Applying Face Serums + Skin Elixirs to Maximum Effect

Why Use Skin Elixirs and Serums on Your Face

Serums, also known as skin elixirs, offer high-performance skin benefits in a concentrated form – a little goes a long way. 

A plethora of face serums flood the market, each tailored to address diverse skincare needs, from amplifying hydration to combating signs of aging. These potent elixirs cater to both youthful and mature skin, offering a myriad of enhancing benefits. Whether it's targeting specific concerns or providing overall nourishment, there's a serum crafted for every complexion's unique requirements.

Benefits of face serums range from skin protection and early intervention to treating damaged and age-related skin concerns. Face serums are also used to repair sun damage and protect skin from toxins and environmental harm. Often deeply moisturizing and packed with antioxidants, face serums can help brighten skin, correcting imperfections and supporting a radiant glow.

If you’re ready to introduce skin elixirs into your regular beauty routine, it’s helpful to understand the benefits of additional ingredients so you can find the product that best aligns to your individual needs. What’s more, understanding how to properly apply the facial serum and when to use it will help you maximize the results. 


Applying Face Serum - When & How

Face serums can be applied during both your morning and nighttime skincare routine, but certain serums are meant for each time. 

Morning Skincare Order

The order of your skincare routine is more important than you may think. A common question is when to use face serum for the biggest impact, and there is definitely an answer. At the heart of any well-rounded skincare routine are the following basic steps: cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and sun protection. Each of these steps is a must for maintaining healthy skin. 

To start your day, your morning skincare order should include using a cleanser, toner, serum, and moisturizer. If desired, you can follow up with eye cream and sun protection. Cleansing your face removes dirt, oil, and leftover makeup, while toner removes any remaining impurities. Following these, the face serum is used like a shot of super-concentrated nutrients and antioxidants that magnify your skin's health. 

Common morning face serum ingredients include Vitamin C, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, designed to replenish and protect the skin throughout the day. Adding the right morning skin elixir to your routine will help your skin feel calm and hydrated all day. 

Nighttime Skincare Order

Before bed, your skincare routine will look similar to the start of the day, with a few alterations. Deep cleansing is essential before bed to remove dirt, makeup, and environmental toxins from your skin. Some experts recommend double cleansing, which means starting with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and sunscreen and ending with a water-based cleanser, which targets bacteria and sweat buildup in the pores. 

Next up is toner, and then a specific nighttime face serum should be applied. A nighttime face elixir gives your skin some extra care while you sleep. 

Serums with retinol, peptides, Vitamin C, or hyaluronic acid are good choices, as these ingredients help support your skin while regenerating overnight and repairing the damage done during the day. 

How to Apply Face Serums

After using a cleanser and toner, ensure your skin is dry, dispense a pea-sized amount of serum into your hand, and massage it into your skin using a circular motion. Focus on areas of concern like wrinkles, blemishes, or dark spots. 

For an added benefit, using a supplemental facial tool like a roller or a Crystal Guo Sha stone will help maximize the facial serum absorption into your skin. From promoting blood circulation to toning and tightening the skin, your self-care routine is only complete with a crystal guo sha stone. This facial tool helps stimulate energy and improve lymphatic drainage while allowing the key ingredients in your serum to be effectively absorbed.

When using a face roller, roll down and out across your face, starting from the center of your face outward. When working around your eyes, roll away from your eyes. 

If you use a crystal guo sha, tilt the gua sha facial tool at an angle and gently draw the crystal across your face, following the lymphatic flow. Repeat this step across your face before repositioning to allow full absorption of face serum. 

Water vs. Oil Based Serum

Water-based face serums are lightweight, concentrated formulations designed to penetrate deeply into the skin. Usually containing a base of water or aloe, these types of face serums target skin concerns such as fine lines, dark spots, and hydration. Water-based elixirs work well during the day, mixed with a tinted moisturizer or worn under makeup due to their lightweight consistency. 

Oil-based serums are often made with argan, jojoba, or avocado oil. These serums create a protective barrier on the skin, sealing in moisture and combating environmental damage. Skin serums that are oil-based can be used either day or night, depending on your skincare needs. 

Get to Know Common Skin Elixir Ingredients

Vitamin C - Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is one of nature’s most potent skin-enhancing ingredients. Often used in face serums, Vitamin C offers anti-inflammatory properties that soothe and nourish skin, along with powerful antioxidants that protect from environmental stressors and free radical damage. With skin-brightening properties and the ability to build collagen, it’s obvious why this vitamin is so widely used in skin serums. 

