When I attended the recent launch of the Vichy Life Serum, the one question on my lips was ‘Is serum really worth investing in, or is it just a fancy word for moisturiser’? If I’m completely honest, I’d never really seen the fascination, nor the benefits of applying greasy, often oily looking liquid onto my face – regardless of the benefits it promised. As someone who struggles between my skin looking too oily or too dry, moisturizer seemed like the only feasible option to control this and serums were the very last thing I thought of.
However, in recent months, serums have been a hot topic in the beauty world, with more and more brands opting to launch a new ‘miracle’ serum. And after attending the Vichy Life Serum launch (and being rather impressed by their ‘take’ on the texture of what a serum should be), I decided I couldn’t ignore them any longer.
The PRO’s of using serum with or instead of a moisturizer is that it tends to be more liquid like in substance, as opposed to moisturizers, which are quite thick and can take a while to sink into skin properly. This means it permeates the skin more quickly and more deeply, immediately plumping, hydrating and softening the surface ready for make-up application.
They are so easy to use and can honestly change how your skin looks and feels almost instantaneously!
Applying too much can result in an over-oilified (yes, that is a real word…) face, which isn’t desirable – particularly in summer, when I don’t need anymore assistance in having an oily face. However, once you get into the hang of using a serum, you soon figure out how much is too much.
Much like conditioners, I often find that using the same serum, day in day out doesn’t have the same effect it did on day one. When your skin gets used to a certain serum, I find the smooth, hydrating softness I loved, starts to lessen after a few weeks, so having two serums on the go – to chop and change, works wonders.
Serums can be pretty pricey in comparison to moisturizers, especially if you’re opting for a high end or ‘miracle’ one. However, considering you only need a tiny droplet to cover your entire face, it lasts at least 6-10 months, so it’s a good investment.
My Serum Shopping List:
Over the past few months, I have had the pleasure of trying out several serums, each of which have different positive aspects – depending on what you wish to gain from using a serum.
Vichy Idealia Life Serum
This was the ‘turning point’ product for me, when I realized that perhaps serums weren’t such a bad idea after all. With a creamy (moisturizer) type texture, it applies softly to skin – but turns more gel like once rubbed in, hydrating, smoothing and softening skin, leaving it so silky smooth and ‘fresh’ looking that I’ve often skipped out the door without putting foundation or any other coverage on. It has a really fresh, summery scent and feels light on your skin (a characteristic that Vichy are extremely good at). With gold and pink light reflecting pigments, it not only works to prevent aging and environmental damage but also brightens your skin, making the overall appearance far more radiant.
Beetox Manuka Honey & Bee Venom
The way this product is presented really fascinated me, because with a frosted glass bottle and a ‘dropper’ applicator, it offers something a little different to your average serum. Similarly with the ingredients – manuka honey and bee venom (yes, real bee venom) it claims to ‘plump’ your skin and provide an anti-aging effect. Much thicker in substance than the other serums I’ve tried, it gives long lasting softness (a fresh scent) and a definite radiance boost. Using the dropper to apply a few drops to your skin, it’s rather jelly-like in texture – which is rather strange at first, but it’s very cooling and I found that any redness on my face prior to using it would soon disappear. At £45, this is a rather high end product but I can certainly see why the beauty world are raving about it. The plumping properties wasn’t something that I necessarily noticed too much, but the under eye area felt much softer and looked less dull and sunken. Overall, I give it a big thumbs up.
Aubrey Revitalizing Therapy Serum
Initially, this looks and feels a little like melted butter which is quite strange, but upon application it really sinks into your skin well and hydrates it almost instantly. Formulated for those with dry skin, the serum itself can sit under your moisturizer, or like the above – be used alone, dependent on how much hydration you need. When trialing this, I did notice that my foundation sat much better on my skin and applied with ease, however around the mid-day mark did start to look a little dry again. I think this was because I didn’t use enough oil (which doesn’t normally happen but I didn’t want to apply loads at first in case I looked really greasy). The scent of this serum isn’t anything special, I will admit, but the product itself is of great quality and is definitely a must try for those with dry or dehydrated skin. Despite being super hydrating, it didn’t feel too heavy as a base which is a positive benefit – especially in summer!
