I used to think serums were my least favourite step: they cost more than toners and, really, what do they do that toners can’t?!
Sure, serums have a concentrated amount of ingredients but you can get well-studied ingredients for well-aging (or anti-aging if you prefer) in toners, such as AHA and 5% niacinamide. And let’s not forget vitamin c.
Of course, such ingredients aren’t for everyone – my neck would have a panic attack if I went anywhere near it with things like AHA and the strongest niacinamide, even though K-Beauty formulations are gentle and designed to be non-irritating.
And some people want a totally soothing experience from skincare, even if their skin can tolerate those potentially irritating ingredients.
So what else can you do, especially if you’re looking for an efficient routine? Or if you use things like AHA or stronger niacinamide concentrations and you might find that your skin is a bit dehydrated and in need of extra hydration.
Whilst I love the 10 steps, not everyone has the time and sometimes even I want a short routine!
Thankfully, Mary & May offers very well-rounded serums that are potent but gentle, full of well-aging ingredients and they double up as effective hydration delivery systems.
I’ve also noticed that using Mary & May has affected my opinion of some other products. Don’t get me wrong – Beauty of Joseon’s serums are still great: if you want classic, well-known ingredients, Beauty of Joseon is a great fit.
However, for well-aging, the skin needs extra hydration anyway and Mary & May serums are hydrating with innovative ingredients. This is what makes them such a good choice for gentle well-aging.
All of Mary & May’s dropper bottle serums have an amazing gel texture that feels incredibly light to apply and sinks into your skin perfectly, even if you’ve used multiple layers of toner first.
This ability to absorb makes Mary & May’s serums easy to use and very cosmetically elegant, which makes me keep trying more…
I intend to try absolutely every option because I feel like I’m getting great value!
So far, I’ve tried the Centella Asiatica, Blackberry Complex and Citrus Unshiu + Tremella Fuciformis. There’s also the mist but I’m writing about the dropper bottle serums here because they all feature a similar formulation.
Mary & May has colour coded labels so you can easily tell the main effect of each serum: green for sensitive skin, white for brightening, purple for well-aging, grey for hydrating and black for antioxidant.
Their ingredient lists short because each serum is targeted to different effects. Although, of course, if you’re looking for well-aging effects and calming, for example, you might want to use more than one or to consider what effects your other products have and adjust your them accordingly.
However, each serum has additional effects beyond its main purpose, which you can read about in my reviews of the ones I’ve tried so far: Citrus Unshiu + Tremella Fuciformis, Centella Asiatica and Blackberry.
What is the Mary & May Marine Collagen serum like?
This is another Mary & May serum that uses innovative ingredients for well-aging – marine collagen is a great way to get cruelty-free collagen into your skincare routine.
Collagen has plumping, moisturising and hydrating effects which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines.
You’ll find the Mary & May signature gel texture with this serum, which is great because it feels lovely to apply, spreads well and dries perfectly. There’s no heaviness or stickiness so it is likely to be suitable for all skin types.
The Marine Collagen serum is fragrance free and some of Mary & May’s serums have some aroma from the extracts. I don’t notice any fragrance from the marine collagen, which is probably a good thing because I’m not sure what it would smell like!
Putting the serum to the test
Of all the Mary & May serums I’ve tried, I felt this one was especially hydrating so naturally I had to put it to the test… I know I’m playing fast and loose with my skin so I don’t recommend it but it does tell you if a product really works!
The best test I could think of was to use my normal serum line up and skip all my toners and essences.
I tend to rotate my toners and essences depending on what my skin needs that day, ordinarily it’s Mixsoon Heartleaf toner, Mixsoon Master Soft toner and Dr Ceuracle Vegan Kombucha Tea essence. I use others but those are my current favourites. Here’s a link to my Dr Ceuracle review.
For this test, I kept my usual serums which are Isntree C-Niacin Toning Ampoule for my AM and Skin1004 Madagascar Centella Ampoule PM, plus the new Mary & May serum. For reference, I tend to apply a full dropper of each – not everyone will need that much but I find applying products generously works best for me. And here’s the reviews of the Isntree and the Skin1004.
I did this test for five days and my skin was plumped and dewy. I’m especially impressed because, as well as hydrating, the Mixsoon Master Soft really is very softening and the Dr Ceuracle is moisturising.
I’m incredibly pleased that the Mary & May performed so well that I didn’t notice any issues. I think the Marine Collagen is a bit special in the Mary & May serum line up – whilst I’m a big fan of the other serums ive tried, I don’t think they could perform that combination of plumping, hydrating and moisturising all in one.
I’m glad to get back to my standard routine because I love the extra products I skipped. I definitely need to review the Mixsoon products soon because that Master Soft toner is seriously next level. However, it’s fantastic to know just how good this Mary & May serum is and that if I want a short routine, I just need to use this (plus my other serum, AM or PM).
Mary & May delivers yet another seriously good serum and I would say this will be a permanent fixture in my routine but what if one of the other Mary & May serums is even better?!