Do You Really Need a Serum in Your Skincare Routine?

I'm a skeptic about a lot of things: the concept of iCloud for starters, and most recently, the legitimacy of facial serums.

Initially, it seemed to me like an extraneous step, yet another gimmicky skin care bit that's wildly unnecessary, but somehow steeply priced.

But, I have come around. I have seen the light, and there is no going back. This is mainly because I just bit the bullet and started using serums, and began seeing actual results.

Before I begin recommending products, let's get into what a serum actually is, and what it does for your skin.

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What exactly is a serum?

A serum is typically a water-based formula containing highly concentrated active ingredients designed to tackle specific skin issues (like dehydration, fine lines/wrinkles, acne spots, etc).

How should I apply a serum?

Serums should be applied after cleansing the skin but before moisturizing, and are usually gentle enough to be used daily (though this varies depending on the product's instructions).

It's also beneficial to apply the product to your fingertips and then press your fingers into your skin, rather than rubbing it in. This method is much gentler on the skin and helps the product absorb better.

What serum should I use? 

That depends on your skin type, and what your skin needs.

For fine lines:

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Vitamin C helps to reduce hyper-pigmentation in the skin, brighten, and enhance elasticity.

This particular product advises using two to three drops of the serum every other night. It's important to use vitamin C products in the evening, as it makes skin more susceptible to sun damage.

For dryness: Glossier Super Bounce

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This formula contains hyaluronic acid (which helps plump the skin from within) and vitamin B5 (which helps regenerate skin), and helps to ease dry, tight skin.

Super Bounce can be used daily, but is super potent, to make sure not to go beyond that.

For tired skin: Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate

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This concentrate works overnight to restore skin overnight for smoother, brighter complexion by morning. I can't say that it works that quickly, but it definitely makes skin look and feel healthier.

It's recommended that two to three drops of this product are used nightly.

Hopefully, serums are now slightly less mystifying.

It's definitely not an absolute essential in your routine (unlike moisturizer), but if you've been struggling with your skin, a serum could be the answer.