Which Should You Choose: Serum or Moisturizer?

Updated: Aug 17

It can be confusing to decide if you should be using a serum, moisturizer, or both. Hopefully, at the end of this article, you will be able to choose the best product(s) for your needs.



So what is a serum?

Skincare serums are light, fast-absorbing liquids used as an alternative or in addition to lotions or creams. Made of very small molecules, serums absorb deeper and quicker into the skin. Serums contain a higher concentration of active ingredients like antioxidants, peptides, and skin brighteners such as kojic acid that you can find in nonprescription products. The biggest difference between a serum and a cream or lotion is what the formulation doesn't include. Serums leave out airtight, moisturizing ingredients such as petrolatum or mineral oil that keep water from evaporating. They also contain fewer oil-based lubricating and thickening agents.


What is a moisturizer?

Moisturizers are creams or lotions that work on the top layers of your skin to hydrate and protect it from harsh elements so it will look younger and be more elastic. Some can also help to treat eczema and offer sun protection. Others will improve the overall appearance without treating any skin conditions. Water-based moisturizers with ceramides or hyaluronic acid can also help to balance oily skin for fewer acne breakouts.


I can only have one.

If you have to choose between one over the other for budget reasons ask yourself, "What is best for my skin type and what do I want to fix if anything?" If you have oily skin or looking to treat skin problems such as boosting collagen or brightening dark spots—use a serum that will absorb deep into your skin without an oily residue to work on the cellular. If you have dry or sensitive skin, a moisturizer will help to hydrate your skin to make it look smoother and younger without irritating your skin’s natural barrier.


Want fast results?

If you can afford both a serum and moisturizer, the serum will help to boost the moisturizer and work in harmony for even better results. Each works differently to do great things. Serums work deep in your water-based skin layers where cells are alive, while creams or lotions work the top layers of your skin where cells are mostly dead that are working to protect the deeper layers.

A very brief recap:

  • Serums work deep into skin layers where collagen, elastin, and pigmentation making cells live to stimulate or correct issues.

  • Lotions and creams work on the top skin layers to condition your skin’s barrier to prevent problems from occurring.


Take a look at these OneYou products:



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(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. Ritual Balance and its affiliates does not claim responsibility for this information.)

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