How to: apply serum

Serums confuse a lot of people. They never know why they should use them, when they should use them, or what type to use.

I have heard so many people say that serums are a waste of time, and truth is, if you apply it incorrectly, it is. But when used correctly, serums are a beneficially addition to your skincare routine.

A general rule of thumb when apply skincare products is always thinnest to thickest – the thinner the consistency, the earlier you need to apply it. So basically, apply serums, then oils, then gels and finally creams, always applying sun protection last. Make sure to leave a few minutes between each application for the products to absorb.

Serums are highly concentrated and active; this means that they need to be applied first, to clean skin. This way all the active ingredients can penetrate your skin. These active ingredients are reason why serums are more expensive than regular moisturisers. The high concentrations in the raw materials push the price up.

Another point to remember is that not all serums will work with all moisturisers. If you are unsure, either use serums and moisturisers from the same brand, or check the serum to see if it says that if can be included in your normal beauty routine. This will mean that there are no ingredients that will react with moisturisers.

Always read the instructions. Many people apply far too much serum, and then complain that it doesn’t sink in. A little will go a long way, and rather apply too little and add, rather than having to wipe the excess off.

As I mentioned before, accurate application of serum is vital for its effectiveness. Here are some great tips for getting the results you want:

  1. Active ingredients penetrate better when skin is clean, warmed and slightly moist, so cleanse thoroughly first.
  2. Apply a warm moist towel to your face to gently open pores and leave skin slightly moist.
  3. Apply tiny dots of serum all over your face and then blend lightly and quickly all over.
  4. Use short light but firm strokes to apply your face serum.   Do not stretch, pull or rub the skin.
  5. Whilst the serum is still wet after applying gently tap the surface of your face with your fingers for half a minute.  You can use all your fingers both hands on either side of your face very lightly.  The tapping action encourages the serum to sink fully into the deeper layers of the skin as far as it is able to go.
  6. If you feel any tingling sensations when you apply the serum – don’t worry.  Tingling can be a sign the active ingredients in the serum are getting to the dermis – where they need to be if they are going to work.  Types of serum ingredients where you may see this result include vitamin C and retinoids
  7. Only when your serum is fully dry – touch dry on your face (this should take around 3 minutes) – should you apply your oils, eye cream and moisturizer in a similar manner.  Let that sink in fully before you apply your foundation and normal makeup.

PLEASE NOTE: So many of you have been asking me about Radyance serum – we don’t get it in South Africa, so I’ve never tried it, so I can’t tell you how well it works. But, please, if you are using any type of brightening serum, please wear sun protection on your face every single day, as many of the ingredients in these types of serums make your skin sun sensitive, which can lead to even more uneven skintone.

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285 comments

        1. Hi Rashmi

          You leave it on. If you wash it off, it doesn’t give you any of the benefits.

          Hope this helps?
          Emmy

        1. Hi Prabh

          Where do you live? It’s very difficult to recommend products if you don’t live in South Africa, as I don’t know what products are available where you live.

          Let me know,
          Emmy

      1. Hi there

        Sorry, as I’ve explained to a few other readers, we don’t get Radyance here, so I can’t make any suggestions or recommendations to do with it.

        Sorry I couldn’t be more help,
        Emmy

    1. Hi.. I m 26 only. My face skin is darker compare to my whole body. Iand living in india is southern region . m using now serum of body shop is it ok ? Moreover should I use for being fairer.?

      1. Hi Preeti

        The Body Shop products are great. Just make sure that you apply sun cream to your face every single day.
        The sun makes your skin darker, so prevent further damage by protecting it from the sun.

        Hope his helps,
        Emmy

        1. Can i use bio cos serum with a cream
          I mean can add serum in ponds day cream . Is that mixture harmful or effect please guide me

  1. Hi, can we apply several serums at once, i mean one after another, such as moisturizing serum, brightening, anti aging, vit c, etc? If yes, is there any rule which one should go first? Thanks

    1. Hi DV

      I wouldn’t. Rather use one for one concern in the morning, then apply another at night for a different concern. The reason for this is that each serum will work better by itself, rather than being layered.

      🙂

  2. Hello If Im just staying at home and doing nothing, can I just apply serum and thats it?
    and serum can be wear at both night and day right?

    1. Hi Shizuka

      Yes, of course. As long as your skin doesn’t feel dry without moisturiser, it perfectly ok to just wear serum.

    1. Hi Daphne

      Yes, it can, but it shouldn’t last. If your skin stays shiny, then look at switching to a lighter moisturiser.

      Good luck!

  3. hello! i just bought a serum of oxyglow and its directions vare to apply the serum after applying moisturiser/cream actully my skin is dry and this is first time i am using a serum.so need your advice and can we apply it before make up.

    1. Hi Sandeepta

      I’m not familiar with Oxyglow. Is that the brand name?
      If it is a true serum, it will be applied before moisturiser, but as I don’t know the brand, I can’t really give you any advice.

      Sorry I couldn’t help…

    1. Hi there

      You need to use two different products, as they are two different concerns. Use a range for acne prone skin and use the Pond’s Flawless Radiance Anti-Spot Intensive Even Tone Serum for the pigmentation.

      Good luck!

  4. hi, am applying lakme perfect radiance serum with the day cream moisturiser ( though it asks me to use light creme moisturiser for better result). But after applying i have a burning sensation for few seconds.I am first timer for serum. Is there a problem?

    1. Hi Suriya

      Sorry, I’m not familiar with the brand, so wouldn’t want to comment. Some radiance serums to cause a slight tingling sensation, but it should be burning.

      Good luck!

