5 Ways To Make Your Facial Serum Work Better

5 Ways To Make Your Facial Serum Work Better

Investing in an awesome face serum is all well and good, but if you don’t use it properly you could miss out on all of its important benefits.

Having the knowledge of when, how and why to use a specific skincare product is golden. Granted, some are pretty self-explanatory. Cleanser? Easy, you use it twice daily to, well, cleanse your face and get rid of any debris that’s built-up over the past 8-12 hours. Moisturizer? Also, a fairly simple concept that comes at the end of your routine and helps seal moisture into your skin.

But what about serums? Touted by everyone from beauty influencers to dermatologists as the key to youthful, healthy skin, face serums sound easy enough, but know this – there’s a definite right and wrong way to use them. Apply yours like a skincare pro and you’ll see some incredible results after regular, continued use. Use it incorrectly, however, and you may as well have saved your money for those new Chloé shades you’ve been eyeing up all spring.

Serums are created to specifically target your most annoying skin concerns. They have a smaller molecular structure than moisturizers which means they’re able to penetrate much deeper and quicker into your skin. They also contain high concentrations of active ingredients like retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid or vitamin C. All good stuff, right? You’re not kidding. In fact, this super powered combination of quick delivery AND awesome ingredients means that facial serums are among the most important products in your skincare routine.

But only if you use them properly.

Of course, the most important thing to do before using any new skincare formulation is to a) read the instructions thoroughly so you know what you’re dealing with, and b) patch test your product first. Patch testing is crucial when dealing with serums because their potency can lead to skin irritation if not handled with caution. Simply apply a small amount of serum to a discreet area of your skin (behind your ears is a great spot) and leave it for 24-48 hours to check for a reaction. See nothing? Feel nothing? Then you should be good to go.

Then, follow our guide for expert serum application. Honestly, we abide by these rules every single day – morning and night.

1. Always Work On Clean Skin

This feels a bit like a moot point but you’d be surprised by how many people think they can just shove on their skincare products without first cleansing their face and neck. Such a crazy mistake. You simply have to get rid of debris from the surface of your skin before applying any type of skincare product that’s formulated to penetrate the top layers of your skin. Otherwise it’ll have to work extra hard to even reach your skin if it has a blanket of sweat, sebum, dirt and makeup to wade through.

The tricks for great cleansing are to avoid hot water, be thorough but never heavy-handed, and always choose gentle ingredients tailored for your skin type. If you have dry skin, for example, go for our fabulous Soothing Cleansing Milk which combines rice and oat milks for thorough, but kind-to-skin cleansing. If you’re mega oily, however, you might be better off with Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser which is a great product for balancing excess sebum and detoxifying troubled skin – without drying it out, of course. Massage your product all over your skin (neck included) then rinse thoroughly and pat with a clean face towel.

2. Don’t Use Too Much…

… which begs the question, exactly how much is too much?

Most serums will give you a guide as to the correct amount to use for each application, but the general rule of thumb is that a pea-sized amount or a few drops should be plenty. Remember, serums are super concentrated and they smooth on your skin very easily, so a thin, even coating will deliver plenty of the good stuff to your complexion. Any more, is just going to be a waste.

3. Try Applying Your Serum To Damp Skin

Damp skin is more permeable than dry skin and therefore more receptive to active skincare ingredients. This is why we love to apply our serum straight away after cleansing or toning while the skin is still ever so slightly damp.

Apply a couple of drops to your hand as quickly as you can, then press rather than rub your serum onto your face using clean hands. And don’t worry about massaging it in, either. All you need to do is gently tap your skin all over to ensure you cover all areas of your face.

4. Exfoliate First

Getting rid of build-up and dead skin cells is a great way to ensure your serum has nothing getting in its the way. You want your skin to absorb and penetrate the skin deeper down where all the good stuff happens; not to sit on top, trying to contend with all those dead skin cells that, quite frankly, shouldn’t even be there in the first place.

If you’re a scrub kinda person, try our new Vitamin C Gentle Face Scrub which is the ideal way to prepare your skin to take on all those awesome actives in your serum. Not a big fan of face scrubs? No problem, we also have a fabulous chemical exfoliant that contains glycolic and salicylic acids plus a whole host of other skin reviving ingredients to accelerate cell turnover and boost the results from your favorite face serum. 6% AHA, BHA + PHA Liquid Exfoliant is its name and rejuvenating your skin is its game!

5. Finish With Moisturizer

No matter how hydrating a serum is, you must always apply moisturizer afterwards. Hark back to when we talked about all those small molecules that make up a serum’s structure, giving it a thin, silky-smooth texture. Well, this is because serums don’t contain ingredients like occlusives or emollients which are important for creating a moisture-sealing layer over the surface of your skin. That’s where your ‘actual’ moisturizer comes to the forefront.

Moisturizers are thicker than serums which makes them super important for locking your serum and all of its ingredients into your skin. So, do not miss this important step.

And sunscreen. But that goes without saying, right? RIGHT?

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Georgia Gould

Georgia Gould

Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.