Serum 411: What You Need to Know

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In an industry where clients are looking for immediate results, serums have become the go-to product for estheticians wanting to provide clients instant gratification. Here, Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals’s Shannon Esau tackles some of the most common serum-related questions.

Is serum a moisturizer?

“Some serums provide hydrating benefits and can be used as moisturizers, however, this really depends on the skin type and seasonal changes. A benefit of following a serum with a moisturizer is that it can lock in the serum and provide increased hydration to the skin. Serums are typically lighter and more absorbable, as their purpose is to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin rather than to create a barrier for moisture loss.”

What’s the difference between a serum and a face oil?

“It depends on the oil and how it is refined. Many refined oils can be extremely lightweight and absorb quickly to make an impact on the skin. Some oils may feel heavier than a serum, but this ultimately depends on the type of oil and process of extraction and refinement as well as overall formulation. In general, serums are highly concentrated, lightweight, and penetrate deeper, because they have a smaller molecular structure. Many oils are considered emollients and can have less of an ability to penetrate deeply into the skin. However, it will again depend on the oil and the overall formulation process. Many of the highly refined oils feel nearly as light as a serum and offer better absorption, making them an important part of a daily regimen.”


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Why are serums typically more expensive than other products?

“Because serums are highly concentrated formulations, they will tend to cost more. However, a little goes a long way.”

Do serums expire faster than other products?

“Typically, serums will not expire faster than any other products if quality ingredients are used. Some of the concentrated ingredients in serum formulations are natural preservatives so they actually increase the shelf life in a natural way.”

Who should use or avoid serums?

“Everyone can benefit from serums, but they are especially beneficial for aging and acne- and rosacea-prone skin. With so many options available, there is a serum out there for nearly any skin type. Where caution should be used is with the type of serum. For example, serums that contain more active correctives can increase exfoliation and epidermis vulnerability. Therefore, they should only be used under professional guidance.” 

Do you have a favorite serum you love to use on clients or on yourself? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!



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