Facial Serum vs Facial Oil

Facial Serum and Oils for Aging Skin

Facial Serum vs Facial Oil. This is the big question we are asking when looking for healthy, youthful skin. Are you looking for anti-aging, anti-wrinkle solutions? Do you want to target skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or dry skin? Facial oils and serums may be the answer you are looking for! Understanding how these two powerhouses work will help you to make an informed purchase and select the products best suited to your skin type/condition. One thing is for sure. Facial oils and serum should definitely be a part of your skin routine.

What is the difference between a facial serum and a facial oil?

Generally, serums are nutrient-dense cocktails for the skin that are lighter than oils. These serums are mostly likely water or gel-based. Serums feed and treat the skin while facial oils are the protectors. Oils are heavier than serums and provide the skin surface with a much-needed barrier. Facial oil also seals in the nutrients of your serums and moisturizers. The contents of serums and oils are what make them different.

What are serums and how do they work?

Most serums are water-based or gel-like. They can be used alone or with a moisturizer and/or face oil. The molecules of serums are smaller than face oils. These smaller molecules are easily absorbed deep into the skin where collagen production and skin correction take place. This means the anti-aging, antioxidant, and healing ingredients are absorbed deeply for targeted results. Serums are a very important step towards correcting your skin concerns.

Serums tend to be concentrated mixtures of active ingredients that feed your skin and target specific issues such as dryness, wrinkles, elasticity, sun damage, and acne or rosacea. The ingredients are often full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, vitamins, and minerals. Think of serums as highly potent skin food. You are picking specific ingredients or skin-food that will target your particular skin concern. A skin diet is the greatest defense against environmental elements. The healthier your skin is, the more graceful it will age.

photo of mature women with good skin


Facial Serum vs Cream

Can I use my serum as a moisturizer? Yes and no. Serums are full of ingredients that treat the skin and help with hydration and moisturizing, but they do not create a barrier between your skin and the elements. You want the serum to feed the deep layers of your skin. A moisturizer is the icing on the cake, adding ingredients to feed your skin further and sealing it all in. A Facial Oil may be a better choice for a moisturizer. I’ll explain that a little later.

When do I use my face serum?

You want your serum to be the first ingredient you put on your skin after you have cleansed and toned your skin. Always work from the lightest product to your heaviest product. Allow your serum to absorb before your next step.

What do face oils do?

Facial oils are richer than serums. The molecules in oil are larger. These oils are rich in nutrients and lipids or fats that strengthen the skin barrier. Facial oils are full of plant essential oils, antioxidants, and nutrients that provide nutrition and hydration. Increasing moisture and hydration promotes strong and firm skin and is the key to a healthy, glowing complexion. Some of these oils have antioxidant properties that are anti-inflammatory and wrinkle-fighting. Other oils are antibacterial and calming. What they all have in common is that they help to create that glowing, healthy skin look.

As we age, our natural oil production decreases and that healthy look is harder to achieve. Facial oils are the helping hand we need. They are just as important as serums and help to repair the skin’s barrier and keep it supple, soft, and glowing.

Who should use a face serum or facial oil?

Everyone!! You can not start too young. Remember, you are supporting your skin so that it can become the best it can be. Also, if you have skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or are looking for anti-aging and anti-wrinkle support, serums are a step toward great skin. Oily, dehydrated, and sensitive skin also benefit from using an appropriate serum to target the issue. Serums come with a variety of consistency. There is a serum for everyone, every skin type, and every skin concern.

What ingredients should I look for in a facial serum?

Look for ingredients like vitamin A, C to brighten your skin and promote collagen. Vitamin E helps with oxidative stress. You want antioxidant ingredients to fight free radical damage. Some of these fighters are green tea and grapeseed, Ingredients like hyaluronic acid help to plump and hydrate the skin. Lycopene helps with sun damage. Prickly pear is antiaging, tightens pores, and reduces wrinkles. If you have sensitive skin, serums with aloe vera, cacay oil, and sea buckthorn oil will help to calm your skin.

What skin concerns can facial serums target?

