Difference Between Face Oil and Serum

A plethora of cosmetic products are available currently and they are mostly in the form of face oils, serums, and creams.

There is a difference in how each of these substances reacts with the human skin to produce desired effects such as softening, producing a glow, lessening wrinkles, etc.

Face Oil vs Serum

The main difference between Face oil and Serum is that Face oil is oil-based and mostly made from plant oils whereas serum is water-based and is relatively richer in antioxidants. Serums are thinner in consistency than face oils which are thicker and have to be used in a lesser quantity than serums.

Face Oil vs Serum

Face oils are oil-based cosmetic substances that are designed to interact with the human skin of the face and its natural oils to produce effects such as an increase in contrast, moisture, and skin-tightening.

They lock in the moisture of the skin and supplement the natural oil of the skin while also adding fragrance and a long-lasting glow to the face.

Serums are cosmetic formulas that have very high concentrations of some highly active ingredients such as activated charcoal, which are water-based and more quickly absorbed than oils.

Serums treat issues such as fine lines, wrinkling, acne, and discoloration. Serums are applied in very small quantities due to their high effectiveness and are also very costly.

Comparison Table Between Face Oil and Serum

Parameters of ComparisonFace OilSerum
BaseFace Oils are based on plant-based oils and other mineral oils akin to oil of the skin.Serums are water-based because they are meant to be absorbed deeply.
ApplicationFace Oil is applied by taking a few drops of oil and rubbing it all over the face.Serums are applied in very small quantities with droppers and swabs.
EffectsFace Oil locks in the moisture of the skin and keeps it radiant and glowing.Serums are meant for solving specific issues such as wrinkling, acne, and fine lines.
AffordabilityFace Oils are cheaper because they are made from plant-based oils and have simpler formulas and ingredients.Serums are very expensive because they use complex formulas.
ConsistencyFace Oils are thicker because they are oil-based and resemble mineral oils.Serums are very light and thinner than oils as they are water-based.

What is Face Oil?

Face Oils are formulas that are based on plant and mineral oils that are designed to support the natural oils of the skin in people whose skin is very dry as they help keep the moisture locked in by creating a layer that traps moisture in.

They are primarily skin hydration solutions.

Face Oils are usually based on essential oils such as lavender, aloe vera, or other fruit-based substances.

They can be used in combination with other skincare solutions such as serums and moisturizer and their additional benefits include anti-aging and glowing skin.

Face Oils also give a good fragrance and radiance to the skin that enhances the beauty, while still protecting the skin from drying.

Face oils function by strengthening the outermost layer of the skin thereby preventing water loss from the skin and keeping it hydrated.

Some face oils also have antioxidants that are really good for the skin. They also contain fatty acids and minerals beneficial for the skin.

During a skincare routine, it is best to apply products from thinner consistency first to thicker products in last for maximum efficiency and effect.

Face oils are, therefore, applied in the last, after serums and other skin solutions and they keep the other products locked in and prevent evaporation.

What is Serum?

Serums are skincare solutions that are designed to be highly effective for specific problems and they contain high amounts of concentrated ingredients in a water-based solution that, when used in small quantities, can be highly effective against aging, drooping, fine lines, acne, and discoloration.

Serums contain intense healing properties and high amounts of antioxidants that heal the skin and provide radiance which is why they are supposed to be used in very small quantities like a few drops at a time.

Serums penetrate very deeply into the skin and prove to be brightening and healing from the inside.

Consumers have to keep aware though that serums have extremely potent ingredients and therefore have to be tested on the skin before applying completely since they might have detrimental effects on people who have very sensitive skin.

Serums douse the skin with active ingredients and are highly nourishing and although they are expensive, small quantities are applied so they last longer.

During a skincare routine, serums are applied first as they are absorbed very quickly and need to be directly in contact with the skin to work as intended.

Other products are layered on top of the serum layer. Serums contain ingredients such as activated charcoal, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, peptides, and glycerine.

Main Differences Between Face Oil and Serum

  1. Serums are water-based whereas Face Oils are oil-based therefore serums are very thin in consistency as compared to face oils.
  2. Serums are considerably more expensive than face oils because the ingredients and formulas uses in serums are more difficult to obtain and prepare.
  3. Serums are used in very small quantities like one or two drops at a time whereas face oils are used in relatively larger quantities.
  4. Serums offer antioxidants and minerals to the skin whereas face oils contain fatty acids and vitamins.
  5. Serums offer anti-aging solutions, anti-wrinkle solutions, and anti-acne solutions whereas face oils are primarily focused on the hydration of the skin.
Difference Between Face Oil and Serum


With an increase in pollution levels and stress amongst the human population, detrimental effects on the skin can be seen quite frequently therefore intensive care of the skin, especially in the facial region, has to be taken.

Serums and face oils offer these solutions to various problems. Serums offer antioxidants that stop drooping of the skin and lessen the effects of aging. Face Oils prevent drying of the skin by locking in moisture.

Serums when used in small and regulated quantities can prove to be highly effective and when used in combination with a top layer of face oils, provide a comprehensive solution to skin problems in an age where taking care of the skin is very important.


  1. https://drbaileyskincare.com/pages/face-oil
  2. http://eprints.utm.my/id/eprint/81559/1/MumtazMSultanSuhaiMFChE2018.pdf
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