When to use what, plus how to layer your serums.
By Elsa de Berker, she/her
Seasons are a fickle thing. Some of us have them, and some of us don’t. But whether you’re a four-season aficionado, or dedicated to life in the tropics, that doesn’t mean your skincare regimen should stay the same all year round.
“If you live in a climate where you have noticeable weather changes your routine will look different from someone in Los Angeles where there are no big fluctuations in environment,” explains Youth To The People’s Senior Director of Product Development + Education, Laura Cline. “It’s more about listening to what your skin needs on a daily basis—which might mean more moisture because of low humidity and being exposed to lots of wind one day, to more vitamin C because of sustained sun exposure the next.”
Whatever the case, the quickest way to answer your skin’s call for an increase of nutrients is by incorporating a serum (or two) into your routine:
“Serums are formulated to have really effective delivery systems, penetrating deeper and more quickly into the skin for immediate relief, and results,” says Cline. “You’ll also notice that using them will make your moisturizers absorb and perform better. It’s like priming a canvas before starting a painting…without the right prep, the paint won’t have the right texture and the finished piece won’t stand the test of time.”
The surplus benefits of serums as a skincare category are manifold, but not all formulas are created equal—and some don’t play nicely together due to the inclusion of synthetic polymers, like silicone and dimethicone. Others can cause irritation because of too many active ingredients. (You won’t find any of these in Youth To The People products, by the way!)
So, how do you know which serum is right for you?
“At the Youth To The People, we have two amazing and really different serums–our new Triple Peptide + Cactus Oasis Serum, and the 15% Vitamin C + Caffeine Energy Serum–which each excel alone or when used in combination together,” says Cline, adding that because “both are loaded with high-performing ingredients, are pH-balanced, and free from common irritants, you won’t have to worry about pilling or irritation when incorporating them into a multi-step routine.”
If you’re in the mood to throw on something deeply hydrating, she suggests reaching for the Triple Peptide + Cactus Oasis Serum, which can be used twice a day if you’re battling insanely frigid temperatures and experiencing common cold weather maladies like dry patches, flakiness, or chapping.
Headed for a winter escape or born and raised in Miami? Don’t forget to reach for the 15% Vitamin C + Caffeine Energy Serum before your sunscreen every morning. Wielding a slew of powerhouse antioxidants, it helps improve visible signs of aging and hyperpigmentation in tandem with helping to protect skin from sun damage (when layered under SPF 30 or higher).
Go ahead, satisfy your inner maximalist and use the two formulas together for turbo effects:
“Both serums provide instant hydration and firming benefits, but do so by using different ingredients which in turn have visibly different immediate short- and long-term results,” says Cline. “For example, the peptides (formulated within the Oasis Serum) are known to support collagen and elastin production by providing an immediate rush of hydration and a nice, bouncy texture, and the squalane (formulated within the Energy Serum) is famous for its ability to lock in moisture. Just be sure to layer the Oasis Serum first.”
As with most switches to your day-to-day regimen, it pays to stick with any new product for at least one full cell turnover cycle, which typically lands around 30 days for most adults, says Cline.
“Despite the immediacy of benefits from serums, if you’re new to the category or looking to achieve a specific skincare goal, we always recommend waiting a full month to witness how your skin is reacting. That way, you can dial things up or down, depending on what it’s telling you.”
Written by Elsa de Berker for Youth To The People