About face - the beauty panel reviews super serums
If you want to get serious with your skin for the season ahead, says Sarah Caden, take a look at these super serums
The summer was changeable, and changeability tends to be the key characteristic of the season ahead, too. This month, in particular, can be summer one day, and autumn the next, and one's skin won't know quite what to do with itself. While the climate chops and changes, however, you can take the opportunity to get your skin in shape for autumn. Now's the time to take a look at what the summer might have done to your complexion, and now's the time to make some repairs.
Serums are a star product when your skin needs a fix, partly because they contain skincare ingredients in higher concentrations and more advanced formulations than your regular moisturiser. Also, their thin texture means that the skin absorbs them more readily and shows their effect more swiftly. This is the good news about serums. The bad news is that they won't work miracles, nor will they halt ageing or defeat gravity, and they will tend to bombard and bamboozle you with science and jargon. However, if you look in the mirror and assess your skincare issues - dullness, dark spots, roughness, heavy lines - then you can seek out strategically the serum to do something for you.
Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, €85, Brown Thomas; Arnotts; Debenhams; selected pharmacies nationwide
The 20 years of research behind this pre-serum claims that by boosting immunity with their glucan-containing Ultimune complex, existing damage can be repaired and future damage can be prevented. Oh, and 'pre-serum' means that it's an additional skincare step, and that you're not to ditch your more targeted serum. "I was sceptical of the big promises, but I saw a difference within a week," said a panellist. "After a fortnight, I got several comments on how good my skin was. I'm kind of stunned."
BEST OVER-FORTY FACE
Nuxe Merveillance expert serum, €43, department stores and selected pharmacies nationwide
Nuxe have just launched this line, which is aimed at the over-40s and their slightly deeper lines, and the first signs of dullness and diminishing elasticity. The range is all about tackling 'glycation' - the deterioration of skin proteins - which they say causes roughness and ridges. The serum promises an instant eight hours of tighter, smoother skin, as well as an ongoing improvement of wrinkles. "Good stuff before a night out, as it has a tightening effect," said a panellist. "My skin was clearer after a few weeks, too."
BEST FRESHER FACE
L'Occitane Immortelle Brightening Essence, €53.50, L'Occitane stores and selected pharmacies nationwide
This serum is part of a whole range that contains the immortelle flower, an 'ageless' Corsican plant that never wilts. Other ingredients include extracts of wintergreen leaf, nasturtium and bellis perennis, which gently exfoliate and brighten the skin, without drying. "This is a very liquid, slightly cooling product to apply, and I felt it got rid of a neglected greyness in my skin," said one panellist.
BEST QUICK FIX
FaceD 3-Luronics Instant Effect Cream Serum, €29.99, selected pharmacies nationwide
This product sells the magic of hyaluronic acid, and, as an intensely rehydrating serum, we can't argue with it. It definitely makes skin seem instantly smoother and plumper, but its claims of making you young 'forever' can't possibly work on anyone, can they? Hyaluronic acid, with ongoing use, will help your skin to retain water and appear more firm, but it's not a miracle. Nothing is. "I love the tightening effect as this dries," said a panellist, "and I felt, as I used it more, that it was a great moisture booster after the summer sun."
BEST REVISED CLASSICE
Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate, €73, Lancome counters nationwide
This is not a new serum, but if you haven't tried the 'advanced' version, it's worth a go. The texture is thicker, the technology is updated, and the self-loading dropper is a nice recognition of the fact that one doesn't want to waste one dear drop. It's a great serum for refining texture and addressing dullness. "I've used this before and I always notice a difference. I think I look sharper, somehow," said a panellist.