In beauty blogs, cosmetic centers, and any woman’s toiletry bag, facial serums are here to stay as an essential part of our skin care routine.
It is the time of this wonderful product, however the information about what they are and how they are formulated causes a lot of confusion, mainly because there is very little consistency in the way that different brands describe them.
Think of them as a very powerful smartphone, but exceptionally light. The best ones follow that concept: they contain high concentrations of proven anti-aging ingredients, especially antioxidants; but they are characterized by their ultralight and fluid texture.
This unique combination makes them the perfect addition to our skincare routine. Through its use, you can intensify the strength of the regimen or enhance the ingredients that are being applied to the skin, to provide a more comprehensive approach to the problems we want to treat.
Are you wondering which is the best anti-aging facial serum for you? To find out there is nothing better than analyzing your INCI (list of ingredients), because it is the only thing that does not lie.
In this article I will analyze the ingredients of the most popular and most used by users. The first two are within the article, but the others I will analyze separately, so that it does not become too long and extensive; although I will give you a brief summary as well.
And once the analysis is finished, you can read more information about this product, how to use them, the ingredients that should and shouldn’t be included, how to read an INCI, etc. All this designed so that you can choose the best product for your needs.
And without further delay we go with the analysis.
Top 10 Anti-Aging and Facial Serums
- Nezeni Cosmetics Intensive Antiage Serum
- Premier Cru Serum from Caudalíe
- Filorga Ultralifting Lift Designer Serum
- Anti-Wrinkle Perfectionist CP + R Firmness Lifting Serum by Estée Lauder
- Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Serum
- Lancaster Youth Renewal 365 Skin Repair Serum
- Restorative Serum by Noray Cosmetics
- Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Serum
- Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrated Anti-Aging Serum
- Clarins Mission Perfection Serum
Nezeni Cosmetics Intensive Antiage Serum – The best anti-wrinkle facial serum
Nezeni Cosmetics Botox Effect Serum is chosen as the best for many reasons.
After having tried it for a few weeks, its tightening effects are visible, so the result cannot be better.
I like its airless container, made of methacrylate, 50 ml and with a dispenser, so that we do not have to insert the finger (and thus contaminate the product) every time we use it.
This product goes a long way, as you only have to use a few drops to get the desired results. So, although it is not the cheapest on the market, we are going to extend it a lot.
When applied, it diffuses very well, and it is not greasy or sticky like other formulas.
What will it do for our skin? It is a global anti-aging product that acts by relaxing the micro-contractions of the expression areas, thus reducing the amount, depth and extension of wrinkles in these areas that are so problematic for everyone.
It also has a very hydrating ingredient, so even if it is not a hydrating serum itself, it will improve the appearance of dry and rough skin.
Another reason why I have chosen it is precisely because of its list of ingredients. As I always say, the higher the proportion of active ingredients in a formula, the better; and it seems that the brand also has this maxim.
From what I have been able to analyze, all their products have few ingredients, but these are of the highest quality, and in particular the active ingredients are always in the first positions.
And if not, we have a sample button, the INCI:
- Ecocert Certified Propanediol : It is a high performance alternative to petroleum based glycols and glycerin in cosmetic and personal care formulations where the level of product purity, low irritation and excellent moisturizing properties are beneficial.
- Pentylene Glycol : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract: Quinoa seed extract (Cobiolift), a completely natural star active ingredient that manages to reduce existing wrinkles by up to 47%.
- Ascorbyl Glucoside : Analyzed in the anti-wrinkle cream Vita Lift 5 from L’Oreal Men Expert .
- Sodium Hyaluronate : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Arginine : Tested in Shiseido Men Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate : Tested in Endocare’s Cellage Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Ammonium Lactate : Analyzed in ROC Anti-Cellulite Cream
- 1-2 Hexanediol: Analyzed in Mercadona’s Sisbela eye contour .
- Caprylyl Glycol: Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Phenoxyethanol : Tested in Clarins Men Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Sodium Carrageenan: Tested in Biotherm Homme Age Fitness Advanced wrinkle cream as Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan).
- Ethylhexylglycerin: Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Sea salt: Healing sea salt has excellent healing properties to help relieve dry, itchy skin such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis. The trace minerals in sea salt facilitate the healing of inflamed skin by opening the pores, improving circulation and hydrating the tissues making the skin softer and more supple.
As a good serum, it has a high proportion of active principles that facilitate penetration into our skin, reaching the deepest layers.
The Cobiolift is the main ingredient, a natural ingredient that has a similar effect of Botox, but without the side effects produced by the latter. It is the most studied ingredient of the five ingredients that are truly anti-wrinkle, and has been shown to plump up existing wrinkles by up to 47%, 17% more than its previous argireline-containing product.
