There are always buzzwords in the beauty industry, and sudden waves of a particular kind of product that everyone is talking about and your bathroom cabinet simply cannot be without.
While many of these much-hyped products fade into oblivion just as quickly as they came, others settle in more readily to become part of our everyday lexicon.
One such recent buzzword is definitely “serum”, and while at first serums might have seemed set to become just another bottle for the shelf and another hopeful, ultimately futile step in an already OTT regime, they have instead proven their worth as a long-term industry player.
If you’re not already 100 percent up to speed with this one – serums are basically potent doses of powerful, beneficial ingredients, with smaller molecules and without most fluids, waxes, and thickening agents, designed to be applied (sparingly) directly onto the skin after cleansing.
They ain’t cheap, but we’re talking super concentrated ingredients and mega powers here, so you’ll get the bang for your buck.
“I take a multivitamin every day for my overall health, and to me that’s what a serum is for your skin; it penetrates deeply, providing a large number of essential vitamins for optimal skin health,” says Lisa Friis, CEO at Nelson-based Plantae Organic Skincare (Note – their Rose Hip Fruit + Seed Serum, $70, is one of my favourites).
“Plus there is something so special about using serum, it feels luxurious, a treat you are giving yourself.”
These days there are a plethora of serums on the market, promising a broad spectrum of superpowers from anti-ageing and anti-pigmentation to brightening and plumping.
Here are 10 I’ve either personally tried and loved or have heard consistently great things about.
Dermalogica BioLumin-C Serum, $159, just came out in June but there’s already a lot of chat about it. The reason why it’s amongst the most awesome of the vitamin C serums is very sciencey and involves “stability” and “bioavailability”, but trust me, you’ll have brighter, springier skin and fewer fine lines.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, $95. The contents of this little dark-blue bottle (squalane, evening primrose oil, omega-6 fatty acids and essential oils including lavender) work while you sleep to replenish, smooth and soothe skin.
Bioderma Hydrabio Serum, $48, targets dehydrated and sensitive skin, so is particularly perfect during winter and on long haul flights. Trust the French to come up with something wonderful and effective yet affordable (comparatively).
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, $143. Cult brand Drunk Elephant can really do no wrong, and this hot-pink lidded number, packed with 12 percent glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric and salicylic acids and raspberry extract, is going to give you the smoothest, most glowy skin you’ve ever had.
Made with New Zealand ingredients and naturally scented with green apple and cardamom, Antipodes Apostle Skin-Brightening serum, $65, helps correct dull, blemished or uneven skin with exfoliating enzymes from superfruit kiwifruit, Vinanza grape extract, mamaku black fern and Reishi mushroom.
Especially good for tired, stressed or extremely dehydrated skin, Ultraceuticals Ultra B2 Hydrating Serum, $102, utilises the power of vitamin B5 (panthenol) and hyaluronic acid, capable of holding up to 1000 times its own weight in water.
Mario Badescu have several much-celebrated serums, but I’m going to talk about the Herbal Hydrating Serum as at $47 it’s a fairly civilised price point but also because it has had rave reviews from friends. As the name suggests, this one targets thirsty skin with ginkgo and ginseng.
Having won more than 150 awards and sold 20 million units so far, Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activator, $137, is a globally loved little powerhouse targeting their 10 key signs of youthful-looking skin with a patented probiotic formula.
Another big brand major player is Clinique’s Smart Custom-Repair Serum, $120, created through five years of research, which promises to target repair where it’s most needed, for every skin type and issue.
Another Frenchie for the finale, Caudalie VineActiv Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum, $73, draws on vitamin C and E, hyaluronic acid and their signature magical grape seed to plump, purify and add radiance to sad skin.
– Your Weekend