  5. Hi there,

    I’m 65 and try to look after my skin , I do have wrinkles on my cheeks and around my eyes. Are serums good for me, have used quite a few but not that impressed with the result .

    1. Hi Margaret

      Good quality serums can help, but you have to maintain your skin with a good routine and healthy diet as well.
      Make sure you cleanse, moisturise and apply sun protection as well as using an anti-aging serum.

      Emmy

  6. After the serum is applied and then the moisturizer – what about eye creams? When would I put that on?

    1. Hi Amy

      I put my eye cream on at the same time as my serum, as I like it to absorb well before I apply my make-up. But you can apply it after serum too. It’s up to you – there is no rule to it.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Marie

      As I explained in the post, your serum should go on before your moisturiser. The thinner the texture of the product, the earlier in your routine it should be applied. As for the time of day to apply it, please read the directions on the product, as I’m not familiar with this particular serum.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

  7. Hi,

    I use neutropenia acne treatment and just purchased Ole Henriksen truth serum with 20%vitamin C. What do I use first? The acne treatment or serum? And do you think I can mix these 2 together? Neutropenia works very well with my skin and I don’t want to give up.

    1. Hi Katie

      I personally wouldn’t mix the two, as 20% Vit C is very high, and it MAY react with your acne treatment. I’m not saying it definitely will, but there is a chance.

      Why do you want to use the Ole Henriksen? What skin concern are you wanting to use it for?

      Thanks,
      Emmy

      1. I am starting to see skin pigmentation appearing and with age, it is not as firm as before 🙂
        I am 36 years old.
        I think I will try the ole h. and see how it is.
        Thank you so much for your help!

  8. Hi,
    i have acne spots on my face but it is not visible from far, but it can to noticed from near. and sometimes pimples will get on the same place again and again. so i want clear skin. i would like to purchase “American Swan Smoothing Face Serum”. i am new to SERUM. Pls Help ME… 🙂

    1. Hi Shilps

      Thanks for your message.
      I’m sorry, I’ve never heard of “American Swan Smoothing Face Serum”, so I can’t tell you if it is suitable or not.

      Serums are generally not targeted to problem skin – you need to use a whole range of products developed to treat spots. But this is only if you have very bad skin, which it doesn’t sound like you do.

      Dermalogica has a range called Clear Start for acne prone and problematic skin. Otherwise, look for spot treatments that you can use just on the spots essence, Clarins and Skin Republic all have great options.

      Good luck!

  9. Can i use my regular face cream after application of serum at morning. Or if i use that at nit time how to apply that?i mean only serum is enough?

    1. Hi Vani

      Yes, you can apply your regular face cream after serum in the morning – just give the serum a few minutes to absorb before applying the cream.
      At night you can just apply serum, unless you have very dry skin, then you can apply a night cream over the top of the serum.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  10. Hello 🙂
    Am already 39,can you give me a brand name for the serum and a good moisturizer too..got also an ance spot 🙁
    Thanks

    1. Hi Anna

      What is your skin type? Is it oily all over? And what do you want your skincare to do? Fight wrinkles? Decrease pigmentation? Reduce shine?
      Once I know, I will have a better idea of what to recommend.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  11. I JUST STARTER USING A CVS TIMELESS RENEWAL EYE SERUM BECAUSE OF DARKCIRCLES ON MY EYES AROUND MY EYES. PLEASE CAN I JUST BE USING IT FOR ALL MY FACE AT NIGHT?

    1. Hi Meg

      Why do you want to? Eye serum is pretty expensive, and you don’t have dark circles all over your face. It’s always better to use products on the areas they were designed for.

  12. Hi. Plz can i apply sunscreen afta the serum and den apply the body cream? PLs could explain the procedure for applying these 3 stuffz cos i rili dont knw hw it works

    1. Hi Patricia

      Serum is for your face. So you apply your serum, then day cream and then sunscreen.
      Body cream is only for your body, so it doesn’t matter when you apply it.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

  13. Hi I use a Neutrogena skin brightening serum.
    Is it safe to use that brand even though it gives
    A little burning sensation to the skin. Please reply.

    1. Hi Zara

      I love Neutrogena and it is a reputable brand.

      How long have you been using it? If you’ve only just started using it, rather try and apply it only a few times a week. Then slowly build up the number of times you apply it over a months or so. This way your skin will be able to adjust to the active ingredients in the serum.
      If after a month your skin is still burning, you should look at trying a different serum.

      Good luck,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Prachi

      Sorry, I don’t know the serum you’re talking about.
      But AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) are used for moisturizing and removing dead skin cells, for treating acne and improving the appearance of acne scars, for improving the appearance of photo-aged skin, and firming and smoothing skin.

      If your skin is dealing with the glycol and AHA serum without burning, then it’s fine. But please make sure you wear at least SPF30 everyday – the acids will make your skin sun sensitive.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

  14. I am using a face wash containing 1%glycolic acid. Thereafter I apply O3+aha/bha purifying serum.
    Is it safe to use an aha face wash and a serum altogether?

  15. Hi I am 64 years old. Got some wrinkles and dark spots. I want to use vit c 20% serum but don’t know which one to buy. I already use retinol cream. I am living in s.a. cape town.

    1. Hi Elize

      Sorry for the delayed reply. I needed to research this a bit for you.

      Ok, so if you do use Retinol with Vit C, you have to make sure that you apply them separately (one in the morning, one at night).
      I have asked a few industry pros, and the general consensus is that good quality 20% Vit C is going to set you back an awful lot. SkinCeuticals is the best one we know of, but only contains 15%, not 20%.

