We all know I’m currently obsessed with skincare – not trying a bunch of new things – merely finding the perfect ones and using them religiously. I’ve used serums for a long time but it wasn’t until I found the perfect ones for me that I really started to understand the benefits of facial serum!
Facial Serum Benefits
When it comes to having a skincare routine (see my AM skincare routine), there are 4 steps you should have (5 in the mornings with an SPF).
- Step 1: Cleanse (face wash, cleanser, etc.)
- Step 2: Prep (toner or hydrating essense)
- Step 3: Treat (toner step!)
- Step 4: Protect (moisturizer/oil)
While this may seem like overkill, let’s talk it out. It feels obvious that a skincare regimen should include some kind of cleanser/face wash (to clean your face). I think we can all understand the moisturizer phase (though the types of moisturizers vary greatly).
So do you really need steps 2 and 3? Here’s where understanding the benefits of facial serum comes into play.
Every facial serum is designed for a specific purpose. These run the gamut, but the most common facial serum benefits are brightening, moisturizing, balancing oil production, clearing skin (e.g. acne), and resurfacing.
You’ll often hear “anti-aging” too, which is the idea of gentle resurfacing and moisturizing skin because we naturally los collagen and elastin as we age and with sun exposure.
In essence serums do things cleansers and moisturizers cannot! And then the toner/essence step. Toners are like the icing on the cake – not necessary for the morsel but it really completes the dish (leave it to me to make food analogies)! This steps balances your skin’s PH and preps it for subsequent products.
Think of using a toner like wetting a sponge before you put soap on top. In essence you’re prepping your skin for the serum and moisturizer.
When to apply facial serum
Ok. So now that we’ve talked about the benefits of facial serum, let’s learn how to use them and then find the right one for you.
Facial serums should be apply to a clean face, ideally following a toner/hydrating essence.
How to Apply Facial Serum
To apply facial serums, pump or drop the directed amount in your palm. Rub hands gently to warm and activate the serum. Gently pat the product into you skin, moving hands around to cover your neck and face. Let dry momentarily before following wiht moisturizer/face oil.
Here’s a video showing how to apply facial serums:
Best Facial Serums by Need
As previously mentioned, there are all kinds of facial serums, each with their own benefit. You can use one serum or different ones – but only use one at a time.
How does that work? I have a morning serum (vitamin C serum) and an evening serum (radiance serum OR resurfacing peel). In the evenings, I alternate between using the two serums – one night the radiance serum with the resurfacing peel the next night.
You don’t want to ask your skin to do more than one thing because it won’t. You’ll basically get minimal actions to all the products rather than a great response to one.
Read more about what your skin type is before deciding what you need.
Vitamin C Facial Serum (Brightening)
Vitamin C serums are good for brightening skin. Don’t be confused by the term “brightening” like i used to be. Brightening products are to help with hyperpigmentation (like sun spots and scarring). Brightening does not refer to have radiant skin, which refers to that healthy, glowy look (see below).
After dealing scarring from my adult acne and hyperpigmentation during pregnancy and postpartum, I’ve tried a fair few brightening products and nothing has worked as well for me as this the ALL Bright C Serum (get 20% off). Last summer, I had some hyperpigmentation pop up from all my time outside and I noticed it diminishing with about 2 weeks!
Looking for brightening overall? Look at all these skin brightening products!
Best Facial Serums for Wrinkles and Fine Lines
When it comes to wrinkles and fine lines, they can be a mixed bag. Besides losing collagen and elastin, climate, hydration, sun-exposure, and a whole host of things can lead to fine lines (repairable) to wrinkles (permanent).
Facial serums for wrinkles and fine lines will have a combination of exfoliating (evening out the skin layers between the lines and the rest of your face) and hydrating (evening plymping your skin).
The Tripeptide Radiance Serum is a game changer as it does both. Instead of using a harsh retinol, however, it contains bakuchiol – a natural alternative that’s been shown to work as effectively as retinol without the harsh side effects.
If lines, wrinkles, and anti-aging is your concern, I can’t recommend the Countertime regimen enough – I use it and LOVE it. It’s divine and clean! This skincare regimen is the best anti-aging skincare natural or otherwise.
Serums for Breakout-Prone Skin
If you’re prone to breakouts (periodically or constantly), there are some great options out there.
Activist skincare makes a Calming Force Serum that’s gentle, but helps with breakouts and even cuts back on redness. Read my complete Activist Skincare review (it’s a complete line of refillable skincare). Use code LUCISMORSELS for 15% off your first order.
A favorite clean beauty brand of mine, Osmia, also has a Balance Serum. All Osmia products have a beautiful, natural smell to them. This serum uses black cumin seed oil as an anti-inflammatory ingredient that calms overactive skin. Using this serum regularly, your skin should start to settle, with fewer breakouts and a less oily appearance throughout the day.
Beautycounter (see my favorite Beautycounter products) also has an acne line with their countercontrol all over acne treatment. It contains 2% salicylic acid (the highest amount permitted in over the counter skin care). The regimen helps to mattify skin, purify pores, reduce redness, and keep skin in balance.
Facial Serum for Glowing skin
If you’re looking for some radiance in your life, you’ve come to the right place. For a long time I confused “brightening” (see above) with “radiance.” Now I understand what each do, why I need one or the other (or both in my face).
I’ve used two facial serum products for glowing skin. I think one adds more “radiance” than the other, but they both are good at getting your skin looking good and happy!
The first one I used was Good Genes – a lactic acid facial serum that helps resurface skin. It helped with hyperpigmentation and bit and added some oomph! I really liked it. As you now, however, I’m trying to use clean beauty and this product isn’t the most amazing. You can read the EWG skin deep report here.
Besides looking for a clean option, I also just think the Radiance Serum (yes, the one that’s good for anti-aging) is also just the absolute best serum for radiant skin. And, yes, the whole Countertime collection is what you want for radiant skin.
Since clean beauty is an important part of sustainable living (what we wash down the drain matters as much as what we put on our skin), be sure to check out these other clean beauty roundups:
Common questions include do shampoo bars really work and how do you use them? What natural deodorant actually works? What’s the best safety razor for women (and how to use them properly). And the best makeup brush cleaner (on the cheap and easy)!
There are also great clean skin & hair care products for men!