What’s the Difference Between a Face Serum and Face Oil?

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Keeping your face moisturized and hydrated is one of the not-so-secret secrets of great skin. If you are careful enough to ensure this, not only will your skin’s texture improve, but it will also have a healthy, youthful glow.

While facial moisturizers have always been a dependable choice, recently beauty companies have launched other products that you can try out as well. The most prominent one of them being face oils and face serums.

There are so many people who assume that face oils and face serums are the same.

But, there’s a catch. These two products are most certainly different – not entirely, but slightly.

I don’t blame you for assuming this too as face serums and face oils do have a similar packaging, and are often advertised for providing your skin with the same benefits. It can get confusing for everyone.

This brings us to the difference between a face serum and a face oil.


What’s a Face Serum?

Facial serums are a water-based skincare product. It‘s developed from high concentrations of different types of water-soluble actives along with water-based substances. Its formula mostly comprises tiny molecules to facilitate the easy and deep penetration into the very pores of your skin.

As a result of this, when you apply a serum, you can improve various skincare concerns. Face serums are also rich in a host of important nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins that can hydrate your skin from within while also prolonging the formation of the different signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. If you are successful in creating a routine where you apply the serum on a regular basis, you’ll instantly see the brightening effect it will have on your complexion. If you are successful in creating a routine where you apply a serum without fail, you’ll instantly see the brightening effect that the product will have on your complexion.

All in all, face serums are water-based skincare products designed to give your skin an instant boost and prolong aging efficiently.

What‘s a Face Oil?

Face oil is a skincare product that is created by combining several kinds of essential oils along with oil-soluble actives. At the same time, you can also find face oils that comprise a single oil as well.

While face serums, being water-based, are lightweight, face oils have a heavier formulation. This makes it take a longer time to fully absorb into your skin. However, all the extra effort is well worth it because these products can improve your skin’s elasticity and hydration. It also acts as a booster for raising the natural defenses of the skin.

It comprises larger molecules (over 200 molecules) to kickstart the hydration process as soon as you apply to your skin. You should buy face oil if you suffer from extremely dry and dehydrated skin. Think of face oils as water that can quench the thirst of your skin.

Face Oils vs. Face Serums: Decoding the Differences

The first difference between a face oil and face serum is its composition. Face serums are more water-based, while face oils are oil-based. Also, the former has smaller molecules in comparison to the significant molecule of concentration of face oils.

The other difference is the problems that these two products target. The job of a serum is to enhance the radiance of your skin while face oils help to provide deep hydration.

I would also like to add that you can use a face oil and a face serum together. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this step. But at the same time, you have to be careful that you are not logged in your pores. For example, if you have oily skin, you should only use a face serum as opposed to face oils. On the other hand, if you have dry skin, you can experiment with using both these products together more freely.

What’s the Correct Way to Use a Face Oil and Face Serum Together?

If you reckon that you can use a face oil as well as a face serum as a part of your daily skincare routine without any issue of clogging the pores, read on.

A good rule of thumb is to always apply the products that have a lighter formula first. This also naturally implies that you should apply a face serum before you put on face oil. After you are done with basic cleaning and exfoliation, apply the serum and gently massage it onto your skin. You can also use this product after using a toner.

Wait for some time to let your skin soak up the goodness of the face serum. Proceed with applying face oil to your face. You will need to massage the product for a longer period of time due to the heavier consistency. If you want, you can also use face oils during the day but, I’ll recommend avoiding putting on any makeup after. As face oil is already heavy, when you pack on more product, it will lead to too much layering.

Also, don’t skip on applying sunscreen. While face oils and face serums can be really beneficial for your skin, they still might not provide the required protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

It would be advised that you apply face oil just before you go to bed. This will give your skin the chance to absorb the nutrient and vitamin-rich formula giving it with the needed hydration.


On a final note, face serum is different from face oil. While the intricacies are varied, the end purpose is to always improve the way your skin looks and feels. My parting advice to you would be to select face oils and face serums that are compatible with your skin type. This is an important factor that you should try to follow.


Resources– Clean Beauty 101, Difference Between, Skincare By Alana

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