Boost your skin this winter with a face serum

I made it a bit of a mission/treat this year to book in for a monthly facial.

I’ve always loved a facial and a fully aware of the skin benefits that come from a thorough salon cleansing and targeted moisturising  but I’d always been a bit ad hoc with when I had them. Yep, #firstworldproblem right there.

So aside from just after Easter when I had a nasty flu and could not think of anything worse than lying down and having someone work in close proximity to my face while I couldn’t breathe through my nose, I kept up the monthly treatments.

My therapist always asks how my skin in. I always answer it’s old and dry.

Not because I’m being self-depreciating but because it’s true.

Apart from the odd hormonal breakout (what is it with that?) my skin has turned the ageing corner and with that territory comes dryness.

I know it. I deal with it. Hence the commitment to facials.

My at-home secret weapon in the anti-dryness department is a simple one. Apart from my cleanse and moisturise twice-daily routine I always use a face oil or serum.

And I suggest you do too.

A face serum or oil has the ability to really work on a cellular level in your skin. You can feel that there is almost an immediate effect after you apply it. For me I’m looking for hydration and I feel that right away. I’m also looking for the long-term benefits that come from boosting antioxidants on the skin.

At this time of year when conditions are cold and windy, it’s an extra insurance policy against the elements. My moisturiser over the top can be an added protective bonus knowing that underneath is a serum is working away at boosting my skin from the top down.

How to choose a serum to suit

Like I discussed when it comes to choosing a lip balm, choosing a skin serum is a personal and subjective choices.

These are the things to take into account:

1. What kind of formula do you prefer – an oil, a gel, a cream? I mix it up. I love an oil for night-time goodness and prefer more of cream/gel during the day. The oil seems to “feel” more nourishing and at night I’m happy to use a bit extra as it won’t matter if my face looks in any way oily.

2. What’s your budget? It’s not necessarily a case that the bigger the budget, the better the serum but there are some benefits to paying a bit more for higher quality ingredients. I would spend more on a serum than on a moisturiser in the skincare budget carve up.

3. Are natural ingredients are priority for you? You’re in luck. There are so many serums around that fit this priority. Good old rosehip oil will never be out of my skincare arsenal. Check the ingredients list on the bottle and buy certified organic if it is an option.

4. Are you looking for a serious, results-driven product? Then yes, you may pay more. It’s at this point that it’s also worth getting some good advice on which way to go via a skin therapist who knows his or her stuff and aren’t just about the product sell.

5. What’s your biggest skincare issue? Break-outs, dryness, fine lines/wrinkles? Work out what your main priority is and choose a serum that addresses that priority.

5 serums to check out

These are five of the serums I’ve been trialling of late. I’m also a fan of the HydroPeptide serum I mentioned here as well as Twenty8 Facelift Serum and Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil.

boost winter skin with a face serum

1. Palmer’s skin Therapy Oil Face $19.99:  This is a blend of nine oils (sweet almond, apricot argan, rosehip, sesame, camelina, grapeseed, coconut and macadamia) with retinol and vitamin C to create a value-for-money anti-ageing serum. It’s free of parabens and phthalates. The inclusion of retinol may make your skin more sensitive to the sun so use a sunscreen and cover up when outdoors. But you do that anyway, don’t you?

2. RosehipPLUS Cold-Pressed Australian-Certified Organic Rosehip Oil $19.95:  Also value-for-money, this is a straight rosehip formula. The oil is imported from Chile, is 100% pure and Australian-certified as organic. Rosehip is a wonder oil because it contains omega 3,6 and 9 essential fatty acids, the antioxidants lycopene and beta-carotene, vitamin E and anti-ageing vitamins A and C. Great for hydration.

3. Jurlique Rose Moisture Plus Daily Moisture Balancing Serum $70: Rosehip oil features again in this product but in a light lotion form as opposed to an oil. This might be a preference for some – particularly during the day. Evening Primrose Oil has also been included to help with dryness and Green Tea extract to protect the skin from environmental damage.

