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How to add a serum into your skincare routine

How to add a serum into your skincare routine
Hannah Pourhady
Writer and expert1 month ago
View Hannah Pourhady's profile

When it comes to skincare, serums have gradually cemented themselves as an essential in any routine. Serums are designed to deliver high concentrations of active ingredients directly to the skin and are a great partner to help complement your other favourite skincare products. But with so many different formulas, it can be challenging to know exactly how and when to use them.  

We called on the skincare experts to tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right serum for you and your regime... 

Identify Your Skin Type 

First thing’s first – let's go back to the basics. Yvie Claireaux, national skincare expert at Lancôme, says: “It really depends on your skin, what your specific concerns are and how your skin is reacting to seasonal changes.” This means that no matter your proficiency in skincare, it’s important to determine what your skin type is to be able to choose the right serum that works for you. 

Dry Skin 

For dry, thirsty skin in need of hydration, try treating your complexion to an ultra-quenching formula – like Kiehl's Ultra Pure 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Plumping High-Potency Serum. Expertly formulated with only seven ingredients and concentrated with 1.5% hyaluronic acid, the potent formula envelops the skin with intense hydration, promoting a visibly plump, more refined appearance. Top up with your favourite moisturiser to complete your evening routine and wake up with fresher, more hydrated-looking skin. 

Combination Skin 

Characterised by having both an oily T-zone, but dry and duller areas at the same time, combination skin concerns can change depending on external factors like weather and humidity. Choosing a serum that suits both needs – like the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum, a multi-tasking serum that targets uneven skin tone and dullness with an advanced formula inspired by microbiome science that protects your skin’s natural barrier to help defend against pollution, cold weather and temperature changes.

For Sensitive Skin 

Sensitive complexions tend to be more prone to redness and irritation, and often need gentler, soothing formulas that help to calm and comfort while hydrating the skin. The Lancôme Advanced Genifique Sensitive Serum is a great option for sensitive-prone areas. It is inspired by microbiome science and specially formulated to work as a soothing serum, enriched with ferulic acid and vitamin E that are separated until first use to maintain their potency. Once combined, the lightweight texture works to relieve the look and feel of stressed and sensitive skin, supporting a calmer, healthy-looking visage. 

Oily Skin 

If you’re prone to excess shine, Kiehl's Ultra Pure 5.0% Niacinamide Oil-Minimising High-Potency Serum  may be a good choice to suit your oily skin type. Powered by 5% niacinamide, this serum features a concentrated formula that works to minimise the look of excess oils on the skin. The potent ingredients help to improve the look of a lacklustre complexion while reducing the appearance of enlarged pores and textural irregularities. A serum that absorbs quickly, it’s perfect for prepping your skin for the following steps in your routine.

Choose Your Ingredients Wisely 

As well as understanding your skin type, it's important to tailor your serum to your personal skin concerns when choosing your next formula. To help, it’s important to understand the key functions and benefits of popular skincare ingredients – as what works for one person might not necessarily work for you. 

We’ve rounded up our favourite ingredients that are suitable for most skin types: 

Hyaluronic Acid 

If your skin is on the dryer, flakier side and you’re looking for a hardworking hydrator, hyaluronic acid is most people’s first point of call. Although it’s easy to associate the word ‘acid’ with something harsh and abrasive, Yvie explains that it’s actually naturally produced in our cells “It helps to keep our skin looking hydrated and plump. It works by helping to hold water in the skin, giving you a healthy, hydrated, and radiant glow. I like to use Lancôme Advanced Genifique Serum all year round to keep my skin looking healthy and at its best.” says Yvie. 


With skin that is prone to dark spots and pigmentation, you may want to choose brightening ingredients - like niacinamide. A form of vitamin B3, niacinamide acts as an antioxidant that can help to improve dark spots. Yvie’s favourite formula? “Renergie HCF Triple serum is our anti-ageing champion. It contains hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, niacinamide and ferulic acid, which is a powerful antioxidant which helps to neutralise free radicals that can accelerate skin ageing.”


Dubbed as the ultimate anti-ageing ingredient, retinol is a form of vitamin A. It works to regulate sebum production and minimise the appearance of blemishes and pigmentation while also boosting the production of collagen to plump and improve skin’s elasticity. With skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, a retinol-potent serum can help to stimulate cell turnover. Use overnight to promote a renewed and rejuvenated complexion.  


Struggle with dryness or sensitivity? Including glycerin-infused serums in your routine can help to improve your skin barrier function and deliver a dose of hydration to the outer layer of your complexion. The ingredient acts as a humectant which allows the skin to retain moisture and leave a plumper-looking, more youthful appearance. Choosing a concentrated formula like the Kiehl's Vital Skin-Strengthening Super Serum is perfect to add an intense boost of moisture, working alongside other active ingredients to drench your skin with nourishment. 

When should I be applying serum? 

If you’re not sure where your new serum should fit into your skincare routine, a cleansed face is the best base to apply your serum, before then applying your moisturiser on top. You should apply your serum during both your AM and PM routine, depending on the product instructions. 

What is Yvie’s top 5 tips for beginners using serum? 

  1. “Choose a serum that is good for all skin types, that is really light and freshly absorbs into the skin – Lancôme Advanced Genifique is a great option for someone new to serums. It’s a staple in my skincare routine and is great under makeup.”
  2. “Use a small amount first. It is easier to add more product than it is to take away until you get used to how much is best to use for your skin.”
  3. “It’s better to press any excess serum into the skin rather than massaging it in.”
  4. “To apply, use long, gliding strokes. Spread the serum evenly across your forehead, cheeks, chin and even down to the neck/décolleté.”
  5. “Leave for about a minute until it’s absorbed completely before applying your day or night moisturiser.”

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Hannah Pourhady
Writer and expert
View Hannah Pourhady's profile
Coming from a large family of mainly women has made me passionate about all things beauty; from routines passed down from my grandmother, to trying the latest products and trends. Starting over 7 years ago when I was an MUA at MAC Cosmetics, my love for makeup has now evolved into making sure my skincare creates the perfect canvas for any look. I love anything that can make my skin feel fresh & bright while accentuating my features – Bobbi Brown's Face Base is my favourite at the moment! My makeup sits so beautifully on top and make my skin feel so fresh and hydrated!