Adding new products to your skincare routine can be very scary. Weather changes and skin type essentials often leave us scratching our heads thinking about what product to use and what not to use.

The racks of supermarkets are probably full of facial moisturizers and serums. 

But every time you see these racks, the same questions cross your mind, but you never get those answers. These products have different textures and both claim to hydrate and moisturize the skin in their ways. But do you need both of them? How to layer them both? What’s the difference between them?

Before diving into these questions, you need to understand the main purpose of the two products.

Scroll down to learn to all about moisturizer vs serum

What is a face serum?

The facial serum is a lightweight formula that penetrates the surface layers of skin to fight specific skin conditions like skin pigmentation, damage caused due to free radicals, acne, aging, etc. 

Some benefits of facial serum area as follows:

  • Hydrate the skin on deep levels
  • Evens out skin tone and texture
  • Reduce sun damage
  • Clear out spots and blemishes
  • Reduction of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduction in skin pigmentation
  • Give brightening effect to the skin


brightening serum

What is a moisturizer?

A facial moisturizer is typically a heavier soothing cream that helps to hydrate the skin by creating a hydration barrier over the top layer of the skin. Hence, moisturizers can not penetrate the skin layers, but can effectively create a protective barrier while locking in the essential moisture and nutrients of the skin.


duo cream

Face serums vs. moisturizers: What are the key differences?

  1. We’ve uncovered that serums and moisturizers have a different purpose and weight. Serums are thinner and lighter, whereas moisturizers are thicker, heavier with a creamier consistency. 
  2. The purpose of facial serums is to penetrate deep into the skin layer to hydrate and deliver essential ingredients, whereas moisturizers act as a hydration barrier by locking in targeted active ingredients and nutrients. It also plays a vital role in binding skin cells together more effectively.
  3. Serums deliver an excellent hydration boost to the skin, but they can’t lock in the moisture and nutrients. All these active nutrients can get lost through water loss from the skin. Locking in moisture is the specialty of moisturizers.
  4. The molecular size of facial serums is relatively much smaller than that of facial moisturizers due to which they can easily penetrate deeply into the skin, and get absorbed very rapidly whereas moisturizers won’t penetrate as deeply, or as readily, as a serum will.
  5. Facial serums contain a high concentration of nutrients or active ingredients i.e. vitamins, minerals, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and other essential antioxidants whereas facial moisturizers contain a much lower concentration of active ingredients.
  6. Facial moisturizers have a higher concentration of ingredients like mineral oils, petrolatum, and other lubricating agents which increases their effectiveness.

So, If you’re looking for strong repairing effects, you should opt for serums, but if you’re looking for continuous hydration, you should reply to moisturizers.

Useful Tip

If you have oily skin, a serum may give you necessary hydration that you might not need a moisturizer after that.

Can you use serums and moisturizers together?

Modern researches have shown that using both serums and moisturizers can be very beneficial for those who have dry skin. The serum will deliver all the essential active ingredients, while the moisturizer will lock in moisture, and seal in the serum more effectively. But if you are someone with acne-prone skin, you should avoid oil-based serums.

How to layer serums and moisturizers

Skincare products are usually layered based on their consistency, from thinnest to thickest. The thinnest products are mostly applied first to the skin. Layering can be helpful as both have different purposes. Serums are intended to repair and provide active ingredients deep into the skin, while moisturizer creates a barrier while sealing in the serums. To effectively layer both products, first apply the serum onto your face. Leave it for 30 to 60 seconds to let it settle. Then, apply your moisturizer on top. 

Mostly serums and moisturizers are beneficial to use in the morning and evening, but some serums in the market are specifically designed to be used at night because of their ingredients and are more helpful. 

Like retinol, skincare products are specified to be used at night because they can affect and increase your skin’s sensitivity while exposed to the sun.

The final verdict:

If you are struggling with skin issues like early signs of aging, blemishes, and dark spots, then using a good serum can help improve your skin tone and texture at the cellular level.

If you’re confused and want to know, Which do I need? A serum or a moisturizer? Then the answer would be that you can benefit from both! Just give them a try! We know it can be difficult and irritating to steer the number of products recommended to you, but remember that your skin has many needs and is as precious as you are. 
When it comes to giving love and care to your skin, it’s always worth taking an extra step. And the combination of the right serum and moisturizer can make an actual difference.

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