4. Sodashi Samadara Ultimate Age-Defying Elixir $274 (currently out of stock): I know. Big bucks. I was introduced to this power pot of goodness at Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort. Like all the Sodashi Samadara products I’ve tried, I really shouldn’t as they’re so addictive but definitely at the luxe end of the skincare scale. Unlike other luxe skincare products, however, these are chemical-free and created in Australia. I know I will cry when this elixir runs out and so will my skin. It’s my night serum of choice and feels like I’ve given my skin a goodnight smooch every time I apply. It’s a pure plant formula of an light oil consistency with 15 ingredients that combine for a power-packed truly natural punch that gives skin a more lifted, firm and more refined appearance. The bottom of each bottle also contains rose quartz crystals to give the elixir a stabilising energy.

5. Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Concentrate $90:  This serum launched last year and has become the best-selling product for the brand worldwide. One bottle is bought every 30 seconds. It contains 20 anti-ageing plant extracts in a clear, light oil formula. Skin gets a boost of hydration that lasts, it works on healing at the skin cell level to regenerate skin and protect it from the elements. It’s a double serum in that the two formulas sit side by side in the bottle - this is done because if they were combined in the bottle there would be a possibility of the formula not being stable or requiring emulsifiers.

Over to you … do you use a serum or face oil? If so do you have a fave?

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  • Kylie

    And moo goo facial cleansing oil is great too, again no nasties and can be bought from health food shops and some pharmacies, around $25..

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks Kylie, the oils above are not for cleansing but for treating the skin. Cleansing oils ARE great to use when skin is try instead of a foam cleanser.

  • Kylie

    Synergie products are worth having a look at, their serums are fantastic, australian made and no nasties, not cheap serums around the $100-$150 range but they do an excellent job. There are so many of them though you really need to see someone for a consultation so you know what to use.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks Kylie!

  • Courtz

    Hi Nikki and fellow readers. I discovered your site a couple of weeks ago and am already a fan!!
    Just wondering if you or any other readers have any recommendations for a serum for oily, no longer smooth and pimple prone skin. I am 28 but my skin is unfortunately taking me back to my teenager years! Ever since going off the pill but skin has become terrible. It’s getting me down!

    • Lisa

      Hi Courtz, If you see my comment just below I would recommend the Luminesce products by Jeunesse, particularly the serum, I have seen some amazing before and after photos for pimple affected skin, after using the serum it has really helped smooth the skin out. From my own experience I have used the serum on my 9 year old son who has a scar on his nose (let’s just say it involved a body suit with a zipper, put on around the wrong way and the nose copped it……) after applying it only once a day for the past 6 weeks the scar is almost gone. If you log in to http://www.lisawalden.generationyoung.com you can watch some videos that will give you information on the products. Regards Lisa
      PS If you would like to see some before and after photo’s let me know http://www.lisawalden@outlook.com

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Hi Courtz, your skin sounds like it’s out of balance. Don’t be tempted to use things that make your skin feel squeaky clean as this upsets the balance too. Look for a serum with high antioxidants, vit C content is good, as is retinol. Why not give the Palmer’s one above a go.

      • Rebecca

        Hi Courtz, my skin sounds similar to yours and I’ve been getting great results with Aspect Dr serums. They have a problem skin serum (plus others) that has worked wonders.

  • Lisa

    Hi Nikki, I have been using the Luminesce products by Jeunesse. The serum is absolutely fabulous, I love it. The Luminesce products are based on Adult stem-cell technology with the serum containing 85% active ingredients (growth factors), I can highly recommend these products. More information is available at http://www.lisawalden.generationyoung.com/register. I haven’t felt this good in a long time, my skin was also dry and I was feeling old. I started to notice a difference within the first few weeks.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Yes, I’ve trialled the product before Lisa.

  • Mish Young

    I’m using the Sukin Hydration Booster & really like this, it feels great, soaks in quite quickly & smells wonderful! I’ve just picked up a bottle of Swisse Argan Face Oil & I’m looking forward to seeing if this one can be used in the morning under my moisturiser & also if it works. I do like Jurlique products & will probably try the serum if you say it is light enough for day use :)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Sounds like you’re sorted with serums and oils Mish but yes if you’re looking for a day one then do get hold of a trial of the Jurlique one.

