Facial Serums

Last updated on May 8th, 2020 at 04:15 pm

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It is so important to take good care of your skin. A facial serum is a wonderful little gem that can boost your skincare regime and take it to the next level. There are so many benefits when adding this extra step to your routine it’s hard to get started. To be honest I sometimes add to my routine several layers (up to 2 and even 3 serums) before I apply my moisturiser. Not only can a facial serum make a huge difference to the way your skin looks and feels, but it also adds that extra pampering step like no other facial skincare product can.

I’m Addicted to Facial Serums

I totally ADORE facial serums. I’m addicted to them, I never thought it would happen to me, but it did. Facial serums have become the most important part of my skincare routine together with my favourite moisturiser at the time. Serums are wonderful little skincare products PACKED with goody-goodies for the skin.

Since I also love facial oils and know pretty much every oil out there in the market, I’m trying so specialise in facial serums because they are just that little bit more ‘luxurious’ in the sense of the ingredients they contain. You can easily create high performance serums with premium ingredients and I’ll be adding many recipes / formulas to Oh Mighty Health as I learn and go along.

Serums are fun to make and use, they can be original and cutting edge, delivering incredible benefits for your skin. I feel I will always come up with pretty amazing formulas that will bring more benefits to my skin since there are so many new and fun natural ingredients coming to the market.

If you’re s interested in facial serums as I am or would like to know a little more about them I’ve put together this post where I explain what they are, the difference between facial serums and facial oils, benefits and facial serums I recommend.

So, What Exactly are Facial Serums?

Facial serums are light products that contain ingredients targeting specific skin concerns. These ingredients can be high-performance and/or luxurious (ie.e price point). Serums are part of your skincare routine and usually are applied before your moisturiser cream. Serums don’t really replace moisturisers, neither are they moisturisers in themselves. They are usually applied to the face area, neck and eye contours.

They can come in many different textures although you will usually find them in bottles with a pipette. Serums can be oil based, gel based, cream based (emulsified), bi-phase and more.

Oil Based Serums – Can contain beautiful luxurious oils like tamanu, perilla, buriti, prickly pear, etc. Add to these vitamins, extracts, etc and you have a high-performance facial serum

‘Semi-Solid’ serums – Uses butters or waxes to create a semi-solid, semi-consistent product (think of a balm). The butters and waxes can be really premium/luxury. It can also have higher concentration of active ingredients. A convenient finish for some.

Gel Based Serums – These are non-greasy and usually with a matt finish. They can contain water and/or floral waters (hydrosols) and are very hydrating. They include humectants that keep the skin supple and plump. These serums might be an attractive option, for example, for people with oily skin.

Water Soluble Serums – Ingredients here include water soluble extracts, humectants, vitamins, exfoliants, vitamins, acids, etc.

Cream Serums (Emulsified) – These can have different densities (thinner or thicker) and they usually have water soluble and oil soluble ingredients. The difference between a regular cream and an emulsified serum is the high percentage of active ingredients. They will moisturise your skin but also have very specific targeted concerns.

Gel & Cream Serums – Light weight and creamy at the same time. They absorb quickly and have lots of lovely hydrating ingredients plus emollient oils.

Bi-Phase Serums – With an oil phase and a water phase (you have to shake it before using). Oil floats at the top. They can have an attractive appearance! The advantage? They contain both water soluble and oil soluble components.

Difference Between Facial Serums vs Facial Oils

I LOVE facial oils. I really do. I combine them and make SUPERB facial oil formulas where I also include essential oils. For example, I love my camellia + sea buckthorn flower oil together with rose absolute and jasmine essential oils. Yes, pure luxury. While facial oils deliver great benefits and are amazing for my skin, facial serums can take it a little further with added benefits from active ingredients and other botanical extracts. You might prefer the simplicity of a truly lovely facial oil (even just one oil is sometimes enough, for example I love hemp seed oil or argan oil) but sometimes you just want to feel the luxury of a facial serum that’s packed with SUPERB high-end, high-performing ingredients.