      I chatted to my friend Leigh (lipglossismylife) and she asks if you are that concerned about dark spots and wrinkles, would you not consider laser treatment? This will gives you faster, better results for the same amount as 6 months of Vit C serum.

      Let me know your thoughts,
      Emmy

  16. Hi I ve jus started using lotus serum.. Pls let me know whether it is a good one.. And also m using sunscreen after serum and night cream of the same brand.. Can I apply serum in the night as wel before applying night cream?

    1. HI Pavi

      Sorry, I don’t know that Lotus brand. Where is it from?
      Why are you using sunscreen after your night cream?
      Yes, you can apply serum before your night cream – there is a step-by-step guide in the post above.

      Emmy

    1. Hi Shuhaida

      As I explain in the post, a general rule of thumb when apply skincare products is always thinnest to thickest – the thinner the consistency, the earlier you need to apply it.
      So, a toner is actually part of your cleansing routine, so apply that after you’ve washed your face. Then serum, then moisturiser.

      Hope that makes it clearer?

  17. Hi,

    I am 23 yr and i never use serum bt i want to use it bt i am confused which and how to use it. Do i leave it overnight.

    1. Hi Jyotsna

      Yes, you leave it on. Read the post above – it explains how and when to apply serum.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  18. Pls suggest me gud serum. I am having dry skin n light pigmentation on my cheeks n eye brows which gives glow to my skin too moistures my skin

    1. Hi Padmaja

      Sure. How much are you wanting to spend? It will give me a better idea of what to suggest.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  19. Hi , i have normal to oily skin, m 28 yrs old mother, M using vitchy normaderma anti imperfection cream day time, so upon that can I apply radyance serum day time and only serum at night or should I use any moisturizer and then serum. I will not have fairer looking skin at all whichever cream I apply so plz help me out which brand cream can I prefer to look fairer as well.

    1. Hi Khushi

      You always apply serum UNDER moisturiser. So apply serum and then apply cream or lotion over the top.
      Bleaching products are illegal in SA, so you won’t find any legal product that lightens your skin. If you are concerned with dark marks caused by the sun, then you need to look for a pigmentation treatment. Avene (available at Clicks) has a product called D-Pigment that can help with pigmentation.
      Garnier and Neutrogena also have great treatments for it.
      Also remember to wear sun protection every single day.

      Hope this helps?
      Emmy

    1. Hi Abdul

      Most serums can be used by men and women. Especially targeted treatments, like ones for pigmentation.
      I have never heard of Radyance, so I can’t comment on how safe or effective it is.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of any more help,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Nilu

      I don’t know that specific product, but I’m guessing it’s a pigmentation treatment?
      If so, then yes, it’s better to use it at night. And remember to wear sun screen during the day, as pigmentation serums can make your skin more sun sensitive (which will create more pigmentation if you don’t wear sun screen).

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

  20. Hi I ve jus started using oriflame true perfection serum.. Pls let me know whether it is a good one.. And also m using day moisturiser after serum and night cream of the same brand..and shall I know is it right way or not

  21. Hi i’ve an oily skin. I’m using skII products. Should i use serum then moisturizer for daycare or only use moisturizer? Cause when i used both of that previously, i felt my skin was burning. And is’t ok if i only use serum without moisturizer for nightcare?

    1. Hi Grace

      If your skin feels ok, then you can just use the moisturiser during the day and then just the serum at night.
      Which serum are you using? Because unless it’s a retinol or Vit C product, it should be making your skin burn.

      Let me know,
      Emmy

      1. Thanks for ur reply.
        I’ve been using skII product for almost 6month and still got a pimple on my cheek. Or is’t bcs i use bb cushion laneige after using skincare? I’m using ft repair c for serum and facial lift emulsion for moisturizer

        1. Hi Grace

          Ok, so the Facial Treatment Repair C contains an ingredient called Butylene Glycol, which is a type alcohol, which could be causing the stinging. If you can’t deal with it, then I suggest switching to another product.
          And the spots could be caused by the Facial Lift Emulsion Moisturiser, as it’s a very rich formula. The emulsion is for an older skin, so it could be that you don’t need all the actives and hydration that is in this formula. So you could try switching to a lighter formula and see if it gets better…
          Did a skincare consultant recommend these particular products to you? And why did you start using them – did you want to get rid of acne, treat wrinkles, improve radiance?

          Let me know and I’ll see how I can help.

          Emmy

  22. Hi, I’ve just bought a Radyance Skin Brightening Complex serum. Please tell me how do I apply it i.e. the process and also can I apply it before going to bed at night. Do I need to combine it with olive oil as well ? The product already contains Vitamin C & Hyaluronic acid. Thanks.

    1. Hi Priyanka

      Sorry, I’ve never used or tested the Radyance range, so can’t give you any advice, sorry.
      Are there instructions on the box or bottle?

      Good luck,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Ayush

      It depends on what skin type you have…
      Is your skin oily, dry, combination? Are you wanting to treat pigmentation, wrinkles, acne?

      Let me know, then I’ll be able to recommend products for you.

      thanks,
      Emmy

  23. Hi, I buy radyance brighting serum …I don’t know how to use this and should I apply in n over night?and I should wash once it’s dry can u please help me….

    1. Hi Bhavani

      Sorry, I’ve never used or tested this serum, so can’t help you with specifics.
      Generally, you’d apply your serum under your night or day cream. And, no, don’t wash it off – it needs to stay on your skin in order to work.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.
      Emmy

  24. Hey, i am only 18 so can i use radyance skin brightening serum.
    Does it really make us look 5 shades fairer? Wont it have any side effect later!