  • Help calm acne
  • Calm irritated skin
  • Strengthen skin
  • Exfoliate dead skin
  • Smooth skin
  • Treat hyper-pigmentation and sun damage
  • Anti-aging
  • Fight free radicals

Can I use a facial oil on oily skin?

Yes! You can use a facial oil on oily skin. It is important to choose the correct oil for oily skin. An example is Jojoba oil and Marula oil. Both these oils are known to work well on acne-prone skin.

How much serum should I use?

A pea size of serum is plenty. If the serum you are using is very watery, use your dropper directly on your skin so that you do not waste any product on your hands.

women's finger with oil dropper

How much Facial oil should I use?

Facial oils are heavier and denser than serums. A little goes a long way. You do not need to be drenched in oil to reap the benefits. If you are using it with a serum or moisturizer, you want to apply your oil last. Don’t forget about your neck and decollete. 

After my serum and moisturizer, I drop two to three drops in the palm of my hand and dab the oil over different parts of my face and then massage in. You can use a rose quartz facial roller over your oil.  It helps with absorbption and stimulates your lymaphatic system. 



Facial Oil vs Moisturizer

Yes, you can use a facial oil as a moisturizer. Oils replace moisturizers better than serums do. Some people find moisturizers and facial oil too much. My guess is that they are simply using too much product. A little goes a long way. If you use both a moisturizer and oil, put a thin layer of moisturizer on first. Let it absorb. I like to brush my teeth before I put my facial oil on. This gives whatever serum I use the time to absorb. My facial oil is my last step. I use very little which means one drop on each side of my face. I like to massage my oil in or use my rose quartz roller to roll in my oil.

Which Facial Oils should I use?

Here is a short list of some oils and their qualities.

Prickly Pear Oil

  • 150% more vitamin E than Argan Oil; the most of all the beauty oils
  • Improves skin elasticity
  • Stimulate cell renewal
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • High amounts of powerful anti-oxidants from Betelains (food in super foods)
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation and dark circles under eyes due to vitamin K content.
  • Won't clog pores
  • Good for sensitive skin

Marula Oil

  • Lightweight oil
  • Won’t clog pores
  • Hydrating
  • Calming
  • Antibacterial
  • Antioxidant
  • High in Vitamin C and E
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Easily absorbed
  • Gives you a dewy appearance

Cacay Oil:

  • 3 x more vitamin A (retinol) than Rosehip Oil
  • Vitamin A in Cacay oil is suitable for sensitive skin
  • Better for oily skin than Rosehip oil
  • Naturally derived retinol
  • More Vitamin E than Argan Oil
  • Hydrating
  • Antiaging

Grapeseed Oil

  • Antimicrobial
  • Antioxidant and protects against free radical damage
  • Decrease excess oil
  • More vitamin E than Olive oil
  • Astringent
  • Suitable for oily skin

Jojoba Oil

  • Light oil
  • Mimics skin’s oil
  • Antibacterial
  • Antifungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Balances sebum
  • Suitable for oily skin and acne
  • Good for eczema and psoriasis

Rosehip Oil

  • High vitamin A of the form that is recognized by your skin
  • Vitamin C helps to brighten your skin
  • Antibacterial
  • Hydrating
  • Antiaging
  • Antioxidant

Castor Oil

  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial
  • Reduces pigmentation
  • Stimulates collagen and elastin
  • Encourages cell regeneration
  • Great to use around the eyes

Baobab Oil

  • Cell rejuvenation
  • Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Good for sensitive, inflamed skin prone to allergic conditions such as dermatitis and eczema

 Why use both a Facial serum and a Facial oil?

If you have a specific skin issue you would like to address, a serum partnered with oil is a great combination. The serum can target your concern, and your oil will add extra anti-aging, antioxidant ingredients, and a protective barrier. Also, it will leave your skin looking all a-glow.

What is the verdict?

Using both serums and oils is the key to having the best skin ever. Choose your serum to target your skin concerns. Pick your facial oil to protect and enhance your serum and moisturizer.

A quick word about organic and natural products. Be careful of the serums and oils you choose. You don't want a product with synthetic fragrances or unhealthy preservatives. Look for organic ingredients provided by Mother Nature!