Serums and Oils in Skincare Explained, by the skincare experts at Pestle & Mortar
Facial serums and oils are goal-oriented skincare products that fall outside your core skincare routine (cleanse, tone, moisturise, SPF) to provide a specific benefit or address a particular concern.
The big difference between serums and oils is that they have different functions in your routine, and they are applied at different steps.
Although most beauty brands are making valiant efforts to shift the balance, the potential for impact relies on consumer buy-in. It’s super-important that you know how to recycle, upcycle, and choose sustainable beauty products so that we’re all working together to minimise environmental damage and create a better future for our planet. At a glance:
– Mimic the skin’s natural sebum
– Large molecular size
– Seal-in other nutrients
– Balances oil production
– Apply as the final step in your routine
– Small molecular size
– Penetrate deep within the skin
– Targets a specific goal
– Apply after cleansing/toning
Serums are enormously penetrative and deliver potent active ingredients deep within the dermal layers.
Oils are nourishing and balancing. They lock nutrients from other products into the skin and enhance the skin’s ability to keep itself moisturised in a balanced way.
Contrary to what many people think, a good facial oil will not make your skin oilier. The right facial oil will tell the skin, ‘you have enough oil!’, and reduce the natural production of it.
WHAT GOES WHERE
The general rule of thumb is to apply products in order of the smallest molecular size to the biggest, and the easiest way to figure this out is to start with the lightest textured products first. Layer your skincare from light to heavy.
Serums are lightweight, almost water-like in consistency and should be applied after cleansing and toning and before moisturising. They are often dispensed with a dropper and 2-3 drops should be enough.
Serums are expensive because they are packed with great active ingredients. So, less-is-more. There is no extra benefit to gain once you go beyond a couple of drops!
Apply facial oils at the end of your routine. Use 1-2 drops in your palm, rub together lightly, and gently press into your skin.
CHOOSING SERUMS AND FACIAL OILS
These targeted treatment products make a huge difference to the overall health and appearance of your skin and so it’s worth investing in them to boost your routine.
FOR A HYDRATION BOOST
Flood your skin with moisture by adding a hyaluronic serum to your routine. Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that should really be part of everyone’s routine as it is intensely hydrating and skin-softening. A great hyaluronic serum will instantly plump up your skin and reduce fine lines – it’s like a big drink of water for skin!
If you worry about dull skin, dark spots, and a lacklustre complexion, a Vitamin C serum is your best friend. Vitamin C accelerates the production of elastin so that skin stays firm and plump. It is packed with youth-giving antioxidants that restore a smooth and glowing appearance.
A retinoid night oil will work as you sleep to supercharge your skin with retinol benefits. Retinoids reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen and elastin. They also stimulate new blood vessels in the skin, which in turn improves skin colour and tone. The problem with retinol as an ingredient is that it can cause irritation, leading to redness, itchiness, and peeling skin. Superstar retinoid night oil is gentle enough for all skin types but powerful enough to deliver lasting retinol benefits.
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