    1. Hi Isha

      I’ve never tested Radyance, so I can’t comment on how well it works or if it’s suitable for you.

      Sorry I couldn’t Be of help,
      Emmy

  25. please can I apply serum on my skin and after oil, without applying cream… and would the combo be effective as applying serum and cream.

  26. am a Nigerian girl that aims to have a light chocolate skin am earth dark, so what serum would you advise me to use and oil. Also can I apply it all over my body and face

    1. Hi Teewhy

      Sorry, I can’t recommend anything. Skin bleaching products are illegal in South Africa (where I live), and I don’t know what products are available to you in Nigeria.
      I would suggest you stay out of the sun and wear sun protection every single day, as dark skins tan just like pale ones do.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of help,
      Emmy

  27. I don’t know my type of skin and at times my face is always oily and for some season it peels because of that I can’t make up cos my face will over peel and its noticeable..also don’t have one colour on my face,the edges of my face like my fore head,jaw,the edge of my eyes too ..my cheek is fair including my nose,mouth and some part of my eye the rest is a little bit dark..what do I do and the type of products I should use

    1. Hi Annestina

      Honestly, if your skin condition is that bad, I suggest you consult a doctor about which products you could use. It sounds like it may need medicated creams to treat, so anything available on the high street will just be ineffective, and may make the problem worse.

      Good luck,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Sundar

      Sadly I have never heard of or tried Radyance serum, so I can’t tell you how well it works. Most serums are unisex, so ok for guys to use as well.
      I wouldn’t recommend you mix olive oil with your serums.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help,
      Emmy

  28. Hi..
    Only serum is ok for being faifer . I m using body shop brand moisture white shiso whitening serum. How is it .my skin is little dry.

  29. Hi… I am 17 years old, my skin is little dark can I use radyance skin brightning serum for skin whitening…even you tell me plz what serum is pefect for me

    1. Hi Naina

      Where do you live? We don’t have Radyance in South Africa, so I don’t know how well it works.
      The best way to get your face the same shade as your body is to wear sunscreen every day. The sun darkens your skin whether you’re very pale, like me, or have dark skin. Protecting it from the sun will help keen your squinting even.

      Emmy

  30. can i stayed radyance skin btightening complex over night??in morning also???normally how many hours we can stayed this cream in a day???

    1. Hi Happy

      As I mention in the post above:
      PLEASE NOTE: So many of you have been asking me about Radyance serum – we don’t get it in South Africa, so I’ve never tried it, so I can’t tell you how well it works. But, please, if you are using any type of brightening serum, please wear sun protection on your face every single day, as many of the ingredients in these types of serums make your skin sun sensitive, which can lead to even more uneven skintone.

      Sorry I can’t be of any help,
      Emmy

  31. Hii
    I’m 30 year old my skin is oily and I saw fine lines on my face and my complaction ok skin is darker then before.which products are gud for my skin . I want white skin tone with glow as I had in past

    1. Hi Pawandeep

      Before I can recommend products, I need to know where you live?
      If you don’t live in South Africa, it’s very difficult for me to know what is available in your country.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  32. hi,
    I bought neutrogena fine fairness serum. is there difference between spots and acne marks. coz I hav acne marks, will this product help? my concern is only on acne marks. Please help.

    1. Hi Lavanya

      I’m guessing you don’t live in South Africa? We don’t have that product on the market here, so I’ve never used it.
      But a quick Google tells me it’s for pigmentation rather than acne scars. Some form of exfoliation is probably better for you, but you’d have to get some advice from a skincare expert in your own country for recommendations, as I can only comment on products available in South Africa.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Roysella

      No, I wouldn’t recommend it. Putting sun block on will help prevent the skin from getting darker.

      Emmy

    1. Hi Priyanka

      Sorry, I’ve never heard of Lakme serum, so I’m not sure what it’s for.
      Which Pond’s cream are you talking about? Do you live in South Africa?

      Emmy

  33. I just bought fair and white body lotion and serum, how do I use the both of them…do I need to mix them or use it separately. how?

    1. Hi Daniel

      Which brand are these products and where do you live?
      I live in South Africa, so can only give you advise on products that are available on the market here.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  34. how to use netrogena brightning serum.
    Can i apply it in day time as well as night before sleeping.
    I heard that it shouldn’t apply on daytime as it has retinol and can may skin more dark.Please suggest.
    or else if i can use vitamin c serum in day and neutogena brightning serum at night, will that be fine, please suggest little confused.

    1. Hi Radha

      We don’t get the Brightening Serum in South Africa, but yes, it does contain retinol, so it’s better to use it at night.
      Having said that, Vitamin C can also make your skin more sun sensitive, so only use that at night as well, but not on the same nights at the retinol. Rather alternate these, as you’ll see better results.
      Just make sure that you apply a high SPF (30 or above) every single day to avoid more pigmentation.

      Hope this helps?
      Emmy

  35. I am using serum before the day cream. My question is can i use powder after the serum and day cream or no nessecities of powder

    1. Hi Manjula

      That really depends on you. Yes, of course you can use powder after your day cream, if you want to…
      Powder is makeup for oilier skins, and serum and day cream are skincare products, so the use of one doesn’t really make any difference to the use of the other.

      Hope this makes sense?
      Emmy

  36. My body is much darker when comparing with face. Cant i apply neutrogena fine fairness brightening serum on whole body? Please help

    1. Hi Chavi

      Well, you can, but it will be very expensive to apply a serum to your whole body every day for months! Applying sun protection to your body every day will help prevent further tanning.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Balaji

      As I say in the post: PLEASE NOTE: So many of you have been asking me about Radyance serum – we don’t get it in South Africa, so I’ve never tried it, so I can’t tell you how well it works. But, please, if you are using any type of brightening serum, please wear sun protection on your face every single day, as many of the ingredients in these types of serums make your skin sun sensitive, which can lead to even more uneven skintone.

