Never Used a Serum Before? This Is the One Beauty Editors Recommend to Everyone


Ask any skincare enthusiast for their favourite product and there's a good chance they'll say it's a serum.

Hard working, powerful and good at their jobs, serums are some of the sexiest skincare products around.

But... what actually is a serum? And for someone who's never used a serum before, which is the best serum to start with?

If you've heard people raving about slathering serums on their faces, but have no bloody clue, we got you.

You can find out everything you need to know about serums by listening to the Week 3 episode of Skincare School the podcast below (or keep scrolling for the quick version).

So... What Is Serum?

A serum is a thin-textured product that contains a high concentration of active ingredients.

And active ingredients are the ones that can do something for your skin beyond cleansing, moisturising and sun protection.

Types of Serums.

Generally speaking, serum products can hydrate and exfoliate the skin, fade the appearance of signs of ageing like fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation, reduce redness and help deal with breakouts and congestion.

Some common types of serums include:

You can browse and shop all serums here.

How To Use Serum.

OK cool, but how do I apply serum and where do my serums fit into my existing skincare routine? Here are the basics:

  • Apply serums onto bare skin after cleansing and before moisturiser and/or sunscreen.

  • If using more than one serum, layer them in order of thinnest to thickest texture.

  • Apply water-based serums before oil-based serums.

  • If using two serums with a similar consistency, apply in the order of your main skin concern:

    • E.g. If your primary skin concern is congestion, apply your exfoliating serum first.

    • E.g. If signs of ageing are your primary concern, apply your vitamin A serum first.

    • E.g. If you're most worried about hydration, apply your hyaluronic acid serum first.

You can learn more about layering serums in our YouTube video below!

Best Serum for Beginners.

Now you know what a serum is, where's the best place to start? Vitamin B.

Hands down, vitamin B is the most underrated ingredient in the skincare world. Everyone goes on and on about vitamin C and A, but vitamin B (B3 and B5) aren't show-offs. They're quiet achievers.

On dull, dehydrated, reactive, ageing, redness-prone skin, niaciamide (B3) and panthenol (B5) are absolute game-changers.

Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that can work with literally every other ingredient in your skincare routine. This powerhouse ingredient helps to brighten the complexion, improve uneven skin tone, balance oil production, protect the skin from dehydration and inflammation, and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.

You can learn more about niacinamide in our YouTube video below.

Luckily, niacinamide is really well tolerated by nearly all skin types - even sensitive skin can use this ingredient with no irritation, and it pairs really well with hydrating and calming ingredients like hyaluronic acid and its sister, panthenol.

Panthenol is a humectant, meaning it draws moisture into the upper layers of the skin, and it has the ability to retain that moisture to boost hydration levels in the skin. You can expect it to leave your skin feeling smooth, supple and moisturised.

Learn more about panthenol or vitamin B5 in our YouTube video below.

You can shop all vitamin B serums here, niacinamide serums here and vitamin B complex serums here.

As for the best vitamin B serums, below are three of our all-time favourites and best sellers.

Best Vitamin B and Niacinamide Serums:
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