You may have taken advantage of our Black Friday discount, received an early Christmas present or maybe you've just added another serum to you enviable #SkincareShelfie. Although it may be tempting to throw everything from your skincare shelf straight onto your face, it's important to think about the order in which you apply your serums.
Skincare routines do not need to be complicated and if we take it back to basics and simply use well-researched and intelligent active ingredients, they can make a significant difference to skin health.You've probably got a couple of hydrating serums, an antioxidant serum and an exfoliating acid serum, but did you know the order in which you use these serums could impact on their efficacy and the results you achieve? Whether you are a one serum kind of person or you prefer to layer up three serums morning and evening, you should be taking a little more notice of HOW you use them. Let's take a closer look...
Start with a cleansed complexion
As we all know, in order to get the most out of your skincare routine, the first and most important step is to start with a thoroughly cleansed complexion.Serums should be the first products to touch your skin after cleansing. If there's still SPF, debris and makeup lingering on the surface of your skin, any serum you apply is not going to work to its maximum capability and won't be able to penetrate your skin and have a real effect.Ensure you have thoroughly double cleansed before applying any serums. Put your cleansing skills to the test by running a clean cotton bud along your hairline and around your nose, if there is still evidence of the day on your cotton bud, you've not cleansed properly!We generally recommend applying one or two serums, anything more is quite honestly a waste of your time and money! Of course, you aren't going to need all of these products, but if you want to get the most out of your products, read on to find out when you should be applying them...
Water-based serumBIOEFFECT EGF Essence
is a lightweight facial essence formulated with Epidermal Growth Factors, Glycerin and Icelandic Water to replenish skin and prepare it for the application of other serums and moisturisers.This essence is an innovative hybrid of Icelandic water/a toner/a serum, providing a rehydrating and replenishing effect. The lightweight essence is free from alcohol, fragrance and oil and absorbs quickly, helping to prepare skin for the application of serums and moisturisers.To get the most out of the Epidermal Growth Factors, BIOEFFECT EGF Essence is best followed by BIOEFFECT EGF Serum
.When to apply:
if you are planning on layering your serums effectively, an essence is a good place to start, as lighter, water-based serums should always be applied first.
Next up is your all important antioxidant serum. This is your first line of defence against damaging free radicals before you apply SPF. Our best-selling Mesoestetic AOX Ferulic
leaves skin protected from the damaging effects of photoaging and the high concentration of antioxidants helps to improve skin's barrier function.This state-of-the-art antioxidant concentrate is formulated with Ascorbic Acid
at a high concentration of 15%, alongside 0.5% Ferulic Acid
, which protects fibroblasts from light radiation and sun-induced inflammation. Finally, Vitamin E and peptides
in Mesoestetic's protech-cell complex strengthens the antioxidant action by providing skin with protection against harmful light exposure.When to apply:
Antioxidant serums are best applied to skin directly after cleansing in the morning. This allows the brightening, protective and antioxidant actions to have the best possible chance of penetrating skin, getting to work and protecting skin from damaging free radicals throughout the day. Antioxidant serums can also be applied after an essence, just make sure you leave at least 5 minutes between the two.
If the aim of the game with your skincare routine is to combat pigmentation, we recommend applying a treatment serum after your Vitamin C serum. We love SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum
, which is formulated with Tranexamic Acid to target skin discolouration, stubborn brown patches and post-acne marks for a brighter and more even-looking complexion.Discoloration Defense Serum is formulated with 1.8% Tranexamic Acid, 5% Niacinamide and 5% Hepes. The synergistic blend of discoloration fighting active ingredients helps to reduce the appearance of skin discoloration, brighten skin and minimise reoccurring discolouration with continued use.When to apply:
a treatment serum such as SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense Serum works well in conjunction with the brightening action of a Vitamin C serum, so we recommend applying Vitamin C directly to cleansed skin, followed by a pigmentation treatment serum such as Discoloration Defense.
A hydrating serum is probably one of the most versatile products as the active ingredient, often Hyaluronic Acid, can be used on most, if not all skin types.Our current favourite at Face the Future is the LABthetics Intense Hydrating Serum
, which contains 4% Hyaluronic Acid, alongside 0.5% Sodium PCA.LABthetics have used a low molecular weight formulation of Hyaluronic Acid, which penetrates skin's surface layer to deeply hydrate and fortify skin's natural barrier, helping to protect against environmental factors that can lead to skin ageing.Sodium PCA complements Hyaluronic Acid perfectly thanks to its deeply moisturising action and ability to retain moisture.When to apply:
if you want to boost skin hydration, a Hyaluronic Acid serum can be used alone straight after cleansing, or after applying an antioxidant serum. A Hyaluronic Acid serum can also be used as a buffer to lessen the effects of stronger ingredients such as exfoliating acids or Vitamin A.
Exfoliating acids can play a vital role in many skincare regimes; however the over use of these products can have a very negative effect on skin. We generally recommend using an exfoliating acid no more that once or twice a week.Jan Marini Bioclear Lotion
has been a long-time Face the Future favourite. The multi-purpose treatment lotion works to target many skin concerns. A blend of chemical exfoliants such as Glycolic Acid
, smoothes uneven skin texture and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.Salicylic Acid
deeply cleanses the pores and rids skin of bacteria, while Azelaic Acid
clears blemishes, as well as reducing redness, inflammation and uneven skin tone.When to apply:
first things first, exfoliating acids can make skin light sensitive, so the daily application of an SPF is hugely important. The aim of exfoliating acids is to resurface, dissolve dead skin cells and loosen the 'cement' between dead skin cells for a smoother and brighter complexion. With this in mind, there's not much point applying another serum before using an exfoliating acid as it's just going to be removed.Whether you have opted for an AHA, BHA or PHA, apply your choice of exfoliating acid straight after double cleansing in the evening. You can then wait a few minutes or even hours before continuing with your routine. We love to apply a hydrating serum after using acids to replenish and hydrate the fresh new skin cells.
Exceptions to the rules
Of course, there will always be some exceptions to the rules. Ingredients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Salicylic Acid and spot treatments will perform best when they are applied directly to skin. We want these serums to work the hardest, so if they are applied after other serums, they aren't going to be given the best chance of performing.We recommend not to combine Vitamin A products with exfoliating acids, as the combination of exfoliation with increased cell turnover from Vitamin A can be too much for skin to handle.Of course, the most important thing to remember when choosing serums is to listen to your skin. If your skin is feeling a little dehydrated, focus on a Hyaluronic Acid serum. If your skin is feeling a little sensitive, skip the exfoliator. And if you want to combine serums you can always use one in the morning and one in the evening.Got a question on how best to apply your skincare? Speak to our skincare experts on 0113 282 7744
, shop online
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to receive personalised product recommendations direct to your inbox!Written for you by: Alex, Face the FutureImage source: freepik.com