Serums I have known and loved – the best serums for ageing combination skin

Best serums for ageing combination skinI’ve worked in the cosmetics industry for most of my life and although I’m not currently directly involved in it, I do still enjoy having a selection of products around. Over the years I’ve tried most of the popular (and some lesser known) face serums and I decided it was time to share my current favourites with you. I have pale, thin, ageing combination skin but I don’t have many lines or wrinkles. There’s a bit of creasiness around the eyes and a few blotches but my skin looks younger than I am. I owe most of that to my natural aversion towards sunbathing and fastidious use of sunscreen but I’ve also learned what my skin loves – and change my routine depending on the time of the month, season and other factors. I tend to have two or three serums in use (not all at once but on rotation) and a choice of day creams and cleansing products, plus emergency items such as salicylic acid for breakouts or the calming lavender, neroli and almond oil blend I made for myself.

Overall, what I look for in a serum (just to help you understand why I like these over some others):

  • Must not irritate the skin
  • Must have a pleasant or tolerable fragrance
  • Must not feel too silicone-laden
  • Must not cause breakouts
  • Must be able to see a visible improvement in whatever issue I am targeting

My current favourites are:

1. L’Oreal Age Perfect Cell Renew. This surprised me. I was expecting a L’Oreal serum to be a silicone-slick and obnoxiously scented and this was neither. The scent is a tad stronger than I’d like but fades fast (it smells rosy) and the serum, whilst having some slip, isn’t like trying to rub grease on your face. It’s lightweight, sinks right in, hydrates the skin immediately and adds a very subtle golden glow which is absolutely perfect for days you need a bit of help in that department. When I was planning this post I originally thought Advanced Night Repair must be my top favourite because I’ve had several bottles over the years but then I realised I’m on my third bottle of this serum in under six months which means I’ve been reaching for it more often than any other serum before. Wow. I love it as a daytime serum in particular because of the cosmetic effect it gives. It works really well when my skin is good enough to go with just a few dabs of concealer and a dusting of translucent powder – but it’s also brilliant under foundation.

2. Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10. This is another floral fragrance which could be a bit milder but fades fast and doesn’t bother me. The serum is fairly watery (which is a bonus if you’re feeling dehydrated but also a bit oily – a horrible situation which can happen when someone with combination skin suddenly realises they’re 40…). A good all-rounder, day and night. Sinks in, really hydrates the skin and is a fraction of the cost of some high-end serums. I really love this as a go-to product and it would be my top choice if I’d have to pick just one. Very versatile and a fantastic formula.

3. Advanced Night Repair 2. Something I always come back to. It’s a skincare staple for a lot of women for a reason – there’s hardly any scent (it smells somewhat functional rather than perfumed), it works well on its own for combination skin or under a night cream for dry skin types, and it seems to suit practically everyone. I’ve sometimes added a few drops to a moisturiser to make it less greasy and it’s actually a product I would recommend for men who are feeling that their face could do with a bit of a boost but don’t want an overly girly product. Use it at night for best results.

4. Lierac Mesolift Serum. This smells of orange juice and has the same effect on your skin as a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice has on your constitution – it perks you up and refreshes. Absolutely delightful if you’re under the weather or recovering from a cold; brilliant when combined with Lierac’s Mesolift cream (which is similarly orange-juice scented). The main problem is that if you’re as pale as I am (or have a tendency to look sallow), these products do leave a very faint yellowish tint behind – so I tend to use them on days I’m not planning on going out or at night.

5. Vichy Idealia Life Serum. Noticeably perfected skin after just one use – instant new favourite. This has just been added to my favourites (despite the somewhat overwhelming scent) as it really does perk your skin up and thankfully lacks the excess silicone-itis that so many serums suffer from. I would suggest night-time use purely because of the scent but if that doesn’t bother you, it would also make a great all-rounder.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any serums you’ve known and loved, do tell me in the comments!

13 thoughts on “Serums I have known and loved – the best serums for ageing combination skin

    • Thank you, Tara 😀 I’ve tried a lot of products over the years and these really suit my current needs. I would say, though, that the serums I’ve tried in the over £100 price bracket are not that remarkably different from these; except in branding/packaging and in some cases perfume. Another interesting one on my radar is the new Clinique Laser Repair one but from what I’ve tried it seemed too silicone-y for my taste. I like serums with hyaluronic acid and a hydrating rather than slippery feel.

      • I agree, I hate that silcone texture with shampoos/conditioners as well as face products. I’m definitely going to get the ANR 2 for night and will think about Age Perfect if I decide to get one for day. The other one I’ve read good things about is Clarins Double Serum.

      • Clarins and Decleor consistently get the face oils right; love both and there are several to choose from. I like the balancing one from Clarins as an alternative to a night cream or serum sometimes.

  1. Any chance you could share details of the lavender, neroli and almond oil blend you make for yourself? I like the sound of that very much!

    • Anna, no problem, it’s really just sweet almond oil (you can get it from good supermarkets or from DIY cosmetic raw material suppliers) with a few drops of pure lavender oil and pure neroli oil (by pure I mean not diluted into anything else like grapeseed or solvents). The quantities of the essential oil I use are a bit high (you do have to do it in moderation or you risk getting a reaction; as natural as the oils are, too much is too much). You can theoretically use lavender directly on the skin but I don’t recommend it; always best with a bit of carrier oil in there. I find the smell of this blend very therapeutic and I like the antibacterial action of the lavender, too. I’d say your best bet is to experiment with a small batch first and test it on the inside of your arm to see if you can tolerate it and I also want to add a massive disclaimer that whilst I’m happy dabbling on myself I don’t take any responsibility for what you may end up doing as a result of these comments 😀

  2. Thank you for sharing the details – I have both lavender and pure neroli oil, with camelia as a carrier oil, so I’ll be off to play with low dilutions now:-)

    I confess to being someone who uses lavender oil neat, on small scalds, burns, etc., when I’m klutzy in the kitchen.


  3. Just so you don’t worry, I mean I’ll use camellia oil as a carrier … both essential oils are pure ones.

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