Tag:  serum Archives - Beauty Banter

Weekly Must-Have: Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX

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My skincare routine has come to the point where my face doesn’t feel thoroughly cleansed if I don’t apply a serum, pre-moisturizer. I remember the good ole days of the 3-step routine: Wash, tone, treat. I’d even skip moisturizer! Not anymore. These days, I use at least 6 products morning and night. It usually goes something like this: Wash, tone, serum, moisturizer, eye cream, sunblock. And, at night, makeup remover, wash, tone, serum, moisturizer OR retinoid, eye cream.

I’ve been using Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum EX ($84) since receiving a bottle from the Glow Recipe girls in a Korean Vogue 20th Anniversary Best Of Korean Beauty Products kit. Sarah, from Glow Recipe, always has the best skincare suggestions (like this and this), so I was eager to try this new batch of products. While I could not read anything on the bottle, save for the title (the backside is written in Korean), I liked the clean scent and felt like it was kinda “natural,” so I decided to give it a go.

In a word: obsessed. It was as if my skin drank this sh*t up. Not that this serum is a surge of moisture or even an oil, it’s more like a tall glass of water for your skin — seriously. This lightweight hydrator soothes the skin without leaving any trace of residue. My face soaked it up and made subsequent products absorb that much better, too (hence the “activate” part of the name). No joke, I can feel my moisturizer penetrating deeper into my skin post-application. Now, when I leave the serum step out, my complexion isn’t as glowy and my face looks… dare I say… dull.

This is a can’t-live-without product for a healthy, bright complexion. It can be used on all skin types (even sensitive) and it won’t make you break out. It’s literally the perfect universal serum to combat a multitude of concerns without any downside.

I can’t wait to try the rest of this line: If the other products are as powerful as this serum, they’re about to become my face’s new bestie.

PRICE TAG: $84.00 (buy here)

Getting Serious With Serums

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While our relationship with serums is not monogamous, it is certainly committed and devoted.  Serums can solve some major skin ailments, from acne and rosacea to dullness and wrinkles.  However, it has come to our attention that many people are skipping serum because they either a) are overwhelmed by the choices b) don’t know which one is right for them or c) don’t know how to fit them into their routine.  Well, we’re here to change that!

For the inside scoop on serums, we turned to the makers of some of our serum all-stars, Dr. Dennis Gross, NYC-based dermatologist and founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, and Tiffany Masterson, Founder and COO of Drunk Elephant.

Beauty Banter: Who needs to be using serum?  Is there anyone who should actively avoid?

Dr. Gross: Serums contain the most potent and concentrated dose of ingredients to tackle your skincare concern – you would be doing your skin a disservice not to use one.

Tiffany Masterson:  I think everyone could and should be using a serum, and in my opinion every single day.

BB: When is it best to apply serum?  Is it necessary to have separate ones for morning/evening?  

Dr. Gross: You can use one in the morning and one in the evening, or one daily – however you’d like to tailor your routine.  There is no wrong answer.  One of the keys to maximizing the benefits of any product in your daily skincare regimen is to apply products with a thinner consistency before the thicker more creamy ones.


BB: Which serums are your go-tos?

Dr. Gross: Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution ($88) brightens, smooths texture and helps with discoloration and hyperpigmentation. I believe that a serum is the best form to receive your Retinol for two reasons. It allows for other ingredients to be mixed into the formula and it is quick drying, yet super hydrating without the sun sensitivity that many retinols cause. I also just debuted a new overnight serum, Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum ($88) that features an ingredient trifecta of retinol, ferulic acid and niacinamide to firm skin, fight wrinkles, and reduce imperfections.

Tiffany Masterson:  T.L.C Framboos Glycolic ($90)  is best for acne, dryness, dullness, clearing and evening skin tone, scars, fine lines and wrinkles.  C-Firma Day Serum ($80) corrects past and protects against future UV damage, brightens, firms, fades hyperpigmentation and is great for fine lines.  B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel ($52) is a serum gel for extended-release intense hydration, brightening, and repairing.


BB: Eye serums have become increasingly popular.  Should these be used in place of eye cream or in addition to?

Dr. Gross: People care about texture around their eyes more than I’ve seen in years past, which makes sense because the area is more delicate, and it’s hard to keep up and maintain.  I like to layer serums and creams; a serum can deliver water-soluble ingredients and then a cream will hydrate. I always recommend Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum ($68) and Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream ($68) to patients as a one-two punch of actives.

Are you a fan of serums?  Which one do you swear by?  Tell us in the comments below!


-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind www.comfortablycasey.com

About Beauty Banter
Beauty Banter was launched in July of 2006 as a comprehensive beauty blog covering trends, tips and tricks, insider secrets, and weekly must-haves. Beauty Banter has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of emerging trends and product launches so our readers are always the first to know what’s hot and what’s just not.