Expert Advice

Facial Serums v Oils: A Beginner’s Guide

Serums and oils are like the superfood smoothies of the skincare world. When targeting and treating skin concerns, this powerful pair are a must-have. But what’s the difference between serum and oil? What serum should I use? And how should these products be used to achieve incredible skin? Let us demystify these two ultra-nourishing skin drinks for you.


#1 What Is Face Serum?

Serums deliver a liquid concentration of active ingredients to skin. The water-based formulations are designed to address specific concerns such as dehydration, hyper-pigmentation, or dullness. Their small molecular weight means serums, and their benefits, are quickly absorbed.

There’s a huge array of different serums on the market. Some are pure concentrations of a single ingredient, while others are complex blends. Antipodes takes the latter approach. Our serums are bioactive cocktails.

#2 The Benefits of a Face Serum

  • Face serums target skin concerns
  • Face Serums Contain Active Ingredients 
  • Face serums are easily absorbed

Antipodes serum

Face serums target skin concerns

With the ability to help balance, hydrate, correct, brighten, freshen, and protect, a serum is an investment in healthy looking skin. Serums target skin concerns such as dehydration, hyper-pigmentation, sun damage, fine lines, dullness, and dehydration. A great example of a brightening serum is Apostle Skin-Brightening Serum. It features Vinanza® Grape & Kiwi to target the appearance of pigmentation and foster a more even skin tone.

Face Serums Contain Active Ingredients 

The best face serums are all about high-quality ingredients in concentrated doses. Bioactive compounds are water-soluble, making them more effective in a water-based formulation. Antipodes antioxidant serums utilize superfruit extracts, hydrating spring water, and nutrient-rich bioactives – all chosen for the role they play in radiant skin.

Worship Skin Defence Antioxidant Serum is packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients like Vinanza® Grape and wild blackcurrant. Ingredients like these help to protect skin against oxidative stress – a significant cause of the signs of aging.

Face serums are easily absorbed

The light molecular weight of serums means they can be absorbed into the skin, so they deliver a concentrated dose of nutrients where your skin needs them most. Serums are invisible beneath moisturizers, creams, lotions, and makeup, so they’re easy to include in any routine. Once applied, you won’t notice your serum – but your skin certainly will.

Try an ultra-light serum such as Hosanna H2O Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum. With water-rich mamaku black fern and artesian spring water, it’s the best face serum for thirsty skin.

#2 What skin types can use a serum?

Every skin type will benefit from a serum. The key is choosing the product that suits your specific skin concern. If you have dehydrated skin, you’ll want to be using a hydrating serum. If you have redness and irritation, seek a serum that defends your skin against pollution. For a targeted regime, switch up your serums to suit your skin concerns on a day-to-day basis.

#3 How To Apply Serum On Face

Antipodes serums

Serums can be applied morning and night as part of your skincare regime. Because serums are so light, they should be applied directly to cleansed skin before heavier products.

Apply generous drops to both sides of your face and neck. Dispense the serum straight from the dropper onto your skin, rather than to your fingers – that will help your skin to absorb the benefits. Using the palms of your hands, gently press the nutrient-filled liquid into your skin.

So that’s the lowdown on serums. Now to ultra-nourishing, ultra-smoothing natural facial oils.

#4 What Is Face Oil?

There’s a big difference between serum and oil, but you’ll often find oils referred to as “serums.” That’s because oils are also ultra-nourishing for skin. They are extracted by pressing the seeds of nutritious fruits, seeds, nuts, and plants, then mixed into skincare formulations. Because of their heavier formula, oils can be polarizing – but when used correctly, they deliver exceptional benefits to skin.

#5 The Benefits of a Facial Oil

  • Face Oils Help Strengthen The Skin Barrier
  • Face Oils Are Incredibly Hydrating
  • Face Oils Are Nourishing

Antipodes facial oil

Face Oils Help Strengthen The Skin Barrier 

Oils have a different molecular structure than serums, one that is much larger. That means oils nourish the skin’s surface rather than absorb like a serum. This makes oils excellent at strengthening the skin’s barrier. They form a protective layer, helping to defend against external pollution and calming skin in the process.

Face Oils Are Incredibly Hydrating 

Oils deliver instant hydration to the skin’s surface, making skin soft, supple and plump.  The best face oil gives an instant radiance boost. You can even mix it with moisturizer or makeup to achieve a “lit-from within” effect.

Face Oils Are Nourishing 

The primary purpose of an oil is to intensively nourish skin. The best face oils for anti-aging are those that utilize pure, natural ingredients, as they are higher in vitamins, omegas, and other essential fatty acids.

Divine Face Oil Rosehip & Avocado Oil is an excellent example of a plant-powered, anti-aging face oil. Avocado oil is full of natural antioxidants including Vitamins A, B1, B2 and D as well as omegas 3 and 9. Rosehip helps to soften and nourish skin while addressing the appearance of fine lines, scars, and wrinkles. Rich yet non-greasy, it’s the best face oil for glowing skin.

#6 How To Use Facial Oil

Face oils are ultra-versatile, which is why we love them. They can be applied to cleansed skin after your serum and before moisturizer. They can be mixed with your moisturizer or makeup, or used sparingly for a natural highlight. Dispense a few drops onto your fingertips and indulge your face and neck with a gentle massage until you achieve an even glow. During the day, mix a few drops in your day cream or SPF moisturizer to give a healthy glow. You can also pat a drop or two into the high points of your cheekbones for dewy, light-catching skin.

#7 What skin types can use an oil?

You might think oils are only suited for dry skin, but oily skin can benefit too. Face oils help to balance oily skin by mimicking the skin’s natural production of sebum. Select a natural oil with an ultra-light formulation so that it won’t clog pores. Some oils, such as rosehip oil and grapeseed oil, contain anti-inflammatory properties. That’s good news for anyone with blemish-prone skin.

#8 Can Oils and Serums Be Combined?

They sure can. Oils and serums work together to target different skin concerns. The rule of thumb is to start with lighter products and move to heavier – so be sure to apply your serum first, and your oil second. If you apply your oil first, your serum may struggle to reach your skin.

There you have it – your beginner’s guide to the best face serum and best face oil for glowing skin. A skin-loving world of nourishment packed into a little bottle. Serums and oils cultivate brighter, fresher, healthier looking skin. Apply together or on their own to target your specific skin concerns. With fresh skin the goal, these nutrient powerhouses slip seamlessly into any regime.




Writer and expert