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SERUM SENSE: how these 'precious' elixirs can help your skin

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Loved by beauty editors everywhere and praised for their superpowers, serums are the skincare products that have shaken up the industry in recent years. But, do serums, these so-called 'precious' bottled elixirs, really yield better results than regular face creams?

They certainly sound scientifically advanced. The word has medical connotations – it may even trigger memories of being given a shot of something to innoculate you from illness as a child. Technically though, serum is defined as a watery animal fluid – not very sexy at all. And while the name suggests clinical therapy, this is nothing more than an impression enhanced by smart marketing, not a tested formulary quality. My cynical side sees them as a conduit for extracting cash from us, especially as serums are touted as a unique offering that is worth the extra money. And if they are so potent why, as is often recommended, do we need to use another product on top of them? That said, some of the serums I have used have delivered in ways you would not expect. They don't always hydrate parched skin especially well (even though this is usually their selling point in winter; but they can still greatly improve the look of your skin.

Most serums are lightweight gel-like fluids with a consistency that is less viscous or emollient than the average cream - meaning, they are made up of smaller molecules that can penetrate deeper into the skin. They also contain more silicone than the thickening agent that is added to creams, and light-reflectors, so they smooth onto skin like satin, soften fine lines and, because of their egg-white consistency, can temporarily tighten.


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Antonia Burrell Radiant Light Facial Serum - created by a working facialist, and rich in frankincense, to restore skin luminosity and freshness.

S5 Calm Serum - a soothing treatment serum to reduce the pro-inflammatory factors that lead to skin stress and the appearance of redness. Great for rosacea sufferers.

Balm Balm Little Miracle Rosehip Serum - natural and pure, and rich in rosehip extracts which are among the strongest antioxidants of all.

Jane Scrivner Rose Gold Ultimate Facial Serum - Jane's intensive organic serum for sensitive and mature skin uses jojoba oil to promote the production of collagen and elastin whilst also balancing the skin.

Evolve Beauty Hyaluronic Serum 200 - this NEW plumping concentrate is full of natural hyaluronic acid to hydrate thirsty skin and is suited to normal and dry skin