      I don’t see why you couldn’t apply olive oil after it, but I would only do it at night, and if your skin reacts to it in any way, stop.

      Emmy

    1. Hi Akansha

      It depends on what you want from your serum. You can use antioxidant serums now, if you want to, but I wouldn’t suggest you use an anti-ageing serum, as they will be too strong for your young skin.
      Serums are the same as any other skin care – just make sure you choose the correct formula for your skin.

      Hope this makes sense?
      Emmy

  37. hi i belong to northern pakistan a am a working lady and keep veil till 5 pm due to which i have pimples on chin and nose my skin is oily with medium complection please give me suggestions.

    1. Hi Maryum

      Sorry, I live in South Africa, so I don’t know what products and brands are available on the market on Pakistan.

      Sorry I couldn’t help,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Manish

      Yes, of course men can use serum. You don’t have to use moisturiser afterwards – it depends if your skin needs it.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

  38. I am 33 yrs old and pregnant…can I use serum for whitening purpose as I am having dry skin and good moisturiser. I live in middle east but pakistani.thabks

    1. Hi Farzana

      This is a tough one because most lightening products will make your skin incredibly dry, and pregnancy is already making your skin behave differently. Also, I don’t approve of ‘whitening’ products (which are different to products for pigmentation), as they are bad for your skin. In fact, they are banned here in South Africa for that reason.
      I’m the same age as you and 7 months pregnant, too, and I personally wouldn’t use products with Vitamin C (the normal treatment for pigmentation) now. Mainly because you will get something called hormonal pigmentation, that won’t go away during pregnancy, even with products.

      I’m just sticking to good moisturiser and wearing sunscreen every day to areas that are exposed to the sun.

      Hope this helps?
      Emmy

    1. Hi Shawi

      Sorry, I’ve never heard of Oriflamme, so am not sure how to advise.
      Most serums are applied the same way, though, so the post above explains how you should apply a serum.

      Sorry I couldn’t be of more help,
      Emmy

  39. Can I use moisturizer after applying serum ,I use Neutrogena product ,my skin is oily and I use serum only at night ,so can I use moisturizer of same brand after applying serum

  40. Hi,pls can serum be of help to pimples on my face..am using clean and clear blackheads soap. I use serum at night nd den a moisturizer in d mornin..i hv oily skin

    1. Hi Genny

      I’d love to help you, but first please let me know where you live and what your budget is?
      If you don’t love in South Africa, it’s very difficult for me to know which products are available to you in your country.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Jeni

      As I say in the post above,
      PLEASE NOTE: So many of you have been asking me about Radyance serum – we don’t get it in South Africa, so I’ve never tried it, so I can’t tell you how well it works. But, please, if you are using any type of brightening serum, please wear sun protection on your face every single day, as many of the ingredients in these types of serums make your skin sun sensitive, which can lead to even more uneven skintone.

      Are you wearing sun protection every day?
      If you are, then stop using it. You should never continue using a product you are allergic to.

      Emmy

  41. Hi,I live in Nigeria.. u can recommend any product so long as it clears my face from d clogged pores…wud really appreciate ur help

    1. Hi Genny

      Sorry, as I said, I live in South Africa, so I have no idea what is available in Nigeria.
      Sorry I could’t be of any help.
      Emmy

    1. Hi Varsha

      As I say in the post above,
      PLEASE NOTE: So many of you have been asking me about Radyance serum – we don’t get it in South Africa, so I’ve never tried it, so I can’t tell you how well it works. But, please, if you are using any type of brightening serum, please wear sun protection on your face every single day, as many of the ingredients in these types of serums make your skin sun sensitive, which can lead to even more uneven skintone.

      Emmy

    1. Hi Rufaida
      As I say in the post above,
      PLEASE NOTE: So many of you have been asking me about Radyance serum – we don’t get it in South Africa, so I’ve never tried it, so I can’t tell you how well it works.
      But, please, if you are using any type of brightening serum, please wear sun protection on your face every single day, as many of the ingredients in these types of serums make your skin sun sensitive, which can lead to even more uneven skintone.

      Emmy

    1. Yes, as long as it’s not a retinol or pigmentation serum.
      Retinol and pigmentation treatments should generally only be used at night.

  42. Hey…
    My skin is combination and oily too …i m using lotus white glow serum is its perfect for my skin….is it works furhter or not….or i swtich to another…

  43. Hi, I am 25 yrs old. I just got O3 whitening serum. As my skin tone is a little bit dark, so I m looking to get a lighter skin tone.
    It has been 2 days only since I am using only the serum at night. So can I anything else with the serum to enhance the skin lightening result. What you gonna recommend according to my skin which is a little bit oily as well

    1. Hi Ajay

      I’m guessing you don’t live in South Africa? Whitening products are illegal here, so I don’t know anything about them, sorry. This also means I can’t recommend products to you, as I don;t know what is available in your country.
      The only advice I can give you is to wear a broad spectrum SPF every single day, even if you aren’t in the sun because those lightening products make your skin VERY sun sensitive.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

      1. Am using neutrogena serum….it wrk well bt my skin is peeling am really scared will it cause any side effects…..plz tell me

  44. Thnk u vry much for ur rply mam..bt I ws nt asking for any brand…well I live in india..i have read all the above cmnts where u have recommended people to use moisturizer aftr serum…As I m using only serum at night ..so the only thing I want to ask is can I use any enhancement product like night cream or any brightening cream with serum…will that be helpful or only the serum is good enough to work…if yes then what will be d procedure to use it (not asking for any brand) wat u gonna recommend depending on my skin type which is a little bit oily…waiting for ur precious response..
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Ajay

      You always use moisturisers after serum. As i say in the post, you apply the thinnest product first, then add.
      If you use too many brightening/whitening products, you will make your skin dry and sensitive, so you will have to test out a few products to see if they work with your skin. Just a serum may be fine, but it also may not be – it depends on how your skin reacts to the products you are using. Unfortunately it’s not an exact science.