You will also have been able to verify that it has very few preservatives, so it expires closed after two years.
I use this product in combination with the wrinkle cream from the same range to get the best results, and this is something that leaves me more at ease regarding the cocktail effect.
I have already explained in other articles that many ingredients (such as preservatives, ceramides, PEGs or silicones) have a small concentration of chemicals that are harmful to our body.
But being in such a low proportion, the organisms that are in charge of regulating cosmetics do not consider them a danger, because they regulate each product individually.
The problem comes when in our skincare routine, we start to apply one product after another (cleanser, toner, serum, oils, creams, sunscreen, make-up remover, makeup, etc.).
This is when a cocktail or combination effect occurs, with all those tiny concentrations of harmful chemicals building up over months, years, and decades.
And this build-up can lead to skin problems over time, if not worse.
Well, the Nezeni brand is very aware of this effect, and its anti-aging treatment pack (serum, cream and eye contour) + face sunscreen SPF50 + is specially formulated so as not to represent any problem in the future, avoiding the combined effect.
By analyzing all its ingredients, I have no doubt that it is the best on the market right now, with high-quality and effective ingredients that work to smooth wrinkles and hydrate the skin.
Although it should always be used with a broad spectrum sunscreen on top, since the main factor of aging is the sun, and prevention is better than cure.
The Nezeni Cosmetics Botox Effect Serum is my chosen facial and anti-aging serum, which you can now buy on the Nezeni website from here .
And if you want to enhance the effects of it, nothing better than doing it from within with a hyaluronic acid supplement . But not just any one, Nezeni’s Anti-aging capsules also include a combination of Coenzyme Q10, Resveratrol and Astaxanthin , three powerful antioxidants that prevent the oxidative process, and therefore, preserve the youth of the skin.
You can buy Nezeni Cosmetics Anti-aging capsules on the Nezeni website, either alone or in an anti-aging pack from here .
Premier Cru Serum, Caudalíe
Not only is it a facial serum, it is an anti-aging treatment that aims to firm the skin and rid it of marked wrinkles and blemishes.
Thanks to its patented Vinergy complex, it revitalizes and energizes the skin to blur the signs of aging, so a priori it looks good.
In addition, it enhances the effectiveness of the other treatments that are put on top.
But we are going to analyze the INCI to see if it really has the right ingredients to act as an anti-aging product.
- Glycerin : Tested in Clarins Men Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Niacinamide : Tested in Olay Eyes Ultimate Contour .
- Methylpropanediol : It is an organic glycol that works as a solvent in beauty and cosmetic products. It can improve the penetration of ingredients (such as salicylic acid) into the skin. Methylpropanediol is considered a safe ingredient and has no side effects. However, any ingredient that facilitates skin penetration must be used carefully, because it could increase the likelihood that other dangerous chemicals will easily enter the body.
- Betaine : Analyzed in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Ribose : Ribose is a pentose sugar that is found naturally in all living cells. It is the only known cosmetic ingredient used by skin cells to control the restoration of energy. Its action on cellular metabolism restores energy to the skin for a global anti-aging action and gives new energy to tired skin. The energizing action of ribose on fibroblasts stimulates the synthesis of all structuring proteins, limits the degradation of skin tissues and prevents the appearance of wrinkles.
- Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid : Analyzed in the L’Oreal Revitalift Laser X3 contour .
- Paeonia Lactiflora Root Extract : Tested in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Sodium Hyaluronate : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Palmitoyl Grape Seed Extract : Analyzed in Flow’s Premier Cru contour .
- Palmitoyl Grapevine Shoot Extract : Analyzed in Flow’s Premier Cru contour .
- Caprylyl Glycol : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Carbomer : Analyzed in Nezeni Cosmetics anti-wrinkle cream .
- Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 : A synthetic polymer that works by protecting the skin’s surface, thickening products, and helping to keep cosmetic formulas stable. It can also help to clarify and improve the texture of the product.
- Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil : Tested in Shiseido Men’s Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
- Tocopherol : Tested in Clarins Men Anti-Wrinkle Cream as Tocopherol Acetate.
- Hydroxyethyl Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer : Analyzed in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Phenylpropanol : Phenylpropanol is a bioidentical material, comparable to compounds found in flowers and berries. It has antimicrobial properties and is often combined with methylisothiazolinone for use as a broad spectrum preservative.
- Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta-Glucan : Analyzed in Caudalíe’s Premier Cru contour .
- Sorbitan Isostearate : This ingredient is a surfactant made up of sorbitol and isostearate acid, a fatty acid.
