First serums

First serums

Keina Yuan 
K-Beauty Editor

First serums are quite a controversial topic. They’re not quite toners, yet they have similar properties… and they’re not quite an essence either, and again they have a few overlapping qualities…

“So, what are they?”

To put it simply, a first serum is just a booster. You are supposed to apply them before toner, and they help to boost the effects of the rest of your skincare.

Yes, some do balance the pH of your skin, and they do contain a decent amount of active ingredients… so why aren’t they toners? Basically, they contain a much higher concentration of active ingredients and have smaller molecules than a toner. 

“But then aren’t they just essences?”

Well……. Not exactly. Again, they contain a slightly higher concentration of active ingredients which are aimed at ‘boosting’ or ‘enhancing’ the rest of your skincare by allowing your skin to basically become a sponge. Although both toners and essences to a similar thing, because the molecules are so much smaller in size, first serums penetrate the very depths of our skin’s layers and allow the rest of our skincare products to just skink right in. 

Now enough of the chit chat, here are some of our recommendations. 

SKINFOOD’s Black Sugar Perfect First Serum The Essential and Black Sugar Perfect First Serum The Mild

These are both quite a unique. Skin food came out with two products, the ‘Black Sugar Perfect First Serum The Essential’ and the ‘Black Sugar Perfect First Serum The Mild’ to cater for a larger spectrum of skin types.

But first, we’ll start off with ‘The Essential’ one. 

It contains 30% black sugar extract, niacinamide, galactomyces ferment filtrate, refined rice wine, and AHA+BHAs. 

Black sugar is a natural humectant, meaning it draws hydration to the skin, while the glycolic and salicylic acid help to gently exfoliate the build up of dead skin cells and oils. 

Infused with fruit juice extracts; apple, orange, lemon and papaya, it is rich in nutrients and vitamins to improve the skin’s complexion, vitality, and radiance. The low concentration of these slightly active ingredients allow them all to be in one product. Plus, these guys are the ones helping to boost your other products. 

It also contains Witch Hazel and alcohol denat, which are both forms of astringents. So, they aid in oil control. Plus, it also contains fragrances! Hence, the Black Sugar Perfect First Serum The Essential is more suitable for combination to oily skin types who don’t have sensitive skin.

SKINFOOD’S Black Sugar Perfect First Serum The Mild

And on to number 2!

This first serum, unlike ‘The Essential’ is formulated without fragrances and alcohol for sensitive skin types. 

It is made of 20% black sugar extract, fig extract, galactomyces ferment filtrate, and rice wine extract.

Similarly, ‘The Mild’ also contains a wide variety of fruit extracts; fig, lemon, apple, orange, and papaya, which again are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and enzymes. They work together to nourish the skin and break down the glue which hold dead skin cells together. This allows for more plum, and radiant skin.

And one last point… ‘The Mild’ doesn’t contain any chemical exfoliants other than the enzymes from the fruit extracts. This makes it much more suitable for sensitive skin and drier skin types.

The Therapy’s First Serum

This particular product has antiaging, nourishing and hydrating effects. Containing various essential oils, sea water, and honey extract, ‘The Therapy’s First Serum’ in able to deeply hydrate and deliver nutrients to the deeper layers of the skin. 

It also contains Adenosine and Oat Meal extract. These are the ingredients which aid in the ‘anti-aging’ process. 

However, because this product contains Alcohol Denat, I wouldn’t say it is quite suitable for sensitive skin types. For those with dry skin, but aren’t too sensitive, this product will still be okay for you. 

For combination to oily skin, this particular product may be a bit ‘too much’ for your skin. Because it contains avocado oil, and honey extract, it may be a bit too occlusive for your skin in the summer. Instead, if you want a little boost for your skin care, opt for winter use!

Finally, The Therapy is quite particular with the way they produce their products. Instead of chucking all the ingredients in at once, they add them in slowly, one by one so that the ingredients stabilise into natural polymers which are much better at delivering nutrients to the deeper layers of our skin!

The Therapy’s First Serum

Sulwhasoo’s First Care Activating Serum EX

This best-selling product enhances the effects of the rest of your skincare and is formulated with the JAUM Balancing Complex, a powerful brew of 5 traditional Korean herbs.

This glorious product increases your skin’s resilience, elasticity and vitality while deeply nourishing and clarifying your skin for a healthier, more radiant complexion. 

The innovative PREXtract ProcessTM that Sulwhasoo uses to produce their products allows for the further enhancement of the ingredients they use in the product itself, as well as it’s ability to balance our skin. 

This product is suitable for all skin types, and in particular mature skin, as it is rich in nutrients and hydrants. It absorbs extremely quickly and leaves the skin moist, nourished supple!

Sulwhasoo’s First Care Activating Serum EX

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