Nowadays there are many ways and types of beauty products needed to build an effective skincare routine. Some are more natural than others, whereas some, respond to completely different needs and purposes. We understand that with such an overcrowded beauty market, it’s easy to get lost and make the wrong purchase. And when it comes to your skin’s wellness, it’s better not to make any mistakes as the majority of these beauty products are quite expensive!

Today we’re here to give some clarification on the importance and difference between moisturisers, serums, and facial oils. These three products are a crucial part of many people’s skincare routines, especially when the winter is approaching and they want to prepare their skin for the cold weather. The question is: do they really know what the differences and benefits are? While it may be quite obvious that a moisturiser is not the same as a serum, there might be some confusion when it comes to serums and facial oils. An oil is an oil, not a serum, and yet it’s become a trend in the skincare industry to call an oil a serum.

The primary – and most relevant – difference that distinguishes moisturisers from serums and oils, is that the two latter are able to penetrate the skin on a deeper level, whereas a moisturiser protects its surface. Anyway, this distinction doesn’t have to stop you from using them in combo. Indeed, you can build a sort of “layering effect” that will ultimately balance and nourish the skin at the same time. There is not a rule that works for everyone; like for many other things in life, it’s a matter of testing what works best for you, without forgetting to take into consideration the climate conditions (which are definitely influential in Scotland!).

That being said, let’s see in detail what are the characteristics of each type.


Moisturisers are a combination of oil and water. We know that these two elements naturally stay separate, so these types of products usually contain some sort of wax, emulsifier, or even both, in order to bind them and create stability. This results in a larger molecular structure, and this is the reason why – as we said before – moisturisers can only protect the upper layers of the skin, which ultimately locks in moisture and nutrients.
The best way to use a moisturiser – and so building that “layering effect” mentioned above – is to apply a toner after cleansing, then an oil, a serum, and finally the moisturiser. This is particularly suggested during the winter months!

Thyme skincare oil


A facial oil usually consists of a blend of active botanical/herbal oils (such as rose oil, avocado oil, tea tree oil and many more) rich in essential fatty acids or omegas, which contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals; therefore, a facial oil brings hydration and nutrition to the skin.
The main purpose of facial oils is to nourish, soften and protect the skin’s surface by decreasing moisture loss. You may think that because they contain different oils, they would be greasy and not suitable for oily skin. Even though we’re talking about oils, they won’t leave the skin looking oily at all (think of tea tree oil, for instance), although they might take a few minutes to absorb. On the contrary, they penetrate the skin quickly and – unlike moisturisers – don’t contain waxes or emulsifiers that can clog pores. This is what makes them perfect for oily skin types as well.


As we said, a facial oil hydrates and nourishes. A serum not only does this, but also brightens and tightens the skin, and slows the onset of lines and wrinkles. Serums have a multi-functional effect. Most facial serums are water-based, and are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, peptides and other ingredients incredibly beneficial to the skin.
Compared to moisturisers, serums’ smaller molecules are able to penetrate further into the skin, hence their extreme effectiveness. Unlike oils, the most of the fluid is eliminated, so what’s left is a high concentration of active ingredients, such as aloe or an emulsion of oils and floral waters. These ingredients are the real reason behind serums’ expensive price. Also, thanks to them, serums are very potent, and using large amounts is not always a wise choice as they may end up irritating sensitive skin. Be careful and always do a test on a small area of skin before applying them!

This last recommendation counts for both oils and serums: if they cause you pimples or rashes, that doesn’t mean they all will. Perhaps you need a different blend or different ingredients, so keep trying until you find one that doesn’t. Also, try ‘listen’ to your skin. If a daily use causes you the same issue, maybe it’s not ideal. Sometimes a biweekly application is more than enough!

Now that you know the different types of products to prep your skin for the winter, take advantage of our October VIP Offer that offers you a special ‘3 for 2’ deal on Microdermabrasion Facial!
And once your skin is well exfoliated and ready to absorb the necessary nutrients, visit our online shop (or Salons) and pick your moisturiser, facial oil or serum, depending on your needs!


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