- Parfum (Fragrance) .
- Sodium Phytate : Analyzed in the Premier Cru de Caudalíe contour .
- Sodium Hydroxide : Analyzed in Fiori di Cipria’s anti-wrinkle cream for men .
- Geraniol : Analyzed in Decléor’s Harmonie Calm contour .
- Linalool : Tested in Clarins Men Anti-Wrinkle Cream .
Without a doubt, the ingredients speak for themselves, and when they are good, they speak well of the cream and the brand. All the Caudalíe products that we have analyzed have not disappointed us, and this one in particular is no exception.
Few ingredients, and with a good amount of active ingredients in the first positions. Depigmenting, anti-irritant, energizing ingredients, as well as hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and vitamin E, in good proportions.
I can only complain about one irritant and one sensitizing ingredient at the bottom of the list. And the price, that close to € 100 for 30 ml is prohibitive for many pockets.
Therefore, this is a very good serum, for those who can afford it.
Ultralifting Lift Designer Serum, Filorga
Long and exhaustive, the INCI of the Filorga product is a cluster of ingredients among which all the active principles are lost, and their effect does not have the same potency as in a higher proportion.
Being a high-end cosmetic, it has very good active ingredients (tensors, hyaluronic acid, collagen, vitamins, etc.), but also some ingredients that I don’t like at all, like silicones, irritants or toxic ingredients.
It really disappoints a bit, because I expected more from this brand.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Filorga Ultralifting Lift Designer Serum, Analysis and Alternative .
Lifting Firmness Anti-Wrinkle Serum Perfectionist CP + R, Estée Lauder
Estée Lauder’s is a want, but it didn’t come. Although it contains a wide variety of active ingredients that are really effective in solving the problems of aging, these are in very low proportions, masked behind other not recommended ingredients.
Many chemical ingredients and little proportion of active ingredients. In addition to many silicones, there are sensitizing, irritating, and toxic ingredients. And beware of celiacs and those allergic to soy, as it has several sources of gluten and soy.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Perfectionist CP + R Anti-Wrinkle Firmness Lifting Serum by Estée Lauder, Analysis and Alternative .
Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Serum, Olay
Although Olay is a very popular brand, especially in anti-wrinkle cosmetics, its INCI does not show us that it offers the results it promises.
Very few active ingredients: two depigmenting agents, vitamin C and E, three of them in low proportions and many silicones, which offer an immediate but not long-lasting result.
Add to that a few irritating ingredients, various preservatives, and two toxic ingredients. So no, I would not endorse or recommend this product.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Regenerist Luminous de Olay tone perfecting serum, Analysis and Alternative .
Serum Youth Renewal 365 Skin Repair, Lancaster
This is a good example of why you should always look at the ingredients of a cosmetic before buying it, and not just look at the brand or the packaging.
Silicones are the occupants of the first 5 positions, so the effect that we are going to notice will be only momentary.
Although several active principles can be seen below, they are in a very low proportion. And you also have to have other irritating, sensitizing or toxic components, which I certainly don’t want to put on my face.
In my case I try to look for cosmetics that have less harmful and irritating ingredients, and this does not meet my standards.
You can enter the full technical analysis in the following article: Lancaster Youth Renewal 365 Skin Repair Serum, Analysis and Alternative .
Restorative Serum, Noray Cosmetics
We are talking about a Spanish brand, not very well known yet, which is defined as a 100% natural brand, without toxins. However, analyzing the ingredients I have found at least a couple of harmful preservatives.
If I’m honest, I’m not very funny. Apart from collagen, squalene, and Vitamin C (which we find after the first 10 ingredients); the other ingredients are preservatives and do not add anything to our skin.
In addition, to be specially designed for sensitive skin, it has several fragrances and an alcohol (known irritants).
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Noray Cosméticos restorative serum, Analysis and Alternative .
Serum Midnight Recovery Concentrate, Kiehl’s
This night serum contains 13 natural ingredients that, together with squalene and vitamin E, can repair and prevent sun damage, soothe the skin and blur wrinkles.
The downside is that for my taste it has many fragrances, and some of them are sensitizing, so sensitive skin could have a problem.
For the rest, it is highly recommended, that it does not have ingredients that are harmful to our skin and health, nor ingredients that only mask the results.
You can enter the full technical analysis in the following article: Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Serum, Analysis and Alternative .
Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Concentrated Anti-Aging Serum, Lancôme
Although Lancôme is a reputed brand in the world of cosmetics, and known worldwide, this is a product that leaves much to be desired.
Not because of its active principles, which in this case are good (antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C) and are relatively in a good proportion; if not for other ingredients it also contains.
