By Lora O’Brien
We all want flawless skin that positively glows thanks to the slew of products we use, right? Our shelves are stacked with copious products that all promise to make our skin dreams come true, and yet some of us lack one of the most important beauty items: an organic serum. And if you don’t have a clue what a serum really does, well, you’re not alone.
Some of us think a serum is the same thing as a face cream, and some think it’s the same as using an oil. The truth? A serum is a beauty must-have that comes before a moisturiser, and just after the skin has been both cleansed and toned.
But what can organic serums actually do for our skin, at what age should we start using one and why is it best to select a serum with organic ingredients? We asked Diane Elizabeth, founder of Skin Care Ox, a product review site focused on organic skincare, for her advice.
First up: why do we even need a serum?
A serum is a skin treatment that is made from highly concentrated and potent ingredients that have been selected and designed to tackle a whole realm of skin issues, such as dryness, redness, wrinkles, dullness, rosacea and even breakouts, that perhaps a simple cleanser and moisturizer duo wouldn’t handle effectively solo.
How are serums different from creams?
The main differentiating factor between a serum and a facial cream is the consistency. Serums usually have a water or an oil base, therefore they have a thinner consistency than creams. Creams are not only thicker, but are designed to add moisture and provide the surface of our skin with a barrier. Serums are more concentrated than creams and work to penetrate deep beneath the surface of the skin to target underlying skin issues.
At what age should we start using them?
As soon as possible! There are serums for just about every skin issue. If you’re young, you can invest in a serum to treat skin conditions such as acne or dryness. You can also use serums that work to prevent signs of ageing and protect against sun damage (vitamin C serums are particularly great for this). The sooner you start to use serums, the better your skin will age over time.
If you are older and are already battling fine lines and wrinkles, it’s not too late to add a potent serum (or two) to your daily routine. While some people choose to layer multiple serums on top of each other, I typically recommend to use one serum during the day and another at night. This helps to prevent any potential negative reactions as a result of combining two powerful products.
What should we look for in a serum?
As we age, our skin loses its ability to retain moisture and collagen production slows dramatically. Look for serums that treat these issues with potent ingredients like hyaluronic acid (for moisture), vitamin c (for collagen production), and antioxidants (like green tea, resveratrol, vitamin A, and flavonoids).
What does ‘organic’ mean in skincare, really?
There are a lot of misconceptions about organic skin care. When a beauty product carries the label “organic,” it just means that certain ingredients in the product were produced organically. Organic itself means produced without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sewage, ionizing radiation, as well as antibiotics and growth hormones. It is important to note that while a product may use some organically produced ingredients, it may also contain a ton of harmful ingredients which are not organic. There are no current standards in the U.S. cosmetic and beauty industry which outline when a product can or cannot carry the labels “clean,” “natural,” and “organic.” It is still up to the consumer to research the brand, the product ingredients, and the validity of the organic claims.
Why is organic important in skincare?
According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, women in the US apply an average of 168 chemicals to their faces and bodies every single day. Additionally, it is very possible for many of those chemicals to be absorbed through our skin and into our bloodstream. This includes pesticides, as well as known potentially carcinogenic and toxic ingredients like parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals and PEG compounds, ethoxylated ingredients, propylene glycol, chemical preservatives, and many other undesirables.
By using clean, organic, and natural beauty products which do not contain harmful (and potentially carcinogenic) chemicals, women can greatly reduce their chemical load and improve their overall health. Additionally, many of these chemicals are also highly irritating and can exacerbate skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, dry skin, and more. By choosing organic products, women can take an important step toward improving the long-term health of their skin.
Eager to learn more when it comes to choosing the right serum? Check out our top 10 serums for all skin types and budgets, below.
Our 10 Best Organic Serums for All Skins
Stress and weather are two things that can take their toll on our skin over time, and this serum by John Masters was created with these factors in mind. The serum provides a maximum amount of moisture for the skin, using the highest quality ingredients, such as green tea extract and a mix of antioxidant-rich vitamins. It penetrates the skin instantly, promoting cellular turnover and helping to refresh and nourish skin throughout the day.
Organic: 93% Price: $30.00 Best for: All skin types, but best for combination and environmentally damaged skin.