      Emmy

    1. Hi Naresh

      You can, but I would never recommend using soap to wash your face, as it’s incredibly drying to the skin.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  45. Hello

    I recently started using the Clarins Bright+ serum and night cream. The sales lady discouraged the use of any oil as a day moisturiser because the skin burns or becomes darker. Her logic makes sense but I have been using Jojoba oil with Olive oil for about 2 years now and I don’t think that’s the case. So I’m asking you if I should heed her advise or not? As you said that using another brand’s moisturiser could work against the active products of the serum, I feel like keeping it simple with my oil and sunblock.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Buhle

      I’m sorry to say that I kind of agree with the sales lady on this one. It’s not the oil itself that will cause the sun sensitivity, but the actives in the Clarins combined with the oils that may cause a problem.
      Having said that, there is no reason why you can’t give it a go – everyone’s skin is different and reacts to ingredients differently. Just make sure you’re pathological about wearing SPF50 every day. Then if you see a problem, stop and switch to another moisturiser.

      Hope this helps?

  46. Hi….. I am using lotus whiteglow intensive skin whitening serum. And when I am using it, slight burnining sensation has occoured……and after few minute burning sensation has gone….. so is it good sign ???? Should I use this serum still ????

    1. Hi Antara

      It’s difficult to say, as I’ve never heard of the product. If it contains retinol, then yes, a slight tingling sensation is normal, but burning is not a good thing. I would suggest you stop using it, but I can’t suggest what you can use in its place because I’m guessing you don’t live in South Africa?

      Emmy

  47. hi..i am from India..i am planning to buy a serum called cell construction serum from juicy chemistry…as i want to know can i use coldpressed olive or coconut oil instead of moisturizer…as its really hard to find an full organic face moisturiser to me with anti aging..m in late 20’s..plz help out..thanks

    1. Hi Palakk

      Yes, sure you can. Just make sure you wear sun protection because oil can make your skin burn.

      Good luck,
      Emmy

  48. Hi, I’m new using serum. By the way I’m a male not a female. Using serum with the aime of perfecting my body color so I just apply just very small quantity and also mix some in my normal body lotion, but also apply a bit to my face directly.
    The prob is people started telling me after about 2 months using this that I’m bleaching, is it a normal serum reaction or what’s up ??

    Thanks

  49. I have been using Revlon age defying with DNA advantages one week im burning I even have dark marks in one week I dont really get t
    worried
    Ck

    1. Hi there

      As with any product, if your skin is reacting to it, you should stop using it.
      Also, are you using sun screen? If not, there really is no point in using treatment skin skincare, as the sun will just damage your skin again.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

  50. I used Radha Vitamin C serum and it was burning my face at first I thought it was normal. Now the corners of my nose and mouth are dry, peeling, itchy and very dark what should I do ?

    1. Hi Emi

      It sounds like the serum is too strong for your skin. Try using it once a week for a month, then up it to two and see how your skin reacts. If the problem persists, stop using it.

      Hope this helps?
      Emmy

  51. hii i am just 17 yearsbold and i want to know about the neutrogena serum its gud to bright and fair the skin because my skin is dark by the pollution and how is apply in morning or night

        1. Hi Nitin

          I take it you don’t live in South Africa? We don’t have that product available here, so I’ve never tried it.
          Your best bet is to read the instructions carefully and follow them. Also remember to wear sun screen every day if you’re using any brightening products.

          Sorry I couldn’t be more help.
          Emmy

    1. Hi Nitin

      As I mentioned before – I take it you don’t live in South Africa…
      I can only recommend products available here. I don’t know what products are available where you live.

        1. Nitin, I’m not sure how else to explain this to you…
          I have NO idea what products are available to you in India, so I cannot recommend anything for you.

  52. Can i use my regular brighting cream after using Serum and also want to know that after using serum ,sun cream is complsry or not??

    1. Hi Neha

      Yes, you can use your cream after your serum, and yes, if you are using a brightening cream, you have to use sun protection every single day. If you don’t, you could get worse pigmentation than you had before.

      Hope this helps?
      Emmy

    1. Hi Ryka

      No, two or three minutes will be enough. Sometimes even just one – test it out with your particular serum, though. When your face feels like the serum has absorbed, you’re good to go with moisturiser.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

  53. Hii nw I had started radyance hw I have to use it and at what time I have to use and in morning time ill go out then to protect my skin can I use any sun protection creams pls help me

    1. Hi there,

      As I mention in the post above:
      PLEASE NOTE: So many of you have been asking me about Radyance serum – we don’t get it in South Africa, so I’ve never tried it, so I can’t tell you how well it works. But, please, if you are using any type of brightening serum, please wear sun protection on your face every single day, as many of the ingredients in these types of serums make your skin sun sensitive, which can lead to even more uneven skintone.

      You can use any sunscreen, so long as your skin agrees with it.

