Serums are an integral component of one's skincare routine, but it can be difficult to find the right serum. Everyone's skin has different needs, and most people are likely to find that their skin has more than one issue that needs to be addressed. For example, my skin has a lovely combination of dryness and rosacea-related redness, plus is very sensitive and prone to irritation. This means that anything with irritating, drying ingredients — such as artificial fragrance and high amounts of drying alcohol — is automatically out. That rules out a lot of serums for me.
Serums can be pretty pricey, so if I wanted to combine a formula that targets redness with a serum that has powerful hydrating properties in addition to one that has soothing capabilities, I might end up spending hundreds of dollars. Additionally, there would be no way to know if those serums would even layer well on my skin without taking them home to try for a week.
Luckily there's a much better solution, thanks to the enterprising skincare brand Skin Inc. Using innovative skincare solutions from Japan, Skin Inc has created a Skin Supplement Bar that offers custom-blended serums specifically tailored for your individual needs.
Intrigued? So was I. I tried it out on my own finicky skin, and now I'm ready to share my results after following these three steps.
Step 1: The Skin Identity Quiz
In order to determine which serums will go into your custom blend, you take a "Skin Identity Quiz" on the Skin Inc website.
They have a total of nine serums; you'll end up with three that are ideal for your skin after taking the short quiz. The quiz includes questions such as your age, your skin concerns, and your lifestyle and living environment.
When I finished my quiz, I ended up with these three serums: the Hyaluronic Acid Serum (for long-lasting hydration), the Licorice Serum (for calming irritation), and the Ceramide Serum (for strengthening and soothing the skin's protective barrier). None of the serums contain irritating ingredients like parabens or artificial fragrance.
This sounded perfect for me — and to top it all off, I got to choose the color of the bottle that my custom serum would be housed in. It's the little things in life.
Each of the nine serums costs $45 individually, so if you have fairly simple skincare needs then you could just buy the one serum that sounds best to you and add a few drops to your daily moisturizer. The custom-blended serum costs $90 but if you have more than one skin issue that you want to address then you'll probably find that it's worth it to invest in this one super-serum that does everything.
Step 2: Mix Your Custom Blend
When my custom-blended serum kit arrived about a month ago, I was too excited to start mixing it all up to snap pictures. So consider this a dramatic reenactment. The three serums come in their own individual, labeled bottles and they each have their own colored beads (we'll get to those later).
Anyway, it is then up to you to carefully transfer each serum into the big bottle. I quickly discovered that using the dropper would take ages so I simply poured them in. Proceed with caution, or things will get messy.
Shake the final blend up a little bit to ensure it's all blended, and you're all set!
Step 3: Use Daily; Watch Your Skin Improve
As for actually using the serum once it's all mixed, it couldn't be easier. I like to use it twice a day (although once a day is fine too) after washing my face. My blend is extremely emollient but it still absorbs very quickly, so it's easy to layer makeup on top of it in the morning or a thick moisturizer at night.
As you can see demonstrated on my hand, the serum contains colorful little beads:
I believe these hold the active ingredients which, when massaged onto the skin, burst and are quickly absorbed. The serum leaves behind a slightly sticky feeling and a noticeable sheen at first, but this quickly dissipates.
At the end of the day, my skin feels soft and hydrated. I appreciate that this serum doesn't sting my skin or make it angrily flushed like so many other products do. I've been using this serum blend for about a month now and I really like how my skin looks. Overall I've noticed a slightly more even skin tone, less dryness and flakiness, and a nice glow. Here's a makeup-free picture to prove it:
So if you're in the market for a serum, consider skipping serums geared towards just one overly-broad skin type (such as "oily" or "aging") and instead let Skin Inc customize a serum blend just for you. You might just find yourself enjoying more makeup-free days in the very near future.
Images: Kelly Dougher; Courtesy iloveskininc.com