Modern technological advancements in skincare have allowed skincare companies to provide more and more advanced solutions to keep your skin healthy and beautiful. It has also created a beauty industry which is more saturated and confusing than ever!

We often hear variations on, "what skincare products do I really need" or "what is the difference between x and y products?" Amongst the most common of these confusions are the differences and similarities between facial serums, facial oils, and skin moisturizers.

Today, we will be defining all three, discussing the benefits and downsides of each, and when you should consider using facial serums, facial oils, and/or skin moisturizers for healthy, glowing skin!

The Case for Facial Serums

Facial serums are a kind of jack of all trades skincare product. They deliver high concentrations of nutrients while moisturizing skin. One of the primary differences between facial serums and other common beauty products lies within its chemical makeup.

Facial serums are comprised of emulsified water-based and oil-based ingredients. This is important for skin health, as our skin is naturally made up of both water- and oil-based compounds!

Many skin serums also rely on their smaller droplet size for superior skin absorption and nutrient delivery. They also tend to contain a higher percentage of active ingredients to target specific skin needs.

An effective facial serum can be used for a multitude of purposes, offering greater bang for your literal and metaphorical buck!

When to Use Facial Oils

Where facial serums bridge the gap between facial oils and moisturizers, facial oils are one of the oldest and well-researched skincare methods on the planet. Oil-based skincare has been used for tens of thousands of years by ancient cultures all over the globe for one simple reason: it works!

Facial oils are completely oil-based, which allows for high concentrations of nutrients including omega fatty acids, probiotics, antioxidants, and other ingredients such as Vitamin C. Oils are effective at stimulating your skin's natural collagen production, which gives skin a youthful, rejuvenated look and feel.

Facial oils also offer an occlusive effect, though not as powerful as skin moisturizers (more on this below). Facial oils are perhaps best used for nutrient delivery, whereas their moisturizing properties might lag behind our other two product types. This is partially due to a lack of water-based ingredients.

Skin Moisturizer Benefits and Downsides

That brings us to our final contestant: moisturizers! Unlike skin serums and facial oils, moisturizers are highly specialized for a singular purpose, to deliver hydration and moisturization to your skin.

High quality moisturizers will hydrate skin as a humectant, occlusive, and an emollient. This essentially means that your skin will look and feel smoother, it will naturally retain water, and the moisturizer will provide a protective barrier to lock in moisture.

The downside of moisturizers is that they are generally heavier and richer, so on those hot and humid days, it may leave your skin feeling weighed down. This is by design, but it can cause some drawbacks.

You may want to look for a "hydrator" for those summer months, these products generally contain more water than moisture or oil and will not have a heavy feeling on the skin.

Why You Should Incorporate Facial Serums into Your Daily Beauty Routine

Since facial oils and skin moisturizers are more well-known, let's take a look at how facial serums can be incorporated into a typical beauty routine for maximum efficacy! Let's assume that the user has an average skin type. His or her routine might look something like this:

  1. Cleansing: before applying other skincare products, we always recommend gently cleansing skin whether first thing in the morning or after a long day!
  2. Toner, eye cream, or other light creams: we want to make sure these products are applied before any oils or moisturizers which might seal off the skin to absorption.
  3. Facial serums and/or facial oils: in most cases, we would advocate using one or the other. However, this is a highly individual choice. If you choose both, apply serums then oils.
  4. Skin Moisturizer: finally, we end with moisturizer. Moisturizer should be applied last in most cases as it is the strongest occlusive "skin barrier" of them all.

Selecting the Serum, Face Oil, and/or Moisturizer that is Best for You!

All skincare and beauty products have their place in a well maintained beauty regimen. The secret to maintaining healthy and beautiful skin are finding high quality products which meet your individual needs.

Consider looking for products with high quality ingredients that will nourish, rejuvenate, and moisturize your skin. Avoiding potentially harmful ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, and synthetic dyes is also a great idea.

Skin serums are ideal for delivering nutrients, face oils are perfect for everyday maintenance, and moisturizers deliver unparalleled skin hydration. No matter what product(s) you choose, remember that simple, effective products are ideal for your skin (and your wallet)!