Oils, serums, moisturizers, oh my!
Look – we get it. When it comes to skin products, especially your face – the choices and routines can feel overwhelming. With so many questions running through your head, like:
- What is face serum?
- What does face serum do for your face?
- I wonder how to apply face serum?
Where do you even start?!
Take a deep breath, no need to stress or sweat out your pores. We’ve got you covered with all the answers.
To start, you’re already in the right place! A face serum with quality, rich ingredients is one of the best choices for manifesting your best skin.
Serums contain targeted formulas that help unlock an even, natural complexion, clear skin, moisture, and smoothness for days! So let’s get into everything you need to know about how to use face serum to get the skin of your dreams.
What is Face Serum?
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? These are some of the biggest questions we hear from people who are new to the world of face serum and are debating if it’s something to add to their skin care routine:
- Q: What is face serum?
- A: Face serum is any lightweight liquid formula that's applied as a part of your daily skincare routine to target one (or multiple) skin-specific concerns.
- Q: What does face serum to do your face?
- A: Serums carry high concentrations of active ingredients and nutrients to the skin on a deeper level than other skincare products. This typically results in potent and long-lasting results because serums heal and change the skin beneath the surface level.
So, as you can see, pretty much anyone would benefit from adding a nutrient-rich face serum to their daily skincare routine.
Because of that, face serums have become increasingly popular in recent years. Their powerful combination of high concentration, active nutrients, and deep saturation boasts incredible results in a short amount of time.
The active ingredients and nutrients in a face serum can vary greatly depending on your skin goals, however. So it’s important to know what your goals are and what ingredients help best achieve those goals.
Most face serums focus on acne, aging, or complexion, while others purely focus on delivering intense, deep moisture. Our personal favorites are all-in-one treatments for multiple concerns.
Some face serums are even formulated to serve as a 2-in-1 product to replace your moisturizer, depending on your skin type.
For example, our Clear + Control face serum is formulated to help soothe inflammation AND skin texture while providing superior hydration that fights fine lines and wrinkles. All of this happens because of the ingredients in the serum, which is our patented formula of squalane and CBG together to deliver impressive results in as little as four weeks.
But what if you don’t have an all-in-one product or need a little extra boost? At the end of the day, each product in your skin care routine plays a crucial role in nourishing, healing, and protecting your skin.
So let’s take a look at how face serum differs from other skin care products, like moisturizers and face oil.
Face Serum vs. Moisturizer
It’s important to understand what face serum is and what it does to your face in order to benefit from its results. Knowing the difference between products is the only way to create a custom routine fit for your skin goals, after all.
For example, face serum and moisturizer are VERY different products with different goals.
While both products have skin hydrating benefits, the biggest difference between a face serum and a moisturizer is that face serum contains a higher concentration of healing agents.
Face serums are intended to shuttle beneficial ingredients into your skin to fight concerns like aging, redness, acne, and uneven skin tone.
Moisturizers, on the other hand, are critical for skin health and protection – they sit on the surface of the skin and block impurities and stressors that would otherwise seep into the skin, like dry air and environmental pollution.
Yes, there are moisturizers on the market that will claim to help combat similar problems that a serum would address – like aging or redness. You can definitely benefit from adding a dual-purpose moisturizer to your routine, but keep in mind moisturizers won’t deliver as many deep potent healing powers, and they shouldn’t replace your face serum.
TLDR: Face serums provide deep healing with nutrient-dense ingredients, and moisturizers provide general surface-level hydration and protection from harmful external factors.
Because your skin is so delicate, it’s important to create a soothing, nourishing barrier of protection every single day, making a skin care routine with a face serum and moisturizer a winning solution.
In fact, it’s becoming widely known that your skin needs protection even if you’re exclusively indoors.
The more you protect your skin and create a routine that nourishes it, the healthier it will be!
And if you incorporate both a serum and moisturizer into your skincare routine, make sure you know how to use them together! Face serum should always be applied before your moisturizer (aka “skin barrier”) is in place. Otherwise, the serum won’t be able to penetrate the skin like it’s meant to.
Face Serum vs. Face Oil
So now that you know what face serum is and how it differentiates from moisturizer, your next question is likely, “what is the difference between face serum and face oil? Aren’t they the same?”
You’re not the only beautiful soul to ask these questions, as these two products are commonly confused or assumed to be the same. In reality, though, they’re pretty different!
The biggest difference is that face oils sit on the surface of the skin, while face serums are formulated to dive below the skin surface!
Face oils function similar to a moisturizer but are even more hydrating – they provide intense hydration when your skin is severely dry or tired. They help strengthen the outer layer of your skin by softening and sealing it to prevent water loss.
Yet, while they do provide deeper moisture, it should be noted they still can’t compete with the power of a face serum’s benefits, as a serum still goes deeper than any oil to help deliver the nourishing ingredients into your skin.
