Face Oil vs Serum: What’s the Difference?

Face Oil vs Serum: What’s the Difference?

14 September 2022


Face Oil vs. Serum: What’s the Difference?

When you understand the differences, picking a face oil vs. face serum is simple. Both product types play specific roles in your skincare routine and offer different benefits. Face oils are richly emollient to hydrate and nurture your skin. By comparison, serums are lightweight because they are typically water-based, and their active ingredients target specific skin issues, from wrinkles to hyperpigmentation.

Depending on your skin needs, you can see visible improvement with a face oil or a serum if you know how to choose the right one. Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between a face oil and serums:



The Benefits of Face Oils

Formula and consistency are the biggest differences between a face oil and a serum. Face oils are oil-based, feature larger molecules than serums, and contain oil and oil actives. 


Protect The Skin
Many face oil formulas contain antioxidants and antimicrobials to support your skin's natural moisture barrier. These ingredients protect the skin from environmental aggressors and help maintain a healthy skin microbiome.


Ant-Aging Properties
With the right ingredients, face oils can also reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. 


Blends Well With Other Beauty Products
Face oils blend with moisturizers, creams, and makeup to help lock in hydration and add a subtle glow to your favorite looks. 


Strengthen The Skin Barrier 
The ultra-hydrating formula strengthens the skin barrier and helps to enhance your skin's elasticity.


Can Work In Place of Your Moisturizer
Unlike serums, face oils can take the place of a moisturizer. Whether it's a hot summer day or you want a hydrated glow, you can apply a face oil and achieve similar results as your eye creams and moisturizers. 


Only Hydrates Outer Layer
Serums contain active ingredients that penetrate deeper into your skin, whereas face oils only hydrate the upper layer of the skin.



The Benefits of Serums

Serums are water-based and comprise smaller molecules and water actives, which means you don't need to worry about excess sebum or irritation if you have oily or acne-prone skin. 


Targeted Approach To Skin Care
Unlike other skincare products, serums have few active ingredients, which allows a more targeted approach to treating skincare concerns that impact your confidence. Fewer ingredients also make serums more of a supplementary skincare product, so apply a daily moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. 


Potent Ingredients 
To maximize their effectiveness, serums contain fewer ingredients that increase their potency, enabling them to penetrate the upper layers of the skin more quickly. This is why you apply serums before other skincare products.


Lightweight Texture
Serums have a lightweight, airy consistency that facilitates quick absorption into the skin with no greasy residue. When choosing between a serum vs. face oil, you may find that the serum is gentler on the skin and absorbs quicker, though remember to apply the serum to dry skin before you apply your daily moisturizer. 



Choosing Your Face Oil

Face oils are luxurious, supporting your skin's moisture barrier for a youthful-looking, supple elasticity. This reinforced lipid barrier also helps prevent environmental irritants from wreaking havoc on your skin and triggering signs of premature aging. Plus, the temporary plumping of the skin also minimizes the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Look for:


Natural oils: When looking for a face oil to incorporate into your routine, choose a high-quality, non-synthetic oil that nourishes your skin and keeps your pores unclogged. Look for babassu, hazelnut, argan, and Karanja oil. All four oils are known to nourish, protect, hydrate, and renew the skin. 

A non-greasy finish: Some oils have a thicker consistency than others, leaving your skin greasy or sticky. Oils such as jojoba, argan, and grapeseed aren't as heavy as other oils, so they quickly absorb into your skin, leaving a gorgeous, subtle glow.

Proper packaging: Oils in clear bottles can degrade quickly with exposure to light. Instead, look for a dark-colored container to preserve your face oil's potent ingredients. 


The Face Oil renews your complexion with oils specifically chosen for their restorative properties. For instance, Karanja and babassu oils protect skin from aggressors like environmental pollutants, while argan and hazelnut oils help prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL) due to a weakened moisture barrier.


During our user trials, 99% of participants agreed that their skin felt instantly hydrated after using The Face Oil. You can use our lightweight, fast-absorbing formula in place of — or on top of — your cream moisturizer to help prime the skin for the makeup. It's a multi-purpose formula that hydrates, protects, and nourishes the skin. And if you opt for The Face Oil, consider also trying The Body Oil for powerful all-over hydration.



Choosing a Serum

Face serums may be lightweight in texture, but they're heavyweights when it comes to effective skincare. Serums melt into the skin, delivering high-powered ingredients and noticeable results. Your serum should:


Have plenty of clean ingredients: Serums penetrate deeply into the skin's dermal layers, so you want as many botanicals, antioxidants, and other clean actives as possible.


Address your specific skin concern: Are you looking to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, crow's feet, or other signs of aging? Do you want to refine your skin texture or treat discoloration? Depending on their formulation, serums can hydrate, brighten, minimize lines, prevent acne, exfoliate, and much more. Think about what you want your serum to achieve and find the one that fits the bill.


● Work with your skin type: Always check the ingredient label to avoid potential irritants and non-comedogenics. For example, fragrances or certain acids can be problematic for sensitive skin. Comedogenic serums can clog your pores, posing a risk for irritation for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin.


The Serum is a multi-purpose product that revitalizes your complexion with a healthy-looking radiance. We include scientifically-researched ingredients renowned for their ability to hydrate (polysaccharide moisture complex, squalane), firm and plump (sodium hyaluronate), prevent signs of premature aging (rice bran oil, pomegranate seed concentrate), brighten (vitamin C), and more. 

During our clinical trials, participants noticed that The Serum reduced the appearance of wrinkles by 85% and fine lines by 84%. Countless studies and clinical trials also confirm The Serum's ability to hydrate the skin, improve skin texture, brighten the complexion, and improve elasticity, making it an all-in-one serum solution for all skin concerns.



Do I Need Both Products?

When it comes to comparing face serums vs. face oils, it can be tricky. Despite having a similar lightweight consistency, they are intended for different purposes and cater to various skin concerns. However, creating a skincare regimen using a serum and face oil is possible, even replacing your daily moisturizer.

At Augustinus Bader, we have 30 years of experience creating formulas that work in synergy to revitalize your skin. Our products marry clean ingredients with science to create skincare routines that deliver game-changing results.  

Our patented TFC8® technology fortifies The Face Oil and The Serum, supporting cellular renewal and delivering the ideal nourishment for your skin. You can use either one and achieve firmer, stronger, and healthier skin. If you prefer, both products can fit into your skincare routine because they pair beautifully together. Face oil vs. serum isn't an either-or proposition.

If you use both products, keep these recommendations in mind for optimal results:


Use The Serum first, ideally on freshly cleansed skin. Blend it into your face, neck, and décolleté with upward, sweeping motions.


The Face Oil can follow The Serum as your moisturizer, or add a few drops of the oil to your favorite moisturizer (such as The Cream, The Light Cream, or The Rich Cream). 


After applying your makeup, you can naturally highlight your complexion by dabbing on a drop or two of The Face Oil.



Augustinus Bader Face Oils and Serums

In the age-old face oil vs. serum battle, Augustinus Bader is always the right choice. Our science-backed skincare results from 30 years of research and consumer and clinical trials. Developed with Dr. Bader’s extensive expertise in regenerative medicine and stem cell biology, this is the cutting edge of skincare.

Augustinus Bader serums, face oils, and other facecare products support healthier skin and a refreshed complexion. This high-performance skincare line promotes radiant-looking skin for everyone, regardless of age, skin type, or gender. Explore the Facecare collection, or find the best formula for you.

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