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Serums vs Moisturizers: What’s the Deal?

green beauty skincare tips

You may have used a moisturizer for a few years now, but seen serums advertised everywhere and wondered if they’re really worth all the hype?

This is a totally valid question and one we are more than happy to help you with!

All the beauty talk can get a little confusing and it’s hard to know what products really are best.

When it comes to a serum you may wonder if your trusty bottle of moisturizer is still any good or if you should keep it around for a little longer. 

In this article we’ll let you in on the main differences between a moisturizer and a serum and whether or not you still need your moisturizer if you do decide to invest in a good serum. 


The biggest thing you need to know about moisturizers is that they are water based.

This means that they contain ingredients suspended in water and for this reason, they do require a preservative or two to keep the product fresh and to prevent bacteria growth. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing if you’re purchasing a natural product though, because there are many all natural preservatives available!

Moisturizers help to hydrate parched skin and form a protective barrier on the surface of the skin to keep pollutants out. This is why moisturizing is so important, no matter your skin type!

Moisturizers contain water meaning they can be applied to cleansed skin that is completely dry, because the water particles will ensure optimal absorption. Moisturizers can be applied after cleansing and worn alone, or layered over top of a serum.

Shop all Moisturizers here.

If you’re heading out for the day, don’t forget the SPF!


While moisturizers are water-based, serums are oil-based.

They offer the same hydrating and protective properties that moisturizers do, but they are far more concentrated and best to target specific skin concerns such as aging, blemishes and hyperpigmentation. 

Oils are natural preservatives, so there’s no need to dilute a serum down with other ingredients. 

Serums should be applied to slightly damp skin for best absorption and you should use your fingertips to press (not rub!) the oil into your skin so it can sink deep down into your pores. 

Wear a serum alone or with a moisturizer on top for added protection and moisture. A moisturizer also helps to properly lock in all the goodness of the serum, but it’s not essential. 

For dry and mature skin try our gorgeous Rose Nourishing Serum by Apoterra.

For oily skin, you can’t go wrong with our Clear Skin Advanced Serum by Province Apothecary. 


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