Beauty & Health

Supercharge your skincare routine with just ONE product

by Adriana Donnola, expert beauty stylist

If you haven’t already, you need to add a serum into your life as it’s the quickest way to achieving brighter, dewier-looking skin at any age. 

Serums are a concentrated - yet lightweight - facial treatment that penetrates more deeply into the skin’s epidermis (the outer protective layer of skin) than a moisturiser,  carrying with it potent, active ingredients. For this reason, they’re usually more expensive but if you choose the right one for your skin type it will energise and revive your skin to its glowing best in a matter of days.  Also, the small bottle will last months since you only need a few drops per application.

Apply after cleansing, morning and night, unless you’re using a retinol-based serum and then it’s only at night, as this will make your skin more sun-sensitive - think skin damaging. 
Gently press serum into your skin in an upward motion with your fingertips and wait a few moments before applying moisturiser on top. Be careful to avoid the eye area but don’t forget your neck which is commonly overlooked.

If you are 45+ years, you will need to step up to daily exfoliation as your body’s natural process of slothing away dead skin cells slows down with age, and this will prevent the serum doing its job properly. 

Follow this simple guide to match a serum to your skin type:

1. Oily skin: will benefit from niacinamide (B3) which works on balancing oil production, fading hyperpigmentation and soothing redness.
I love: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $ 9.90 (30ml), Myer; Skin Inc Vitamin B3+ Niacinamide Serum, $64, Sephora

2. Dry skin: needs a boost of hydration so look for hyaluronic acid, known for its ability to plump wrinkles. It draws moisture into the skin for a more healthy-looking, hydrated skin barrier and promotes an all-day glow.
I love: Radical Youth Infusion Serum, $272, Mecca Maxima;
L’Occitane en Provence Immortelle Precious Serum, $94, L’Occitane

3. Combination: needs both hydration and oil control for balanced, healthy skin.  An anti-oxidant rich Vit C based serum will help with sun damage and prevent fine lines but be aware this could make skin break out initially (referred to as “the purge”).
I love: Ole Henriksen's Truth Serum, $105, Sephora;
endota spa new age Super C Firming Serum, $140, Endota Spa


4. Sensitive: because serums are highly concentrated, they can be irritating for this skin type. Look for natural extracts to help soothe and calm redness.
I love: La Roche-Posay's Rosaliac AR Intense Visible Facial Redness Serum, $41.99, Priceline Pharmacy; Dermalogica’s Ultra Calming Serum Concentrate, $89.50, Mecca Maxima

5. Ageing skin: will benefit from a retinol-based serum, which is the best-studied ingredient to fight the look of wrinkles. Remember to only use at night. 
I love: Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum, $141, Mecca Maxima; Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum, $79 (30), Myer.
* In what order?  Serum first, then moisturiser, eye cream and sunscreen. Wait a few minutes between each step to prevent pilling and then apply makeup.
Tip:  For added glow - and a small act of self-care during the day - use a jade roller to massage serum into the skin which will boost circulation. For best results start by rolling the jade roller on the lower parts of the face and work upwards from the chin. For a more cooling effect on the skin (to calm, depuff and soothe inflammation), leave your jade roller in the fridge.  I love the Endota Spa Jade Roller, $50,  endota spa
A word of caution: Because serums are so potent, only use as directed. More is not better! Always patch-test accordingly.

Adriana Donnola has been writing about all things lifestyle for over 25 years on magazines including New Idea, Who, InStyle, TV Week and New Weekly. She has interviewed the world’s top celebrity makeup artists, skincare specialists and hairstylists loves to help women become a more beautiful version of themselves. For more information, please click here to visit her website 'Shop With A Beauty Editor'.