Skin Revivals Intensive Face Lift Serum
The ‘Face Lift in a bottle’ concept has been done over and over again, but not in serum form, so I was quite excited to give this one a try. With a very strong, citrus scent it’s quite overpowering at first but one smoothed into skin, starts to cool your base, reduce any redness and makes skin feel much softer and smoother. There was no ‘tight’ feeling, which I expected with something that puts Face Lift on the bottle, but I was pleasantly surprised by the lasting hydration it gives and how soft skin feels, even in the evening after applying it in the morning. The packaging is rather uninspiring (plain white) but it does give the product a very chic, professional feel which I gather is an overall feel to the brand itself. With no parabens or artificial fragrances, this is a serum suited for sensitive skin (like me) and is certainly worth a try for how soft it leaves skin, and how long lasting it is.
Green People Hydrating Firming Serum
With soothing chamomile and seaweed ingredients, this serum is perfect for irritated or sensitive skin, as it’s gel like texture immediately cools and soothes any red or dry patches. True to it’s name, it is indeed ‘green’ with no parabens, no nasty chemicals and certainly no animals testing. Once the serum cools, the gel dries matte – providing a really smooth, firm base for foundation, and it seems to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day (which is nothing short of a miracle considering my skin peels and flakes very easily, even with moisturizer and foundation over the top). With a very fresh scent (reminiscent of Aloe Vera) it stands as the perfect serum for even the most sensitive of skin types, so if you find your moisturizer isn’t providing enough hydration – this is certainly worth a shot!
Endocare Tensage Serum
I think this serum should be re-named ‘dark circle banisher’, because this is exactly what it does and what it is great at doing! With a thick, but easy to apply formula, the cooling serum instantly hydrates and awakens your skin (it’s a life saver in the mornings!) and provides great hydration all throughout the day. The formula, which is yellow in colour seems to make your skin really ‘glow’, even under foundation and concealer, which is a real positive! The scent is quite unusual, I can’t quite put my finger on what it reminds me of, but it’s not unpleasant and this is definitely one of my ‘chopping and changing’ brands to use.
Face D 3 Luronics
This serum is more suited to mature skin, and takes a bit of practice getting used too, but when used correctly – it really does work wonders. My mum tried this out on her skin, mostly under her eyes and when left to dry, you can see any fine lines and wrinkles slowly start to fade and reduce in size. It works by firming and tightening the skin it is applied too, so that any wrinkles are less noticeable and essentially ‘smoothed over’. We did have an initial disaster where I made my mum laugh after she’d applied it and the wrinkles around her eyes actually were more noticeable than before because the serum had dried whilst she was laughing. All very confusing, I know, but in reality – it works wonders if you keep a straight face (or lay down) whilst you wait for it to dry. The things we do for beauty, eh?
Harley Street Skin Care Anti-Ageing Serum
This serum is much thicker than the products I was previously used to, and initially it is sort of waxy in texture, before you smooth it over skin to reveal it’s gel like properties. With added collagen and antioxidants, it stimulates your skin’s elasticity to leave you with much smoother, softer skin and less fine lines. It’s not as hydrating as I thought it would be, but there’s certainly no risk of you looking overly oily as it dries matte, leaving you with a great base for make-up.
Heliocare Colour Gelcream Light
This is much more of a specialized product, as it has high SPF protection ingredients (SPF 50) and protects your skin against sun spots, sun damage and photo-aging, whilst also tanning skin gently (with added face tan), providing coverage for uneven skintone and hydrating. Phew. In essence, this pretty much does everything – and if you are someone who is conscious of the sun’s aging properties, this is definitely the product for you. I tried it on my recent trip to Vienna and it really does work absolute wonders. I usually get quite dry skin if I’m walking around in the sun all day, but this completely protected against this – whilst also giving me a little added natural glow. Applied in the morning for all day hydration and protection, this protects you from the sun’s harmful rays, something you will be thankful for in twenty/thirty years down the line! This is certainly a ‘staple piece’ beauty buy for my holiday!