There’s a lot of mystery surrounding face serums – their function and benefits in skincare, their order of application when combined with other products, and whether they can replace regular moisturizers or not? There are a lot more doubts when it comes to the function of facial serums, and in this article, we will clear them all so that the next time you pick a bottle of that precious serum, you are well aware of what it would do for your skin and how you can get lovely, supple, and beautiful skin with just a bottle of face serum. Face serums are concentrated formulas with rich ingredients than can repair and reverse damage and give you healthy and beautiful skin. They can completely change the texture and complexion when used religiously and in the correct way prescribed by experts. Here are 14 Best Face Serums Available in India.
What is a Face Serum?
Face serums are potent skincare products packed with active ingredients like vitamins, peptides, ceramides, AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), BHAs (beta hydroxy acids), hyaluronic acid, etc., that can penetrate the deepest layers of skin and in the process repair damaged skin cells, brighten up skin tone, boost collagen production, even out complexion, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and clear up dark spots. Serums are lighter than moisturizers in molecular structure and that helps them take down active ingredients through layers of skin. They are included in skincare routine to target different skin issues like dull texture, hyperpigmentation, brightness, wrinkles, fine lines, etc. Moisturizers are included in skincare routine to add hydration and moisture back to the skin and rarely repair any other skin issue. Face serums can pack in so much goodness in just a few drops because they are relatively low in molecular size and can penetrate deep into the skin to correct different skin problems. Face serums are usually water or gel based and have either thin watery consistency or thick gel kind of consistency. You can look for face serum depending on your particular skin issue – some face serums come with active vitamin C and those can deliver high level of antioxidants to cells and brighten and lighten complexion at the same time. A few other serums come with hyaluronic acid and collagen to boost renewal of new cells and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Face serum is a product that you can squeeze into your CTM routine (cleansing-toning-moisturizing). Right after the cleansing step, you can apply the serum and moisturizer should ideally follow after this step.
What is the Difference Between a Face Serum and Moisturizer?
Most people wonder why they need a separate face serum when they already follow the CTM routine (cleansing-toning-moisturizing) routine religiously and more often than not, women think that face serums and moisturizers are interchangeable, when in fact, they are not! Moisturizers are products that seal in moisture and hydrate skin by creating a moisture barrier. Moisturizers hardly have any more function than what’s mentioned above. Most moisturizers come laden with chemicals such as parabens and phthalates. On the contrary, serums can go deep into the layers of skin and take care and correct a lot of skin problems such as ageing, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, age spots. Because of their low molecular weight, serums can deliver antioxidants, minerals, peptides, ceramides, and vitamins into the skin and help with the renewal of new cells as well as repair of damaged cells. Also, unlike moisturizers, serums do not usually tag along parabens or sulfates. Moisturizers just sit pretty on the top layer of skin by locking in moisture and nothing more should be expected out of them.
What is the Difference Between Serum and Face Oil?
Facial serums have either gel like or watery consistency and can penetrate deep into the epidermis whereas facial oils are usually rich in lipids and stay on the outermost layer of the skin, just like moisturizers, creating a moisture barrier and protecting the skin from external factors. Facial oils help to lock in moisture and can also contain plant extracts and essentials oils beneficial to the skin. You can also remove makeup with facial oils, a thing which facial serum would not be able to do. Facial oil can be added step to your skin care routine and is more advisable to be followed in the night-time skincare routine right after the application of moisturizer of serum.
Do Facial Serums Work?
Yes, facial serums do work and the million dollar question here is what do you want from your serum? Look for specific ingredients in serums that would target the issue at the cellular level. For example, if you want to correct hyperpigmentation, look for serums with vitamin C, ascorbic acid, glycolic acid, etc. If acne is your concern, look for serums with tea tree and salicylic acid, and if anti-ageing is in your mind, serums with ceramides, peptides, collagen would be apt.
Are Essence and Serum Same?
Korean skincare routine has made essence hugely popular all over the world. It’s an essential part of 10-step Korean skincare routine to achieve glass skin. Essence is a combination of toner and serum and comes right after cleansing and toning routine in the Korean skincare routine. Essence and serum are not the same and are not interchangeable if you are aiming for glass skin. Korean skincare routine recommends starting with a cleanser, then a toner, followed by essence, ampoule, serum, eye cream, moisturizer followed by sunscreen (for daytime only).
