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Serums, What are they and how do I use them?

Welcome to another edition of the Sweet Word Blog. Last week we talked about toners and how they play a role in your skincare.

Today we are going to talk about serums. What they are, what they are used for, and how they can help you achieve your skin goals.

So let's jump right in.

A woman applying face serums
Applying Face Serum

What are they?

If you have spent any time online researching what serums are but still feel lost. Do not worry you are not alone.

A serum is a water or oil-based formulation that is packed full of topical ingredients intended to target specific skin concerns.

Serums are typically used after a cleanser and toner BUT before a moisturizer.

What are they used for?

Serums have a wide array of benefits. There are different types of serums that can be used to obtain different results according to your specific needs and skin type.

There are serums to tackle the most common concerns and knowing which benefit you seek is crucial when choosing a serum.

It is also important to know your skin type and which serums will work best for you. Some serums may do more harm than good if you are not carefully reading labels and using it as recommended.

Different types of serums

There are many types of serums available for use. The 4 most common types are anti-aging, anti-oxidant (both can be used by all skin types), hydrating, and color correcting.

Anti-aging serums do just that. They help you fight the fight against time. You can start using these types of serums as early as your 20s.

Anti-oxidant serums aid in the protection of your skin against free radicals making them ideal for all skin types. Besides who wants free radicals messing up their glow?

Hydrating serums do just that. Help hydrate the skin. These are used on top of your moisturizer to provide an even deeper hydrating experience.

Color-correcting serums can be

How should I use my new serum?

Serums should always be used after cleansing but before moisturizing. This will ensure that your face is clean but also that you do not wash away any of the serum.

Serum should be pumped into your hands. You want to then apply the serum to your face and neck. It is important to massage the serum in small circular motions. Always allow the serum to soak into your skin. Do not rub it off wash it off or apply other products before the serum is completely dry.

Once the serum is completely dry you can move on to moisturizing using your favorite moisturizer.

How often should I use one?

Serums should be used once a day. Serums are fantastic products that target specific concerns rapidly. It is also important to note that too much can be harmful to your skin.

Read the labels and follow the recommended instructions for each serum.

While serums are highly concentrated products, they are not magic potions. In general, serums will take about 7 weeks to show signs of improvement. Be patient with your routine. Nothing happens overnight.

Do serums go bad?


Serums have a shelf life. Most serums only have a life of about 10 to 12 months after opening. They also require to be stored in cool dry places. Like your skincare fridge.

Each serum is different and the lifetime of each serum will vary according to the active ingredients in it. A fail-safe way to see if your serum is close to reaching its end-of-life cycle is to look at the serum itself. If the ingredients and emulsions seem to be separating. It might mean it's time for a new serum.

Always check your labels and serums. Do not use serums that have gone rancid as this can lead to unnecessary skin issues such as acne, dermatitis, and worse reactions if you happen to have sensitive skin.

An oil based serum
Oil Based Serum


Serums can be an effective way to combat specific skin issues such as wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and discoloration. There are different types of serums for different concerns and skin types. It is always recommended to read each label carefully. Figure out which active ingredients are present and if this serum will be good for your skin.

Store your serums in a cool dark place and make sure to check the dates to know how long your serums will last. Do not use rancid serums as this can lead to worse problems and always read labels carefully.

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