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What's Up With Serums, Anyway?

I started washing my face a little over a year ago (don’t judge, food is medicine, and I eat plenty of the good stuff) because someone told me I wasn’t going to age well if I didn’t start taking care of my skin in my twenties. And because I was already halfway through this wonderful decade, I decided it was probably time to start.

I quickly mastered the art of cleansing, moisturizing, and occasional face-masking, and am happy to report that the texture of my skin feels softer, tighter, and glowier than before. However, due to the latest craze with everything 'serums' (fueled by the 'of-the-moment' brands, cough, cough Glossier ), I'm left feeling more lost and confused than ever. So, the question is should I be using a serum? What do they do? How does it fit into my skincare ritual? How do I choose the perfect one? Who am I? Why am I here?...

To get to the bottom of the what, why, when, and how of serums, we tapped our NYC skin guru, Shamara Bondaroff of SB Skin. If you're one of the only ones to have yet to hear of Shamara, well, then, you’re welcome. This woman is the queen of microcurrent and all things holistic beauty. Here's what she had to say re serums:

Ok, SB, what exactly are serums? What's in them that makes them different from other skin products?

Serums are concentrated treatment products. They are packed with skin-benefiting ingredients. Traditional serums are lightweight, and because of that, all the ingredients in a serum can penetrate deep into skin and work its magic. Some face oils are also called 'serums', but if a product is oil-based, you would use it differently than a water or gel-based serum by putting it on last (after your cream/lotion) rather than first. Many serums are not meant to take the place of moisturizers as they are not protective like a cream is. Rather, they prep the skin for moisturizer, making sure your skin gets the most out of that product.

What are the effects that a good serum has on your skin?

You can find great serums that target your specific skin conditions: hyperpigmentation, fine lines, brightness, breakouts, etc... and you can generally choose a serum by skin concerns. 

What about the serums you swear by? 

The ones that I use and really like are Kypris Antioxidant Dew, Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum and Honey Girl Honey Glo Regenerating Face Serum...All of these are great as first layers on bare skin, before any other product.

And where should one use a serum in their skincare regimen?

The lighter the serum, the closer to bare skin it should go. After cleansing & toning you should apply your serum, giving it 20-30 seconds to seep in before applying a moisturizer and/or oil.


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