What’s the Shelf Life of Serum?
Just like all other skincare products, serums too would disintegrate and lose their potency with time. It’s important to keep serums away from direct sunlight, heat and high temperatures because the active ingredients will break down and would be less effective upon exposure. Serums with vitamin C and ascorbic acid derivatives lose their potency fairly quickly because they are highly unstable, and should be used up within one to two months. Ideally, most serums should be used up within three to six months after opening.
How Much Serum Should I Use on my Face?
If you want smooth, blemish-free, flawless skin really quickly, use serum twice a day – once in the morning skincare (after cleansing and toning), and the next time at the end of the day, when you have removed every trace of makeup, and have cleansed and toned your skin. Apply serum as the last step before hitting bed (yes, you can let go of moisturizer).
Can you use more than one Face Serum?
You can use up to two serums in the same skin care routine if you have different skin issues to address; however, more than two are not recommended at a single time. You can however, use serums in the morning routine and two different serums in the night-time one. However, read the labels and make sure that the ingredients do not react would each other in an adverse manner. For example, never use salicylic acid or glycolic acid based serum with retinoid serum. Likewise never mix exfoliators and brightening products. In the same way, you can use a vitamin C serum with hyaluronic acid or peptide serum, but at the same time, serum with niacinamide cannot be clubbed in the same routine with vitamin C because both would cancel out each other’s benefits.
Tips To Get the Most out of Face Serum:
- Apply facial oil after serum, and not before facial serum.
- Use a mild soap-free cleanser because harsh cleansers can cancel out the benefits of the goodness of serums and other ingredients.
- Always apply serum before moisturizer because it would help create a moisture barrier and help skin soak all goodness from other skincare products.
- You need not wait for a long time in between serum and moisturizer application. Since moisturizer would only sit on the outer layer of skin, it would not interfere with the functioning of serum. If you have to wait, just two minutes between each application would be enough.
- Do you wash off serum? Absolutely no! The whole purpose of using a serum is to allow repair and renewal at the cellular level with the help of active ingredients present in it – do not wash off serum. Let it penetrate deeper into your skin to reap maximum benefits.
- Though there is no need to compulsorily use a moisturizer after applying a face serum, but applying a moisturizer would create a moisture barrier and prevent loss of moisture from the skin.
- Keep your skin type in mind when choosing a serum for your skin type. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, salicylic-acid based serum would be the best. Likewise, for dry skin, hyaluronic based product would work wonders. For dull and lacklustre skin, vitamin C based and rosehip oil serums would work well. For mature skin, collagen and peptide serums would work best.
Ingredients to Look for in Serums:
- Vitamin C: Antioxidant benefits, brightens skin tone, helps to boost collagen and cell renewal, targets dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
- Retinol: Improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, boosts collagen production. Brightens skin tone.
- Peptides: Increase collagen production, boosts cell renewal, tones skin.
- Ceramides: Restores moisture, plumps up skin.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids: Evens out skin tone, rejuvenates skin, brightens skin tone, gives younger-looking skin.
- Beta Hydroxy Acids: Exfoliates skin, reverses signs of ageing.
- Collagen: Increases elasticity of skin, makes skin youthful. Tightens loose skin, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Hyaluronic acid: Retains moisture in skin, hydrates and moisturizes skin.
- Stem cells: Makes skin youthful and supple.
- Resveratrol: Potent antioxidant, aids cell renewal. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Alpha lipoic acid: Evens out skin tone, antioxidant benefits, rejuvenates skin.
- Licorice extract: Brightens up skin tone.
- Caffeine: Diminish the appearance of dark circles, antioxidant activity, calms redness and clears puffiness.
- Coenzyme Q10: Firms skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
- Glycolic acid: Clears complexion, removes dead skin cells and debris, evens out skin tone. Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Lactic acid: Reduces hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone. Brightens skin tone.
- Malic acid: Reduces hyperpigmentation, anti-ageing benefits.
- Vitamin E: Reduces the appearance of scars, antioxidant activity, makes skin supple.
Indian Face Serums:
1. Forest Essentials Rasa Activating Serum: This ayurvedic blend provides ample hydration to the skin and also stimulates and rejuvenates skin. It’s a serum for all skin types – from normal to dry to oily. It moisturizes and hydrates skin well and makes it soft and plump with regular use.
