Skin serums are potent mixtures of anti-oxidants and other beneficial compounds that aid skin in ways that other skin care products can’t. The science is clear on certain agents like Vitamin C and retinoids: They reduce fine lines and wrinkles, promote collagen growth and make old skin look younger.
But there’s a right way and a wrong way to use skin serums. Given their spendy pricetags, you’ll want to make sure you’re using them correctly. When you’re paying upwards of $50 for a one ounce vial of next-generation skin science, you’ll want to make sure you’re not wasting it by using it the wrong way.
How to apply skin serum the “right” way
1) Cleanse thoroughly.
You’ll want your pores to be clear and your skin to be oil-free before starting. It also helps to exfoliate gently to allow the serum maximum contact with your pores. Remember, many serums don’t just work their magic on the surface of the skin like other skincare products: With serums absorption is important. Also, don’t clean your skin with hot water. Heat can cause localized perspiration which can prevent serum absorption.
2) Don’t dry your skin completely after rinsing.
You’ll want your skin to be damp but not wet before applying skin serum. Moist skin is far more absorptive than dry skin. But you also don’t want your skin to be dripping wet as that may dilute the effect of the serum.
3) Use just a few drops.
You can apply the drops directly to your face. But it can often be hard to control that way. It’s usually easier to apply the drops to the palm of one hand. The easiest way is to apply the drops to your palm and then use two fingers from their other hand to apply the serum to your face. When you’ve used most of the serum, you can rub the final bit in with your palms.
Making small circular motions and rubbing the serum into the skin will help with absorption. You’ll want to pay special attention to areas with fine lines and wrinkles. A good serum should disappear quite quickly into your skin. That’s good, not bad.
4) Let it absorb naturally before moisturizing.
It’s usually best to allow your serum to absorb into your skin for five minutes or so before adding a moisturizer on top. Moisturizers and serums go hand-in-hand very well.
5) Don’t force your regimen.
It’s important to remember that serums can be potent things. If you start experiencing redness, pain or irritation — give your serum a break for a couple of days. Your skin will adjust to more powerful concentrations over time. If you’re using a vitamin C serum, you might want to start with a 5% or 10% concentration before bringing out the “big guns” of a powerful 20% concentration.
6) Remember to store your serum well.
When you finish applying your serum, make sure to securely close the vial. Oxygen and light are the enemies of skin serum. Remember to store your serum in a place outside of direct sunlight. (Inside a medicine cabinet or drawer is best).