Serums are packed with turbo-charged ingredients designed to penetrate skin in ways everyday moisturizers simply can’t. For some people, these uber-products are definitely worth the investment: they come with a host of benefits, like smoothing fine lines, increasing firmness, speeding cell turnover, boosting brightness, and correcting discoloration. The catch, though, is that they won’t work as well if you use them incorrectly.
Follow these 5 tips to get the most out of your serum.
1. Cleanse Well The active ingredients in skin serums will stick to dirt and dead skin, so for maximum absorption be sure to wash your face properly before applying. Use tepid water—hot water could make your skin perspire which inhibits absorption and cold water will close pores, blocking the serums’ goodness.
2. Warm It Up When you wash your face with lukewarm water instead of cold, you raise the skin's temperature slightly, causing blood vessels and pores to dilate in an effort to cool you down. "Space between the cells means there's a greater surface area for absorption, which helps product get in," says dermatologist Heidi Waldorf. Plus, ingredients move through skin and interact with cells more quickly when the skin is warm, says Bank.
3. Apply to Damp Skin Some say that moist skin is 10 times more permeable than dry skin, so apply serum to damp skin after cleansing or mist skin with an alcohol-free toner for quick, deep absorption. Press serum into skin with an open palm instead of fingertips to release active ingredients.
4. Wait, then Moisturize Serums are not moisturizers. They need moisturizing mates like a day/night cream or face oils. To allow serums to fully absorb, apply and wait 10 minutes before applying moisturizer or face oil.
5. Avoid Color and Fragrance When browsing products, don’t look for pretty colors or pleasant scents—some of the best serums are drab and dull-smelling. An effective serum is loaded with active ingredients to target repair and rejuvenation. No only do colors and fragrances add nothing beneficial, they may even hamper absorption.
If you invest in a good serum, you’ll actually have something that works. No more wasting money on multiple products that are just ok, or that you think might be working; a great serum is actually going to give you visible results.
It all comes down to what you’d rather spend money on: five cheaper products that take up space on your shelf and do nothing for your skin, or one product that does amazing things and costs a little more. Trust us: once you find your perfect serum, you’ll never waste your money on anything else again.