Dior Capture Totale Super Potent Serum and Persian Cat The FT Times Blog

Super Serums: Do they really work?

If you’re confused when it comes to choosing the right face cream, you’d be forgiven if the science behind finding a suitable serum is even more perplexing!

Marketed by most of the big beauty companies as the skincare superhero of the century, their must-buy status is down to their concentrated formulations of active ingredients that promise a plethora of complexion corrections, including the holy grail of skincare – anti-ageing.

Plus, who else could turn their back on the promise that a few drops over time can clear up skin irritations such as inflammation, pigmentation and breakouts?

Today’s blog post sets out to un-scrabble the secret of serums and to suss out just what type YOUR skin may need…


Serums target specific skin issues with their concentrated formulations of active ingredients. They offer a powerful skin- hit; able to penetrate more deeply than conventional cosmetic skin creams as they are made up of smaller molecules in a much finer texture, allowing them to get to work on those deep-set skin problems.

Jill Zander, Founder of the Jill Zander Skin Rejuvenation Clinic in Esher, Surrey says: 

“Serums are great for targeting fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, inflammation, break outs, dehydration, dull skin, redness and rosacea and sun damage too.”

She goes on to explain that the science behind it all can be comprehended into two simple categories, ‘anti-ageing skin protectors’ and ‘hydrating serums’.

“Dehydration and inflammation accelerate ageing so there are two types of serums that will benefit every skin type. Hydrating serums are what I call the moisture makers, and then there are the anti-oxidant serums or anti-ageing skin protectors.”


If your skin concern is more with slowing down the signs of ageing, or if you have uneven pigmentation or skin lacking radiance, then an anti-oxidant, vitamin-based serum is a great choice for those looking to add a multi-tasking serum to boost their skins health and overall glow.

Jill says:

“Anti-oxidant based serums focus on preventing free-radical damage to the skins collagen and elastin matrix which help combat sun-induced damage to the skin. Anti-oxidant serums usually contain vitamins to help trigger collagen synthesis and to increase the skins elasticity and density, as well as improving the texture of the skin and brightening the complexion, while preventing fine lines and pigmentation.”


Most skin types would benefit from this type of serum as universally, they are hydrating and most complexions can suffer from some variation of dehydration whether it’s seasonal or genetic. Jill Zander says:

“Dehydrated skin suffers from a lack of water rather than a lack of oil. A serum’s fine texture quickly delivers water boosting and retaining ingredients deep into the skin. These serums continuously plump and hydrate skin with active ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water.”

Wow! Sounds like magic already, innit?

So, is it really time to finally ditch the day cream? Jill explained however that the traditional method of adding moisturiser might not quite have had its day yet and in some skin types, it can also work alongside a super serum. She explains:

“Those with fine lines should try a hydrating serum before an anti-ageing serum. Skin dehydration can be mistaken for premature wrinkles. If your skin is dry, dehydrated and lack-lustre, then applying a hydrating serum before your usual moisturizer, can still make a huge difference.”


So while it seems that the traditional pot of face cream may still have its place on the dresser, the biggest difference between them is the ingredients that serums don’t include – and that’s why they can be significantly pricey in comparison.

With serums containing fewer lubricating and thickening agents commonly seen in creams and lotions (they are also mostly water-based and many eliminate oils altogether) and because the active ingredients are more expensive than thickeners, this begins to explain why serums are more costly.

However, when applied properly, they should last months and many now come in handy pump bottles or have a dropper applicator in the lid to dispense just the right amount required. A few concentrated drops are super-efficient and skin can absorb them quickly and deeply. Whereas thick, heavy ingredients found in day creams can form a barrier on your skin, which is great for locking moisture in but it can also lock active ingredients out, so remember to smooth in your serum first, before applying your day cream.


Step 1: Cleanse your face and pat gently with a towel and dispense a pea-sized amount of serum onto the back of a clean hand or finger tip.

Step 2: Depending on your skin type, decide when best to start applying. Sensitive complexions may benefit from waiting until the skin is totally dry before application to avoid irritation, whereas some combination/dry skins may see more benefits from applying onto a slightly moist complexion. Use your finger to dot and pat evenly all over your face, paying special attention to target key areas.

Step 3:  You don’t need to ditch the moisturiser you love. Just always apply the serum first, so it isn’t blocked from penetrating your skin and wait for it to fully absorb for approximately 2-3 minutes. Oilier skins might find that the weightless feel of a serum is enough – pay attention to how your skin reacts and what works for YOU.

Top Tip:  Splashed out on a pricey serum? Instead of using it twice a day, use it only before bedtime, on freshly cleansed skin when rejuvenation is best and you’ll still see long term improvement.


Head over to my Instagram account @the_ft_times where I have just reviewed Dior’s latest super potent serum, Capture Totale.

In just SEVEN days, it promises results.

On my Insta Stories you’ll see videos of how I applied the serum twice a day and to be honest, even I was pretty chuffed at how quickly it delivered!

See for yourself with this ‘before’ and ‘after’ image.

BEFORE: Skin texture is quite bumpy and fine lines are visible. Skin tone is uneven.
AFTER 7 days: Skin texture is smoother, tone is even and fine lines are visibly reduced.

So. There you have it, your science lesson in serums!

Hope it was helpful and useful.

And as always, thank you for reading and feel free to drop me any questions, skin concerns or comments you may have below.

Stay safe x


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