Many of us have some form of damage to our skin and seek a magic potion to help bring it back to life. So if you’re in need of a skin overhaul, this intensive serum from Antipodes may be the one for you. Thanks to the Mamaku black fern extract and Vinanza Gold extract, it not only boosts the skin’s natural production of collagen and elastic by up to 72%, but its powerful mix of antioxidants also work to repair damaged skin, whilst the oil-free formula plumps and hydrates the skin to make it both plump and glowing.
Organic: 95% Price: $30 Best for: The oil-free formula makes it ideal for those with oily and acne prone skin.
Ever look in the mirror and find yourself wondering whether you should schedule in a facelift? Ditch the needle and get it from a bottle instead! This Boosted Contouring Serum by Tata Harper has been described as a daily facelift made from a blend of natural and organic ingredients that join forces to reinforce your skin’s structure around the neck and jawline. Skin will feel firmer after just five minutes and skin will look and feel lifted after just seventeen minutes. Over time, fine lines and wrinkles will visibly reduce leaving you with a fresh and youthful appearance.
Organic: 94% Price: $200 Best for: Suitable for all skin types, but ideal for dull, mature skin.
Skin feeling dry or lacking life? This brightening botanical treatment has been specifically formulated to increase cell turnover and improve the texture of the skin. Organic argan and camellia oils are the base of this serum, whilst silky broccoli seed and prickly pear oils provide it with its velvety texture. Botanical actives such as gotu kola, algae and wheatgrass help to soothe irritation and enhance the tone of skin, whilst papaya, pumpkin and mushroom extracts helping to maintain a luminous appearance.
Organic: 65.3% Price: $59.00 Best for: For normal, dehydrated, mature, dry or dull skin.
Overstressed skin combined with environmental elements can steal your glow and make skin both dull and dry. This plant-powered formula has been created to nourish skin and to reduce discolouration thanks to the botanical actives, whilst jojoba seed oil helps skin to retain moisture to keep skin hydrated. It’s worth noting that this serum is highly concentrated, so a little really does go a long way.
Organic: 88.4% Price: $75.00 Best for: All skin types.
This is a PM serum, so it’s used as part of your nighttime routine. The potent blend of vitamins works together synergistically to reduce lines and wrinkles, increase firmness and elasticity and even out skin tone. The results of this serum will help to restore a youthful, healthy glowing complexion to even the most tired, neglected skin.
Organic: 94%. Price: $60.00. Best for: Normal, dry, oily and combination skin types
Many of us have signs of skin damage, whether it’s sun and dark spots or wrinkles and lines, so Vapour Beauty has created this intense recovery serum to help your skin to look and feel its best. Stored inside an elegant and sustainable glass bottle, this energising serum helps promote an even complexion and renewed glow.
Organic: 70% Price: $120.00 Best for: All skin types.
This serum harnesses the potent healing properties of Chaga, a rare mushroom that grows in the wild on birch trees and is loaded with medicinal properties that work to heal, protect and restore the skin. Chaga mushrooms contain high levels of melanin, which when applies to the skin, helps to reverse previous sun damage. This serum also speeds up collagen production, which will help to diminish lines and wrinkles, whilst also increasing skin elasticity and tightening skin.
Organic: 95% Price: $110.00 Best for: Skin in need of a boost, or blemish/acne prone skin.
A vitamin C serum has the ability to transform your skin rapidly. The vitamin C naturally found in our body works to protect us from UV sun damage, brightens our skin, reduces pigmentation and increases the production of collagen (which slows down as you age), so it makes sense to use a topical serum that can help to benefit skin, too. This concentrated serum helps to brighten skin, boosts collagen health and minimises the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Organic: 95% Price: $24.50 Best for: Those who live in a sunny region or who need strong protection from pollution
If you’re a sufferer of rosacea, you may notice that you also suffer from dry skin that is easily inflamed. This recovery serum by Rosemira Organics is designed especially for those with rosacea. Organic argan, blueberry and acai berry oils are blended with an infusion of herbs to deliver a moisture and nutrients boost to the skin to help repair broken capillaries. The serum will help to soothe irritation and correct the reddish appearance of rosacea, leaving skin with a more even tone and more supple texture.
Organic: 100% Price: $49.00 Best for: All skin types and dry skin with mild to moderate rosacea
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