There are some skincare products that we can skip out on and get away with it (just about) but face serums and face creams aren’t up for discussion. You may think that because they can do similar things, we can use either one or the other. And if you do, it’s time we had a conversation about what they are, how to apply them, and when you should use them. Plus, the best face serums and face creams you need in your life right now.
What Is a Face Serum?
Face serums are super lightweight formulas designed to deliver a powerful dose of active ingredients into your skin. They contain the smallest molecules that can penetrate deep into the skin, meaning quicker and more effective results. So, if you’re looking for more of a permanent quick fix, a face serum is your secret weapon.
How to Apply a Face Serum?
If you’ve been rubbing face serums directly into your skin, you’ll want to stop that right away. While face serums can reach the deeper layers of skin, rubbing the formula directly into your skin can limit absorption.
To get the most out of your face serum, we recommend placing a pea-sized amount in the palm of your hands, keeping the pipet away from your skin to avoid bacteria transfer.
Next, gently rub the palms of your hands together to warm up the face serum. While a face serum straight out of your beauty fridge may feel dreamy on the skin, skincare ingredients move through the skin and interact with cells quicker when they’re body temperature.
Finally, lightly press your palms onto the skin until the face serum is applied to the entire face.
If you really want to level up your self-care (who wouldn’t?), you can massage face serums into the skin with a rose quartz facial roller or gua sha stones.
When Do I Apply a Face Serum?
Face serums should be applied after cleansing and toning, as this is when the skin is completely clear from bacteria, oil, dirt, and makeup that could make it difficult for them to penetrate the skin.
What Is a Face Cream?
Face creams are a lot thicker than face serums as they act as a protective barrier for the skin, keeping moisture and nutrients exactly where they need to be for a healthy complexion. Although, most face creams promise much more than this.
How to Apply a Face Cream?
To apply a face cream, you’ll want to place a little more than a pea-sized amount onto your fingers. Then again, warm it up, staying away from your palms, unlike a face serum.
Start applying the face cream to the cheeks using soft circular motions moving upwards towards the forehead. You want to start on the biggest areas of your face whilst you’ve got the most face cream on your hands. Once these areas are covered, you can move on to the rest of your face.
Remember to never drag your skin down or create folds in the skin when applying face cream (or any other skincare product that requires more than patting) as this can lead to premature fine lines and wrinkles. That anti-ageing skincare routine you’ve got going on is super counterproductive if you’re aggressively applying it.
When to Apply a Face Cream?
Face creams should be applied after cleansing, toning, eye cream, and serum – pretty much your entire skincare routine as they lock everything in place.
Face Serum vs Face Cream: The Main Differences
Face serums contain smaller molecules in a lightweight, oil-like formula, whereas face creams have larger molecules in a thicker, creamier consistency. Because of this, they’re able to tackle skin concerns faster.
But this doesn’t mean you should write off face creams altogether, as you need a face cream to protect your face serum and your complexion from environmental aggressors.
However, you’re able to use a face cream without a face serum as active ingredients aren’t essential to skin health. Although, if you want to beautify the skin and boost its health, we recommend including them both in your skincare routine.
Must-Try Face Serums
Dr. Nigma Talib Hydrating & Plumping Serum No.1 - £140
A hydrating face serum is essential for seriously thirsty skin. If getting frustrated with dry patches is part of your daily routine, replace it with Dr. Nigma Talib Hydrating & Plumping Serum No.1 to deeply hydrate and plump up your complexion with hyaluronic acid and age-reversing plant stem cells.
IMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Restoring Serum - £56
This face serum is a total dream for oily skin types. The oil-free formula helps to restore the overall health of your skin cells with a vitamin B6 derivative to reduce pore size and sebum production, and keeps you glowy, not shiny.
SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Serum 30ML - £110
SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF is the very definition of a potent, hydrating face serum. Rich in vitamin C, it gives next-level radiance, protects against free radicals, improves skin texture and tone, and reduces the appearance of fine lines. Vitamin C is your plan A to beautiful skin.
Must-Try Face Creams
The best face cream for those with sensitive skin. Take your skin on a trip to the spa with Circadia Tranquili-Cream with powerful hydrating and anti-irritant agents to instantly soothe redness and itchiness.
Dermaceutic C25 Cream - £40.50
What if there was a face cream that contained vitamins A, B5, C, and E? Dermaceutic C25 Cream has it all and more. It works to hydrate, boost collagen, strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, combat ageing, and provide antioxidant protection without being greasy, so you’re basically winning at life with this face cream.
SkinCeuticals Face Cream 50ML - £113.50
Lightweight and deeply hydrating? SkinCeuticals Face Cream has got you covered. Packed with vitamin E, soy, sunflower seed oil, and green tea extracts, this is the best face cream for premature ageing – think hyperpigmentation, sunspots, and fine lines.