The beauty panel: The Strong Stuff - the top serums
A good serum will turbo-boost your regular moisturiser, says our expert, as the panellists pick some good ones
There are some who would say that serum is more important than moisturiser when it comes to treating your face. Moisturiser has its part to play, but there is an argument that if you use a really good serum, one that is properly targeted at whatever ails your complexion, you don't need a super-duper, space-age moisturiser to go with it. The serum treats lines, pigmentation, loss of radiance, pores, or whatever else, and then your moisturiser just does what it says on the tin: it moisturises.
Serums are fundamentally lightweight products that leave out all the emollients of your moisturiser and pack the bottle with extra active ingredients instead. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, which promise to protect and soothe, are good whatever your age; while, the older you are, the more you need retinol or niacinamide, the stuff that is the enemy of age spots, deep furrows and rough skin.
One serum won't fit all, so shop around for one that tackles your skin issues. Don't buy highly anti-ageing if you're only 30, and don't pretend you're 30 if you're not. Because what all serums have in common is that they're dearer than your daily moisturiser; but then you guessed that, right?
Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate, €49, Arnotts; Kiehl's stores, 35 Wicklow St, D2, or Dundrum Town Centre, D16
Some serums sound so space-age that they scare you off. What this serum reminds us is that fundamentally good levels of moisture in the skin make a massive difference to its appearance. This gel-like serum is cool on the skin and full of good old glycerin, an ingredient that helps to hold water on its surface. This gives the advertised plumpness and smoothness. "A brilliant product for this time of year when bog-standard day cream just doesn't cut it," said a panellist. "This provided a moisturiser super-boost."
Best Broad Span
Clarins Mission Perfection Serum, €60, Clarins counters nationwide
Gravity is hard to defy, or even impossible, but radiance is something you can work on easily, and this serum does just that. Radiance is about evenness of tone, not the colour of your skintone, and patchy pigmentation is very ageing. Even more so, in fact, than a bit of sag or a few lines. This light-feeling serum tackles skintone with fruit acids to slough away dead skin cells, and ingredients to control melanin and even-out dark spots. "Increased clarity was the result of this," a panellist said, "albeit limited to my complexion."
Best Firm Friend
Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Serum, €118, Chanel counters nationwide
Texture and tone are part of the focus of this serum. It claims to work on the genes and the cells of your skin, and is most certainly an investment to make when the ravages are already evident. It's good on making skin appear less ragged, basically, and more even-toned, though it can't give you a facelift. "After a month of use, my complexion looked like I'd taken some concealer to it," one panellist said. "Result."
Best Age Armour
Estee Lauder New Dimension Shape + Fill Expert Serum, €80, Estee Lauder counters nationwide
This serum claims to contain ingredients that will lift and firm your cheeks and jawline; but you cannot expect miracles. If your jaw and cheeks are very saggy, no serum can fix them. What it can do is improve the texture of skin in both areas, lend a temporary plumpness and boost radiance. All of which will make you look better. "I looked younger because rough edges were smoothed out. That's enough for me," said a panellist.
Best Eye Attack
Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate, €41, Arnotts; Kiehl's stores, Wicklow St, D2, or Dundrum Town Centre, D16
This serum contains haloxyl, which promises to reduce eye bags' dark and draining colour, a hue which inevitably makes you look wrecked. It also helps with puffiness and dehydration. There's a big dose of vitamin C in here, too, which is used to improve radiance. "I love that this tingles when you apply it," said one panellist. "It convinces me that something is happening, and I honestly believe my eye area looks softer and smoother."
Sunday Indo Life Magazine