Let’s have a closer look at the difference between facial serums and facial oils below:

Face oils are a blend of skin oils aimed at moisturising, softening and smoothing the skin. They usually comprise a blend of carrier oils and essential oils. I make BEAUTIFUL facial oils that people love, they’ve seen an incredible difference in their skin, including reduced hyperpigmentation, reduced fine lines and lighter, more illuminated skin. But these are still facial oils because of the type of ingredients or components they contain (vegetable or carrier oils and essential oils, maybe sometimes esters or squalane). They are not facial serums.

So facial oils can be very effective indeed, but the formulas are still quite basic (just a mix of oils, they can be basic oils together with more luxurious oils) and essential oils. They can easily target skin types and I’ve made facial oils for irritated or inflamed skin (for rosacea as well) with oils like borage oil, evening primrose oil, hemp oil and black seed oil – all fantastic oils for inflamed skin – but, still, this is NOT a serum (more on these oils here).

Both facial oils and facial serums can use carrier oils or esters as part of their formulation. Carrier oils can really improve your skin condition and appearance (that’s why my facial oils work so well). Also, unsaponifiables on carrier oils can protect from moisture loss, soften the skin and also help with skin rejuvenation.

So, yes, both facial serums and facial oils leave your skin a lot softer and feeling smoother. The main difference, though, is that facial serums use additional ingredients that offer specific benefits (antioxidant, anti-ageing, sebum balancing, brightening, repairing, toning, firming, nourishing, etc etc), they are formulated to target specific issues or skin concerns (hyperpigmentation, age spots, inflammation, etc) and they include active ingredients (vitamins, herbal extracts, etc). Again, I’ve created beautiful facial oils that target some of these conditions VERY SUCCESSFULLY but facial serums can contain these same oils AND also other high-performance components that will be very specific at targeting that particular concern.

Let’s recap!!

Facial Oils…

Are an every day/every night product that helps moisturise, soften and smooth the skin. They can use a blend of all different types of oils (from less expensive oils to the more luxurious oils) together with essential oils. They also contain antioxidant vitamin E (to delay oil oxidation, which makes the oils rancid).

Facial Serums…

These are concentrated treatments that help moisturise, smooth and soften the skin as well as delivering specific benefits to the skin. They might be composed of less expensive or more luxurious or more specialists carrier oils, esters, squalane, etc. They can also be formulated with high-performance ingredients, potent active ingredients that target specific concerns. As well as antioxidants, they can contain botanical extracts, vitamins other than vitamin E and more.

Facial Serums Benefits

Serums are PACKED with skin benefits. Here are just some of them:

  • Hydrating serums (skin is left looking plumper)
  • Toning serums (firms skin making it look more youthful)
  • Antioxidant serums (helps prevent signs of ageing)
  • Anti-pollution serums (protects against pollution exposure)
  • Exfoliating serums (facilitates removal of dead skin cells)
  • Repairing serums (repairs damage skin barrier)
  • Brightening serums (tackles hyper-pigmentation)
  • Oil balancing serums (regulates / balances sebum production)
  • Soothing serums (anti-inflammatory, for irritated skin types)

There are more, these are just some examples.

If you’re not sure about which one is for you (I love both!) or if it gets confusing in terms of when to use each, you could either try an oil first til you finish the product and then a serum and see how your skin feels or use both daily, one in the morning and the other in the evening. Or, you could use them interchangeably.

Personally, I use both all the time, depending on my mood and my skin. It didn’t take me long to get used to them, and before I knew it I was addicted to the little bottles and couldn’t get enough of them! Layering them is also a good idea I find, especially when I have the time for a little pampering : )

Recommended Facial Oils & Serums

If you read this blog you know I LOVE LOVE LOVE Neal’s Yard Remedies. Their ethos, their products, their ingredients, their courses, their branding, their packaging…. Yep, everything!

I recommend both their facial oils and facial serums.

Facial Oil by Neal’s Yard Remedies

Deeply nourishing, this facial oil helps balance skin oil levels and protects it from moisture loss. Great for dry or cold weather conditions including home heating systems and/or chilly winds outdoors. Really good also during the summer months when the skin might feel sun-parched.

This is a best selling balancing facial oil infused in soothing damask rose and organic oils for normal skin types. It will give your skin a natural, revitalising boost.

  • For normal skin types
  • Soothes whilst balancing skin’s natural moisture levels
  • Rich in essential nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins

Comes in a gorgeous blue bottle glass.

