30 formulas to transform and treat

Meet the single most important product in your skincare regime…

A lot of people think that the cornerstone of a good skincare routine is the moisturiser. Wrong. The wunderkind of the skincare world is in fact the best face serum.

What this little bottle of joy can do is unrivalled. Even the very best moisturiser can’t do what a powerful serum can.

However, serums can be quite tricky to get your head around. Cleansers cleanse; moisturisers moisturise, but serums? Not so obvious. In short, serums treat. Everything from dehydration and wrinkles, to dullness and pigmentation.

Skin experts agree it’s the single most important product in your skincare regime and the one you should invest the most money in. Here’s everything you need to know…

What is face serum?

Serums can be water-based or more of an oil. They’re applied after your best toner and before moisturising.

Due to their high concentration and potency, serums are the most effective way of delivering active ingredients into the skin.

‘With a much lighter consistency than your face cream, serums are made up of tiny molecules that absorb into the skin on a deeper level,’ says consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk.

Moisturiser is thicker and sits on the surface of your skin where, among other things, it seals in moisture and all the goodness from a serum into your skin.

How often should you apply face serum?

Twice daily is the golden rule, but the serum you apply in the morning should differ from the one you use before bed. You’ll find some work best whilst you’re sleeping, like retinol serums, and others, like vitamin C, are ideal during the day.

During the day, the priority is protecting against inflammatory and oxidising elements,’ explains Dr Barbara Sturm. ‘This means anti-pollution protection, UV protection, and using a hyaluronic acid-based serum. At night, it’s essential to use active ingredients that assist the body’s repair processes while you sleep.’

Once you’ve applied your serum, follow up with the best moisturiser for dry skin, or one of the best moisturisers for oily skin, depending on your skin type.

How to choose the best face serum for your skin type

‘Make a list of goals for your skin – for example brightening or hydrating,’ says Kluk. ‘Focus on the top one or two priorities and select ingredients that tackle these first. You can always adjust them as your needs change.’

And be sure to always start with the hyaluronic acid serum first, then your treatment one second.

Here is our beauty editor-approved edit of the best face serums on the market…

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