Serums 101: How to Add Serums to Your Routine

The ultimate guide to using serums to boost your skincare products
nathalieschransnathalieschrans
Oct. 10
campaign, cherie
Cherie is an online community of beauty lovers sharing their stories; whether that's their favorite products, makeup tutorials, or skincare routines. Download the app today to be a part of #BeautyWithoutBarriers and show the world what beauty means to you!So you’ve nailed down your skincare essentials: cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. But now you’re ready to take your skin to the next level. This is where serums come in.What exactly does a serum do?A serum is basically a turbo booster for your skincare routine. It usually comes as a liquid or gel and is formulated with higher concentrations of active ingredients to target specific skin concerns, from dehydration to acne to dark spots. Because these active ingredients are so powerful and concentrated, they’ll penetrate the skin more deeply and produce visible results more quickly.Who should use a serum?Anyone can use a serum! The best way to get started is to figure out what skin concern you want to work on: Does your skin get irritated easily? Are you finding your skin feels more dehydrated as the weather gets colder? Do you want to get rid of hyperpigmentation? Then you can find a serum that will help.How do I use a serum?My number-one tip is to start slow. You don’t want to add a ton of products to your routine at once and potentially damage your skin’s moisture barrier, making your skin more vulnerable to irritation and breakouts. Instead, add one serum at a time, using it every few days for at least a couple of weeks to see how your skin tolerates it. Then you can start using it every day or add another product to the mix. Building a reliable routine takes a lot of patience that even skincare veterans struggle with, but your skin will thank you if you take things slow. Once your skin has adjusted to using serums, you can even apply them over damp skin, which helps your skin absorb the ingredients better. What serums should I try?Where should you get started on your journey into the world of serums? Here are some of my favorite serums for addressing some of the most common skincare concerns:Skin concerns: Dark spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) acne scarsThis is my favorite vitamin C serum for treating any sort of discoloration. It’s formulated with 15% vitamin C to brighten dull or uneven skin and fading dark spots, whether they’re from the sun or acne scars. Vitamin C tends to be a little more expensive because it needs to be stabilized in order to work properly, but this serum is so worth the $50 price tag for me.Skin concerns: Acne, redness, sensitivity, uneven skin, oily skinNot to be dramatic, but niacinamide saved my (skin’s) life. It’s an incredibly well-tolerated active ingredient that can help with some of the most common skin concerns. I prefer this niacinamide serum over other formulas because it’s thinner and doesn’t leave a tacky feeling after, so it’s perfect to layer with other skincare or makeup!Skin concerns: Uneven skin, dullness, visible poresMy favorite way of using serums is with a product formulated with more than one active. That’s why this toner is my go-to for applying both vitamin C and niacinamide in one step in my morning routine: It feels hydrating and layers well under moisturizer and SPF. Using fewer products also helps reduce the potential of irritation that comes with using a lot of products!Skin concerns: Dehydrated skin, dullness, sensitivityThink of an essence as a gentler serum. That’s why this product is great for basically any skin type: It nourishes your skin to support your moisture barrier and encourage skin repair. I use this every night before my moisturizer, and it makes my face feel so plump and hydrated with that snail-y goodness. Skin concerns: Dry or dehydrated skinIf you have dry skin or your face feels extra dehydrated as the weather cools down, you can add hyaluronic acid to your routine. I love that this hyaluronic acid essence has a simple ingredient list and comes in a big bottle with a pump — basically all you could want from a serum! What serums are you going to try next?
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