2. Cipla VC 15 Serum: Looking for a good vitamin C serum: Look no further, Dr. Reddy’s VC Serum has vitamin C at 15% concentration. This serum should be applied in the morning to get clear and bright skin. It’s a serum that’s good for all skin types, especially problematic skin.
3. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronised Recovery Complex: Every person who has tried Estee Lauder Synchronized Night Repair has only good things to say about this product. It is an anti-ageing serum that boosts cell renewal and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. It is a powerful serum that makes skin youthful and healthy.
4. Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum: This serum is packed with whole lot of skin-beneficial ingredients like ascorbyl glucoside, grapefruit peel extract, mulberry root extract, cucumber extract, algae extract, etc. It refines skin’s texture and adds radiance without causing breakouts or acne on acne prone and sensitive skin types. It evens out complexion and firms up skin’s texture.
5. The Body Shop Drops Of Light Pure Healthy Brightening Serum: It’s a lightweight serum that brightens up skin tone and reduces the appearance of dark spots with the goodness of North Atlantic waters, Red Algae, vitamin C, nutrients, and nutrients – no wonder it has become a favorite serum for a lot of women out there. It also plumps out skin and makes it radiant.
6. Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution: Don’t be misled by its name “solution,” this is a potent serum for people who want to brighten their skin tone and lighten hyperpigmentation and dark spots. With a lot of potent ingredients like salicylic acid, ascorbic acid, lavender oil, white birch and peony extracts packed together, it works effectively in clarifying and brightening up skin tone.
7. The Face Shop White Seed Brightening Serum: Some people have claimed that this serum is like “magic in a bottle.” It’s a brightening serum that’s good for all skin types and is formulated without parabens, mineral oils, and other animal sourced ingredients. There are a lot of natural extracts from white daisy flower to white seed lupin that adds radiance and glow to the skin. Supple and soft skin are other benefits of using The Face Shop White Seed Brightening Serum regularly.
8. Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum: Korean skincare products have taken the beauty world by storm and Innisfree is one Korean brand whose products are touted as one of the best. If you have extremely dry skin with no other major skin woes to tackle, Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum adds immense hydration to the skin without causing breakouts. It’s free from harsh chemicals and the antioxidant-rich, green tea seed based serum makes skin soft and supple over a few weeks of use.
9. Lotus Professional Phyto-Rx Whitening and Brightening Serum: With active ingredients of amla berry, lychee, and punarnava, this serum brightens skin and adds radiant glow with regular use. It’s a serum that’s good for all skin types, even acne prone and oily. It helps in fading away dark spots but you have to show a lot of patience to see the results; however, it adds hydration and moisture into the skin within a few uses.
10. O3+ Age Lock Vitamin C Booster Serum: This is a vitamin C serum from O3+ and it helps to brighten dull and lacklustre skin while adding hydration at the same time. This serum would suit all skin types. With regular use, it lightens acne scars and dark spots and also boosts cell renewal. Just make sure to use a good SPF sunscreen when stepping out because vitamin C serums can make your skin extra sensitive to sunlight.
11. Olay Total Effects 7 in One Anti-aging Serum: The non-greasy texture of Olay Total Effects Anti-ageing Serum makes it a good skincare product for all skin types including oily and acne-prone skin. This serum fights 7 signs of ageing including fine lines, wrinkles, dull skin, etc, and firms up and adds radiance with its vitaniacin formula.
12. It’s Skin Power 10 Formula VC Effector Face Serum: It’s Skin Power 10 Formula VC Effector Face Serum has ingredients such as vitamin C and Green Tea extracts in a lightweight formula which makes skin radiant and helps in diminishing the appearance of dark spots and blemishes.
13. L’Oreal Hydra Fresh Anti-Ox Grape Seed Hydrating Mask-In Double Essence: A unique product from L’Oreal that has the benefits of serum and moisturizer together, so there is no need to follow up with a separate moisturizer after using this serum. Rich in french grape seed extracts, red pomegranate, and red berry, this L’Oreal serum provides a big shot of antioxidants to the skin and feels lightweight, therefore apt for all skin types. Soft, smooth, improved skin texture, and bouncy skin is what you get with this serum in your skincare routine.
14. Biotique Bio Dandelion Ageless Lightening Serum: Rich in natural ingredients and vitamin E, this Biotique serum nourishes and moisturizes skin and also improves the texture of skin and reduces the appearance of dark spots.