  • Mish Young

    I’m using the Sukin Hydration Booster & really like this, it feels great, soaks in quite quickly & smells wonderful! I’ve just picked up a bottle of Swisse Argan Face Oil & I’m looking forward to seeing if this one can be used in the morning under my moisturiser & also if it works. I do like Jurlique products & will probably try the serum if you say it is light enough for day use :)

  • lisaluvsdiamonds

    I love the Antipodes (NZ product) Divine Face Oil. It is organic and has rose hip, macadamia, avocado oil amongst other goodies. You can purchase it online or at David Jones. I think Myer’s also stock their products. LOVE iT! http://www.antipodesnature.com/shop-skincare,shop,8,1,10.html I use it purely as an oil at night (after a spray of rosewater spray) and during the day, I add a few drops to my moisturiser . It is beautiful to use. When I was purchasing my last bottle, there was a lady asking me what I used and she had just used a tester on her hand of their plumping oil http://www.antipodesnature.com/shop-skincare,shop,8,1,9.html and you there was am amazing difference between her hands. I am going to try that next as they were out of stock at the time. If I run out, I also use pure, cold pressed rose hip oil as it is very good. Using the antipodes doesn’t give me breakouts either (only the hormonal post 40 ones!)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks for the recommendations – love Antipodes!

  • The Plumbette

    I’ve stopped using a serum… mainly because I ran out and have been using my rosehip oil to keep my skin moisturized, The Jurilique one is sensational! I loved using it.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks for the recommendation Bec!

  • Reannon Hope

    I usually have oily skin but after having Sadie & the onset of winter my skin is dry dry dry. I use Trilogy Rosehip Oil but am still putting my moisturizer over the top. Maybe I need a thicker moisturizer ?

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Those hormones muck us around! You may need a moisturiser that targets dryness – not necessarily thicker.

  • Kathryn

    Hi Nikki, great timely post. I want to add a serum to my skincare, and the Clarins one will probably be good for me. On another subject, I want to thank you – after reading your blog for the last few months I have clearly learned quite a lot.. My Auntie passed away over the weekend, so I heading to Brisbane for her funeral on Friday. What to wear…after initially thinking I would need to buy something – I shopped my wardrobe and pulled an outfit together that I’m happy with, and is suitable/respectful. Best wishes, Kathryn

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh Kathyrn, I’m so sorry about your aunty. I hope the funeral was a suitable celebration of her life. I’m really glad that you shopped your wardrobe x

  • Julie

    Hi Nikki, I’m trialling a new Clinique serum gel during the day and MUST get back into using my Clarins oil at night – my skin is not enjoying this winter at all, and I probably need to find a product that does all three (dryness, lines and wrinkles, and the odd breakout). Thanks for the tips xx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Concentrate on the dryness I think Julie … the odd breakout will still happen!

  • merliyn

    hi nikki, I have tried different rose hip oils in the past but I’m sticking with my
    routine of urederm which my doctor put me onto as it works a treat for me.
    sometimes I use pure organic coconut oil for cleansing and like Sonia one smells good enough to eat! lol m

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks for sharing your tip Merilyn!

  • Karen

    Before trying any new cosmetic product I always like to consult http://www.beautypedia.com. On this US based web site they review loads of brands and tell you the pros and cons of each product they review. If you know the ingredients in a product you can even search through their ingredient dictionary to find out the function of that ingredient within the formulation and whether that ingredient is beneficial to your skin or a potential irritant. I think this site is worth a look before deciding which products to purchase and which to give a wide berth.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Great idea Karen for US brands … the formulas may change for Australia too sometimes but a good start point.