Additionally, in terms of consistency, face oil is usually thicker than a serum because of its oil base that mimics the natural oils produced by your skin.
Sometimes face oil is just what you need for a particularly dry area as a spot treatment, or to altogether replace your moisturizer.
How you hydrate your skin is up to you, just make sure you pair it with a nourishing serum.
Face Serum Benefits
By now, you’ve probably realized the face serum benefits are endless! A face serum is a must-have for your daily skin ritual if you want to create deep, long-lasting change that rejuvenates your skin with the nutrients it needs! Healing starts from within, after all.
But in case you needed even more reason to decide if adding a face serum to your typical routine is right for you, remember these additional benefits:
- Sustained moisture and plump skin from deep hydrating ingredients
- Lightweight formulas that absorb easily into the skin surface and beyond
- Could serve as a suitable substitute a moisturizer for those with oily skin
- Carries a strong concentration of active ingredients deep inside the skin
- Quickly targets areas of concern with potent ingredients that repair and prevent damage
It should no longer be a secret that fitting a face serum into your daily skin care routine will give you radiant skin that makes you feel on top of the world with confidence and ease.
How to Use Face Serum: Where It Fits Into Your Skincare Routine
Now you know what face serum actually is, how it can benefit your skin, and how to use face serum with moisturizer and oils...where should it fit with the rest of your daily skin care ritual?
Don’t worry, we geek out over this kind of stuff.
Here’s your go-to guide for all things skin schedule.
Step 1: Cleanser
You always want to start your skincare routine, day or night, with a cleanser. Never apply other face products without washing first! You could potentially spread harmful bacteria deeper into the skin. (Ew, no thank you!)
There are many different types of cleansers – oil, cream, gel, micellar water, balms, or foams. (Wow, that’s a lot of options!) But don’t stress.
The type of cleanser you pick is up to you and what feels good! The important thing is to make a habit of regularly washing away the day with ingredients that care for your skin and give you a clean slate to start your routine.
Step 2: Toner
Many people don’t understand the need for toner in your skincare routine. The most important job of toner in your skincare routine is to take a second pass over grime and dirt that might be left behind after cleansing your skin.
Sometimes just washing your face isn’t enough. Toner saves the day.
Toners also act to balance and brighten your skin with a refreshing dose of moisture to easily absorb products, refine pores, and tighten the skin for a glowing complexion.
Step 3: Serum
Now that you’ve cleaned and prepped your skin to absorb all the goodness, it’s time for serum. This is one of the most important steps in your routine because your skin can’t change on a deep level if you aren’t using products that can access those deep levels of the skin.
That’s why face serum is a game-changer.
It’s best to apply your serum directly after toner to help it fully absorb and dive deep into your skin. Apply a few drops of the serum directly onto your face, or clean fingers. Remember, a little goes a long way when it comes to serums.
Then, gently press the formula into your damp skin and feel it absorb. You’ve done your part, now it gets to go to work healing and restoring!
Since there are often questions around how to use face serum, certified dermatologist Dr. Mamina (aka the “tik-tok” dermatologist you know and love) has some tips to help you out, like how using products with clean ingredients can help you achieve the skin of your dreams.
Step 4: Spot Treatment
Next up after applying face serum, is your spot treatment. Spot treatment can be useful for stubborn acne, redness, or bumps. Spot treatments can come in many different forms. Some are gel, others are a clay texture, others are water-based.
Spot treatments work to dive deep into specific, highly-targeted areas of your skin for quick results.
Step 5: Moisturizer
Hey, we’ve been here before! Now that you know how to apply face serum, how to use moisturizer with face serum, and everything in between – let’s say it together – moisturizer comes after face serum.
You’re getting the hang of it!
Remember, if you have oily skin, a serum might be enough to hydrate your skin. But for most, a secondary moisturizer is necessary to lock in hydration and active ingredients delivered by your face serum.
Step 6: Sunscreen
Last but not least, your skin needs protection from the sun! It’s essential for the health and longevity of healthy, radiant skin. Sun damage can happen quickly, causing premature aging, uneven tone, and complexion – not to mention the dangers of skin cancer.
SPF is becoming a popular component of moisturizers, cc creams, and foundations. So you might be able to skip this step if you’re already covered in the sun protection department.
Shield that gorgeous face during the day with a trusty SPF. Keep a bottle in your purse and your car, so you’re never caught without it!
Customize Your Skincare Routine to Fit Your Needs
Creating a routine to care for your skin is one of the best things you can do for your confidence and the long-term health of your skin. Hopefully, this guide has put your mind at ease if you’ve been stressed over forming a customized routine that works for you!
Now that you know everything there is to know about face serum and how to work it into your skincare routine, get after those skin goals!