How to Use a Body Serum: What Are They and Do You Need One?

When we think of skincare, our minds might jump to our complexions. We think of double cleansing, toning, and all of the other steps towards a glowing face. Our bodies don’t get the same attention. If your body skincare routine is limited to stepping out of the shower and dabbing on a bit of lotion, you’re not alone.

However, this year is all about giving our bodies the care they deserve. From dry body brushing to serums, skincare no longer stops at the neck. It took time to grasp all of our face’s essential routines and ointments. Now that we have, we can focus on our bodies’ must-haves. What is a body serum, how do you use one and where does it fall in a body skincare routine? Fear not, we’ve created a guide to tell you everything you need to know about the latest body-care addition.

woman applying body serum

What is a body serum?

We’ve recently come to terms with a facial serum. Now sitting firmly in the second step of a morning cleansing routine, there was confusion surrounding it at first. We soon discovered that the little bottle of hydrating droplets is not to replace a moisturiser. It plays its own, equally important part.

Just how our faces can benefit from a serum, so too can our bodies. If you’re wondering what a body serum is, it works in the same way, by infusing nourishing ingredients into the skin. The best body serums contain active ingredients and because of the light, thin consistency, these ingredients can absorb deep into the skin’s surface.

Do I even need a body skincare routine?

You need a body skincare routine for multiple reasons. While dry patches are irritating and dullness is confidence knocking, well-maintained skin all over is essential for our health. According to Avogel, the skin often acts as the body’s first point of contact with viruses and bacteria, so is a focal point for our immune systems.

So for bright, hydrated skin that also acts as a defence barrier- you may need more than the soap you picked up while doing the food shopping. The first step is to free the skin from the build-up that it accumulates. This build-up can be a mixture of things, such as oil, pollutants, perfumes or lotions. Dry Body Brushing is a great way to budge the first layer of residue and dead skin cells.

Once this first exfoliation step is complete, your skin will be prepped to absorb products at a deeper level. A clear canvas means that there is nothing to block body serums from penetrating the skin, the best kind of body skincare routine.

How to use a body serum as part of your routine

what step is a body serum

This brings us on to how to use a body serum. Just like how SPF is for the day and retinol for the night, when you can use a body serum really depends on the ingredients it contains. However, the rule of thumb is after cleansing and before lotions.

For example, Mio’s Sleeping Smoothie Overnight Body Serum has AHAs and is designed to work its magic while you sleep. During the night, it works by resurfacing your skin cells to give you noticeably glowier skin when you wake up. How to use this particular body serum is to apply to dry skin before bed and wait a minute as it sinks in. In the morning, shower the excess off and use an SPF on your skin for extra protection.

On the other hand, Mio’s Get Waisted Stomach Firming Serum with niacinamide can be massaged around the torso twice daily. It leaves the tummy area feeling tighter and stronger with body-shaping active ingredients such as caffeine to reveal smoother looking and hydrated skin.

Which body serum should I choose?

The great thing about using body serums is that you’re not tied to just one. Some days the skin on our bodies needs a complete reset, other days it simply wants pepping up. You can alternate between whichever serum has the ingredient that your body craves on that day.

What are AHAs?

For example, if you notice your skin is becoming dull and flaky, you may want to use some chemical exfoliants for the body. Enter: The Sleeping Smoothie Serum with AHAs. AHAs, or alpha hydroxy acids, chemically exfoliate by dissolving the bonds between skin cells. This allows those dead skin cells to get moving and subsequently results in a smoother surface for your body. However, AHA body lotions and serums increase photosensitivity, which is why it’s important to use SPF afterwards.

body serum on leg

What is niacinamide?

Once the build-up is gone, your new focus might fall on hydrating and lifting the skin. This is the perfect situation for the Get Waisted Stomach Firming Serum with niacinamide. According to Healthline, niacinamide has plenty of benefits for the skin. Firstly, it can help your skin grow a ceramide barrier to retain moisture. It also minimises redness and blotchiness by reducing inflammation, which can be particularly useful for anyone with irritation, such as chafing.


Various serums contain different, but equally important active ingredients. Pay attention to how your skin looks and feels. Whether it’s dull, dry, oily or inflamed, body serums will quickly nourish the skin and give your body the care it deserves.

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Josie Wilkins

Josie Wilkins

Writer and expert

Josie is an Online Beauty Editor with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. Her passions involve all things skincare and beauty and in her free time she likes to travel, read and get her beauty sleep.