Serums have a reputation for being a miracle drug; bountiful in active ingredients and perfect for visible lasting effects. But they can also be the most expensive part of a skincare routine, are they worth it?
Serums are designed to penetrate the skin and deliver active ingredients where they are needed, without the bulk of rich moisturisers which can clog up your skin. Because they are concentrated in ingredients they are generally the most expensive part of a product range, but you only need a small amount to work wonders. Packed with vitamin, minerals, plant extracts and science they are the perfect way to prep you skin for the summer months.
Elemental Herbology is an English company founded by holistic medicine practitioner Kristy Cimesa. It combines bio-active ingredients with technologically advanced, plant-based patents and oils – all natural, sustainable, ethically sourced.
Key ingredients: Kombuchka TM which combines the fermentation of black tea with micro-organisms to deliver a lipo-filling effect without surgery. Olive Squalane, which softens the skin, and Green Tea to promote anti-oxidant activity.
They say: “Ideal for dull, undernourished skin and frequent travellers.”
We say: “The serum has a light, almost moisturiser-like texture that sinks in quickly and doesn’t leave a film on the skin. The pipette is really helpful so you know you’ve got the right amount of product with minimal mess. Hints of green tea, aloe and rose damask makes the serum feel super calming. Cell Food is made in England and is perfect for sensitive skin.”
With 450 spas in 50 countries, Espa created their own skincare range based on customer needs. They combine natural, sustainable, ethically sourced ingredients, supported by bio-chemical science.
Key Ingredients: Omega (3,6 and 9), Vitamins (A &E), proactive natural extracts Tumeric and White Lupin (promote collagen production) and Sunflower (for oily skin).
They say: “Helps brighten and even skin tone, enhance elasticity and protect against premature aging.”
We say: “Somewhere between an oil and a serum, Espa’s ProSerum is great for a really nourishing option. Because it has some of the qualities of an oil, it doesn’t absorb as fully as most serums but still has many of the active ingredients. It smells delightfully of citrus and evening primrose oil; an aromatherapy massage in a bottle.”
Glamorous global Spanish firm founded in 1979 whose luxury at-home treatment ranges use something they call “medical aesthetics” (ie natural and multi-culturally inspired alternatives to botox and chemical peels).
Key Ingredients: “Pure, encapsulated” Vitamin C released gradually throughout the day, Collagen amino acids, and Rosa Mosqueta oil for anti-aging.
They say: “A surprising anti-aging effect. Restores luminosity, firmness and elasticity.”
We say: “The C+C Vitamin Complex is slightly thicker than other serums and takes a moment to sink in, but it leaves you skin feeling both moisturised and super silky. The brilliant citrus notes really reinforce the fact that the serum has high levels of vitamin C to boost your radiance. It’s perfect for people who live busy lives; it protects against harmful factors such a UV or pollution exposure.”
Developed in Switzerland, Italy and the UK and owned by husband/wife team Mark and Liz Warom, Templespa products use ethically sourced botanical actives inspired by Southern European nutrients.
Key Ingredients: An anti-aging cocktail of Vitamin B, C, A, Soya, Lavender, Oats, Sunflower Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil and Liquorice.
They say: “A power-packed superjuice - will sink in immediately, leaving it firm, smooth and dewy.”
We say: “Be Strong feels very nourishing, almost like a very light moisturiser, but also strengthening and healing. The lavender hints make the serum feel very smooth and calming as it goes onto your skin. The finish is slightly dewy, rather than silky and it worked well to instantly reduce the appearance of fine lines. A great option for sensitive or delicate skin.
Oskia is the first skincare brand to use MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl Methane – a natural form of organic sulphur crucial to cell regeneration) as an anti-aging active. Products are 98 per cent natural with synthetic Ecocert approved preservatives.
Key Ingredients: Anti-aging patents (Immortelle Bleu, Butterbur, Swiss Apple Stem Cells), health-boosting nutrients, polypeptides and floral extracts.
They say: “A deliciously lightweight revitalising and energising serum that increases cell respiration and ATP energy to brighten and enliven skin.”
We say: “A pearlescent serum, Get Up and Glow is cooling, calming with a very subtle floral scent. It goes onto the skin smoothly and leaves it feel very silky. The serum had the most immediately visible results of the five on test; skin appeared plumper and fine lines reduced. It also looks good enough to pop onto your skin midway through the day to perk it up; a beautifully feminine and effective option.”