Single-ingredient serums had become the norm, leading to confusion and skin overload. Serums that tick lots of skincare boxes are making a comeback. Welcome to the rise of the super serum
Back in the day skincare regimes consisted of a very simple three-step system; cleanse, tone and moisturise. Then around 2010 (I’m generalising with the year) a new product type came into existence, one that we had never considered before - a serum. While this very fluid product had a lightweight consistency it was designed to pack a hefty skincare punch. And thanks to advancements in skincare formulation technology that enabled skincare actives, that can penetrate the skin’s surface, serums became the most effective product you could have in your bathroom cabinet. Serums were designed to be the ultimate skincare powerhouse, delivering lots of hard-working ingredients to make noticeable changes to the skin. “Serums are concentrated formulations that are designed to sink into the skin quickly and deliver a good dose of ingredients that can address common skin complaints,” explains dermatologist and GP, Dr Sonia Khorana.
Who should use a serum?
The great things about serums are they truly do work for everyone. “Irrespective of your age, skin type or concern, serums are a great addition to your skincare routine,” says Khorana. “They can be suited and are beneficial to all skin types.”Fast-forward a few decades and serums have become so much a part of our skincare vernacular that of course they have evolved. In the last few years have had more of a singular ingredient with a more focused skincare issue resolution focus. Which of course is all well and good, we’re the first ones in line to find out about the best vitamin C serums but the problem is, it’s all quite confusing. Instead of a simple three-step skincare system, you could potentially be looking at layering up a handful of different serums on top of one another, each one with a slightly different purpose, with the hope that together they’re going to do everything you need it to. The reality is that unless you really know what you’re going you can easily end up overloading your skin with too many actives leading to skin that gets sensitised and overwhelmed.
So it’s perhaps no surprise that brands are looking to simplify things for people and create serums that tick all the skincare boxes in one go. Super serums if you will. They can be used morning or night and the only thing you might want to team them with is moisturiser if your skin is quite dry and needs a bit more hydration, and of course your favourite SPF. These are serums that make your routine simpler and your life easier.
Here is our pick of the best super serums out there.
1. The best luxury serum: Reome Active Recovery Broth, £110
This is a very special serum indeed. Containing 16 clinically-proven bio-fermented (that means they’re super potent) and biomimetic actives (that means they mimic the way the skin works). This serum has been designed by ex-Beauty Editor and acupuncturist extraordinaire, Joanna Ellner who wanted to create something for the skin that would nurture and care for the skin - hence the name broth - whilst also giving the user a moment of self-care and reverie while they use it. It has the most divine scent, reminiscent of a Byredo perfume, that you must breathe in while you massage it in and the ingredients get to work on everything you want from a serum; reducing fine lines, boosting hydration, calming redness, improving brightness and strengthening the skin barrier.
2.The best budget serum: Bioderma Sensibio Defensive Serum, £22.40
Unfragranced, non sticky and non greasy this is a brilliant inexpensive serum that may not come with all the frills of fancy packaging and other things but does what you need a serum to do. It has a focus on calming and soothing stressed out skin, and is a great option is your skin is sensitised, and it contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and red sage which is excellent for reducing inflammation and redness in the skin.
3.The best serum for rebalancing skin: Dr Brandt Drop Of Strength, £42
Containing very clever science from Nobel Prize-winning research on autophagy, the process the skin goes through to rid itself of what it doesn’t need and boost its ability to defend itself against agressors, this oilier than most serum contains the brand’s unique Immubarrier Complex. It is an amalgamation of adaptogens and antioxidants that work together to target the skin barrier. Strengthening it where needed and allowing it to behave as it should so that skin can become stronger, firmer and brighter.
4:The best serum for sensitive skin: Cultured Biome One Serum, £55
Combining pre, pro and postbiotics this is a great option for skin that’s sensitive or has become sensitised from too many single ingredient actives as it works with the microbiome of the skin to help it become stronger and more resilient. As well as that it contains hyaluronic acid for moisture and kombucha black tea to help brighten the skin.
5.The best serum for hydration: Zelens Omega Shiso Replenishing Serum, £75
If you’re looking for a beautifully formulated serum that’s going to nourish, hydrate and improve the quality of your skin, then you can’t go wrong with this one. Created by skin expert, Dr Marko Lens this is a creamy (it almost looks like white paint when you pump it out), silky smooth serum that immediately leaves the skin feeling really soft and nourished. It contains Japanese mint, also known as shiso, as well as vitamin E and F, squalane and ceramides.
6.The best serum for radiance: Skinsense Ceramide24 Ceramide Complex Serum, £36
Created by Abi Cleeve, the powerhouse behind brilliant SPF brand Ultrasun, this new skincare range utilises the same lamellar technology which delivers and protects active ingredients into the skin allowing them to work better and harder. This serum contains a ceramics complex that restores tones, strengthens and firms skin and boosts radiance. And all at a great price point too.
7. The best serum for oily skin: Clarins Double Serum Light Texture, £85
This offers up all the same skincare benefits of the original just in a slightly lighter texture, so if you found the original consistency a bit heavy then this hits the sweet spot. The dual formula combines 21 plant extracts that combined tackle everything you need them to: dehydration, lack of firmness, congestion and dullness.
8.The best serum for dry skin: Lancôme Rénergie HCF Triple Serum, £79.20
The clever packaging with this serum allows for the three ingredients to be housed in separate chambers, retaining their potency. In the first is hydrating hyaluronic acid, in the second is a mixture of brightening vitamin C and illuminating niacinamide and the third one contains ferulic acid, which protects the skin from aggressors. It has a creamy and silky serum that sinks in to the skin instantly and leaves it feeling really smooth. Drier skins may find that they don’t need a moisturiser on top as this is a bit richer than other serums.
9. The best serum for everyone: Dior Capture Totale Le Sérum, £64.80
With a divine scent and a gorgeously creamy texture that sinks into skin immediately, this serum has been formulated to target all the signs of ageing as well as delivering hydration. It consists of 98 per cent natural ingredients but feels utterly luxurious to use. As this is the first serum Dior have created to truly target all the signs of ageing it has been rigorously tested on 600 people, men and women, encompassing all skin tones and all ages. And the results are impressive, after 4 weeks use 80 per cent of signs of ageing were reduced across the board.