20+ Differences Between Face Oil And Face Serum (Explained)

Following a skincare routine can be very difficult. What’s more difficult is finding that ‘right routine’ for you.

Instead of spending so much on your skin care products, you can easily invest in those effective products which are actually effective for you. In this article, we will learn about two such beauty products- Face oil and Serum. 


Key points of Face Oil:

  • Oil-based
  • Thick in texture 
  • Absorbed by the skin slowly
  • They have large molecules 
  • Used after moisturizer 
  • Generally, reaches the outer layer of your skin 

Key points of Face Serum: 

  • Water-based
  • Thin in texture 
  • Gets absorbed easily and quickly by the skin 
  • Comparatively smaller molecules 
  • Used before moisturizer 
  • Penetrates deeper into the skin 

Comparison Between Face Oil And Face Serum

Parameters Face oil Face serum 
Aim For sealing and healing the outer layer of skin For removing anti-aging visible signs and moisturizing 
Composition Oil moleculesWater molecules 
Benefits Hydrating 
Healing enlarged pores
Healing acne
Suits every skin type
Removes wrinkles
Protects from UV rays
Cost Comparatively cheaper Costly because of the ingredients 
When to apply Only in nightsIn mornings as well as nights 
Texture Thick on skin Thin on skin 

Major Difference Between Face Oil And Face Serum

What Is Face Oil?

Face oils are an essential part of a healthy skin routine. The oil and lipids produced by our skin prevent the water from losing. Face oils work in complimenting our natural oils. The main purpose of face oil is to protect the skin by adding an extra layer. 

Face oil will strengthen the stratum corneum, also known as the outer layer. They act by sealing the layer and simply preventing water loss. 

Mainly known for providing hydration, face oil can also help in your anti-aging routine as well. 

What Is Face Serum?

For removing fine lines and maintaining your natural glow, a face serum will help you just fine. The ingredients present in the serum helps to calm the skin and heal every infection. The anti-inflammation ingredients are present in the serum to heal irritated skin. 

It also helps moisturize your skin. The absorption property of serum makes it an important segment of skin care. You should test the serum on your skin before buying it. The lightweight and high concentration make serum a bit costly. 

A face serum will act as a great lubricant that will target specific skin problems. Be it wrinkles, scars, or any marks on your skin; this moisturizer will help you in getting a perfectly-hydrated skin. It also 


Types of Face Oil for different purposes:

  • For Dry Skin- Coconut and Marula oils for providing Omega fatty acids and providing non-greasy texture
  • For Normal Skin- Squalane and jojoba oils that feel light on the skin
  • For Acne-prone skin- Tree oil and jojoba Oil can remove acne by killing the bacteria. They also remove the dead skin
  • For Oily Skin- Jojoba oil, tea tree oil, and Argan oil can help your skin without feeling heavy on your skin
  • For Combination Skin- Marula oil can penetrate deep into your skin to kill the bacteria
  • For All Skin types- Squalane is helpful for every skin type as it gets easily absorbed
  • For Anti-Aging benefits- Argan, rose, sweet almond, or raspberry oil can help you in removing fine lines and wrinkles

Types of Face Serum for different purposes:

  • Anti-aging serums- They help in reducing the sagging of the face and rejuvenating the skin
  • Skin brightening serums- They brighten up the dull skin along with cleaning out every sunspot
  • Acne- frightening serums- Along with healing the present acne, these serums help in tightening the skin
  • Hydrating face serums- Provides hydration and moisture by going deep into the skin
  • Exfoliating face serums- Removes wrinkles and dead skin and unclogs the existing pores 
  • Repair face serums- Repairs and restores the skin by producing more collagen and hydrating the skin

Contrast Between Face Oil And Face Serum


  • Face Oil – It helps to moisturize the whole face. Along with moisturizing, it will protect and balance out your skin. The main benefit provided by face oil is the hydration that it offers. 

    The skin’s sebum which is produced naturally, is mimicked by the face oils. Hence this helps our skin. Any sort of skin damage, be it from over-exfoliation, can be healed by face oils. 
  • Face Serum – Face serums are meant to target only some particular areas. These serums are light-weighted and easily absorbed by the skin. Skin brightening, pigmentation, or balancing-

    Face serum can help you in various ways. The only factor deal-breaking factor is the higher cost of these face serums. But the quality ingredients present in them are worth it. 


Face Oil – Face oil is composited of molecular oil and generally consists of oil-soluble actives.

Face Serum – They are made up of water molecules and consist of water-based actives

Size Of Molecules

Face Oil – The size of molecules present in face oils is very significant. 

Face Serum – Since water molecules are comparatively smaller in size, the size of molecules present in face serum is also very small. 


Face Oil- The benefits of face oil are as follows:

  • It helps strengthen the skin and hydrates it through moisturizing.
  • It makes your skin feel supple and full.
  • The face oil makes it easy to heal the enlarged pores. 
  • It doesn’t affect the natural production of oil by the skin. 
  • From rosacea to skin irritation, every skin problem can be solved by facial oil.
  • Using face oils regularly can help you with reducing skin break-outs.
  • It also helps in improving the elasticity of your skin. 
  • Facial oil can naturally even out your skin complex. 