  • Nic

    I use the Hourglass No. 28 Primer Serum – chock-full of essential oils, plant oils and 4 vitimins. I started with the small bottle after a demo instore and went back for the larger one, the results were excellent. I’m in my late 40′s with skin prone to dryness and the difference is amazing. It’s available at Mecca – http://www.meccacosmetica.com.au/shop/Hourglass/No28PrimerSerum/
    And I’m also on the bandwagon for oils to remove makeup. I used to buy it (Nude) but coconut oil (from the supermarket!) works just as well – it is an amazing product found in many skin care formulations.
    Oil based products work so much better for me in winter as they are more emollient, but are also great in warmer weather too.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Coconut oil is the business Nic – think I need to do a post on it! And thanks for sharing your serum find.

  • http://soniastyling.com/ Sonia from Sonia Styling

    I’ve been using a little bit of rosehip oil which my skin seems to love. As far as winter goes, my face isn’t dry – it’s my body. So as a body lotion I’ve just recently started using (virgin, cold pressed, organic) coconut oil which is just plain amazing for hydration! I also love that it makes me smell like a Bounty Bar.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      That’s a gorgeous bonus from coconut oil Sonia!

  • Lara

    I use Rosehip oil at night. My skin loves it! A tip for you…whatever you put on your face at night, put a little bit on the back of your hands as well. We all know hands show age VERY quickly!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Great tip Lara!

  • Kelly

    Despite not quite being the age where it should look old & dry – my skin does already. I have started with more regular professional treatments which has helped. I have used a Clarins face oil (different to the one you featured) before which was fabulous but I didn’t like the smell so whilst I finished it, I probably wouldn’t get that one again. Thanks for the suggestions … I am off to give them the sniff test!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Sniff test is so important for me too Kelly! Good luck.

  • Cherie

    I have been a convert to oil since starting to use 100% argan oil as a moisturiser a few years ago. I have recently started using Moo Goo Cleansing oil for combination skin. I thought an oil cleanser would make my skin more oily but quite the opposite, I notice a big improvement. Apparently oil is the most effective for dissolving oil and grime, and for balancing oil production. I am done with foaming cleansers! I am going to try the other products in their range – including their rose hip oil. I believe jojoba oil is excellent for the face as well.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Jojoba is great Cherie and yes oil cleansers are really efficient. We just get programmed to thinking that squeaky clean is clean but it’s actually just stripping our skin of its natural oils.

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I used to just use organic rose hip oil but have been on a trial for a new line that Jurlique are bringing out later this year called Nutri-Define and I got a facial serum,day cream and a night cream and I can tell you I’m pretty impressed ,it is for mature (old and dry) skins and it’s wonderful so be on the lookout for this product Nikki!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Great Lisa – will definitely look out for that range. Good recommendation.

  • Susie

    I wish I could try something. I have roseacea and I have only had half a dozen facials over about 10 years and not one do them knew how to treat my skin and didn’t know a lot about roseacea despite saying they did. One even did a chemical peal on my skin and it bled for hours afterwards.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh Susie, that is just awful and should never happen. I agree, it is difficult to find the ones who are really trained to help. Let me know what area you live in and I’ll what I can find.

  • Kelliewelliewellie

    I swear by the Clarins Double Serum, bought it on a whim and have regretted it. Once a week I might supplement it with Rose Hip Oil.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      You’re not on your own Kellie! Huge selling product.

  • PrincessEatsPeaSoup

    I take this so seriously now Nikki, it’s time to start looking after my skin! It’s also really great to read your thoughts about serums and skin care. I started using a retinol cream prescribed by my GP last October. I have been using it every night before bed and will keep using it until a year is up because I have been told after that there would be no significant improvement after that.

    I use rosehip oil (certified organic, which I buy on eBay) for a facial massage at least once a week when I have time to leave it on for at least a couple of hours.

    Before makeup I use a vitamin C serum (I buy on the internet from the US, Natural Skin Shop – CRX Vitamin C) and I also use after I take my makeup off early in the evening. And because I took Dr Oz’s advice, buying a serum containing more than 3% vitamin C. If I can’t work out the percentage of vitamin C in the product, I won’t consider buying it.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Great advice and love your routine!