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Face Oil vs Face Serum

Updated: Jan 14, 2022

Do you need a face serum, face oil or both?

Understanding how skincare works empowers you to make an informed purchase, selecting products suited to your skin type/condition and getting the most out of them as part of your routine.

Today we are exploring the difference between face oils and face serums, helping you to determine which you need.

Put simply, the purpose of a face oil is primarily to nourish, protect and moisturize the skin, while a face serum targets specific skin concerns (such as wrinkles, fine lines, dullness, dryness, acne, irritation and redness). Due to serums serving a particular purpose, they tend to be more expensive than oils.

Serums contain ingredients such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which affect the functions of the skin. Their molecules are very small, allowing them to absorb deeply for rejuvenation, regeneration, luminosity, balance and many more benefits. Just some of the things serum can do include:

  • Treats hyper-pigmentation

  • Repairs sun damage

  • Fights acne and future breakouts

  • Exfoliates away dead skin cells and speeds up cell turnover

  • Calms red, puffy skin

  • Reduces the appearance of pores and prevents them from being clogged

  • Brightens, smoothes and firms skin

Oils are designed to protect the skin from changes in weather/temperatures while also retaining moisture, repairing the skin’s barrier (improving overall resilience), keeping it supple and providing a source of anti-oxidants, fatty acids and vitamins. Due to their emollient nature and slightly thicker texture, oils need to be massaged in to help deliver softness and smoothness to skin. When used as the final step in your skincare routine, they protect the serum from evaporating from skin.

Do you need a face oil and face serum?

It depends on your skin type as to whether you need to use both a face oil and serum. If you have a particular skin concern then yes, we recommend using both products. This will ensure the specific problem is being addressed, while also receiving all of the benefits of face oil. Some serums also contain moisturizing ingredients which may mean you do not necessarily need a face oil.

As we age, natural oil production will inevitably decrease, meaning our skin will often need a helping hand through the use of a face oil. You may also choose to use a serum to target any skin concerns you may have.

Tips on how to use a face oil:

  • Use a small amount (2-6 drops, dependent upon your skin type) as a little goes a long way for achieving great benefits. Reduce the amount you are using if you experience breakouts and/or have an oily/combination skin type. If your face oil is 100% oil then you will also require fewer drops.

  • Massage into the face and neck. Apply on damp skin to trap in moisture.

  • Apply last in your routine as this acts as a barrier on the outer layer of the skin.

Tips on how to use a face serum:

  • Establish the skin concern to choose a serum with the most appropriate ingredients.

  • Test a small area with 3-5 drops before applying serum more widely on the skin.

  • Apply prior to moisturizer and oil but after cleansing and toning, as skincare is best applied from the thinnest to thickest consistency.

  • Press into the skin evenly – serums have a more lightweight texture that requires pressing rather than massaging.


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