The treatment toner guide

The Skincare , 27 May 2015

You Need to Know About / The Pre-Serum

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I’ve never made any secret of my willingness to make time to add whatever latest wonder potion is on the market to my routine, but I also fully comprehend that there are few of you for whom time (and finances for that matter – experimenting with cosmetics ain’t cheap) is abundant enough to allow for such frippery. That’s where I come in – if it’s here, I think it’s worth your consideration. My latest find? The pre-serum*. I’m being serious – you need one of these post-cleanse/pre-any kind of moisturiser you care to use fluids.

The drawbacks are obvious, aren’t they? It’s more time spent in the bathroom,  more expense,  more faff… but every brilliant skincare brand that doesn’t already stock one has started to release them because they really impact the skin: layering, it seems, is not just a sensible move when it comes to dressing during May (seriously – wtf is going on with the weather at the moment? Hot/cold/windy/rainy/humid all in one morning yesterday!), but it also makes for a great skincare strategy – use them to help your skin retain moisture over the day, balance your pH if you’re prone to acne or rosacea, or fortify your skin before a day in the sun. Here are some to try:

Su-Man Rehydrating Toning Essence / I’m going to have to fall back on a cliche to describe this one: one application makes my skin feel like it’s had a nice drink, which it kind of has – it’s packed with hyaluronic acid which carries hydration into the skin. The result is plumper, smoother skin in a jiffy.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence / Designed to help the cells turn over and energise skin, this watery one contains SK-II’s famous ‘Pitera’. I also am taken by it as I have it on good authority that Kate Bosworth credits this for her luminous skin.

Sisley Essential Skincare Lotion / This addition to Sisley’s skincare range consolidated the pre-serum movement and has been executed with typical Sisley aplomb – each squirt delivers soothing marshmallow, regenerative ginkgo biloba and fortifying white willow among other skin-smoothing ingredients. It’s a little thicker than the above two, but still absorbs quickly enough to allow serum application a couple of seconds after smoothing on.

Timebomb Complexion Cocktails / Three on offer here – one with B12 to encourage microcirculation and therefore make skin look ‘glowing’, one with chlorophyll to help detoxify problem skin, and a final one with omega for wrinkles or fine lines. I’ve tried all three and was very impressed.

Trilogy Hydra-Tone Softening Lotion / Forget that this calls itself a toner – it is in fact a nice cheapie hybrid version of the Sisley and Su-Man ones and contains marshmallow and hyaluronic, so is basically dry and irritated skin’s best friend.

Salcura Antiac / If you’re spotty, you’ll love this. All-natural and containing omegas, it’s the first effective spot treatment I’ve ever found that doesn’t strip skin or make it feel tight (that tightness is NOT good news for skin and sends it on a seesaw between dryness and excessive oiliness, thus making spots spring forth with renewed vigour each time the pendulum swings).

* The pre-serum sometimes goes by the name toner. A toner that doesn’t treat the skin is defunct – you should cleanse well enough that ‘removing remaining make-up’ should not be a thing. Any toner with skincare benefits will therefore make a nifty pre-serum.

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