The skincare market is filled with all manner of potions for our faces, and that means that, sometimes, things can feel a little bit confusing. Take oils and serums, for example. What exactly is the difference? And which ones are the best ones to try?
If you’re feeling baffled about what each little dropper of formula does to your face, don’t worry. We’re here to help, and we’ve got the best (vegan) products to try, too.
The key differences between serums and oils
Oils and serums can be confusing, and that’s largely because, from the outside, they look the same. They usually come in a small bottle with a pipette for application, and the formula looks similar, too. But they actually serve different purposes in your skincare routine.
First: oils. Facial oils have been around for centuries, and, as you may have guessed, they contain a blend of different botanical oils. You’ve probably heard of jojoba oil, for example, or rosehip oil. For the most part, these oils are used to provide moisture to the skin, and they also help to create a barrier for the skin, keeping hydration in.
Serums, however, work a little differently. They’re much lighter and thinner than oils and are often water-based, but they can be oil-based and gel-like, too. They work by delivering targeted treatment to the skin for specific concerns — like pigmentation, for example, or acne.
You can use oils and serums together, or you can choose just one, depending on your individual needs and preferences. But to help you decide on the best products for each, check out some of our favorites below.
The best vegan serums and oils to try now
Sunday Riley C.E.O Glow
This face oil from Sunday Riley contains a few different botanical oils, including moisturizing and vitamin-rich cranberry seed oil, antioxidant-packed pomegranate seed oil, and softening jojoba oil. Its potent blend of oil-soluble vitamin C and turmeric also helps to brighten and rejuvenate skin.
Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
Juniper berries, ylang-ylang, and jasmine petals are the key ingredients in this Fabulous Face Oil from Aesop. The lightweight, floral formula will help to nourish and restore your skin, leaving your skin looking and feeling softer and smoother than ever. This face oil is ideal for those with normal, combination, congested, or dull skin, notes the brand.
Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Oil
This ultra-hydrating oil formula from Youth to the People contains maqui berry extract, which is incredibly high in antioxidants, meaning it helps to restore and regenerate the skin. It also contains acai berry oil and goji berry seed oil, both of which are rich in antioxidants, too. Jojoba and super moisturizing sunflower oil are also in the mix.
The Outset Firming Vegan Collagen Prep Serum
Collagen is used in skincare to promote firmer skin, but it’s usually not vegan, because it is derived from animal bones and connective tissue. But this serum from Scarlett Johannsen’s brand The Outset is a little different, as it contains its own animal-free “clean alternative” to the ingredient. It also contains ingredients like Mexican arnica flower extract, which is soothing and hydrating, vitamin-rich black quinoa, and brightening brassica napus seedcake extract (also known as rapeseed extract).
This formula from Glossier is actually a serum-oil hybrid, meaning it combines the best of the two skincare products into one (which not only saves you money, but also valuable shelf space). It’s packed with super hydrating and brightening ingredients, including squalane derived from sugarcane and fruit extract, and four different oils: jojoba, grape seed, evening primrose, and rosehip.
Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Oil
Miranda Kerr’s Kora Organics is a haven for potent, high-performance formulas made with natural ingredients. This lightweight Noni Glow Face Oil, for example, contains noni fruit extract (hence the name), which is a powerful source of vitamins C and A. It also contains rosehip oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, pomegranate oil, and sea buckthorn oil, too. All work together to nourish, brighten, smooth, and soften your skin.
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