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Review > Serums for All Skin Types (Part 2 - La Mer/Guerlain/Sisley/Amore Pacific/IOPE/Innisfree)

Published by Jasmine Seo

In the previous post Part 1, I talked about toners, today it's all about serums! :D If you don't use serums that's ok, you can skip this step. However, if you're suffering from dehydration and dryness regardless of how much you use your moisturiser, this post probably give you some ideas how to solve that problem :). Also, if you are someone with oily/combination skin looking for right serums to replace your regular moisturiser, you're in the right spot :).

There are different types of serums; boosting serums, hydrating serums, calming/soothing serums, brightening/lightening serums and lastly anti-aging ones. As per the post title, I will be focusing on the first 3. After reading this post, you will be able to decide what you need for your skin and what kind of texture you want.

Boosting serums

Boosting serums have been around quite a while, but they never really gained much attention in western beauty culture. A few years ago they started getting some spotlight as some of the big companies released boosting serums.

As you can tell from the name already, it boosts the efficacy of whatever you put on next by giving beneficial nutrients and hydration to your skin to improve its function. Basically, it's like the stretching step before going to the gym. You put this on after toner, either using a cotton pad if the texture is liquid like a regular toner, or using your hands if it's a thicker texture or more of a regular serum-like texture.

I can see some may raise a question upon this, "hey, I can just use a mist after toner for better hydration, so why do I need another complication? O_O". Well, my answer to that is, if your skin's lucky enough to be happy just with a mist, you don't really need to use a boosting serum unless you want to. It's not a necessity. It's an option and it's your skincare style. However, as I said earlier, if you feel that your skin's in need of extra hydration, you should consider trying one of these boosting serums. They are relatively inexpensive compared to regular serums, and you get more in a bottle too. They are also usually have a lighter texture than regular serums on the market, so they are for all skin types, which is a good way to start.

Here, I've been using La Mer The Treatment Lotion, which comforts and soothes skin instantly. My skin feels quite quenched after too. I've been using it for about a year now, it helps my skin be more durable in all seasons, whether it's too dry or too hot. I've noticed that it somewhat extends how long my hydrating serum lasts, so my skin feels supple longer. It also gives me that glow once I put it on with the palm of my hands. If you are a fan of ferment, you might also be interested to check out Micro Essence by Estee Lauder. Both of them are in the same company, Estee Lauder, so it wasn't very surprising to me that they release both boosting serums around the same time with a similar concept.

If you prefer more traditional serum-like boosting serums, you should try Amore Pacific All Day Balancing Care Serum. The price may seem ridiculous, but you get 70ml in a bottle, and you can also just incorporate it as your regular serum in your daily skincare routine. Unlike the ones that I've mentioned above, which target more hydration and soothing of the skin, Amore Pacific All Day Balancing Care Serum focuses more on skin's natural own rhythm recovery for 24hours ie. balancing. So you can also say that this is more of a skin aging prevention treatment, rather than simply hydrating prepping treatment. I've been particularly enjoying using the serum whenever I'm under stress constantly and during that time of the month :P. It also regulates sebum without being matte or drying, so it's fine to use all year around.

It's translucent, clear light fast absorbing, but not as super fast as Omorovicza Blue Diamond Concentrate, which I've reviewed about in my previous post. so I would use it by itself under my regular moisturiser or/and my sunscreen over summer, and underneath my regular hydrating serum over colder seasons when my skin gets very dehydrated.

Budget Options

Innisfree Soybean Energy Essence (150ml)

Owned by the Amore Pacific company, Innisfree is all about natural ingredients and reliability. This boosting serum contains 94% fermented soybean extract, which may seem to be more honest to us by showing us how much percentage of the fermented extract is in the bottle unlike some of the big companies on the market :P. Unlike other companies, the boosting serum comes in two different textures; Light and the Original version! How kind :3 >_<. It also contains lactic acid which gentle exfoliates skin and arbutin for skin brightening which many big companies use the ingredient for the same purpose.

IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning (168ml)

Again, owned by Amore Pacific, IOPE came up with thioredoxin (TRX) mimicing Bio-redox. I know, it sounds quite complicated XD. Simply put, we all have TRX in our body (in fact, all the living creatures on earth), which is key to preventing and delaying aging by energising and boosting cell activities, and protecting our body from skin sensitivities such as UV rays and environmental aggressions. However, sadly TRX decreases as we get older, and that's how we age. Basically that's the very importance of the existence of TRX in our body. Now we can probably say IOPE Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning is way beyond the current beauty market, perhaps this might be the reason why the essence has been an award winner every year since 2012. If you are up for something high tech, you should check it out. It also comes in a Men's version, IOPE Men Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning. So if you are a man who's after a boosting serum, you should have a look :).

Soothing / Hydrating serums

Finally, we move onto the next serum category! >_< Yay! To keep it short, I won't go over the importance of soothing and hydrating your skin again since I've talked about that a lot in my previous posts already :). Again, you can skip this step if you are happy with your moisturiser :). So there are 3 different types of soothing and hydrating serums: soothing and calming serum, hydrating serum and soothing and hydrating serum. These serums are normally quite similar in function but they do come in different textures.

First of all, let's talk about multi-taskers ie. soothing and hydrating serums. La Mer The Concentrate, a very thick gel-like serum, when you first put on, some of you might suspect if the serum's actually penetrating into your skin. It's just because of the texture, which spreads a bit awkwardly ( as I said, it's a thick gel serum ), however, if you add the warmth of the palms of your hand, you can feel that it soothes and quenches your skin. The trick though, is that you shouldn't be massaging it in too much, otherwise it will start coming off. If you apply properly, it even acts as a great makeup base since it almost creates a coat of smooth barrier on top layer of skin.

Although it's marketed as a soothing and hydrating serum, I've noticed that its regenerating power is even better than other anti-aging serums on the market. Even compared to their Regenerating serum, I think The Concentrate is far superior result-wise. You can also use the serum wherever it's needs to be soothed, so this is my holiday must-have, whether you go skiing or sunbathing, just whenever your skin needs some recovery :)

If you're more of a light emulsion type of person, you will love Sisley Ecological Compound (Emulsion Ecologique). It acts as a boosting serum and a moisturiser, hydrating and strengthening the skin. It's feels more like a skin supplement. Although they don't say it's a soothing treatment, I've noticed that it calms down skin pretty good from irritations and dryness. It comes very handy when traveling in the plane indeed. It's also great for men as an after-shave.

If you are simply looking for soothing and calming serums, you should check Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing serum and Clarins Skin Beauty Repair Concentrate. They both do a brilliant job, but their textures are quite different. The Darphin one is very light and liquidy, it almost feels like you're putting on a boosting serum or toner. Unlike its texture it delivers an instant result, very comforting, soothing and GLOWING >_<. However, the finish is quite different, it feels a bit sticky and it doesn't provide much long lasting hydration, so you will need to put a hydrating cream on top. If you have oily skin though, you might find it just right, but again, you can't get away from that sticky residue. Unlike Darphin's, Clarins one is a bit oily at the beginning but offers a smooth finish.

By the way, if your skin has been severely irritated, then it's best not to put on any serums until your skin barrier has been rebuilt. Just keep putting calming cream on top until then!

Lastly, hydrating serums sound to be quite similar but they have different technologies that they use. To give a few examples, there are serums using moisture binding, locking in, attracting and time release technologies. Or more simply put, adding hydration to skin. Anyways, as I always say, hydration is key to delaying skin aging along with protecting your skin from UV rays.

If you prefer fast absorbing light hydrating serum, I recommend Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating serum and Chantecaille Vital Essence.

For the light emulsion type serum, you should check Sisley Hydra-Global Intense Anti-Aging Hydration, Guerlain Super-Aqua Serum and Super-Aqua Serum Light (I reviewed Guerlain Super-Aqua range in my previous post, so if you are unfamiliar with the brand, you can check here.

Budget Options

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Face Serum (30ml)

I must say this is my favourite French pharmacy hydrating serum. It's light, fast absorbing and provides long lasting hydration. I'm not certain about wrinkle reduction or any other anti-aging benefits, but it does hydrate my skin. This is something that you want to keep at the gym and apply before and after exercise (of course, you need to wash your face first! :P).

Bioderma Hydrabio Serum (40ml)

If you have oily skin or during that time of the month, this hydrating serum's perfect. It's very nice and light! Very fast absorbing too. In fact, their whole hydrating range is great. It's a very basic serum, but if that's what you are looking for, you should really consider this :). No breakouts!

Where to buy


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