What works for your little sister, work wife, or that guy with the great skin on the TikTok isn’t necessarily going to work for you and that’s okay! You likely have different skin types and different concerns. As such, different ingredients will be required to ensure you’re getting the results you want from your products.
So we’ve made a little cheat sheet to help you pick the serum that’s going to work best for you.
If your skin is dull or you want to treat hyperpigmentation..
You need ingredients that will: Brighten!
And in very good news, there are plenty of skin care ingredients designed to help your skin get its glow back. Top of the radiance list is, of course, vitamin c, a notorious glow-booster, with a heap of antioxidant properties, that can also help promote collagen production. Kakadu plum is another brilliant ingredient that is known for being one of the richest sources of vitamin c in the world. (Sorry, oranges.)
If your skin is feeling dry, tight, or uncomfortable..
You need ingredients that will: Hydrate!
Dehydration is an enormously common skin concern. Typically popping up in the cooler months (thanks to lower humidity, harsher winds, heavier heater use, etc), dehydration is a skin concern that can affect all skin types. (Even typically oily skins aren’t safe from the tight, uncomfortable feeling.)
If this sounds familiar you’re going to want a whole lot of moisture and fast. Or in other words: you want to load your routine up with humectants. (Potent ingredients that draw water into the skin and lock it right in.) Reach for serums with hyaluronic acid (which binds water to the skin and maintain balanced hydration levels) and glycerin (which reduces moisture loss by holding water within the surface layers of the skin; preventing skin from drying out).
If your skin is feeling angry or irritated..
You need ingredients that will: Calm and soothe!
Whether your skin is always irritated or you’ve overdone it with a few too many chemical exfoliants, angry skin needs some serious soothers. Niacinamide is a crowd-favourite for good reason. It’s well tolerated by almost all skin types, ages, and concerns. It’s also mega-soothing and calming, making it great for evening out skin tone and reducing redness. (Re: Is perfect for skin that is bitchy, breakout-y or inflamed-y.)
Vitamin e is another brilliant option for sensitive skin. It’s a protective antioxidant with serious calming properties; definitely one to reach for when your skin needs something super gentle.
If your skin is losing firmness or feeling a little more lined than usual..
You need ingredients that will: Treat the signs of ageing!
If ageing is your key area of concern we suggest you look towards retinoids (also known as vitamin a). Widely regarded as the gold-standard in treating the signs of ageing (retinoids have been shown to slow down the breakdown of collagen, fade pigmentation/age spots, and minimise the appearance of wrinkles), Vitamin A is a worthy addition to your routine.
In addition to retinoids, chemical exfoliants like lactic acid are also beneficial for treating fine lines as they can assist in speeding up cell turnover, which will naturally slow down as we age. (Just be sure not to layer them with your Retinoids, use them on alternate nights instead to avoid overwhelming your skin barrier.) As are peptides, which work to support your skin’s ability to produce collagen, targeting the signs of ageing (loss of elasticity, fine lines) and leaving the skin lovely and plump.
If your skin has changed during pregnancy or breastfeeding..
You need ingredients that will: Be as gentle as a kitten’s punch.
This may not technically qualify as a skin ‘concern’, but pregnancy and breastfeeding does come with a heap of changes in your skin that might require a different approach. It’s likely that your skin is extremely sensitive at the moment, in which case, you can stick to a similar regime as the sensitive gang: niacinamide and vitamin e.
Hyperpigmentation (specifically melasma) is also incredibly common during pregnancy, which also makes vitamin c a magnificent option for you as it's designed to target any dark spots and prevent future ones popping up. (Always pair it with SPF.) (Treating dark spots is pointless if you’re not going to wear SPF.)
Look for a gentle vitamin c formula; Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, which is the hero vitamin c in our own (pregnancy and breastfeeding-safe) serum, Much Brighter Skin, is known for being a gentle, stable option. As always, patch test first, and check in with your doctor, dermatologist, or trusted skin specialist for individual guidance.