The definition of a serum is a bit foggy in the beauty world and with so many products claiming the name serum it can be hard to figure out! Generally they are a liquid, not a cream/lotion and their texture is less oily.

Now, just to complicate things we can get serums in our foundations, a handy 2-in-1 product always sounds exciting so we picked a few from the shop shelves to take a look at…

Bare Minerals Bareskin pure brightening serum foundation SPF 20

This is Bare Minerals first foundation and combined serum, which they claim is for a natural finish as well as brighter skin with an even skin tone.

Right at the top of the ingredient list is titanium dioxide, which gives this foundation its SPF of 20, a good start for Bare Minerals!

One of their selling points is the vitamin C content in the product and this is there in the form of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a preferred form of Vitamin C as it is more stable. Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant and can increase collagen production so is a great anti-ageing ingredient. It may even have some activity to combat hyperpigmentation but best of all there is evidence out there to say that it will penetrate the skin.

The next selling point is not so great, the ‘supercharged lilac plant stem cells’. We are not at all convinced by the use of stem cells as there just is not enough knowledge on them to be able to make use of them, but we do hope to one day to see some great breakthroughs!

For a reasonable £23.40 (currently on SALE here!), it’s a good one to try if you want to be part of this latest skincare trend!

Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Gel Foundation

This foundation claims to have a vitamin-rich fruit therapy formula to give skin a radiance boost for up to 16 hours but can our drugstore option live up to its claims?

We were a little disappointed to see how similar the ingredients list of the healthy mix serum is compared to the equivalent foundation. There have been few changes to the order of the ingredients, indicating the concentrations used are different so the two may have a slightly different texture but any major changes made are low down on the list.

They have included vitamin E, and it is a great ingredient to include for its antioxidant activities protecting us from harmful free radicals. However, we think that vitamin rich is a bold statement as compared to other cosmetics this product is lacking a few!

Litchi (or lychee), goji berry and pomegranates give us the fruit therapy formula but what can they do for our skin? First up litchi, another good antioxidant to protect us from photo-oxidative damage as this contributes to the visible effects of ageing. Bourjois have used litchi chinesis pericarp extract which may also have some skin lightening effects although there is less evidence to back this up. Pomegranate is another antioxidant as are goji berries but these also have a vitamin C component in them. Vitamin C is found in a whole load of anti-ageing products due to its effects on collagen to give us younger looking skin.

To conclude, it is not as vitamin packed as we would have liked but we think fruit-rich is a valid claim especially as the fruits used are useful antioxidants to keep skin looking young however the rest of the claims seem a bit exaggerated!

The Verdict

For only £10.99 if you want to try the serum foundation trend on a budget, this product would be for you! You can purchase it HERE.

Bobbi Brown skin serum foundation SPF 40

This claims to have a high-powered formula to give skin the energy to look fresher and younger, these are big claims from Bobbi Brown – can it really ‘go beyond the surface’?

At SPF 40 there are a few ingredients to give it this sun protection power including titanium dioxide, octinoxate and zinc oxide so that is a good starting point, and after this we found a whole load of weird and wonderful ingredients!

There are many natural antioxidants packed into this foundation such as apple and litchi. There are also a few more unusual ones like cordyceps sinesis extract, a parasitic fungus that grows on caterpillars (we are as surprised as you!). These mushrooms are one of the ingredients Bobbi Brown focus on to the sell this product and it turns out they are antioxidants to protect skin from free radicals. However, we would like to see more research behind them (it’s currently limited!). Especially to answer questions such as “how they absorbed by our skin”? Another unusual antioxidant is the bamboo (Sasa veitchii extract) and it only gets weirder from here! Thermus thermophillus ferment comes from bacteria, which live at the bottom of the ocean and this claims to be yet another antioxidant but even alongside artemia extract (from shrimp!) this ocean theme is not enough to convince us.

Back to reality and we have found an ingredient we think looks a lot more promising – lavender! This essential oil has been used for years for its calming scent but it also has antimicrobial properties and has been thought to help in the process of wound healing (although there is some debate on this!). However, lavender is also suggested to be a potential allergen for some people but this is usually occupational (e.g exposure to lavender oil in aromatherapy/massage, so likely higher concentration then in this product!). But if you do have sensitive skin it would be a good idea to patch test before splashing the cash on this one!

The Verdict

This product is a good high end option for those serum foundation curious amongst you! However, be wary if you have sensitive skin, a patch test would be the way to go first!

You can find Bobbi Brown skin serum foundation SPF 40 HERE. 

Overall Verdict: Serum Foundations

It seems as though these three foundations claim to be serums due to ingredients, which provide plenty of antioxidant activity to protect from free radicals. If you’re time-poor and struggle to fit in an extravagant skincare regime as part of your morning, these serum foundations could be the 2 in 1 products for you. However, overall we feel the serum foundation craze is less exciting than it first seemed. If it’s the serum’s properties you are after, we would recommend buying a good serum separate to your foundation. There are a lot of great serums (with ingredients that are supported by more sturdy research!) out there that we don’t feel the foundation serums we looked at live up to. We believe this is because creating a formula that can act as a foundation and a serum is extremely tricky and is likely to sacrifice some things to get the balance, such as active ingredients. Same goes for the coverage they give too!

We think that serum foundations are more of a preferences than a necessity in our make-up bags but if you’re time poor and it’s a toss up between instagram worthy make-up or a perfect skincare regime, this could be a good option for you!

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