Magic Serums

You have probably been hearing much about products, such as serums, over the past few years. Meant to be used after cleansing and before moisturizing, they can deliver an extra dollop of nutrients or other benefits, like firming or pore refining, as well as prepare the skin to best utilize the moisturizer. These are four I’ve tried and recommend.

Hydroxatone Intensive Youth Serum is formulated with plankton extracts and a specially-engineered system that uses liposomes to deliver the nutrients directly to the cells. Using just a small amount twice a day after cleansing and toning, I saw a difference right away. Fine lines diminished and my skin had a nice, healthy glow. The makers claim better results after long-term use. This serum is a bit pricey at about $80 for one ounce online, but it did deliver on their promise of visibly diminishing the look of photo aging and creating a more even complexion.

Skin by Monica is a cosmeceutical skincare line that uses 100% all-natural, organic ingredients. I found their Vibrance HGH Crème, which includes the human growth hormone (a protein-based peptide that stimulates cell reproduction and regeneration), to be quite effective. I wasn’t crazy about the scent because it had an unpleasant odor (no perfumes in these products), but it fades quickly. Not only does it provide rejuvenation and protection against free radicals, it is tinted and serves to even out skin tone immediately. Made in the US, this cream is available online for about $33 an ounce.

If large pores are an issue for you, Clinique has a new Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum. They claim that within two weeks, pores look 58% smaller. Using it just over the areas on my face with larger pores, I found that they did appear reduced, but I’m not sure if they were that much smaller. My skin looked smoother in general and I liked how it made my skin feel like silk. About $40 an ounce online.

I have found that, instead of a scrub exfoliant, I now prefer a serum with alpha hydroxyl acid, and I really liked Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA for gentle exfoliation. It includes anti-irritants for more sensitive skin, and it is meant to reduce signs of aging including wrinkles, sun damage and discolorations. I found it to be quite effective for the first two, but small discolorations on my face didn’t seem to be impacted. Overall, my skin did respond very well to this product, used in conjunction with their Barrier Repair Moisturizer and the Weekly Resurfacing Treatment with 10% AHA. I used the three up to the last drop. The Daily Smoothing Treatment is about $25 for 1.7 ounces online.

toni munna

Toni Munna is a native Long Islander who is always on the lookout for products that fulfill their promise to firm, hydrate, slim, soothe, de-wrinkle, plump, relax, de-stress, and just generally make you look and feel better. She a firm believer that wellness enhances beauty and has been testing beauty products and reviewing spas for you since the fall of 2006. You can reach her with questions at