Lessons from the lab

A guide to facial serums

In the realm of the facial hydrator, there is no shortage of choice.

The Aesop skin care range features plentiful oils, creams, lotions, gels and serums, all enriched with efficacious ingredients to replenish and support a variety of specific skin types and conditions. But beyond texture, colour and aroma, the differences between products are not always apparent.

Having an abundance of potent hydrators to choose from is a pleasant predicament. Better still: understanding precisely what each product is, how it works, and when to apply it.

Beyond speaking directly with our expert consultants—both in-store and through the live assistance on aesop.com—it is ideal to have this information all in one place, so it can be referenced at will. This article is just such a compendium for facial serums, designed to illuminate what they are, explain how they work, and profile the selection available at Aesop.


The term ‘serum’ usually refers to a low-to-medium viscosity product with an aqueous base—light in texture and finish, but often high in potency. It is this combination that makes a readily absorbed serum so easy to fit into an existing skin care regimen—especially in hot or humid conditions.

Owing to their generous measures of replenishing ingredients in a lightweight format, serums are excellent for hydrating the skin without overburdening it. It is this quality that makes them ideal for layering or blending with other kinds of hydrators.

Preferred skin feel and finish are two qualities worth bearing in mind at the outset when considering a serum over another type of hydrator. But beyond these aspects of a formulation, a deeper understanding of each serum’s respective benefits is key to determining the most suitable product for different skin types.

Potent ingredients

Once you have identified your skin type—an effortless process, with the assistance of one of our wise consultants, or a reading of ‘An introduction to skin types’—a perusal of the key ingredients in each Aesop serum will guide you toward the preparation best suited to your needs. Four hydrating serums are available in the range: Lucent Facial ConcentrateParsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense SerumLightweight Facial Hydrating Serum and Exalted Eye Serum.

Vitamins, anti-oxidants and humectants are just some of the chief ingredients that are featured consistently within these four hydrators.

Lucent Facial Concentrate

Feather-light and prodigiously hydrating with a fresh, woody, floral aroma, Lucent Facial Concentrate is a serum replete with Vitamins B3 and C, Sodium Carrageenan and Rose Petal.

Lucent Facial Concentrate is a potent yet lightweight formulation infused with Vitamins B3 and C to replenish and balance the skin.

Lucent Facial Concentrate: vitamin-rich, balancing and replenishing

Lucent Facial Concentrate includes Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a water-soluble, stablilised form of anti-oxidant and skin-balancing Vitamin C. Vitamin B3 is present in the form of Niacinamide, a barrier-supportive and moisturising ingredient that also helps to calm and bring balance to the skin. Sodium Carrageenan—a humectant extracted from Red Algae—boosts hydration and the skin’s ability to retain water. Complementary botanicals—essential oils of Frankincense, Rose Petal and Sandalwood—are included for their known benefits for the skin; as an incidental treat they also lend a fresh, woody and floral aroma.

Suitable for most skin types, day and night

Though Lucent Facial Concentrate is particularly suited to combination and oily skin—and those in hot, humid climates—it provides vitamin-rich, sustained hydration for most skin types, year-round.

Lucent Facial Concentrate can be applied both day and night, leaving a smooth, matte finish. To use, dispense one to two pipettes—roughly half a teaspoon—of product into the hand, and massage into freshly cleansed and toned skin from forehead to neck.

Layering and blending

Layering or blending products that offer different benefits is an excellent way to provide refined support to the skin.

For dry skin or cool climates, Perfect Facial Hydrating Cream is a quintessential companion for Lucent Facial Concentrate. After applying the serum, massage the cream into the skin.

For increased nourishment, blend one pipette of Lucent Facial Concentrate with three drops of Damascan Rose Facial Treatment and massage over freshly cleansed and toned skin.

Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum

A stalwart of the Parsley Seed Skin Care range, Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum has a unique characteristic: extracts of Red Algae and Tara Gum work in concert to form a non-occlusive, breathable film on the skin to guard against airborne particulates. The serum also contains a suite of anti-oxidant-rich ingredients to help fortify the skin, including Parsley Seed, Green Tea and Grape Seed extracts and nourishing Tocopherol.

Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum hydrates, replenishes and fortifies the skin

Replenishing the skin, day and night

Suitable for most skin types, including sensitive, Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum is ideal for use during the day or at night, with the recommended application method varying from morning to evening. For best results, dispense a quarter of a pipette into the hands and massage into freshly cleansed and toned skin, noting the subtly herbaceous, floral aroma throughout the experience.

Layering and blending

For richer hydration and to further fortify the skin throughout the day, layer Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Hydrating Cream under Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum.

To enhance nourishment and anti-oxidant efficacy at night, blend Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum with three drops of Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Treatment, and apply before bed.

Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum

It’s all in the name. Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum is precisely that: light in texture and skin feel, swiftly absorbed with a matte finish. It has a soothing, hydrating base of Aloe Vera and Panthenol and includes Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C) alongside Ylang Ylang essential oil, which is known for its balancing properties. This serum is ideal for those with oily, combination or blemish-prone skin who may find the texture of hydrating creams or richer lotions to be burdensome. It is also suitable for sensitive skin.

Particularly suited to summer weather—or warm, humid climates in general—Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum can be applied both morning and night. To use, massage one pipette—roughly half a teaspoon—into freshly cleansed and toned skin.

Aqueous, replenishing and refreshing.

Layering and blending

For a refreshing hydration boost, apply Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol after Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum and keep on hand to spritz throughout the day, as required.

When in need of nourishing hydration—in cooler climates or for combination skin with a tendency for dryness—blend three drops of Fabulous Face Oil with one pipette of Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum.

Exalted Eye Serum

The fragile skin around the eyes requires a special kind of attention; products applied to it must be efficacious while also catering for the delicate nature of the area.

Replete with potent ingredients, Exalted Eye Serum has been crafted to replenish and support the skin with a soft, non-greasy finish. It is suitable for most skin types, including sensitive, and ideal for mature, dehydrated, dull or patchy skin.

Exalted Eye Serum sits alongside Lucent Facial Concentrate in the Skin Care+ range, which includes formulations distinguished by their generous measures of skin-supportive vitamins and complementary botanicals. Exalted Eye Serum features Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and hydrating Sodium Carrageenan. Additional ingredients include humectant Panthenol (Provitamin B5), which is also renowned for its soothing properties, nourishing and fortifying Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and a polysaccharide-rich extract of Pelvetia Canaliculata—brown seaweed—which helps improve skin suppleness and resilience.

Vitamin-rich and skin-supportive, Exalted Eye Serum provides targeted hydration for the delicate eye area.

When to apply Exalted Eye Serum

Exalted Eye Serum provides sustained hydration; morning and evening are both excellent times to apply this superbly replenishing formulation. It also makes for an ideal desk-drawer or handbag companion to refresh the skin around the eyes throughout the day.

To use, dispense a few drops into the hands, then transfer to the skin surrounding the eyes with the tip of a finger, massaging gently until absorbed. Apply to freshly cleansed and toned skin, and attend to the rest of the face and neck with your preferred hydrating product.