      Sorry I couldn’t help,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Sunita

      If you read the post above, you will see in step 7, I wrote:
      Only when your serum is fully dry – touch dry on your face (this should take around 3 minutes) – should you apply your oils, eye cream and moisturizer in a similar manner. Let that sink in fully before you apply your foundation and normal makeup.

    1. Hi Era

      No, essential oils will not work for freckles. You can try a brightening treatment to fade them, and make sure you wear SPF every day to help keep them at bay.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

  54. Can I use a Vitamin C + E combination antioxidant serum [.5% ferulic acid, 15% pure l-ascorbic acid(vitamin c) and 1% alpha tocopherol (vitamin e)], vitamin c anti aging eye moisturizer gel together with neutrogena ageless intensives anti wrinkle serum and creams (night and eye cream), and organic unrefined extra virgin oil? In what order?

    1. Hi Suzette

      Wow, that’s a lot to put on your skin. Do you apply this all at night, or use different ones in the morning and evening?
      I personally wouldn’t bother with the olive oil at all – especially because you want to use the Neutrogena serum and cream, which will both provide hydration an your antioxidant serums will provide antioxidant protection.

      Always apply the thinnest texture first, so as a general rule: oils then serum then cream. Waiting for each to completely absorb before applying the next layer.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

      1. I mean the serum in the morning: the cocinar oil + night cream at night. What do you think? Should I still leave out the coconut oil? Thanks

        1. Hi Suzette

          As I said, I don’t see the need for it. But if your skin is happy with it, then use it 🙂

      2. Hi!!!!is it safe nd effective to use home made serum???I’m using a lover and gel along with glycerine nd vit-E.

  55. Hi ,there.
    I want to use serum at night for my first time to smoothen my face .Can l use olive oil during the dai ,cos I’m allergic to smell. Plix help

    1. Hi Janny

      Yes, you can use olive oil, but make sure you wear a VERY good sunscreen, or your skin will burn.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  56. Hi dear..I just started using Natural Fairness Serum(clear nature) on my face and on dark parts of my body for lightening is that ok??
    Please i need your advise.

  57. What do you recommend for rosacea? I am very fair, skin is sensitive and dry, and I am 70 yrs old and have rosacea. People tell me Origins has the best for rosacea, but before I put out the money on Origins Mushroom Serum and moisturizer, I would like your advice. Thank . I live in the U.S.A.,{ Rhode Island}

    1. Hi Marie

      Sorry, I’m not much help to you as I live in Cape Town.
      I don;t know which products are available to you there and we don’t get Origins here, so can’t tell you if they are any good or not.
      Sorry I couldn’t be of any help,
      Emmy

  58. Which serum and moisturizer would you recommend for Rosacea, Sensitive Skin, Dry Skin and I am 70 yrs old. I heard Origins Mushroom Serum was good but I don’t know. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you

  59. My legs & hands are darker than my face & neck,so Can we use biocos whitening serum mix with any body moisturiser lotion with for hands & legs?

    1. Hi there

      Sorry, I’ve never heard of Biocos Whitening Serum. Do you live in South Africa?

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  60. Hi, can surum use for olily skin without moistuize as night cream.If use moisture I have feel oily look and rises pimple

    1. Hi Katleho

      Not necessarily, no. It depends on what the serum is for. I would stay away from the eyes with retinol, for example, but a hydrating serum should be fine. Just test it and see if your eyes get aggravated by your serum.

      Hope this helps?
      Emmy

  61. Iwant to try to use serum… i bought it in japanese store. Its Olive moisturizing serum for oily skin.do you think its ok? And i also apply ponds white day cream?i dont have much problem with my skin ijust want to keep it as is it and reduce oiliness.

    1. Hi Mel

      It’s really difficult to say because I don’t know the product.
      Give it a try and see how your skin reacts to it.

      Good luck!
      Emmy

      1. Hi iam order the radyance cream
        Iam very black. It is usefull or not
        Then how to use the radyance cream please reply me. …. Iam black skin
        This use day or night tell me

        1. Hi there,

          Please read the post above. At the bottom, it says:
          PLEASE NOTE: So many of you have been asking me about Radyance serum – we don’t get it in South Africa, so I’ve never tried it, so I can’t tell you how well it works. But, please, if you are using any type of brightening serum, please wear sun protection on your face every single day, as many of the ingredients in these types of serums make your skin sun sensitive, which can lead to even more uneven skintone.

  62. hello! first time using serum. so I purchased “more white”. And changed my moisturizer from White up to Ever sheen cocoa butter lotion. plx direct me how I use my new product. I don’t want to be light light but golden brown.

    1. Hi Lani

      Sorry – I’ve never heard of those particular products. Where do you live?

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  63. I have seen Neutrogena fine fairness brightening serum ,in which they described like”The breakthrough formula penetrates beneath the skin surface and deactivates melanin production at the source.”is this means like without sunscreen i can’t go out in the sun? literally I will became a vampire,if I use that?

    1. Hi there,

      We don’t have that range here in South Africa, so I haven’t tried it. Where do you live?

  64. Please i bought a product which came with a whitening serum separately, and the seller told me to mixed the serum with the cream. Is it correct to mix the two?

    1. Hi Tilly

      Sorry, I have no idea. As it’s a whitening serum, I’m guessing you don’t live in South Africa?