Face Serum- The benefits provided by a face serum are mentioned below:

  • The light texture of the face serum makes it easy to penetrate the skin and get absorbed really quickly. 
  • The properties of face serum help in reducing the appearance of wrinkles or fine lines.
  • Any person with acne-prone skin or oily skin can use face serum as its light texture suits every sensitive skin type. 
  • Facial serums, which include Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and green tea, can help you in protecting from UV rays and pollution. Exposure to them can cause you premature wrinkles. 
  • Face serums do not feel heavy or oily on your skin which makes them comfortable to wear. 
  • The results provided by face serums are comparatively faster and more visible. 

Process Of Application

Face Oil- The application of face oil can be made by the following:

  • Instead of applying too much on your whole face, take only a few drops and spread them evenly on your skin. 
  • You can use regular-skin type facial oil if your face is prone to acne. 
  • If you have dry skin, you can blend it on your skin after applying lotion. 
  • For having a facial massage or for relaxing your skin muscles, you can rub the facial oil in an upward and outward motion. 

Face Serum- The following steps should be taken to use a face serum:

  • Always use your serum to create a base for other heavier cosmetic products.
  • Through this process, you can prevent discoloring and premature skin wrinkles. 
  • After cleaning your face with a cleanser, apply the serum. Then you use your heavy moisturizer or sunscreen. Always remember the order should be from the thinnest product to the thickest. 
  • If somehow your skin gets irritated from the direct application of serum, you can use another product to prevent the serum from touching directly. 

When To Apply

  • Face Oil You should avoid using a facial oil in the afternoons or mornings since they cross out the protection that sunscreen gives you throughout the day. Skin oil can absorb sunscreen from your skin. So, it’s advised to use face oil in the nighttime only. 
  • Face Serum – In general, everyone should use the serum twice a day. But the presence of Retinol may lead to irritation of your skin, so it’s better to begin with using it once a day. And then, you can gradually increase the times you should apply it. 

    If your serum includes Vitamin E or any other antioxidant, then you can use it for daytime use. If your serum aims for exfoliation, you can use the serum in the nighttime. For hydrating purposes, you can apply serum both during the day as well as at night. 
  1. Who Should Apply
  • Face Oil – If you need a good massage to relax your facial muscles, then you should go for face oils.

    Face oil can do everything from letting your foundation glide easily on your skin to keeping your open pores from clogging. The antioxidants of the oil can create miracles on your skin- be it oily or dry. 
  • Face Serum – Face serum helps in anti-aging along with building collagen. Face serum can help you by locking in the skin’s natural water level and moisture.

    They can help you in protecting from stress and environmental damage. In simple words, be it your patchy skin or wrinkles, you can use face serum to get clean and glowing skin. 


Top Products of Face Oil:

  • Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil for vanishing fine lines, sunburn, and dullness of the face
  • La Bella Figura Barbary Fig Seed Oil for getting enough Vitamin E
  • Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil for hydrating and nourishing skin 
  • Burt’s Bees Complete Nourishment Facial Oil for vanishing wrinkles and fine lines
  • Boissance Squalane+ Tea Tree Balancing Oil for moisturizing your skin
  • Viva Naturals Organic Jojoba Oil for healing redness and unlocking the pores
  • Kosas Cosmetics Tinted Face Oil for nourishing and providing coverage

Top Products of Face Serum:

  • OSEA Hyaluronic Sea Serum for providing moisture and hydration 
  • Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum for naturally brightening your skin
  • Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum for softening and relaxing the facial muscles 
  • Minimalist 2% Hyaluronic Acid+ PGA Serum for vanishing roughness and increases your glow
  • Pilgrim Red Vine and Hyaluronic Acid Serum for improving the elasticity of your skin and removing the crease
  • L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Hyaluronic Acid Serum for adding plumpness to your skin 
  • Derma CO 5% Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum for removing dullness and Dryness 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Are face serums costly?

Yes, face serums can be heavy on your pocket as they contain ingredients present in diluted form.

If you buy the right face serum which targets your facial problems, then you will need less of other cosmetic products. A bottle of serum can last up to at least six months. 

Q2. Can allergic people use serums as well?

The concentration of these serums might trigger your skin allergies. So, you should reach out to your dermatologist before investing in any face serum.

Try avoiding heavy makeup on top of the serums to stay away from any type of potential skin allergy. 

Q3. Is it a must to use face oil?

No, it is totally up to you and your face type to decide whether you have to invest in any facial oil. Furthermore, the main benefit of these facial oils is that they can be visible on dry skin more quickly. 

Q4. Can my face oils replace my moisturizer?

Facial oil can help you by protecting you from potential skin irritation and locking in your hydration. It does not necessarily mean that it can replace your moisturizer.

Using it with a moisturizer can increase the effectiveness of your skincare. So, you should NOT replace your moisturizer with your face oils. 

Q5. Is it fine to use Face serums?

Yes, it is absolutely safe and fine to use a face serum as a part of your skincare.

Using serum can help increase the plumpness and radiance of your skin. The firmness of your facial muscles can be maintained by using face serums. 

Q6. Can serums be used every day?

Yes, serums can be used for daily purposes to give you benefits. The texture is light, and its gentle nature will make it easier for everyday use. 

Q7. Can face oil damage the skin?

The fragrance of your oils can be seen as a potential threat to the skin. These oils may contain some components which are slightly irritating to your skin. Otherwise, the facial oils are not seriously threatening to your skin. 

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