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Can someone tell me once and for all the difference between a face oil and a serum, and if can only afford one, which is best?

(76 Posts)
NoveltySlippers Fri 21-Nov-14 08:04:21

I have searched for this but I can't seem to find a definitive answer. I just want to do the usual thing (slow the March of time, maintain moisture).


Floisme Fri 21-Nov-14 08:21:18

I don't think you'll find an answer. It is my personal opinion that serums are a complete waste of money. Some of them might make your skin feel nicer/softer but that's only what a moisturiser/oil is meant to do. I would just get whatever feels right for you skin plus a sunscreen if you don't already use one. And then don't smoke or sunbathe, go easy on the booze etc etc.

LordEmsworth Fri 21-Nov-14 10:26:43

I agree it depends on your skin, I use both so disagree they're a con.

I would see if you can get some samples before committing to one. My favourite serum is Origins Perfect World, but I also like Plantscription, the Clarins double one and some of the Clinique ones. My skin has a better texture when I use one regularly, as well as feeling nice before moisturiser. For face oils I really like the Clarins ones...

Lottapianos Fri 21-Nov-14 10:28:00

I have used two serums that I'm very happy with - both from Superdrug, one from the Simply Pure range, the other from Natural Radiance. Both recommended by Sali Hughes in the Guardian as they contain hyoluronic acid which is very good for dry/dehydrated skin. I think my moisturiser makes much more difference though - I use good old Astral.

I also use a facial oil every day - plain old sunflower oil. I massage a very small amount into face, throat and chest after cleansing every evening. I think it has helped with my fine lines and helps to make skin look more plumped up and 'glowy'. I haven't tried any fancier oils, I don't see how they could be any better.

Agree completely with Flo about sunscreen, smoking, watch the booze etc

squoosh Fri 21-Nov-14 10:49:32

Well I love oil and I love serum. Even if you're on a budget you can have both. Superdrug's Vitamin E facial oil costs £3 and it's brilliant.

squoosh Fri 21-Nov-14 10:50:04

And it lasts for months.

ClaraMaugham Fri 21-Nov-14 11:02:34

I think it really comes down to your skin and happening upon the right product. I've tried both serums and facial oils that have done very little, but I find the Soap and Glory super serum (the stronger one) really makes a noticeable difference on me. I'm sure if I found an oil that suited my skin it would be the same. The problem is that it's hard to know without taking a punt on them and potentially wasting quite a lot of money...

OkyDoke Fri 21-Nov-14 11:07:17

Body Shops serum in oil, best of both worlds!

squoosh Fri 21-Nov-14 11:22:49

Even though it's called a serum in oil, it's actually just an oil. Nice product though.

squoosh Fri 21-Nov-14 11:23:43

Clarins are great at giving out very generous samples of their facial oils.

I got the superdrug hot cloth vitamin e cleanser, I use my hydralauron then a nivea moisturiser. Finished with a superdrug vitamin e serum and EVERYONE is commenting on my skin. It's ridiculous.

I follow Caroline hirons blog and that's as much as I can afford right now but I do wash with a flannel l, use no wipes and bring my cleanser and moisturiser down to my chest which has already had a huge improvement and looks less crepey and red (sun damage)

Fabulassie Fri 21-Nov-14 12:59:14

I use Olay Regenerist serums. The day serum has some sort of peptides blah, blah, blah... but it has a silky silicone feel similar to a light primer. I love the night Resurfacing serum. It has glycolic acid in it and I do credit it with my skin getting softer, smoother, and more radiant. That said, I also double cleans, use the No 7 cheapo knock off of the Clarisonic, and moisturise. I can't say if any one of those is entirely responsible.

missmartha Fri 21-Nov-14 13:25:22

I don't bother with a serum now, having never seen any benefit. I do use coconut oil as a night oil tho and that's great.

Petal02 Fri 21-Nov-14 15:19:30

I thought serums were a waste of time (and they dried out my skin) until I found Clarins Double Serum. A total game changer, although rather expensive. It's a lot more moisturising than most serums, but not greasy. It's made a huge difference to my skin.

I normally only use it at night, but if I'm looking tired/old/haggard (or all three) in the morning, the serum definitely helps.

specialsubject Fri 21-Nov-14 15:19:39

neither will have any anti-ageing effect at all.

squoosh Fri 21-Nov-14 15:29:20

I disagree, I think that keeping your skin smooth and hydrated is anti ageing.

specialsubject Fri 21-Nov-14 15:41:27

yes, except these potions don't smooth skin and there is a limit to how much water goes in. Only the very top layer (the dead one) takes in water.

or you'd get out of the bath looking like Barbapapa...

squoosh Fri 21-Nov-14 15:47:48

Again I disagree. Obviously there's a limit to how much water goes in but I know that if I didn't use potions my skin would resemble tree bark.

Other people are welcome to use lifebuoy soap and brillo pads.

Floisme Fri 21-Nov-14 16:01:06

They can help your skin look and feel softer and smoother but a good moisturiser should do just the same for a squillionth of the price.

squoosh Fri 21-Nov-14 16:04:41

Superdrug's facial oil costs £3. Their serums are usually around the £6 mark. Hardly jaw droppingly expensive.

Floisme Fri 21-Nov-14 16:18:59

Yes but how much do you get for £6? You could get a year's supply of almond oil for that price grin Not that I'm bothered what you do with your money! All I'm trying to say is that I am very, very sceptical of the claim that serums do anything that a bog standard moisturiser can't do. Because if they could, I think they would be shouting it from the rooftops.

Lottapianos Fri 21-Nov-14 16:24:52

I thought I read somewhere that the Superdrug vitamin E oil was full of silicone and basically just baby oil, not nourishing to your skin at all. Happy to be corrected though

MooMinCow Fri 21-Nov-14 16:25:16

I think it depends on the ingredients in the serum. A lot contain alcohol (so they evaporate and appear to 'sink in' quickly) and silicone (for that smooth feel) so I always check if it contains these ingredients and how high up the list they are. I think something with hyaluronic acid and glycerine would help retain moisture when 'sandwiched' under a regular moisturiser, but not convinced about others that claim to penetrate deep layers of skin.

Oils (vegetable oil based rather than mineral) do soak in well especially overnight so I prefer to use them. I like the Pai Rosehip one currently

squoosh Fri 21-Nov-14 16:44:00

Yes I think the top ingredient in the Superdrug oil is mineral oil but that's unsurprising in a cheapo product. But even still my skin has never been in better nick.

Having said that I've just got a bottle of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate so might be favouring that for the forseeable future.

NoveltySlippers Sat 22-Nov-14 08:57:34

Hi all

Many thanks so much for the replies, I'm sorry I disappeared - my day got totally hijacked yesterday!

Lots of good tips for various brands, and great to see that they don't necessarily have to be very expensive - thank you!

Am still wondering however, what's the difference between oil and serum - what does each one do that the other doesn't?

Can anyone explain?

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