach for a targeting serum that contains hyaluronic acid. Dispense a few drops on fingertips and apply all over your face, focusing on any problem areas, until the product is thoroughly absorbed. Follow up with a nourishing moisturizer, such as the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Honey Day Cream.
REASON #5. USE A SERUM TO…HELP MANAGE ACNE-PRONE SKIN
There are skin serums available to help with just about every skin care concern out there, and acne is certainly included. Ingredients typically found in serums and skin care products for acne include benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
REASON #6. USE A SERUM TO…EXFOLIATE YOUR SKIN
You may be used to sloughing your skin with face scrubs, but chemical exfoliants are becoming increasingly popular, and face serums are a great way to give them a try. Serums containing AHAs and BHAs, like lactic acid and malic acid, can be used to resurface skin for a smoother feel and more even appearance.
REASON #7. USE A SERUM TO…HYDRATE
When your skin is feeling super parched, a moisturizer alone might not cut it. Instead of relying on your face cream to do all the heavy lifting, you can apply a hydrating face serum underneath to bring your dry skin back to life. Again, serums formulated with hyaluronic acid are great for helping with hydration. Pro tip: Apply the serum to damp skin to lock in even more hydration!
YOUR STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO USING FACE SERUMS
Now that you know more about the benefits of using a face serum in your daily skin care routine, it's time to learn how to apply it. To get it right, follow our guide to layering serum.
STEP 1: CLEANSER
Cleansing your complexion should be the first step in your daily routine, as this helps get rid of any dirt, excess oils, or impurities from your skin. Do this morning and evening, plus after you sweat. Depending on your age and skin type, reach for a cleanser that matches your biggest skin care concerns. If you're focusing on fine lines and wrinkles, for example, try a gentle cleanser like the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Nourishing Cream Cleanser. If removing makeup is your biggest hurdle, try a micellar water, such as the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser Waterproof – All Skin Types.
STEP 2: SERUM
It's go time! Apply a thin layer of your serum of choice (about a pea-sized amount should do) and massage onto skin until fully absorbed.
STEP 3: EYE CREAM
Once you're done applying serum, use your fingertips to lightly dab on your favorite eye cream.
STEP 4: MOISTURIZER
No skin care routine would be complete without a facial moisturizer! Again, be sure to pick one that's formulated for your skin type and needs.
STEP 5: BROAD-SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN
In the morning, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 30 or higher before going outside—and remember to follow those other sun protection measures we told you about. You can never be too sun safe!
And that's it! Need more guidance on adding the right serum to your skin care routine? Here's How to Pick the Best Face Serum for Your Complexion Concerns.