Step 6: Serums and Ampoules
The serum and ampoule stage is a place where you get to cocktail your routine, and target specific concerns. Whether you’re looking for a boost in hydration, preventing or improving wrinkles, or fading hyperpigmentation, there is a serum out there for you.
So what are serums and ampoules exactly? They fall in the same category because they often have the same goal. Serums are unique because they have a higher concentration of a certain ingredient. Ampoules are similar, but the concentration of those ingredients are usually even higher. This ingredient varies depending on what your skin concern is. Serums are often thicker than essences as well. They can be used as spot treatments or all over the face. They often come in smaller, glass dropper bottles so that you can precisely use the amount you need. You might also find that they last a decent while, because you only need a little product at a time.
Serums can seem like one of those extra steps that have you thinking, do I really need this? Even if you are someone with flawless skin, I’d still recommend a serum that prevents wrinkles. I hate to break it to you, but wrinkles will come one day. I’m a believer in preventing, and only fixing when necessary. That is the mindset I have when looking for a serum or ampoule.
There are cases where you can use a serum and ampoule in tandem, it just depends on how they are benefiting your skin. It’s always important to check ingredients to make sure you can use them together too. Some serums do contain active ingredients as well, so it’s important to use intense ones (like retinoids or acids) at night, and ALWAYS wear your sunscreen during the day. Yes, even if you’re inside!
It can be hard to figure out what products are serums these days because skincare brands use all kinds of names like, boosters, serums, ampoules, essences, milks, etc. It can get very confusing. Just remember to check what the major ingredients are. A true serum or ampoule will usually indicate the percentage of the concentrated ingredient. When in doubt, consult an esthetician or someone who is knowledgable about skincare.
Now let’s get to my favorite part! Here are the serums and ampoules that have done wonders for my skin:
COSRX X Charlotte Cho, Triple C Lightning Liquid
This collaboration serum has been my holy grail for years now! The Triple C stands for COSRX, Charlotte Cho, and vitamin C. Think, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum, but better. This serum contains 20.5% ascorbic acid (vitamin c) and 72% black chokeberry. The high concentration of vitamin C is effective in brightening hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and brown spots. It evens out and brightens a dull complexion at a very fast rate, and helps with wrinkles. Black chokeberry keeps the skin hydrated and smooth with the very low pH of vitamin C. The formula also contains licorice root extract.
All it takes is a few drops of this serum and it spreads so easily on the face. I think of it as liquid gold. You can definitely smell there is an active ingredient, but it’s not overwhelming at all. Vitamin C CAN’T be mixed with other active ingredients like acids or retinoids, so I tend to use this in the morning and acids at night. It does however play nicely with vitamin E. In fact, vitamin E helps it work better.
I’ve recently added this serum back into my morning routine and my skin is so grateful. Whenever I deviate from vitamin C, I realize how dull my skin starts to look. My hyperpigmentation is starting to fade at an amazing rate again. I believe all skin types can benefit from a serum with vitamin C. I apply a couple of drops to the 4 corners of my face, and quickly massage in as this serum is runny and drips down fast. If you have sensitive skin, you can add a few drops to your moisturizer and work your way up to using it on it’s own. The 1 oz. bottle is plenty as you only need a little bit each time you apply. Always remember to wear sunscreen, especially when using actives like this. I think the price point is spot on for this high quality product. This serum is exclusive to Soko Glam’s website. Highly recommend!
The Ordinary, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
This hyaluronic acid serum is amazing when it comes to giving your skin that boost of plumpness and hydration. Your skin will stay hydrated, because the hyaluronic acid keeps drawing in moisture throughout the day. B5 assists in surface hydration too. The texture is quite thick, but melts into your skin upon contact. There isn’t really a smell either. I take the dropper and apply a single drop to the 4 corners of the face.
I think all skin types can benefit from this serum, even those with oily skin. It brings moisture in at an even rate, helps to prevent wrinkles, and controls oil production. I tend to go through this product quickly because I love the hydration, but it is super affordable so I don’t mind. I purchased this serum from The Ordinary’s website.
Neogen, Real Ferment Micro Serum
Neogen’s Real Ferment Micro Serum stems from it’s predecessing Micro Essence. When combined with the essence, you can truly achieve that next level honey skin you’ve always desired. The serum has 61% fermented ingredients, niacinamide, betula alba juice, green tea extract, adenosine, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica extract, and resveratrol ferment extract. These ingredients contain tons of antioxidants. They are also extremely brightening, hydrating, and calming to the skin.
I loved using this serum! It’s so luxe and feels amazing on the skin. It has a thick, creamy consistency like an emulsion or lotion. There isn’t much of a scent; if anything it smells clean. I did achieve plump, bouncy, honey glow with this serum, especially paired with the matching essence. I think this product is great for all skin types as it’s calming, super hydrating, and balancing. With extended use, I think it would help with wrinkles as well. Simply pump about 2 times onto your fingers, smooth, and pat evenly all over the face.
My only complaint is that there’s only 1 fl. oz. in the pump bottle. I went through it rather quickly and because it was a pump, it was hard to get every last bit out. Like the matching essence, it’s also $38 which I think is very pricey for that amount. It’s clear that you are paying for the quality here. I purchased this serum from Soko Glam, and you can find it on Neogen’s website as well.
The Plant Base, Quesera Ceramide
The Quesera Ceramide is my all time favorite ampoule! As I said before, ampoules are basically the same thing as serums. They just tend to have even more concentrated ingredients. I’ve mentioned this product before in the All Eyes on Rice post, as it contains over 74% rice water, rice protein, and rice bran oil. There are also ceramides, niacinamide, and licorice root extract.
The ampoule works to strengthen the skin barrier, plump and brighten the skin, and heal active or old breakouts. It’s become a huge staple because I experience all these benefits, and it really speeds up my skin cell turnover. The product has a viscous, milky texture that absorbs right into the skin. I find it to be instantly moisturizing, giving my skin that dewy effect. You can definitely smell the licorice root too, but it’s very mild. This ampoule is so efficient that I really notice a difference when I’m not using it.
I just apply 2 to 4 drops to each corner of my face, and gently pat in. My skin drinks this stuff up. It layers nicely on top of the Triple C Lightning serum too. The bottle holds .68 fl. oz. for $25. I always wish there is more product in the bottle because it’s so good! I’m hoping a bigger size will be available in the future. I highly recommend checking this ampoule out. There are 2 other ampoules from the same The Plant Base collection that are just as amazing, but for dry and aging skin. Find them all on Soko Glam.
When you want to get down to improving minute details with your skin, serums and ampoules are definitely the way to go. What are your skin concerns? Have you discovered a serum or ampoule that has shown great results? Let me know. Until next time, drink up!
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