The new black

Although I'm pretty fickle when it comes to beauty products, my morning regime has remained the same for years. Up. Wash. Moisturise. Deodorise. Hair. Dress. Teeth. Make-up. Out. All of the above conducted in between sips of peppermint tea. Mindfully aware that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I make sure I'm in the office before the canteen runs out of bacon. Time is of the essence, and for something to nudge its way into my routine it has to be spectacular. Toners, for example, have never made it. Neither have cleansers that require cotton wool. Both are fiddly and time-consuming.

When serums started coming on to the market recently, I happily consigned them to the "another product you don't need" category. What was the point of spending time, not to mention money, on a "skin-boosting" product to wear under your moisturiser? I'm as up for being conned as the next insecure woman, but only if its done subtly. Surely if your moisturiser isn't giving your skin enough of a boost, the answer is to try another, not to clear out more cabinet space.

That said, I'm a sucker for trends, and a firm believer that you should try most things once, if only to know not to repeat the mistake. So, I tried a serum. And now I'm hooked. The thing with serums is that the effect is almost immediate. From the first day, my skin felt velvety and looked clearer. After a week, I was wondering how I'd managed without them.

Serums are great for everyone, especially skin that is subjected to external stress (city living) or for whatever reason isn't getting enough nutrients (poor diet, late nights, etc). Serums are also fab for black skin, which tends to be excessively oily, since they balance out the skin without stripping it raw. The best serums absorb quickly, so you don't have to hang around before applying moisturiser. Origins' A Perfect World, Molton Brown's Skinboost and Jo Malone's Protein Serum all do the trick wonderfully. And don't be put off by the disturbingly small bottles: a little goes a very long way.

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