[amazon box=”B00MEEMEH2″]

Facial Serums by Neal’s Yard Remedies

My first choice lifts and re-contours your skin. With an exclusive blend of aromatherapeutic frankincense essential oils (Neal’s Yard Remedies uses frankincense in a lot of its mature skin products) proven to help you feel relaxed. With certified organic ingredients, it targets deep lines and loss of firmness. The secret ingredient is the award-winning Frankincense Active Phyto Complex which has proven collagen-protecting properties as well as a profound antioxidant effect.

With redefining linseed extract, stimulating micro algae to redefine facial contour, hyaluronic acid to plump appearance of deep lines and wrinkles and the lifting technology of restoring ribose. The frankincense used in this formula is the world’s first certified organic Boswellia sacra frankincense from Oman, sustainably source from the resin of the tress and grown wild in the Dhofar region of Oman. Neal’s Yard Remedies has joined forces with a university research centre in Italy who carried out a patented enzymatic process to exploit its full potential.

Extensive studies on this Active Phyto Complex containing boswellic acid and polyphenols have shown it has collagen-protecting properties as well as a profound antioxidant effect.

[amazon box=”B0722MCGDQ”]

My second choice is a light and easily absorbed serum that helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the lip and eye areas. This is an INTENSIVE every day treatment for all skin types with a blend of rejuvenating frankincense, moisturising baobab oil and nutrient-rich marine algae has a smoothing tripeptide to help firm your skin.

[amazon box=”B003ZGJJ30″]

My third choice is an age-defying serum clinically proven to instantly smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has been formulated with a 3-Peptide Complex, a blend of acacia senegal, gardenia stem and hydrolised rhizobian gums. This is a certified organic high-performing serum which instantly boosts skin hydration and increases skin suppleness (assessed after 30 minutes in clinical conditions).

[amazon box=”B016YKEWR6″]

[amazon box=”B0722MCGDQ,B003ZGJJ30,B016YKEWR6″ grid=”3″]

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

The below is not a cheap product! A brightening, vitamin-C-rich face oil that targets dullness, dark spots, and discolorations while increasing brightness, firmness and radiance. With the power of squalane, it also helps to improve hydration and to remain longer in the skin. If you feel like splashing out this is by no means a lovely treat. Neal’s Yard Remedies is still my number one choice but there’s no doubt that the luxurious look and feel of the bottle could make for a precious gift.

[amazon box=”B07658LDTL”]

Want to Save Some Money and Make Your Own?

Although we can’t really mimic Biossance’s Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil serum, we can make a VERY SIMPLE, effective facial oil using very similar ingredients!

Ready?? Here we go:

  • Squalane (light and packed with benefits – add up to 35% of your mix) – get here
  • Camellia seed oil (known as one of the most treasured secrets of geishas – add up to 35% of your mix) – get here
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (a light, easily absorbed ester usually from coconut oil – add up to 25% of your mix) – get here
  • Vitamin E (helps delay oil rancidity plus it is a powerful antioxidant for the skin – add up to 1% of your mix) – get here
  • Rose Absolute Essential Oil (a luxurious essential oil, intoxicating scent, calming, sensual and balancing – add up to 0.02% of your mix) – get here. [Here are some scales to measure such tiny amount!)
  • Luxury bottles with pipettes – get here
  • Stickers to label your beautiful facial oil – get here

Give away as gifts and use as part of your skincare routine….

You’ll love it!!

How to Use

Patch test on your arm first. If all ok after 24 hours, you can apply to fresh cleansed and toned skin every morning and evening. Squeeze and hold the pipette for two seconds whilst still in the bottle, then slowly release a small amount of serum onto your fingertips (amount is up to you, your skin will tell you over time how much it likes). Inhale the rose absolute aroma for a few seconds and apply to your face and neck with a light, upwards, stroking motion until fully absorbed. Avoid contact with eyes.

To Be Continued…

I will be adding more recipes to the blog as time goes by. I’m a sucker for facial oils and come up with pretty exciting new formulas all the time. DIY serums are my next go-to skincare area as I can’t wait to get my hands on some of those pretty nifty ingredients.

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