According to Allure magazine, a serum is one skincare step you should NOT miss. This excerpt from the Allure blog explains why.

Allure - March 2019  

If there's one step in our daily skin care regimens that we dare not skip, it's applying serum. Serums are the best way to deliver a highly concentrated, potent dose of active ingredients to the skin. Whether it's antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, peptides, botanical agents, or any number of other ingredients, serums are able to carry these small molecules deep into the skin, where they exert the most benefit.

"The main reason serums are able to do this, is because of what they do not contain," says Kenneth How, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in New York City. "In contrast to moisturizers, serums don't contain air-tight, occlusive ingredients, which allow them to penetrate more deeply into the epidermis, carrying their active ingredients with them."

According to the NY Times, touted as a pure and natural way to improve your skin, botanical facial oils — infused with plant and farm-fresh extracts — have exploded into the mainstream market lately. 

4 Benefits of Facial Oils: 

Intensely hydrate without leaving a greasy residue.  Brighten and even out your skin tone. Rid bacteria and soothe acne-prone skin. Calm red, inflamed skin, and ease the symptoms of rosacea. 

How and When to Use an Oil:

Most facial oils can be used twice daily, both morning and night. They should be applied after facial serums and gels, but before your creams and lotions. Spread a dime-size amount between your palms and pat it on, targeting the outer areas of the face, and then sweeping in toward the center, around your eyes, nose and lips.

According to Clean Beauty, the main thing to remember here is that facial serums are used to target specific skin concerns, whereas oils are primarily intended to moisturize. Both can be derived from complex oil blends, but serums are typically lighter weight and best layeredunder a moisturizer, whether that’s an oil, balm or cream.

theklog.co notes that, In most cases, the main difference between serums and oils is that oil molecules are much larger and serve to penetrate only the outermost layers of the skin. In fact, an oil blend can contain hundreds of different sized molecules. This makes them more suitable as moisturizers rather than as serums.

According to WebMD, the biggest difference between a serum and a cream or lotion is what the formulation doesn't include. Serums leave out occlusive, or airtight, moisturizing ingredients that keep water from evaporating. They also contain fewer lubricating and thickening agents, like nut or seed oils. Most serums are water-based, eliminating oils altogether. They're also the prized attributes of skin care serums -- light, fast-absorbing liquids used as an alternative or in addition to creams or lotions.

Skin Care Routine

According to the NY Times, think of your skin-care routine as consisting of three main steps:

Cleansing — Washing your face. Toning — Balancing the skin       - Moisturizing — Hydrating and softening the skin.

The goal of any skin-care routine is to tune up your complexion so it’s functioning at its best, and also troubleshoot or target any areas you want to work on. “Beauty routines are an opportunity to notice changes within yourself,” says San Francisco skin-care specialist Kristina Holey. As your skin needs shifts with age, so will your products. Still, she adds, “it’s not about creating perfection.”   Allow these three steps to become your daily ritual that fortifies your skin and grounds your day. 

According to Allure Magazine, instead of just slapping on five creams — then washing your face because, seriously, that stuff is heavy — follow the lead of the pros.

1. Start light.  Serums — the thinnest products — go first, because a) that just makes sense and b) "they deliver active ingredients into the skin most efficiently," says Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist in Boston. Plus, they're easy to customize. Pick two or three serums that each treat one of your concerns. 

2. Lock it down. Moisturizer is key to any layering routine because "it seals serums on your skin, which can make them more effective," says Wilson. Feel free to keep it basic.

3. Add an oil. In small doses, oils make skin radiant. Put them on dry areas after creams — as a rule, oils can penetrate moisturizers, but not vice versa. Skip the oil if you're wearing more than two serums under your moisturizer, though—at some point, you can't avoid looking greasy.

4. Don't forget protection. "Sunscreen is your last step in the morning," says Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist in Great Neck, New York. "It sits on top of your skin, so if it goes on first, it prevents other ingredients from penetrating."

5. Ending your nighttime routine with a retinoid makes you look a whole lot younger. (Every dermatologist recommends this superingredient.) "I put my retinol over a serum and a cream — moisturizing helps retinol to penetrate better with less irritation,"

According to the NY Times, the science behind skin-care products has come a long way but there’s still no such thing as an instant fix — you need time to reap the benefits, says Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a Manhattan dermatologist. “Results are only seen through consistent use,” Generally, aim to use a product over at least six weeks, once or twice daily, to notice a difference.  Tip: With any skin-care product, apply in order of consistency — from thinnest to thickest. For example, cleanser, toner (if you use it), serum, and then moisturizer.