CBD - A powerhouse for natural skincare, CBD offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that pack a punch for your skin. This natural ingredient helps treat dry skin, reduce redness, and fights oxidative stress. Regularly using CBD skincare elixirs can help minimize acne, fine lines, and wrinkles.  

Hemp seed oil - Hemp seed oil contains a vast number of omegas, amino acids, nutrients, and minerals, making it an ideal base for face serums. With a strong ability to help decrease inflammation, while calming and hydrating skin, hemp seed oil is a natural favorite. This oil is known for reducing skin discomfort by soothing and restoring dry or damaged skin and can help slow down the effects of aging by keeping skin hydrated.

Squalane - Squalane is an excellent nature-derived oil that helps soften and smooth dry skin. As a common component in face serums, squalene assists in retaining moisture. This special elixir ingredient also adds a layer of skin-protection due to the antioxidants and other natural elements naturally occurring in this oil. Squalane helps to regulate oil production and is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. 

Marula - Known for enhancing elasticity and firmness by boosting collagen production, marula oil contains a myriad of skin-healing qualities. Marula oil is used to treat sunburns, heal skin irritation, inflammation, and redness, and is also a common treatment for skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.

Witch Hazel: As a natural astringent with anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, witch hazel gently cleans the skin without removing moisture. Ideal for irritated and sensitive skin, witch hazel fights acne by unclogging pores.

Plant stem cell: Packed with antioxidants and amino acids that inhibit the production of hyperpigmentation and free radical damage, plant stem cells help rejuvenate the skin’s appearance and texture. Plant stem cells are known for increasing hydration and stimulating collagen production, making them the perfect addition to your skin elixir. 

Hyaluronic acid: Very few skincare ingredients get as much attention as hyaluronic acid these days, which is a naturally occurring substance found in the skin, connective tissue, and eyes. Hyaluronic acid can hold between 10 to 50 times its weight in water, making it remarkable at hydrating and rejuvenating the skin. 

Niacinamide: More commonly known as Vitamin B3, this ingredient helps balance the oil production and inflammatory response in your skin, keeping your complexion clear and promoting skin elasticity. 

Jojoba oil: Known for its valuable moisturizing and collagen-boosting effects, jojoba oil is often added to skin elixirs to soften and smooth skin. Because its composition is similar to your skin’s own natural sebum (oil), jojoba oil is easily absorbed and does not leave residue behind. 

Aloe vera: A skincare superhero, aloe vera contains Vitamins A and C, antioxidants, and enzymes and is known for its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe vera is well known for soothing injured skin, like sunburns, increasing moisture levels, and clearing up dark spots. Containing antiviral, antifungal, and cell-regenerating properties, aloe vera assists in overall skin health without leaving a greasy residue.  

Retinol: A powerhouse ingredient often added to skin elixirs to promote skin renewal, reduce acne, and promote skin turnover is retinol. Retinol helps diminish fine lines and wrinkles by boosting the skin's elastin and collagen production, making it a front-runner in anti-aging face serums. Naturally derived from Vitamin A, retinol also increases cell regeneration and combats sun damage and dark spots.   

What to Assess When Evaluating Skin Elixirs

Plant-Based and Organically Grown 

Opting for non-toxic face serums is always the best choice. The skin is the body's largest organ, and the ingredients it absorbs affect your entire system. Choosing skin elixirs with ingredients that are plant-based and organically grown allows you to obtain desired benefits without risking negative side effects. Organically grown ingredients are produced without using toxic fertilizers or pesticides, making them better for you and the environment. 

Quality of Ingredients

What is left out is just as important as what ingredients are contained in your face serum. Fillers such as phthalates, butylated hydroxy anisole (or BHA), parabens, and other dangerous synthetic ingredients should never be included in your face serums. Reading the label and purchasing your face serums from a reputable, clean skincare company is essential. 


The ingredient “fragrance” can be disguised as many different things in face serums. This undefined ingredient generally means that synthetic, toxic ingredients are included, all of which are harmful for your skin. If possible, always choose fragrance-free skin elixirs.


The saying, you get what you pay for, rings true regarding face serums. If you find a product with suspiciously low pricing, this is a red flag. The composition and ingredients within quality, clean face serums come with a price. 


Elevate your skincare routine with Botanika Life's premium skin elixirs, crafted with simple, plant-based ingredients. Our formulations prioritize gentleness without compromising effectiveness, ensuring a harmonious balance for your skin. Plus, shop with confidence knowing you're backed by our 90-day return policy for a risk-free experience in achieving radiant, healthy skin.

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By Emily Wegener

With a unique background as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Masters Degree in Teaching and experience in Psychology, Emily spends much of her time researching and trying out new holistic healing modalities.