I admit I gave in a little late to the magic of serums. Well, late at least in the beauty industry timeline where serums are pegged to be that miracle formula that repairs and brightens skin, and overall, stalls its aging. The marketing blurb these days is not even to start using serums as early as age 25, but to start investing on one in your 20s. Simply, to start as soon as you can afford it.
Obviously I am not one to condemn this, having spent a dominant chunk of my disposable income on skin care and cosmetics. Besides, I can testify that serums are hyped for good reason. They are concentrated versions of the different promises your creams give you, thus seeping into the skin deeper and delivering more obvious and lasting results. The quandary then, if finding the serum worth the price tag (and they can get hefty).
I humbly provide below my personal list of the best and the meh of serums.
Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum. I’ve always been intrigued by the organic, cruelty-free brand offered in Beauty Bar, and even more so when it launched Alicia Silverstone as brand ambassador (she’s Cher and Batgirl, you guys!). But then this particular serum hit 50% off in Taste Central, and I knew it was a sign. Made with organic juice base (not water), this serum is packed with antioxidants and vitamins to nourish the skin (think organic aloe, Vitamin C, CoQ10) and salicylic acid to slough off zits, blemishes and clogged pores. My sister can attest to how only a few days of using this cleared her spotty face. We use it over zits and spots and on the nose to rid off blackheads before massaging on moisturizer. Pimples die a quick natural death without the harshness of drugstore zit creams that usually leave dark spots. Totes a winner. Never buying anything with benzoyl peroxide ever again. Originally P1,675. Only P838 in Taste Central. Also available in Beauty Bar.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair II. This serum had the most scientific marketing blurb of all. Usually, this is a turn off to me because it seems like a marketing ploy of these big companies to bombard customers with statistics and techie beauty jargons to just scare them into buying. But a good word from Caroline Hirons was enough to push me to at least try a sample. And let me just tell you: that bit about ANR2 having captured the science of sleep? No kidding. Whatever is in this tiny powerful bottle definitely hydrates and softens, evens out skin tone and lets you wake up to plump, happy skin. Only the red drooping eyes would show proof that you had a long night. Definitely one of those beauty investments with a hefty price tag, but if you can afford it, buy it. About P3,000 for 30ml and P5,000 for 50ml in Rustans.
Clarins Lotus Facial Rebalancing Oil. I wanted to love this, I really did. Having a perpetually oily face, I was iffy with facial oils, but enough reading and research was enough to convince me to at least try a sample of this from the not-very-friendly lady at the Clarins counter (Powerplant Rockwell branch. Yeah, not coming back to you). Boasting of 100% pure plant extracts, I was expecting miracles from this. So I guess this was a classic case of expectations over reality. The oil had a strong but relaxing scent that flits off in moments. You are left with a non-greasy moisturizing oil that you massage gently all over the face. The Clarins lady does not recommend nightly use because although non-sticky, the oil is rich and oily skin needs to slowly acclimate to it. I experienced the expected little itty bitty zits in the first week. I kept going and they eventually disappeared. But were my pores tighter? Not so much. Skin rebalanced as promised? Erm. Not very sure. I would probably purchase someday, just to give it a chance to redeem itself. About P2,500+ at Rustans.
Venus and Mars Naturals Total Potion. This was my very first attempt at a serum, used during my very first attempt to go 100% organic in my skincare. That did not go very well. Oily and acnaic skin seems to need a good ol’ hashing of gentle yet effective chemicals in the mix with the organic natural options. Anyway, Total Potion is one of the product staples in the proudly Philippine-made organic brand Venus and Mars, and is pegged to be as effective as the more costly international brands. Now I feel this product is a meh only because I was using it at a time when my skin was rebelling against me and the rest of the V&M anti-acne line were too gentle to win the war. But the serum is really meant to be a “multifunctional power serum” and “youth potion” with its straightforward cocktail of Vitamin C, E and Collagen, and for this the skin does feel plumped up and nourished. Will probably give it another go now that my skin is more behaved. Only P585 at the brand’s website, at Mod Lei spa and through your friendly V&M sellers.
I have a short list of serums I want to try soon. If you’ve used any of the following, I’d be happy to know how it went for you:
MyChelle Serious Hyaluronic Firming Serum and Clear Skin Serum
Human Nature Overnight Elixir
Derm E Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
Photo credits to owners.