What's The Difference Between A Face Serum & An Oil?

What’s The Difference Between A Face Serum & An Oil?

If you find yourself unable to tell the difference between a face serum and a face oil, you’re not alone. The term serum in particular has become a catch-all for any type of concentrated treatment, and many brands use it on products that have a wide range of textures and claims.

Besides causing confusion on what you are actually buying, not knowing the difference between face serum vs face oil could also be sabotaging your skincare routine. They both have very different application methods due to their different formulas, so not knowing which is which could lead to you having a less effective skincare regimen.

To help you avoid the guesswork, we had our Kiehl’s Customer Representatives put together this guide of what a face serum is and what a face oil is, plus the best ways to use each and their favorite Kiehl’s products to try. Once you can tell the difference between the two, you’ll be able to enhance your skincare routine to get your best results.

What Is A Serum?

Essentially, a serum is a product that is applied after cleansing and toning, but before your moisturizer. They come in an array of textures that range from fluid to gel and are traditionally water-based, which makes them more lightweight and able to penetrate the skin’s surface — unlike oil-based creams and lotions, which are meant to stay on the surface of the skin and lock in moisture and reinforce the skin barrier. They usually have concentrated amounts of active ingredients and are meant to address specific skin needs that can range from brightening to soothing to oil control.

At Kiehl’s, we believe that every good skincare routine needs a serum to make it great, which is why we offer a variety of options to help with a range of needs. There’s our Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate, a hydrating serum that’s formulated with Glycerin and Shiso Leaf Extract to smooth the appearance of fine lines and texture while also reducing the look of dull, tired-looking skin. The Clearly Corrective Dark Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution is a fluid-textured serum that has a potent complex of Vitamin C, Peony Extract, and White Birch to help correct dark spots and discolorations for a visibly improved clarity. Then there’s the Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, a Vitamin C serum that helps minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines as it improves texture and boosts skin’s radiance.

What Is An Oil?

As the name suggests, a face oil is a blend of skin-friendly oils that work as an emollient moisturizer, sealing moisture into the skin as it helps address the appearance of redness and wrinkles. Our curated selection of botanical skin oils offers an oil for almost every routine. For the morning, there’s the Daily Reviving Concentrate, a revitalizing blend of Ginger Root and Tamanu & Sunflower Oils to help correct the visible appearance of skin fatigue. Our bestselling Midnight Recovery Concentrate is a potent bedtime elixir that uses pure essential oils of Evening Primrose and Lavender, plus distilled botanicals to visibly restore the appearance of skin by morning. Finally, the Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Concentrate is the perfect companion for problem skin thanks to its calming blend of Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil and Oregano Oil that can soothe and re-balance blemish-prone skin.

Whether you’re an oil person or a serum person (or a little bit of both), Kiehl’s has a targeted, powerful skin treatment for you.