The Great Debate: Serums vs Oils

Oct 26th 2020

Recently, we saw a debate (no, not that one) about the difference between serums and facial oils. Did you know they’re technically not the same thing? We’re explaining the differences for you here!

Facial Serums

Serums are traditionally light weight, gel or water based products that are made up of small, light molecules that penetrate deep into the skin which allows the product to absorb quickly.

Serums tend to be more concentrated products that target specific skin concerns and help improve skin’s health such as hyperpigmentation, dullness, tone, texture and sensitivity.

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Facial Oils

Compared to serums, facial oils are thicker and more emollient in consistency. Face oils are high in fatty acids and are made up of larger molecules, so they’re not as easily absorbed into skin for these reasons. Facial oils work to improve the upper layer of skin, supplying it with lipids and hydration.

Facial oils are great for individuals with dry skin because they provide extra hydration and nourishment while sealing in moisture. 

However, that’s not to say oily skin folks shouldn’t use facial oils! If you run on the oily side, use a little less product in more targeted areas on your face.

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What Comes First?

Another popular debate: which comes first, the serum, oil or the moisturizer? The answer: that depends whether you’re using a serum or an oil. 

A basic rule to keep in mind is that you should apply products in order of consistency, from thinnest to thickest.

So, if you’re using a lightweight serum that absorbs quickly into your skin, apply it before a moisturizer. The moisturizer will also help lock in moisture.

If you’re using a thick, oil based product product you’ll want to apply that after your moisturizer - especially if the moisturizer is light weight. 


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