August 19, 2022 5 min read


Most people bootstrap their facial skincare routine by conflating their face serum and moisturizer. They believe that one can apply one or the other because both products are essentially the same.

However, this is a gross simplification of both face serum and a moisturizer, the products are different from one another and usually perform different functions. You cannot conflate the two because they each provide essential benefits to the skin and are required for different purposes.

The article discusses why you need both the face serum and a moisturizer if you want to achieve the best for your skincare routine.

What is a Face Serum?

Face serums are skincare products that begin with a water base mixed with a small amount of alcohol. Serums can also be infused with tons of beneficial ingredients and vital nutrients that the skin can use to stay healthy. Regenerate from damage and cellular turnover rate.

Waclaw et al. (2015) explained that cellular turnover rate describes how quickly the cells on the surface of the skin are replaced with new healthier looking cells. The faster the rate, the softer the skin feels, the younger it looks, and also the more radiant it appears to be.

Face Serum’s Helpful Ingredients

Vitamin C

Telang (2013) clarified that Vitamin C helps to boost collagen production. Collagen is a key cellular compound that helps the cells regenerate more quickly and create new cells to replace the ones that die on the surface of the skin.


As Scheibmeir et al. (2005) mentioned, antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Free radicals may cause massive damage to the skin cells and lower their regenerative capabilities.

Hyaluronic Acid

It is a good moisturizing agent that seals in the moisture and prevents the skin cells from drying out.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid lowers the incidence of dark spots across the skin


It is a compound that may help shrink the pores and make them appear small. It is ideal for many people with natural porous skin.

Glycolic Acid

Is Important for brightening the skin.


It is also known as vitamin A. Ferreira et al. (2020) argued that it is a popular anti-aging compound that inspires better collagen and elastin production in the cells, making the skin appear firmer and more elastic.

More Vitamin and Nutrients

The cells contain vitamins and nutrients that grow faster and healthier than before.

Despite that many face serums do not contain the compound that may help the skin stay properly hydrated like the hyaluronic, they are not moisturizing products.

What is a Moisturizer?

Moisturizers are specialized products that can perform two functions. They seal in the existing moisture that the skin contains and make it harder for the moisture to evaporate throughout the day. They usually share many of the same ingredients as the face serums such as:

  • Vitamins and minerals that the skin cells can use to heal and stay healthy
  • Moisturizing agents such as aloe Vera and hyaluronic acid.

Moisturizing is good for people with dry skin or those living in dry climates. They are also useful for the folks who have to deal with harsh winters. The winter month correlates with drier skin for everybody on average.

Some products are packed with helpful extra ingredients and come with antioxidants which, according to Murad & Tabibian (2001), can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and aging lines, and also hydrating dry skin, and restore the essential moisture that you may lose during the day.

Moisturizers are not the best choice for oily skin. Most of their moisturizing compounds may exacerbate excessive oil and indirectly make you experience extra acne.

The key is in the nourishing part of the face serums. They can provide some more moisturizing assistance, they are not as effective at that part as dedicated moisturizers, but the main purpose of the face serums is nourishment and also revitalization.

Each of the skincare products comes with a primary purpose. For example:

  • Toners- Penetrate deep into the skin pores and perform a deep clean
  • Cleansers- Good for clearing away surface-level dirt and oil
  • Moisturizers- Are good for hydrating the skin initially and preventing it from drying after some time.
  • Face Serum- Are good for providing extra vitamins and nutrients

Each of the products has a specific function, and they can only be applied together to provide the requirements for a holistic skincare routine.

Why Choose the Face Serum?

The moisturizer is good for preventing the skin from drying up, the face serum is the best for the skin to look and feel younger and better as it provides tons of vitamins and minerals and other nourishing ingredients. Arunabh et al. (2003) related that face serums increase skin health all over the body.

If your skin naturally has a lot of dark spots or blemishes. Most of them are caused by minor cellular deficiencies. In simple words, the skin cells may lack the right vitamins and nutrients to create enough collagen and elastin as well to produce new and healthy cells. It results in tons of blemishes and dark spots that you may not be able to get away from.

When to Apply the Face Serum

The face serum is best applied once per day as part of either the morning or the evening skincare routines. You can choose either way on this point. Some people may like to give their skin some extra vitamins and nutrients in the morning, while others may like adding the face serum to their night routine when the skin is unlikely to be disturbed.

There is no need to apply the face serum more than once. There are so many vitamins and nutrients in the skin that may make the serum useful for a twenty-four-hour period. It may not necessary to apply the serum twice a day to avoid wastage.

When to Apply the Moisturizers

You can apply a moisturizer every day as a skincare routine. If you decide to follow the twice-daily recommendation that most dermatologists prefer, you can do so after using a toner. This is because the toner can dry out the pores and moisturizers may help in reducing dryness while sealing in any moisture that may be left behind.

The Bottom Line

Face serum and moisturizers are both important for a holistic skincare routine and ensure that the skin doesn’t dry up during the day. The face serum cannot replace the moisturizer and also the moisturizer does not provide the skin with the extra vitamins and nutrients that it needs to succeed and look great for many years. Apply both products in conjunction and use the required order for the best results.


Arunabh, S., Pollack, S., Yeh, J., & Aloia, J. F. (2003). Body Fat Content And 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels In Healthy Women. The Journal Of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 88(1), 157-161.

Ferreira, M. S., Magalhães, M. C., Sousa-Lobo, J. M., & Almeida, I. F. (2020). Trending Anti-Aging Peptides. Cosmetics, 7(4), 91.

Murad, H., & Tabibian, M. P. (2001). The Effect Of An Oral Supplement Containing Glucosamine, Amino Acids, Minerals, And Antioxidants On Cutaneous Aging: A Preliminary Study. Journal Of Dermatological Treatment, 12(1), 47-51.

Scheibmeir, H. D., Christensen, K., Whitaker, S. H., Jegaethesan, J., Clancy, R., & Pierce, J. D. (2005). A Review Of Free Radicals And Antioxidants For Critical Care Nurses. Intensive And Critical Care Nursing, 21(1), 24-28.

Telang, P. S. (2013). Vitamin C In Dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 4(2), 143.

Waclaw, B., Bozic, I., Pittman, M. E., Hruban, R. H., Vogelstein, B., & Nowak, M. A. (2015). A Spatial Model Predicts That Dispersal And Cell Turnover Limit Intratumour Heterogeneity. Nature, 525(7568), 261-264.