IT’S the product that delivers the highest concentration of actives to your skin, yet serum is still often overlooked in favour of the usual cleanse, tone, moisturise routine — and that’s a big mistake.
Generally a thinner consistency than face cream, serum should be applied morning and night after cleansing — however it’s not a substitute for a moisturiser, so you’ll need to follow up with your usual day or night cream.
While most serums do have moisture-boosting properties, their main aim is to super-charge skin with potent ingredients that target specific complexion concerns.
And right now a flood of innovative formulations have hit the beauty counters, so there’s never been a better time to plug that gap in your daily regime — or discover a new favourite.
Take your pick of the best new complexion-improvers...
THE SHAPE-SHIFTERS: If defying gravity is top of your beauty wishlist, make a beeline for Clarins Super Restorative Remodelling Serum, €110 (www.debenhams.ie), which uses extracts from the harungana “healing tree” of Madagascar to target fibroblasts, the cells where the loosening of the skin happens as we get older, most noticeably around the jawline.
Likewise, Eisenberg Face Refining Serum, €84 (www.boots.ie), has shown remarkable results in clinical tests, significantly reducing the appearance of a double chin when used daily for two months.
THE VOLUME ADJUSTERS: While losing excess weight is beneficial for health, in terms of your skin condition, a bit of fat is no bad thing. That’s why Neroli Firming Intense Facial Serum, €19.99 (www.boots.ie), uses apple stem cell technology and hibiscus extract to stimulate lipids and prevent the loss of skin volume.
Argan+ Argan Oil Radiance Lifting Serum, €21.91 (www.feelunique.com, free p&p), blends five essential oils with so-called “nature’s Botox” bee venom, at once calming and plumping the skin.
THE AGE-DEFYERS: Bee Good’s products also harness the power of the hive: Youth Enhancing Hydrate, Smooth & Prime Serum, €35 (www.beegood.co.uk, plus p&p), combines antioxidant-rich honey and propolis (a sticky substance bees use to build) with rich oils and peptides, to boost collagen and tackle wrinkles.
Givenchy’s latest high-tech offering, Vax’In City Skin Solution Youth Protecting D-Tox Face Serum, €87.50 (www.debenhams.ie), is specially designed to combat the pollution that urbanites are pelted with every day, keeping wrinkle-free skin smooth (if age is on your side) and slowing the process if it’s not.
THE THIRST QUENCHERS: Hydrating serums differ from moisturisers in that they contain ingredients that will draw more moisture into your skin cells, so you’ll need to make sure you drink plenty of water too.
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Serum, €16.87 (www.boots.ie), features a high concentration of moisture-loving hyaluronic acid, as does Filorga Hydra-Hyal Intensive Hydration Plumping Concentrate, €60 (Marks & Spencer, in store), while Laura Mercier, Multi- Vitamin Serum Phase 1&2 €87 (www.brownthomas.ie) has added vitamins A C and E to protect against UV damage.
THE REPAIR WORKERS: If you’re feeling a little withered and it’s showing in your skin, seek out a serum that gets to work beneath the surface to repair from within.
Origins creamy Three Part Harmony Serum, €60 (www.debenhams.ie), is packed with Crambe oil and seed butter, to nourish and hydrate, while Pixi, Eye Zone Brightener Serum, €19 (www.marksandspencer.ie) melds aloe vera, lavender water and vitamin E to deliver nutrients where they’re needed most.
For oily complexions, try Dr Hauschka’s oil-free Night Serum, €39.95 evergreeen.ie, free p&p), which contains apple blossom and witch hazel extracts that help with skin’s essential maintenance overnight, without clogging pores.
THE GLOW-GETTERS: To deliver a major dose of radiance (without the help of sunshine or spotlights), try Bakel’s supremely potent Thio-C Revitalizing Glowing Serum, €136.38 (www.lookfantastic.com free p&p). Each vial comes with a lid that dispenses pure vitamin C into a mix of five other antioxidant and emollient ingredients, and must be used within three days before the vitamin is oxidated.
And finally, By Terry Cellularose Brightening Serum, €82.20 (www.feelunique.co.uk, free p&p), harnesses the brightening properties of white rose cells, the exfoliating effects of flower acids and targets dark spots too, leaving you with a clearer complexion.
TRIED AND TESTED
Laura Wurzal tries the next generation in cleansing brushes.
The Clarisonic Smart Profile Dynamic Brush Head, €249 (www.brownthomas.ie)
“I’d been thinking about getting an electric cleansing brush, as my skin has been looking a little dull, but the ones I’ve tried in the past have been so harsh and fiddly. What I like about the Smart Profile is that it’s so simple to use. It’s rechargeable and comes with two brush heads: The body brush for exfoliating and massaging — which made my skin feel really soft — and the facial brush for deep cleansing.
“The device has four speeds, but as I have sensitive, combination skin, I stuck to the automatic Smart Mode. I popped some gel cleanser on the head and it was soon frothing up. A quick buzz told me when to move to the next area of my face and, 60 seconds later, I was done. I was amazed that even when I used make-up remover beforehand, the brush still dislodged a lot more grime, and I’m noticing fewer blackheads and breakouts since I started using it. I’m sold!”
BUY IT NOW
If you simply can’t function until you’ve had your morning latte, you’re going to love the invigorating effects of Australian brand Frank Body’s caffeine-tastic scrub, which has just landed in Europe. It looks like a packet of coffee beans and is actually packed with ground coffee, along with brown sugar, sea salt and almond oil, to leave skin smooth and senses tingling.
* Frank Body Original Body Scrub, €14.95 (www.frankbody.com, free p&p)
Love it or hate it, the ‘man bun’ is the hippest hairdo of the year, but did you know it could cause hair loss? According to hair replacement experts Hair Development, very tight topknots and ponytails increase the risk of “traction alopecia”, due to hair being under too much strain. Man bun fans are advised to loosen their trendy tresses a couple of times a week.
STEAL OF THE WEEK
Usually, cutting-edge anti-ageing formulas are only found in the most stratospherically expensive products, but now you can get the latest wonder ingredient for less than €20 . Optimum PhytoDeluxe SPF15 Day Cream and Comforting Night Cream — €19.45 each at Superdrug — both contain amino-acid-rich black diamond truffle, the same derivative which is found in creams that cost around £250 (www.superdrug.com).
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