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  65. Hi. I am using Rilastil D-clar (serum+sun protection cream spf 50) for the hyper-pigmentation, i am using it during the night and i am keeping the coming day as well without washing it in the morning am i using it right? As an addition to the serum it is suggested to be used the sun protection cream D-clar(For a complete and intensive anti-spot treatment it is recommended to use it in combination with Rilastil D-Clar Depigmenting Cream SPF 50+) , but i am not using it because it has a dark color and my face looks bronze ,something that i do not like as i am very pale and my body as well. In addition to the serum i am using another sun protection cream, spf 30. So, can you please tell me is it all right if am using whatever sun protection cream or i must use only the one accompanied with the serum. Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Viola

      Sorry, I’m not sure. I have never used the range, so I don’t know. It’s best to follow the instructions on the packaging.
      I’m guessing you don’t live in South Africa?

      Thanks,
      Emmy

        1. Hi Viola

          Aah man, sorry, that’s why I’ve never tried the product – we don’t get it here.
          Sorry I couldn’t be of any help!

          Emmy

    1. Hi Jennifer

      No, rather apply the serum to your skin, let it absorb, then apply your cream over the top.

      Hope this helps,
      Emmy

  66. Hi.. Ï got black puches under my eyes, tried using Watever ï was told but it worsened m’y situation, instead thé black puches turned into black n redish as if ï got burnt.. Kind of à wound… Smone advised me to buy touch me please scar serum.. Have Used it sofar for one Day.. Will it work for me in m’y situation ?? How long do ï Need to use it for better results ? Have a party in two wks time Will ï be better or wat shud ï use ?

    1. Hi Tanisha

      Yikes, this sounds hectic. I’m not sure if scar serum will work. I would suggest you go and see a doctor.

      Good luck – I hope it clears soon!
      Emmy

  67. HI…. CAN U HELP ME…. AFTER USE THIS SERUM I GOT DAILY 1 TO 2 PIMPLES ON MY FACE.. CAN U SUGGEST ME, SHOULD I CONTINUE APPLYING THIS SERUM OR STOP…

  68. Hey Emmy,
    Thank you for such beautiful information out here !
    I’m 25years old Asian and frequently get pimples only on the center of my right cheek, as I tend to have acne prone skin. As of now, I’m using neutrogena’s cleanser and moisturizer for oily skin and have just bought the serum .Could you please help me to get rid of it, the marks left behind are really pissing me off.. 🙁

  69. Hi.. I’m 27 years old and I have an oily skin. I just started using Neutrogena brightening serum. Is it ok if I just apply a toner and the serum at night without a night cream? And also, can I apply the serum before using sunscreen during the day?

    1. Hi Nancy

      Yes, you can use toner before serum without night cream, and I’m pretty sure you can use the serum during the day. Not 100%, though.
      Do you live in South Africa, as I’m not sure they have a brightening serum on our market.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Taylor

      I wouldn’t without checking with the prescribing doctor first. As Vitamin C is an acid, you might be putting stress on your skin by applying both. Rather check with your doctor, and tell them which serum you’re using.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  70. Thank you for such a descriptive post. I use shiseido bio-performance glow revival serum. Do i apply it on face avaoiding eye area or can i apply it on my eyes as well? I use a moisturizer and eye cream as well.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hi Olga

      I personally apply serum to my eye area (except very strong retinol), and there isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t – unless it stings your eyes.
      So test it and see how you get on. If you’re eyes don’t burn, you’re good to go.

      Hope this helps?
      Emmy

    1. Hi Shana

      Sorry, I’ve never heard of it. I can only suggest that you follow the instructions on the product.

      Good luck,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Menty

      Yes, you can:
      Only when your serum is fully dry – touch dry on your face (this should take around 3 minutes) – should you apply your oils, eye cream and moisturizer in a similar manner. Let that sink in fully before you apply your foundation and normal makeup.

      Thanks,
      Emmy

  71. Hello, I have some acne marks on my face. I purchased neutrogena fine fairness serum, if I use regular can this help to remove my acne scars? They are light not much dark. And my skin is really dry. When I applied this, next morning my skin was so dry. I use citaphil moisturiser.

    1. Hi Jass

      Sorry, I’m not sure because we don’t get that particular product in South Africa, as whitening products are illegal here.
      I would suggest you use acids and vitamin c to deal with the marks, but as I’m not sure what is available where you live, I can’t recommend anything. I will be doing a post on how to deal with acne scars in the next few months, so check back every few weeks. I’ll include the ingredients you should look for, so you can find products where you live.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help,
      Emmy

  72. Hi. Pls can I use pure glow at night and then use amlactin during the day? Secondly should I mix the pure glow serum into the pure glow lotion or use them separately

    1. Hi Mabel

      Sorry, whitening products are illegal in South Africa, so I’ve never used or even heard of the Pure Glow products.
      As Amlactin is acid based, I would say that your shouldn’t mix it with anything.
      Please check their websites and read the instructions that come with the products.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more help,
      Emmy

  73. Hi. I’m Nigerian. I just started using Palmers skin success skincare range to fight uneven skin tone. I use the complexion toner, anti dark spot corrector serum and anti dark spot fade cream. Both are pigmentation products. Does the serum, cream, sunscreen routine apply? Do I use them at daytime? Since they’re pigmentation pdts, should I only use them at night. Pls can you check if Veetgold sunblock cream spf 45 is a good sunscreen for me

    1. Hi Didi

      Yes, most routines will be serum, cream, then sunscreen.
      As we don’t get the products here, I don’t know when you should apply them, or of they are ‘good’ products. It’s best to read the instructions, or check their website to see what they suggest for application.
      Well done for wearing high SPF – especially in Nigeria, where the sun is so strong. It’s the best way to keep your pigmentation from returning.

      Good luck,
      Emmy

    1. Hi Ashi

      Only at night because it makes your skin sun sensitive, and make sure you wear sunscreen during the day, every day.

      Hope this helps?
      Emmy

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