You can see it in more detail in the summary of the analysis, but I have found silicones, alcohols, PEGs, sensitizing ingredients and two toxic ones.
So I prefer not to risk it, my skin and my health deserve much more. Now you know what it is made of. It’s up to you.
You can enter the complete technical analysis in the following article: Advanced Génifique de Lancôme Youth Activating Concentrated Anti-Aging Serum, Analysis and Alternative .
Mission Perfection Serum, Clarins
Due to its aesthetics and brand, it may seem like a high-end product, but if we analyze its ingredients, it happens a bit like the previous product; The reputation of the brand throws more than the quality of the ingredients.
The active ingredients are at the bottom of the list, in a very low proportion, and really from the first 5-6 ingredients, we get nothing more than emollients.
So far it could be worth it, but it also has several irritating and harmful ingredients, in addition to silicones that only offer a momentary solution.
Now I am looking for something more natural, that does not create long-term health problems.
You can enter the full technical analysis in the following article: Clarins Mission Perfection Serum, Analysis and Alternative .
Benefits of serums
Many immediately think of “anti-aging” when mentioning the facial serum, but there are many different benefits that facial serum can offer, varying depending on the formula you choose.
Depending on the formula, you can: brighten, hydrate, smooth, minimize pores, firm, treat fine lines and wrinkles, fight acne, prevent the formation of new blemishes, fight the signs of premature aging, protect the skin against irritation and pollution, calm, strengthen the natural barrier of the skin, lighten it, or fight against free radicals.
Its benefits are almost inexhaustible, but do you know how to use it correctly?
How to use a facial serum?
They are one of the most confusing beauty products. Many people don’t know why they should use them, when they should use them, or how to apply them.
I have heard many people say that this product is a waste of time, and the truth is that if applied incorrectly, it is. But when used correctly, it is a great addition to your daily skincare routine.
A general rule of thumb when applying skin care products is to apply from the thinnest to the thickest consistency.
So serums are the first products to be applied to the skin, after cleansing and toning it. Then there would be the oil, the gel and finally the creams, always applying the sun protection last.
And be sure to allow a few minutes between each application for the products to absorb properly.
They are highly concentrated in active ingredients and, when applied first, all the active ingredients can better penetrate the skin.
These active ingredients in high proportions are the reason why they are more expensive than normal creams or moisturizers.
Another thing to remember is that not all of them work with all creams or moisturizers. If you are not sure, use products of the same brand.
Facial serums should be applied twice a day, in the morning, and at night (unless the product recommends otherwise).
When applying it, read the recommendations on the container well.
Many people apply too much, and then complain that it is not absorbed. Being so concentrated, it only takes a few drops for it to take effect.
As I mentioned before, the precise application of the serum is vital for it to be effective. Here are some tips to get the best results:
- The active ingredients stick to dirt and dead skin, so for maximum absorption, be sure to wash your face properly before applying.
- These same active ingredients penetrate best when skin is clean and slightly damp and warmed, so after cleansing thoroughly, apply a warm, damp towel to gently open pores and leave skin slightly damp .
- Apply small drops all over the face and then blend them gently with one or two fingers (to avoid wasting the product on the hands)
- While the serum is still wet, massage the area well for half a minute, tapping with your fingers. Don’t stretch or rub the skin. This massage allows the product to penetrate the deeper layers.
- If you feel a slight tingling sensation when applying, don’t worry. Tingling can be a sign that active ingredients (such as vitamin C and retinol) are reaching the dermis, where they need to be.
- Only when it is completely dry, about 3 minutes, can the other products be applied.
Facial serums focus on individual skin concerns or issues, rather than skin type. This means that the same person can use several different types at the same time.
That said, you should always check if the product is compatible or suitable for your skin type, especially if it is sensitive.
When to start using serums?
Although anti-aging agents have long been marketed to women in their 30s and older, adding one to your routine starting in your 20s could make a big difference later on.
The use of serums loaded with active ingredients before you start to see signs of aging and environmental aggressions, means that you are on the right track to achieve (and maintain) the beautiful skin you want now and in the long term.
Keep in mind that just as the body never gets used to eating healthy foods, the skin doesn’t get used to good ingredients either. The skin yearns for and needs generous amounts of the beneficial ingredients listed below, because they help skin stay healthy and youthful.
Using it now doesn’t mean that it won’t work when you really need it, but rather that it will work for you every day of your life.
Ingredients that facial serums should have
When looking for one, don’t look for pretty packaging or pleasant smells; some of the best have plain packaging and a dull smell. Besides not adding anything beneficial, they can even make absorption difficult.
