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Serum Versus Moisturizer: Which One Must Be In Your Routine?

Keeping your skin moisturized and hydrated is one of the essential steps in a skincare routine. In choosing the right kind of products, you may have a lot of questions about serum versus moisturizer. Which one should you really use? Is one product better than the other?

If you’re confused about the differences between the two, keep reading! We will break down the benefits of a serum and moisturizer to help you determine how they can work in your routine.

What’s the Difference Between a Serum and a Moisturizer?

Serums are intended to deliver specific benefits to different skin concerns, such as aging, acne, dehydration, or discoloration. This skincare product is packed with highly concentrated active ingredients that penetrate deeply into the skin. For example, ElumeStemCell’s Daily Illuminating Face Serum is specially formulated to lighten and brighten skin pigmentation and tone, while reducing fine lines and wrinkles. 

Meanwhile, moisturizers fortify and work at the surface of the skin to increase hydration. This product conditions and helps bind skin cells together more effectively.

When it comes to consistency, a serum is lighter and thinner than a moisturizer. However, it leaves out the occlusive moisturizing ingredients that keep water from evaporating, like petroleum and mineral oil.

A serum also contains fewer thickening and lubricating agents, such as nut or seed oils. Most products are water-based, completely eliminating oils. 

On the other hand, moisturizers often have a creamier and thicker formula. This helps create a physical barrier that will lock in hydration, retain moisture, and prevent the skin from drying out.

Due to its smaller molecules, a serum can go deeply into the skin to hydrate and lock in moisture. Meanwhile, a moisturizer has larger molecules that do not penetrate the skin as deeply or quickly. They also tend to stick to the skin’s top layers.

Which One to Use?

Using both a serum and moisturizer can be beneficial to your skincare routine, depending on your skin type and needs.

The main role of a moisturizer is to hydrate the skin and prevent water loss. Some products are formulated with anti-aging ingredients to do double duty for your skin.

Although serums do not necessarily replace moisturizers, they can boost their hydrating effects. If you have particular skin issues, like fine lines or hyperpigmentation, a serum like the Hydra Serum can help address those problems. 

If your skin is dry and flaky, you will benefit from layering a serum and moisturizer to help increase moisture. However, if you have an oily skin type, you may not need a moisturizer because a serum can be enough to give you hydration.

Benefits of Serums

  • Serums that contain hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, attract water to effectively hydrate the skin. It helps retain moisture for a smoother, plumper, and youthful appearance.
  • Brightening serums target dark spots, dull, and uneven complexion. They are formulated with antioxidants to stimulate cell renewal and reveal a more radiant skin tone.
  • Serums infused with antioxidants help correct pigmentation, discoloration, or uneven skin tone. It sloughs off dead skin cells to improve the skin’s overall appearance.
  • Anti-acne serums provide anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits for acne-prone skin. It controls oil and purifies pores to prevent breakouts.
  • Serums with anti-aging properties help boost the natural production of collagen and elastin. It can reduce fine lines or wrinkles for firmer and more elastic skin.
  • There are different types of serums based on what you need. There are more lightweight serums that are meant to be used daily but there are also highly concentrated serums that are meant to be supplemental to your daily routine for added benefits. These powerful serums, like the Hydra Serum which contain growth factors and cytokines repair damaged skin and allow for flexibility to treat your skin as needed. 

Some serums are formulated to treat only one skin concern, while others are formulated to address multiple skin concerns. You can layer different serums to address the different skin concerns you may have. Or, you can use a serum like the Daily Illuminating Face Serum to address multiple skin concerns like fine lines and wrinkles, reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and scars, brightening skin, and increasing cell renewal and collagen production, all in one serum. 

Benefits of Moisturizers 

  • Moisturizer prevents skin from drying, flaking, or cracking due to different environmental factors. It helps maintain balance and supports the optimal functioning of the skin.
  • The ingredients found in a moisturizer are rich in nutrients that can speed up cell turnover and improve cell function.
  • Moisturizer plays an integral role in maintaining the skin’s hydration. Depending on the additional ingredients, it also provides anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and UV protection.
  • The hydrating effects of a moisturizer can conceal blemishes, such as redness, dark spots, or discoloration.
  • Moisturizer provides the most fundamental protection against skin’s premature aging. It boosts the skin’s ability to repair itself, produce enough collagen, and stay vibrant.
  • A good moisturizer with the right ingredients can protect and repair the lipid barrier of the skin. This prevents pollutants, toxins, and other harmful elements from the environment from damaging the skin cells.
  • Moisturizer prevents the skin from sagging and wrinkling. It helps improve the overall texture and look of the skin for a more youthful look.
  • A moisturizer with skin-soothing ingredients can help balance sensitive and irritated skin.

How and When to Use Them   

Layering Both Products

To achieve significant results on your skin, you can layer the serum and moisturizer. It is important to take note of your skin type and the products’ ingredients.

For instance, layering both products can be helpful if you have very dry skin. The hydrating serum can deliver the active ingredients, while the moisturizer locks and seals in moisture. It also makes the serums more effective.

When layering skincare products, the order matters. Apply products starting with the thinnest consistency and ending with the thickest one.

To effectively layer the serum and moisturizer, rub the serum first onto your face and neck. Wait a  couple minutes before you apply the moisturizer on top. The waiting time allows the serum to settle and be absorbed by your skin.

Incorporating Them into Your Daily Routine

As with all skincare, consistency is key. There are serums that should be used consistently  on a daily basis like the Daily Illuminating Face Serum, that deliver daily repair. Then, there are serums that are formulated for occasional use since they are so powerful, like the Hydra Serum. Even though these concentrated serums are not meant for daily use, they are still meant to be used consistently monthly for best results. 

There are endless skincare products marketed that all insist you need them. It can be confusing to know what is actually needed, in what order, and how often. We have made it easy with our daily routine to nourish your skin every day, with minimal products, for maximum results. Instead of having to research and buy multiple products from multiple sources, our Facial Kit includes the foundational products for a transformative skincare routinejust add your favorite face wash and moisturizer!

For glowing skin, first, you need to clean your face before applying a serum directly to your skin. You want the active ingredients in the serum to penetrate as deeply as possible.

After the serum, you can apply your favorite moisturizer. Keep in mind not to put on serum after you moisturize because moisturizers can lock the active ingredients out.

Every few days you can derma roll to allow your serum and moisturizer to sink deeper into your skin. To learn more about derma rollers, you can read our blog post about how to choose the best derma roller for your face.

Once you have perfected your daily routine, added in frequent derma rolling sessions, take your skincare one step further with a monthly powerhouse serum treatment followed by a moisturizer.

Summary: Serum vs. Moisturizer

Serums and moisturizers offer unique benefits to your skin. A serum helps treat different conditions, while a moisturizer provides continuous hydration.

You can choose to layer both products in your skincare routine based on your skin type and concerns. When used properly with the right ingredients, you can maximize the effects of a serum and moisturizer.