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The word 'serum' always sounds so mystical and magical. It was the stuff of movies and comic books, where truth serums would rat out the bad and uphold the good, and serums would bring back to life the innocently slayed, immunity to toxins, and respite from pathogens. Something bad happen? Something so odd it's not even on Wikipedia yet? Turning into a fly/growing fins/bit by a weird spider? A brilliant-yet-mad scientist can develop a serum to rectify and restore.
In Real Life, serums are slightly less magical but helpful and life-renewing nevertheless.
Serums - in beauty terms - are a relatively new addition to the skincare market, adding another step to the daily routine between cleansing and moisturising. They are a liquid, often clear (but can be milky or brown in tone) and usually add hydration or anti-ageing ingredients in a higher concentration than a moisturiser. They are more potent and therefore often a higher pricepoint than lotions that pad out the active ingredients in a base.
Here are some fantastic new serums on the market utilising natural botanicals...
Trilogy Age Proof COQ10 Booster Serum $46.90 has hero ingredient Co-enzyme Q10 boost collagen and elastin production for fast skin recovery. It is packed with antioxidant Tamanu Oil to restore and nourish dull, tired or prematurely aged skin.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate was launched as a serum, but from personal experience Kate Berich of Pead tells Thread that after using the product, she would describe it as being "on the lighter side of the serum “spectrum”, perhaps more of an oil consistency than your standard serums that might go on slightly thicker." It has a concentrated formula to replicate skin's natural lipids to repair skin overnight, as skin is most able to absorb active ingredients from midnight to 4am. It is an anhydrous (“water-free”) concentration of Squalane, night-blooming Evening Primrose and essential oils including lavender, coriander and rosehip seed oils, and retails for $98.00. It is free of parabens, mineral oils, and is fragrance-free.
New Zealand skincare brand Snowberry has a number of serums, including Intensive Renewal Face Serum (aimed at improving collagen and elastin), and Bright Defence Face Serum (my favourite) which focuses on damage prevention for smoother, brighter skin using rich and moisturising Harakeke oil. Thread loves the ethos behind Snowberry founder Soraya Hendesi's brand and that it has Snowberry Gardens - 50 acres of land in a bio-discovery plantation, that it is carboNZero certified, and that their Bright Defence, Pro Collagen, sun care and cleansing ranges do not contain volatile alcohols (methyl, ethyl, formaldehyde, pentane, butane, among others), parabens, petro chemicals (acetone, ethanol, benzene, among others), silicones, or animal products.
Pure Fiji Hydrating Multi-Active Serum $79 is a brand new addition to their face care line launched recently in Autumn 2012. It contains key ingredients Ngi grass to boost hydration by increasing cellular water flow, green coconut kinetin to prolong the youthfulness of existing cells whilst promoting growth of new cells, and Hydroxyethylcellulose to relieve tension and inhibit the muscle contractions responsible for the formation of wrinkles and expression lines. Pure Fiji uses botnaical ingredients sourced from Fijian communities.
La Mav Skin-Brightening Daily Vitamin-C Brightening Serum $99 is a highly-concentrated Vitamin C serum designed for age spots, skin that is uneven, mature, tired or stressed, and skin that is prone to pigmentation, sun-damage and fine lines. They recommend using it in the morning after cleansing and toning, and following with a day cream. It contains certified organic ingredients and is free of chemical nasties as per Snowberry, above. This serum contains a combination of four potent Bio-Actives (Vitamin C, Bearberry Extract, Rumex occidentalis Extract and Glabridin.)
Murad Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum $100 is part of Murad's Redness Therapy range to calm irritated skin and reduce sensitivity. It is ideal for after skin resurfacing and beauty treatments as an anti-inflammatory. It also hydrates, with Hyalutoronic Acid and Glycolipids. Apply daily after cleansing and toning and follow with moisturiser.
By Megan Robinson
1 June 2012