What is Face Serum?

A bottle of face serum.

A face serum is a thick, clear liquid beauty product often formulated to address a specific problem. Some people use them to help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, while others choose formulas that help prevent acne and brighten their skin. A serum can contain many different ingredients, including vitamin C, rosehip oil, glycerin, cucumber and aloe.


A toner must be applied before the serum.

There are face serums designed to treat many different skin types, and each of these concoctions contains ingredients specifically targeted at one skin type or another. Dry skin products often contain rosemary, chamomile, and almond oil, which help to moisturize dry patches and can also help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, making them anti-aging as well. Carrot seed, glycerin and grapefruit extract, which contain vitamin C, may also appear in anti-aging formulas.

The facial serum is applied after a gentle cleansing of the skin of the face and neck.

Blends for oily skin often include rosehip, peppermint, and lavender oil. Acne-prone individuals can benefit from these ingredients, and rosehip oil in particular can help heal blemishes and scars. Other ingredients in anti-acne serums include aloe, cucumber and calendula.

Eye serums are a variety that is usually applied to the thinnest, most delicate skin around the eyes. They help diminish wrinkles and fine lines and also help reduce the appearance of dark circles, which often become more prominent through dehydration. Eye formulas can be lighter and gentler than those intended for the face and neck.


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Certain face serums are formulated to fight acne.

Users should apply a facial serum before bed, after washing their face and neck with a mild facial cleanser. The face should be slightly damp during application; this helps the liquid to be absorbed by the skin. These formulas are thin and slippery, allowing them to spread over a very large area, so most people only need a few drops to cover the skin from the hairline to the base of the neck. If used, toner should be applied before the serum and a moisturizer afterwards.

Serums and Moisturizers

Eye serums help reduce the appearance of dark circles.

While serums and moisturizers are similar, there are some significant differences between the two. Face serums are extremely concentrated, which explains why so little is needed. They are also made of very small molecules, which allows them to penetrate deep into the skin, smoothing and healing from the inside out.

Moisturizers, on the other hand, are designed to stay on the top layer of the skin, keeping the surface hydrated. They help prevent the skin from becoming dry, flaky and dull, making it soft and supple. Some face serum formulas also contain moisturizers, eliminating the need for an additional product.


The facial serum moisturizes and brightens the skin.

If the whey becomes discolored or yellowish over time, it could mean that it has oxidized or gone rancid. Oxidized products can be harmful to the skin and should be discarded. Consumers should pay close attention to expiration dates on all beauty products, and choosing items packaged in smaller containers can help people consume them before they go bad.

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