How to choose a skin serum

ROKer and talented blogger Kareen, of Ziba by nature posted this question:

"What is the best way to pick out a skincare serum?"

As noted in my previous post on skin-serums in general, they are highly active formulations targeted towards one specific skin-concern, and should be picked out on that premises. As one chooses a moisturizer for a particular skin-type, a serum should be chosen based on a specific skin concern, be it pigmentation spots, acne or premature aging.

There are in reality, only 2 things to keep in mind while your on the hunt for the best possible skincare-serum:

1. Skin type: When choosing a facial serum, keep in mind your skin type, whether it is oily, dry, combination or sensitive, and choose oil based, water based, or hypoallergenic accordingly.

2. Skin-concern: Determine what issues you are trying to prevent or correct, and find products that contain ingredients to combat these issues, such as antioxidants to prevent aging, retinol to reverse aging, hyaluronic acid to keep your skin hydrated, or Vitamin C or Kojic acid for pigmentation spots.

Suggestions according to skin concern:

 Mixed/Oily/Enlarged Pores: Number one ingredient: Glycolic acid - boasts exfoliating properties that remove the outer layer of dead skin cells responsible for dulling the complexion and blocking the pores, so opt for this if you want brighter skin. But it’s best to avoid this ingredient if you have very dry skin.

Try the md formulations continuous renewal serum from - £34.85

Glycolic acid is not only great for oily and clogged skin, but it's a great anti-aging ingredient, that boosts cell turnover, and decreases the signs of aging.


Pigmentation spots:  Vitamin C is key here, as it helps regulate melanin production (the brown pigment in our skin), and it is also good for wrinkles, as it up-regulates collagen production (double yay!). The most important thing to look for when choosing skin serums containing vitamin C is the concentration: it should contain at least a 10-15 % concentration of vitamin C to be deemed effective.

Try Ole Henriksen's truth serum, containing 15% vitamin C for radiance and a collagen boost - £47 from


Or try this from Caudalie, which has the ingredient of Viniferine (mentioned here) apparently 60X more effective than Vitamin C. (!) £40.50 from


Dehydrated: Look for a serum containing hyaluronic acid (HA), which holds 1,000 times its own weight in water and so helps plump up skin.

Try the S.O.S Vinosource thirst quenching serum from Caudalie, containing hyaluronic acid as well as grape seed and fruit extracts for added protective and rejuvenating properties. £26,10 from


Aging Skin:  Once you start noticing signs of skin sagging and wrinkles, look for peptide-loaded serums, which also contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, coenzyme Q10 and targeted ingredients such as retinol, that work on the cells’ DNA to help repair and boost renewal. Clinique’s Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector is one of the industry’s leading serums for sagging skin. Containing high levels of peptides to help boost your skin’s natural collagen, giving your skin bounce, its effects are so good, tests have shown it can achieve 63 per cent of the same wrinkle-reducing effects as a somewhat pricier laser treatment. That's pretty intense, that right there. I know what I'm trying out next!

From strawberrynet - £39 Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector 30ml/1oz

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector 30ml/1oz