How Serums, Oils, Moisturizers and Balms Can Improve Your Skin

They may sound similar, but oils, serums, moisturizers, and balms each have different skin benefits. Understanding what each one does and how to use them in your beauty regimen can help unlock your healthiest complexion, especially when you choose products formulated without harmful ingredients. Let us demystify the differences between oils, serums, moisturizers, and balms so you can get the most out of each product and stick to a safer skin care routine.

Oils Replenish Essential Nutrients

Healthy skin needs essential fatty acids, the building blocks of cell membranes, to maintain the skin’s natural barrier which is critical in keeping the skin hydrated and radiant. Plant-based facial oils, like our Beautycounter+ Facial Oils, can replenish the skin with nourishing fatty acids. All three of our proprietary seven-oil blends include omega-rich marula and argan oils. Pick the one that best suits your skin concerns for a hydrated complexion that glows from the inside, out. No. 1 Brightening Facial Oil boosts radiance with a brightening vitamin C complex; No. 2 Plumping Facial Oil replenishes moisture with fragrant jasmine oil; and No. 3 Balancing Facial Oil contains softening meadowfoam seed oil and calming chamomile.

Insider Tip: Try mixing a little bit of oil with your moisturizer to give it a transformative, glow-enhancing boost.

Serums Provide a Shot of Targeted Actives A good serum is the supplemental booster to your skin care and can work wonders by delivering a concentrated dose of actives that target your specific skin concerns. Usually water-based formulas are extremely lightweight and easily absorbed into the skin. Our Rejuvenating Radiance Serum is formulated with a blend of vitamin C, mixed fruit acid complex, and algae and marine extracts to help reduce dehydration, even skin tone, and boost brightness. Use it before your moisturizer to ensure its high dose of actives gets sealed in.

Insider Tip: Rejuvenating Radiance Serum is a great morning pick-me-up when your skin needs that little extra boost first thing.

Moisturizers Minimize Water Loss

Dehydration is the root cause of many daily skin concerns. Our skin is constantly stripped of water through evaporation in a process called transepidermal water loss (TEWL). While fully hydrated skin comes from a combination of eating hydration-boosting foods, drinking enough water, and minimizing alcohol consumption, the topical use of an effective moisturizer is also key to improving skin’s overall hydration because it helps lock in moisture and nutrients. For daily, lightweight hydration turn to Nourishing Day Cream. If it’s improved elasticity you’re after, try Rejuvenating Day Cream.

Insider Tip: Antioxidants are key to protecting your skin from environmental damage like sun exposure and pollution. With green tea, raspberry seed, and jambu extracts, our Countertime Rejuvenating Collection is packed with them.

Balms Nourish and Calm

Sometimes your skin just needs richer nourishment. Colder climates, exposure to air conditioning, or daily swimming in chlorinated pools or salt water can strip skin of hydration, no matter how good you are about using moisturizer day and night. This is where balms come in. More than just hydrators, they are cleansers that give your skin a break from face wash. Our multi-tasking Cleansing Balm melts into the skin and is packed with nutrient-dense ingredients that not only cleanse, but also hydrate, brighten, and soothe.

Insider Tip: For a double deep clean, purify with the Cleansing Charcoal Bar first, then layer on Cleansing Balm in a second round of cleansing.

The Best Order to Apply Products

Working through products from the lightest to the heaviest consistency is a good rule of thumb. Due to the way our skin absorbs molecules, first pat your serum or oil into the skin to deliver ingredients that work to nourish and restore. Give them enough time to really soak in before sealing with a moisturizer to prevent water loss from the skin’s surface.

When the day is over, use a balm to gently clean your skin, remove any makeup, and replenish moisture. Mix and match different products to develop the best safer skin care routine for your unique needs. The right combination in your beauty kit will give you the healthy-looking, glowing skin you’re after. In the end, finding your ideal routine is about discovering how you can both enjoy and care for the skin you’re in.