Facial Serums vs Moisturizers, What's the Difference?

Two Natural Skincare MVPs You Should Know

There’s a lot of skin care products out there. For some of us, that’s part of the fun. For others, it’s confusing - or even overwhelming.  Either way, if you recognize the importance - and long term benefits - of high quality skincare, you’re likely using a variety of products, including serums and moisturizers. But do you know the difference, what each does best and why you should use both?

Here’s an overview of each and what to look for.

Facial Serum vs Moisturizer

Let’s Start with Serums 

  • Serums are thinner and lighter than moisturizers and absorb quickly.
  • They are intended to penetrate into the deeper layers of skin in order to improve and nourish the skin.
  • They usually have a high concentration of active ingredients like antioxidants or peptides, and are intended to help with specific issues such as aging or sun damage.
  • They are typically water based and contain fewer thickening ingredients common to moisturizers.
  • Because of the concentration of ingredients, they tend to be more expensive. Fortunately, a little goes a long way with serums.
  • Serums should be applied directly to your skin after cleansing and toning - and before using moisturizer.
  • They don’t replace a moisturizer. In fact, they can help boost the effectiveness of moisturizers.

Ingredients to Look for in Natural Skincare Facial Serums

Glow Facial Serum

Facial serums will typically contain a primary active ingredient, such as retinol - which fights acne and reduces inflammation - or peptides, amino acids that are the building blocks of collagen and elastin and help keep skin firm and younger looking.

Other popular serum ingredients that can benefit most people - especially anyone concerned about aging skin - are hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.  

Hyaluronic acid is one of our favorite natural skincare ingredients. It’s naturally produced by the body, is highly hydrating and brings moisture to the surface of the skin, making it look plumper and healthier. It also helps boost collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C packs a big antioxidant punch, inhibits melanin production, boosts collagen and improves skin tone.  Even better, the two work well together, so getting them both in a single serum offers additional nourishment and protection. 

Some women will layer serums with different active ingredients, but note that some combinations can be too harsh and lead to skin irritation. For example, avoid combining retinol or vitamin A with vitamin C or any fruit acids. Retinol also can be irritating if used with lactic or salicylic acids. At minimum, use them at different times of day. Bottom line, it never hurts to test a serum on a small patch of skin to be sure it works for you. And while you may start to see some benefits sooner, you should give a serum about four weeks to really gauge the effects as that’s how long it takes for skin cells to turn over.

Hälsa Botanicals Glow CBD Luminous Facial Serum includes both hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, as well as 500mg hemp CBD, which provides additional antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Plus, CBD applied topically also effectively penetrates the skin, making it easier for all of the active ingredients to do their thing. Glow Serum also includes blackcurrant to fight harmful bacteria plus aloe, honeysuckle, elderflower and evening primrose for additional skin soothing and conditioning. It all adds up to one luxurious way to nourish your skin.

What About Moisturizers?

  • Moisturizers are all about hydration. They lock moisture into the skin by creating a barrier of the skin’s top layer.
  • They’re made with emollients and oils, which soften the skin and reduce evaporation.
  • They can be either a cream or lotion and vary in thickness, but are thicker than serums. 
  • Some do double duty by adding anti-aging or other specifically focused ingredients. Combining a moisturizer with antioxidants or other active ingredients with a serum can help address specific skin concerns.
  • Should be used morning and night. Many people may use a lighter product for daytime and a heavier cream for overnight.
  • They should be applied after serums. That way the serum can do the deep penetration and then the moisturizer creates the barrier. 
  • Sunscreen should always be applied after moisturizer. 

What to Consider When Choosing a Moisturizer

Dream Enchanted Night Creme

A good starting point for selecting a moisturizer is skin type. If you have dry skin, you should consider a richer cream and products with more emollients or humectants. Shea butter, for example, provides vitamins A, E, F and essential fatty acids and works to hydrate, soften and plump skin. 

But if you have oily skin, you’ll want to avoid products with oil and seek a lighter, water based product (think hyaluronic acid, for example). If your skin is sensitive, look for gentle, soothing ingredients like aloe and chamomile. 

Pay attention to your skin during the year. Some women will change their products with the seasons, using richer moisturizers during the winter months or if they are spending time in a dry climate. Other considerations include whether you prefer fragrance or unscented products and other specific ingredients and the benefits they offer. Increasingly, consumers are looking for clean beauty products and vegan skincare. As the name suggests, Hälsa Botanicals offers botanical-based natural skincare, and all products are vegan, non-GMO and cruelty free.

Hälsa Dream CBD Enchanted Night Creme offers a combination of nourishing natural skincare ingredients. It’s rich and highly emollient, thanks to shea butter, squalane and a combination of botanical extracts. It also offers the hydration of hyaluronic acid, the antioxidant power of vitamin C, plus CoQ10 to build collagen and elastin. Oh, did we mention it also contains 300 mg of hemp CBD? Combining Glow Facial Serum and Dream Night Creme equals a lot of overnight self care. Rest easy!