In the world of skincare, serums are where the modern individual looks for results. A serum is typically in an aqueous base and focuses on delivering a clear benefit to the skin. They tend to be more concentrated with active ingredients as less volume in the formula is spent on the emulsifiers and conditioning agents so necessary to making a face cream. Now that does not mean that face creams cannot show results, and that does not mean that all serums are awesome; remember, most active ingredients like acids and retinoids perform the best in comparably lower concentrations. That being said, a serum may offer a greater assortment of different actives. In your routine, a serum is where you realistically should be spending the bulk of your money but also the product you should be the happiest about.
Lately there have been quite a few modernized face serums, enough to warrant a bit of discussion on what is new and who each formula is tailored for.
Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate
Dear Double Serum has received a bit of a face lift as of late, and while the most dramatic (and obvious) change is the elimination of mineral oil, if you actually compare the ingredient lists nearly everything is different. Double Serum makes use of over 30 years worth of research, has both a water- and oil-soluble component for maximum bioavailability, utilizes 21 active ingredients, and has a dial-pump system that allows you to customize the amount of product it disperses according to age, skin type, and lifestyle.
Who is it for? Anyone over 25 (or younger if you have a harsh lifestyle) who wants a good ‘general’ serum, especially those with a busy lifestyle.
What does it do? Strengthens dermal fibres, preserves the epidermis’ ability to proliferate new cells, improves oxygenation, protects microcirculation, stimulates cellular energy production, strengthens lipidic ‘cement’ that binds skin cells together, enables skin to hold hydration longer, protects against free radical damage, offers an instant lifting effect.
What should I notice? Radiance, diminished fine lines and enlarged pores, smoother texture, a more rested appearance.
What is inside? Banana, avocado, myrothamnus, red jania, teasel, goji berry, beautyberry, horse chestnut, kiwi, mary’s thistle, leaf of life, quinoa, marsh samphire, cocoa tree, mango tree, huang qi, ginger lily, edelweiss, orthosiphon, organic oat.
Natural or synthetic? 9 organic active ingredients, 3 fair trade active ingredients, recyclable container.
How does it work? The new Double Serum focuses on protecting the ability for cells to communicate with one another. University of Kent has a fantastic article on cellular communication, but essentially cells communicate with one another through sending signal molecules which then bind to receptor proteins on the target cell. A multi-step process follows, resulting in the target cell changing its behaviour. Double Serum uses turmerone, a specific extract of turmeric not often used in skincare, to protect this ability to communicate.
Where can I find it? Clarins, Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom, John Lewis.
Dior One Essential Skin Boosting Super Serum
The iconic One Essential has also received an update, and the ingredient list has done away with vitamin C and lactic acid which means I am excited to give it another try (as vitamin C, no matter the form, always irritates my skin). One Essential makes use of 15 years of research into cellular metabolism to enhance the ability for skin cells to recycle waste.
Who is it for? Anyone over 25 (or younger if you have a harsh lifestyle) who wants a good ‘general’ serum, especially those who live in a polluted environment.
What does it do? Defends the skin against 100% of microparticles, heavy metals, and impurities contained in carpet, glue, varnishes, and electronic devices in vitro. One Essential also quadruples the effects of active ingredients in the skincare products that follow, which was tested on retinol, vitamin C, longoza, hyaluronic acid, and bifidus in vitro.
What should I notice? Plumpness, smoothed texture, radiance.
What is inside? Red Hibiscus is the primary ingredient, sourced from the Dior Garden in Burkina Faso.
Natural or synthetic? Mostly synthetic, though ingredients from the Dior Gardens are cultivated in open soil in areas of the world where they flower naturally. Dior does some of the most research in the industry, operating their own research facilities in 3 sites around the world with some 260 researchers across varying disciplines. When people put their nose up at luxury skincare brands I find it hilarious; these are the companies that devote serious funding to their formulas.
How does it work? Used as the first step after toning, One Essential ‘detoxifies’ the skin by aiding in the ability of skin cells to expunge pollutants and metabolic waste build-up which slow the necessary processes for skin cells to function properly.
Where can I find it? Dior, Sephora, Hudson’s Bay, Nordstrom, John Lewis.
Lancôme Advanced Génifique Sensitive
Originally launched in 2009, Génifique was updated in 2013 to include 40% more active ingredients (notably ascorbyl glucoside), and now they have released a version specifically for sensitized skin.
Who is it for? Anyone over 25 (or younger if you have a harsh lifestyle) who wants a good antioxidant serum without vitamin C, and with the benefit of hydration.
What does it do? Advanced Génifique Sensitive calms and repairs skin cells subjected to environmental aggressors such as pollution, infrared radiation, and UVA rays.
What should I notice? Smoother texture, increased firmness and elasticity, softened fine lines, increased radiance, minimized pigmentation.
What is inside? Advanced Génifique Sensitive contains vitamin E, ferulic acid, bifida ferment lysate, cornflower water, glycerin, pineapple fruit extract, sodium hyaluronate, centella asiatica, and edelweiss.
Natural or synthetic? Synthetic with a few plant extracts.
How does it work? Ferulic acid and vitamin E are antioxidants so, by definition, have the ability to minimize free radical damage to cellular DNA. Ferulic acid also functions to stabilize other antioxidants such as l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and its abilities are boosted by UV radiation, so it actually works harder in sunlight. Centella asiatica has demonstrated antioxidant activity (here). Glycerin and sodium hyaluronate will promote hydration, while edelweiss is believed to aid in the brightening of skin.
Where can I find it? Lancôme, Sephora.