Ok, so, you may have mastered the whole cleansing, toning and moisturising thing, but what about skin serums and face oils?
Face serums are:
Applied to your skin after you’ve cleansed and before you moisturise. They are essentially a moisturiser, but unlike ‘traditional’ moisturising creams, they don’t create a barrier on the surface of the skin. That’s why you need to moisturise after using them.1
Face oils are:
Face oils are used to create a protective barrier on the surface of the skin.
The main difference between oils and serums is that oils tend to have a heavier texture, and this is because they’re made up of molecules that are slightly larger than serum molecules. However, the confusing thing is that some oils are marketed as serums, when they are in fact oils.
How can you tell the difference? While it’s difficult to tell from simply looking at the product (as they both look like virtually the same thing) plus, there’s the fact oils can be called serums when they’re actually oils…the best thing to remember is:
Serums are used to achieve more specific skin ‘goals’, such as creating the appearance of a plumper and brighter complexion – Vitamin C serum is great for this – or reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, which is where hyaluronic acid serum comes into its own.
Meanwhile, oils tend to mainly be about hydrating and moisturising skin.2
Should you use one or the other or both?
Now this is an extremely valid question and the answer very much depends on what your skin’s like and what it needs (don’t forget this can change all of the time, as your skin is impacted by many things, such as your diet, hormones or the weather).
If you have a particular skin concern that you want to tackle, then you may find the answer in a serum bottle. And if you’re finding your skin’s lacking in moisture, then you may want to pop on some oil too.
The key thing here is understanding your skin and its needs and being mindful about how it responds to face serums and face oils.
It’s worth just quickly flagging here that some skin serums also contain moisturising ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid. This means that you don’t necessarily have to use face oil too, as the hyaluronic acid contains moisturising properties. On the other hand, if you think your skin could do with an extra hydration boost, then you may want to use a face oil to seal the serum in.
How do you use them?
As is the case with all skincare products, it’s important you follow the instructions and establish a routine when using any form of serums, be it retinoid serums, brightening serums, hydrating serums, night serums or face oil serums.
A 5-step routine for using face serums3
- Choose your serum according to your skin concern.
- Do a patch test by applying a couple of drops to a small area.
- Apply the serum after cleansing and toning, but before moisturising.
- When applying, press it into the skin evenly (this is because serums tend to be water-based and more lightweight, so are absorbed best when pressed into the skin and not massaged).
- Use them once a day, morning or night – if you’re unsure, check the label for guidance.
Face serums to try:
This serum is designed to balance oil levels and minimise pores.
Contains five of the most powerful oils to soothe sensitive skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
A certified organic hydrating face serum designed to moisturise skin.
A 5-step routine for using face oils
- Follow steps 1 and 2 above.
- Use it sparingly (around two to six drops). If it makes you break out and you have oily/combination skin, reduce the amount.
- Massage it into your face and neck so that it absorbs well into the skin. (Tip – applying it to damp skin will trap in more of the moisture).
- Apply it at the very end, i.e. after your toner, serum and moisturiser so that it acts as a barrier on your skin.
- Use it in the evening so that it sinks into the skin as you rest, and then use just a single drop in the morning.
Face oils to try:
Improves redness and hyperpigmentation and promotes rejuvenation and hydration.
Provides all-over nourishment and repair for all skin types and works wonders on scars, stretchmarks, fine lines and wrinkles.
This is a lightweight oil that’s packed with retinol and carrot seed oil and helps promote softer, smoother and visibly younger-looking skin.
Serum or oil, which one will you choose?
Both are equally amazing for skin and worthy of being on your skincare wish list. For more skin serum advice, check out this article, ‘Skin serums for an even, bright complexion.’
Last updated: 31 July 2020