Snob Essentials

Do I Need to Use a Serum? Skin Care Expert, Renée Rouleau Answers


As an esthetician, it is my belief that the very best way to get better results from your skin care products is to use a serum underneath your moisturizer or mask.

What is a serum?

A serum is a skin care product that has a higher concentration of active ingredients, usually comes in a gel or creamy gel form and is meant for use under a moisturizer or mask. Cleanser, toner and moisturizer are a must for every skin type. Serums should be used when you feel like your skin is in a rut and you’re not getting the results with your basic products. Serums can really make a big improvement! I’ve seen it with my very own eyes as an esthetician working with skin for 25 years.

What ingredients are often found in serums?

Soluble Beta Glucans for reducing breakouts from within (found in our Skin Correcting Serum), Hyaluronic Acid for hydration, White Tea calms signs of redness instantly (found in our White Tea Soothing Complex), Glycolic Acid for exfoliation (found in Glycolic Serum), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate for brightening brown spots and Peptides, such as Caprooyl Tetrapeptide for skin firming. There are many, many other action ingredients used in serums, these are just a few of the common ones.

Anything to avoid when choosing a serum?

SD Alcohol 40 or Denatured Alcohol. These ingredients are dehydrating which will encourage dry skin cell build up.

What does a serum feel like?

Serums most often are water-based (especially those for oily/combination skin) so they have a gel-like feel to them. Drier skin serums often use silicones to give a moisturizing slip.

How do I use a serum?

Did you know that moist skin is ten times more permeable than dry skin? After cleansing, use an alcohol-free toner and leave it damp on the skin before applying your serum. By leaving your skin damp with toner, the active ingredients in your serum will penetrate deeper within the skin giving you better results. Moisturizers are meant to create a protective barrier over the skin to keep moisture in the skin from evaporating and keeping environmental irritants and debris out. Serums, while meant to hydrate, should never be used alone as they don’t contain the protective properties that creams do.

How much should I apply to my skin?

Almost a dime size and not more than that. Many people think that if they use more, they’ll get better results. False! Your skin acts as a sponge and takes in all that it can and the rest may not absorb allowing for product waste.

Any special application tricks when applying serum?

Since moisturizer is to be used immediately after, keep your moisturizer in the refrigerator. When moisturizer is applied cold, it pushes blood away from the skin and in the process it creates a vacuum effect to pull the potent serum ingredients deeper within the skin.

Renée Rouleau is a skin care expert and celebrity esthetician based out of Dallas, Texas. Her exclusive skin care line is based on nine skin types, rather than the standard–dry, normal and oily and has a loyal following of celebrities like Demi Lovato, Jessica Simpson and Katie Cassidy.



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  1. I have oily skin, so no way in hell I can go w/o washing my face. I use black soap everyday on my face,I use witch hazel as a daily toner, and I moisturize everynight with jojoba oil. I use my mayonnaise face mask and tomato/buttermilk face mask everyday.

  2. hey i hv mny problms wid mye skin..1)it is oily,acne prone n veery sensitive to any of the products i need to use..i tryed out garnier face wash which was for exfloiating skin there is no improvement in my skin..i also tryed benzac ac cream bt it became sensitive muc mre..nw i hve stoped every thing than jus a face wash..plz do reply n hlp i need advice n suggestion as well as i wnt to try the last tym serum plz tel me wer wud i get it ..n wat wud be the cost…regards pooja

  3. Hello, Im a 38 year old female and I have oily skin. Im trying to fight the beginning signs of aging so I started using a serum and a moisterizer. However it just feels really heavy on my face. I dont have the funds to go out and try all the different brands out there. Do you have any suggestions for me? Spf is really important to me also.

    Thank you,
    Shelby Crocker