Skip to main content
MECCA Logo will take you to homepage on click

  • Book an appointment
Mecca Franchise Logo The Mecca Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Serums for Every Stage of Your Life

January 1 | 3 minute read

Memo Serums Different Life Stages Hero 16x9

Words by Samantha Brigden

Originally published on | April 10

Designed to target your concerns (fast), serums are the high achievers of the skincare world – but which formulas should you reach for, and when?

We asked Giorgi Strachan, MECCA’s Skincare Education Manager and member of our expert Beauty Board, to guide us through serums for different stages of life, from teens to twenties, thirties and beyond.

“As we age, the skin may start to experience changes in how it presents,” explains Strachan, adding that the way skin changes varies from person to person.

So, the serum you choose – just like the rest of your skincare – comes down to your individual skin needs, not necessarily the number of candles on your birthday cake. And, most importantly, “Remember to lock in your serum and treatment products with a moisturiser,” advises Strachan, adding, “This goes for all ages, but is particularly important as we age!”

In your tweens and teens

Focus: Breakouts, sensitivity
Ingredients: Probiotics, hyaluronic acid

At this point, we all know tweens are interested in skincare – but all that’s really necessary at this tender age is SPF (see our guide to tween skincare here), with gentle moisturisers and cleansers an option for those who insistent on having a routine of their own.

However, once the teenage years hit, Strachan says a serum could be appropriate: “As hormones begin to fluctuate, you may need to extend beyond your foundational routine of a cleanser, moisturiser and SPF and turn to a serum for extra support. In particular, congestion and breakouts may become more common, which can be helped by a gentle formula.”

At the top of her list? “Emma Lewisham's Supernatural Blemish Face Serum focuses on helping to balance the skin's microbiome and ticks all the boxes when it comes to addressing congestion at the root cause.”

Another option is MECCA MAX Watercooler Calming Hydration Serum, with probiotic fermented birch juice to support microbiome balance, plus hydrating green algae extract and panthenol. 

For those lucky enough to navigate their teen years with clear skin, she recommends Kiehl’s targeted yet gentle treatments – both the Ultra Pure High-Potency 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid Serum and the Ultra Pure High-Potency 5.0% Niacinamide Serum – to boost hydration and soothe sensitivity.

In your 20s
Focus: Barrier support, prevention
Key ingredients: Niacinamide, retinol

Alongside your “foundational routine” of cleanser, moisturiser and “absolute must” SPF, Strachan recommends focusing on “maintaining and protecting your skin” with ingredients that support its moisture barrier – which keeps hydration locked in – and microbiome, also known as your skin’s ‘bodyguard’, that keeps external aggressors out (need a refresh on the microbiome? See our guide here).

Strachan recommends MECCA COSMETICA’s Replenishing Niacinamide Serum, which includes barrier-supporting niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3) and Tula's 24/7 Ultra Hydration Triple Hydra™ Complex Day & Night Serum which “delivers on all fronts with microbiome support and three different types of hyaluronic acid.”

And yes, around the time you turn 25, it may be time to consider skincare’s magic ingredient to target any nascent fine lines and texture: retinol. “MECCA COSMETICA's Restoring Retinol Serum contains a 0.25 percent retinol complex and has been formulated with amino acids and sodium PCA to be gentle and effective for first-timers,” Strachan says.

Close up of two retinol serums on a pink background.

In your 30s
Focus: Texture, fine lines, dullness
Key ingredients: Vitamin C, glycolic acid

New decade, new skincare! This is when “skin's cellular turnover starts to slow and we may start to see a shift in skin radiance, tone and texture,” Strachan explains, adding, “This is a great time to centre your routine around the ABCs: vitamin A (retinol) to encourage skin cell turnover and regulation, vitamin B (niacinamide) to boost barrier function and vitamin C to balance skin and support collagen production.”

Strachan recommends Sunday Riley’s C.E.O 15% Vitamin C Brightening Serum “for those looking for a result-driven vitamin C serum without the irritation.”

Another option to smooth and brighten skin is an exfoliating serum. Strachan recommends Kiehl's Ultra Pure High-Potency 9.8% Glycolic Acid Serum, which “targets cellular turnover and promotes radiance, making it another must have for those seeking a boost in their thirties.”

In your 40s
Focus: Hydration, plumping, dullness
Key ingredients: Peptides

“You may notice that oil production begins to slow and the desire for hydrating, plumping and firming formulations become a focus here,” Strachan says. She recommends serum ingredients like peptides and collagen-boosting vitamins, along with richer, more nourishing textures.

Glow Recipe's Pomegranate Peptide Serum is a wonder for targeting fine lines, texture and hydration all in one, with a milky texture that affords more nourishing support compared to lighter serums,” says the expert.

Or, if you’re looking for extra radiance, “Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Glow Drops are another great option, with skin-nourishing purslane and light-reflecting pigments for a real boost.”

In your 50s
Focus: Dryness, barrier support
Key ingredients: Vitamin A, niacinamide

It’s common to notice your complexion changing as you reach your fifties, including becoming drier or more textured. The solution is “a more focused hydration and replenishment routine,” explains Strachan, who recommends “serums that provide essential vitamins A, B and C [aka, retinol, niacinamide and vitamin C] and nutrients.”

She calls VERSO’s Super Elixir “the perfect formulation”, praising its serum-oil texture “which works to deeply nourish and hydrate the skin (ideal if you are on the dry side) along with vitamin A and niacinamide to help with barrier support.”

Strachan also loves Augustinus Bader’s The Retinol Serum– a superpowered skin rejuvenator that pairs retinol with the brand’s signature active ingredient, TFC8®, to make it even more effective on skin.

Side profile shot of a grey-haired model winking at the camera.
A clear gel serum bubbling on a white background.

In your 60s – and beyond!
Focus: Radiance, discolouration
Key ingredients: Lactic acid, niacinamide

At this stage of life, skin concerns like discolouration and dullness can become “amplified”. Strachan advises turning to “targeted serums [that] can assist in balancing your tone, texture and provide overall radiance and vitality to the skin.”

Her top pick? Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment, which she calls “a multitasking wonder with lactic acid and liquorice to gently refine and buff the skin, all while brightening and targeting discolouration – a great option for daily use during your sixties!”

Another favourite is Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Niacinamide Hue Drops™ (it's not just for Gen Z!), which assists in supporting the skin barrier and hydration, “all while providing an even, bronzed glow to the skin – perfect if you find your complexion needing a boost!”

More beauty news

Skip to content below carousel
Memo Best Foundations For Every Age Hero 16x9

The ‘Perfect’ Foundation, According to Those in Their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s

September 27

Skip to content above carousel