With all the face serums out there, it can be hard to choose. Maybe it’s hyaluronic acid you’re after, or perhaps the latest iteration of a vitamin C serum—either way, it feels like there are constantly new serums popping up along with reasoning why you should try the latest and greatest.
With seemingly unlimited options, we captured the 3 most important questions that will help you separate a supreme quality serum from the rest of the pack.
1. What does the ingredient label look like?
Is “water”, or the fancier, “aqua” the first ingredient on your serum’s label? Ingredients are typically listed from highest concentration to lowest, so this could mean that water makes up the majority of the formula. In fact, most beauty products can contain a staggering 70-80% water in their formula. What’s more is that water can create an overgrowth of certain bacteria and requires chemical preservatives and stabilizers to keep a formula fresh. So, after 70-80% water, and perhaps 10% chemical preservatives, you’re only left about 10% of the formula containing the actives you wanted in the first place. While shocking, this has traditionally been the rule with beauty products, not the exception.
What to look for:
Look for an ingredient label that leads with concentrated actives. Better yet, search for a serum that contains exclusively active ingredients. Our Shield Face Serum is 100% active, waterless, and contains no chemical preservatives that could disrupt your skin’s environment.
2. Are the ingredients whole or isolated?
There is a major difference between putting a whole-ingredient extract of something like amaranth oil on your skin versus an isolated constituent like squalene. Amaranth is one of nature’s highest sources of plant-derived squalene, but also contains a rich matrix of stabilizing fatty acids. Your skin recognizes this form of squalene; in a natural form like this, it simply speaks your skin’s language. Once isolated, your skin has a harder time recognizing it which decreases the compatibility, efficacy, and stability of a nutrient.
What to look for:
Again, take a peek at the ingredient label. Does it contain constituents (examples: vitamin C, squalene, ascorbic acid) or does it contain whole-ingredient extracts (examples: rosehip oil, amaranth oil, etc.)? Choose a serum that focuses on whole ingredients for the best result. Our Awaken Eye Serum contains amaranth with 7% naturally-occurring squalene content.
3. How were the ingredients extracted?
Even if your serum contains whole, organic, and/or vegan ingredients, the extraction method used to prep the ingredient for use could make or break the formula. Some extraction methods can subject ingredients to nutrient-damaging temperatures, introduce harsh solvents, or introduce water to a formula—all of which lessen the efficacy, stability, and compatibility of a serum.
What to look for:
One of the best extraction methods for a plant-based serum is volcanic CO2 extraction. It’s a supremely gentle process that places volcanic-derived carbon dioxide under high pressure, nutrient-retaining temperatures in a closed-loop system. The CO2 takes the form of a liquid gas and acts as a solvent, separating extract from plant. Once pressure is released, the CO2 evaporates from the extract (while remaining in the closed-loop system) to yield an elegantly pure nutrient and scent profile. We use volcanic CO2 extraction for both Shield Face Serum and Awaken Eye Serum, which delivers waterless formulas free of solvents and chemical preservatives.
You’ll be surprised how quickly this list of questions narrows your search. For a face serum that checks all the boxes, shop Shield Face Serum.
Written By Dina Chouramanis