Rather look at the ingredient list. An effective one is loaded with active ingredients specifically designed to treat specific skin problems.
If your target is wrinkles and other signs of aging, serums that contain growth factors or peptides are ideal, and they are also mild.
Peptides are small proteins that promote collagen production. Some peptides even have the same effect as Botox, preventing the formation of wrinkles.
Specifically, Argireline, which is found in Nezeni Cosmetics facial serum, is based on a study by the University of Alicante that corroborates its powerful anti-wrinkle action.
Those with less sensitive skin can look for formulas with more varied ingredients, including retinol, antioxidants, vitamin C, and kojic acid.
Retinol increases the amount of collagen the body produces and plumps up the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It also improves skin tone and color and reduces blemishes.
While the antioxidants in vitamin C can increase the amount of collagen and minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.
If you have dry skin, you should go for one with high levels of hydrating proteins, such as hyaluronic acid. Products that contain hyaluronic acid can help smooth the skin. They work especially well when used with vitamin C products.
Whereas if you suffer from breakouts, salicylic acid and / or glycolic acid will do wonders. Salicylic acid penetrates pores and reduces blackheads with less irritation than AHAs. It also exfoliates the skin, which can reduce the signs of aging.
Alternatively, it can help you with any specific skin concerns you may have, such as dullness (vitamin C again) or contamination (in which case, you’ll need a good dose of antioxidants.)
An antioxidant serum could be a good option for daytime use, as it helps protect the skin. And night is the time to repair the damage of the day, and help stimulate collagen, which is why ingredients like retinol, growth factors, and peptides are great.
These treatments should help other skin care products, not replace them. In general, a serum is not designed to hydrate the skin like a moisturizer does, even if it has hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid.
It is important to note that before going outside, it is important to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen. No matter which one you use, prevention is vital in the fight against aging.
How to read the INCI (list of ingredients)
With the endless list of serums and beauty products on the market, learning to recognize a true gem among all the trifles is more important today than ever.
The key is to decipher your ingredient list, a feat that is often easier said than done.
These lists can be very difficult to interpret, with their microscopic text, their long chemical names, and of course the Latin.
After all, the last thing mega-brand manufacturers want is for you to really know what’s in their products.
Stopping to read the INCI of every cosmetic that falls into your hands seems like a daunting task, but it is very important that you do so to understand exactly what you are putting on your skin.
With that in mind, I’ve rounded up my top tips for making you feel like a fish in water from the ingredient lists:
- Ingredients are always listed in proportional order, with the highest amounts at the top of the list. So if there’s an ingredient you don’t like somewhere in the top half, it’s probably best to just leave that product on the shelf.
- Brands that follow the INCI labeling standard must list ingredients using scientific names. For example, jojoba oil would be listed as “Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil”.
- The INCI also requires that the fragrance of essential oils appear on the list as “Fragrance” or “Perfume”, which sound synthetic.
- Of course, you are going to come across indecipherable ingredients, but you can google their name to see what it’s all about. There are several ingredient databases (almost all in English) that tell you what it is used for and its possible adverse effects.
In short, don’t be fooled by brand claims or slogans. Be clear about what you want in your products and do your own research. Your health will benefit from it.
Beware of preservatives
Preservatives are one of the most controversial ingredients. For one thing, if manufacturers didn’t use preservatives, their skincare products would be subject to mold, bacteria, and fungal growth on them, making them harmful to use.
Without preservatives, most cosmetics wouldn’t last a week.
But on the other hand, there are preservatives that can be harmful, and that are included in the formulas because they are in a proportion that “according to official organisms” does not represent any danger to health.
But what happens if we apply cosmetics for 20-30 years with low levels of these harmful ingredients at the cellular level? This is the danger of the famous cocktail effect of cosmetics.
Plus, too much preservatives can lead to allergies, at best. Therefore, we have to try to find products with the least amount of preservatives possible.
We can deduce this mainly by its ingredients, but also by looking for products that expire closed (do not confuse it with the shelf life of the product once it is opened, represented by an open can and a number that indicates the months).
By law, any product that expires when closed before 4 years must indicate it.
By looking at the INCI at a glance we can deduce whether it is very extensive or not. Look for formulas with few ingredients, because if you have many, the cost per ingredient has to be very low, which means that the ingredients are bad or not recommended.
And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I leave you a graph that reveals the 10 largest cosmetic manufacturers that use active hormonal substances; that is, they can cause tumors in hormone-dependent organs, damage to the male and female reproductive system, alterations in the development of the neurological system, metabolic diseases, disorders of the neuroimmune system, etc.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.