Serum vs Moisturiser; What's The Difference?

July 15, 2022

4 minutes Read

Serum vs Moisturiser; What's The Difference?

Understanding What Your Skin Needs

Serum and Moisturiser

What's the Difference between Serum and Moisturiser? Is there a need for both? Which one goes first in your routine? With the forever growing skincare market there seems to be forever growing confusion around the differences between a face serum and a face moisturiser, so we thought we’d break it down to hopefully help you simplify & understand your skincare routine a little better.

What is a Facial Serum?

A facial serum is a lightweight skincare product that contains higher concentrations of active ingredients (such as Hyaluronic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Vitamin C, Salicylic acid etc), which can penetrate deeply beneath the skin's natural barriers. 


What is a Facial Moisturiser? 

A facial moisturiser is a richer skincare product formulated with emollients to prevent moisture loss throughout the day/night. Moisturisers work on the surface layers of the skin while locking in moisture and nutrients. They also act to protect the skin from environmental irritants. 

The Core Difference

As serums are designed to penetrate deeply into the skin, they usually contain smaller molecules that carry active ingredients to target specific skin concerns such as dehydration, oil control, pores, blemishes and loss of elasticity. Think of your serum products as your ‘treatment’ product within your routine.

Moisturisers have larger molecules, allowing them only to be absorbed by the surface layers of the skin. They sit perfectly at the end of your skincare routine to lock in hydration and prevent moisture loss throughout the day. Think of your moisturiser as your ‘sealing’ product. 

Serum Swatches

Should You Use Both a Serum and a Moisturiser Together?

The simple answer is.. yes you should. Serums & moisturisers have two very separate functions so replacing one with the other may leave your skin missing some key ingredient it desperately needs. It’s important to know how to layer your skincare to gain maximum benefits from your products, in fact, it’s so important that we have actually written a separate blog post on How to Layer Your Skincare

Ultimately, for your skin to be it’s most happy & radiant self, you need to be using both a serum & a moisturiser, but this doesn't mean you need to add a zillion steps to your skincare routine. A lot of face SPF products also contain the key ingredients you would find in a moisturiser, so choose a moisturiser that doubles as your daytime SPF to speed your morning routine along. Just be mindful to use enough of the SPF product to ensure you have full protection. If you’re unsure about how much product to use, you can catch up on our tips around that in our blog post: Skin Tips: How much product should I use?.

Model with Beauty Base SPF

Face Primers

Our face primer, Beauty Base, contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin, peptides to condition the skin and broad spectrum SPF30 to protect the skin from UVA & UVB rays. Depending on which Beauty Base you choose, you’ll also be left with a stunning glow. It’s an all in one moisturising primer that you can use as your moisturiser step, your SPF step, your face primer/prep step & of course, your glow step, all in just 2-3 pumps of the product. Slightly Genius if we do say so ourselves. 

There’s nothing wrong with doubling up on your serum ingredients either by choosing a serum product that targets more than just one thing. However,  for more severe skin conditions such as acne, dark spot pigmentation or rosacea, you may want to consider layering your serums separately & selectively to the areas that need them to ensure each condition is targeted efficiently.  

Model with HydraGlo

For those of us who just want to keep our skin healthy, hydrated and looking & feeling it’s best, then you can search for serums to do just that, with ingredients that suit your skin’s personal needs. 


Take HydraGlo for example, our lightweight & hydrating face serum designed to provide maximum hydration and boost overall skin health. HydraGlo contains hyaluronic acid which intensely hydrates the skin, niacinamide which targets pores & brightens the complexion, Ceramides that help to hold skin cells together, preventing moisture loss and strengthening the skin’s natural barriers and finally shea butter, which works to condition, soothe, soften and tone the skin. Using HydraGlo ensures your skin receives a daily healthy drink of everything it needs to stay hydrated & radiant. 

Serum Swatch on Face

At the end of the day, you know what works best for you and your skin, we are just here to guide you through the finer details, but if you're still feeling a little lost, it’s always a treat to book in with a skin specialist to analyse and understand your skin that little bit better.

Have you tried our range of Beauty Bases or HydraGlo? Make sure to tag us in all of your looks over on Instagram @sculptedbyaimee with the hashtag #filterfreefaces

Lots of Love,

Aimee & Team x