What Comes First: Moisturizer or Oil? – Lue by Jean Seo
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In the world of skincare, many products promise to deliver a radiant and youthful complexion. Two contenders, moisturizers and facial oils, often stand out due to their effectiveness and popularity. Yet, a common dilemma arises: Which one should be applied first? Should you opt for a moisturizer or an oil, or can you use both? This article delves into the intricate realm of skincare to decipher the order of application for these products and help you achieve the best results for your skin.

The pursuit of healthy, glowing skin is a journey that involves a careful selection of products and an understanding of their interactions. Among these products, moisturizers and facial oils play a pivotal role. These skincare staples are designed to address different aspects of skin hydration and nourishment. The Confusion often arises when considering the order in which they should be applied. Does one precede the other? Or can they be used in tandem? To demystify this dilemma, let's explore the nature of moisturizers and facial oils and the best approach to incorporating them into your skincare routine.

What is a Moisturizer?


Moisturizers are like a drink of water for your skin. These products are formulated to hydrate the skin and lock in moisture, preventing water loss and maintaining a supple complexion. Moisturizers typically contain a combination of water, humectants (ingredients that attract moisture from the environment), emollients (which soften the skin), and occlusives (substances that create a barrier to prevent moisture from escaping). They come in various forms, such as creams, lotions, and gels, catering to different skin types and preferences.

The primary goal of a moisturizer is to provide hydration and improve the skin's barrier function. It's an essential step in any skincare routine, as even oily skin needs hydration to balance oil production and maintain skin health. Moisturizers are usually applied after cleansing and toning to seal the benefits of earlier products and create a hydrated base for subsequent steps.

What is a Facial Oil?

Facial oils, on the other hand, are potent concoctions derived from natural plant oils or synthetic ingredients. These oils are rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins that nourish the skin. Facial oils are renowned for replenishing the skin's lipid barrier, enhancing radiance, and providing an extra layer of protection against environmental stressors.

Unlike moisturizers, which primarily focus on hydrating the skin, facial oils prevent water loss and add an extra boost of nutrients. They're particularly beneficial for those with dry or mature skin, as these skin types often struggle with maintaining natural oil production. However, facial oils can be suitable for various skin types if chosen and used correctly.

Should I Use a Moisturizer, Oil, or Both?

The decision to use a moisturizer, a facial oil, or both depends on several factors, including your skin type, concerns, climate, and overall skincare routine. Let's delve deeper into each scenario to help you make an informed choice:

Moisturizer Only

If your skin tends to be on the oilier side or is balanced regarding hydration, a moisturizer might be all you need to maintain healthy skin. Moisturizers contain ingredients that lock in moisture and improve the skin's barrier function. Even if you have oily skin, it's important to remember that hydration is not the enemy. Using a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer can help regulate oil production and prevent your skin from overcompensating by producing excessive oil. This can ultimately lead to a more transparent and more balanced complexion.

Facial Oil Only

Facial oils can be a game-changer, especially if you're dealing with dryness, flakiness, or a lackluster complexion. If you find that your skin feels tight, dull, or looks parched, introducing a facial oil could provide the boost it needs. These oils are rich in nourishing fatty acids and antioxidants that deeply penetrate the skin, providing a surge of hydration and helping to restore its natural radiance. While facial oils are often associated with dry skin types, they can also benefit those with normal or combination skin by providing extra nourishment, particularly during harsh weather conditions.

Using Both

Combining the powers of a moisturizer and a facial oil can offer a holistic approach to skincare. This combination can be particularly effective if you have dry or dehydrated skin. The moisturizer lays the foundation by hydrating the skin's surface and preparing it to receive the benefits of the facial oil. Once the moisturizer has been applied and absorbed, the facial oil can then be used to lock in the moisture and provide a potent dose of nutrients. This synergy ensures your skin remains hydrated while receiving the nourishment it needs to look and feel its best.

When deciding whether to use a moisturizer, a facial oil, or both, it's essential to consider your climate and environment. For instance, both products can combat moisture loss and protect your skin if you live in dry or cold weather. On the other hand, if you're in a humid environment, using a lightweight moisturizer and a lighter facial oil can help your skin stay balanced without feeling greasy.

Ultimately, it's worth noting that skincare is a journey of self-discovery. Your skin's needs may change with the seasons, age, and lifestyle, so it's important to remain adaptable in your routine. A dermatologist or skincare professional can provide personalized guidance based on your skin's characteristics and your desired outcomes.

How to Layer Moisturizer and Oil

Proper layering of skincare products is essential to ensure each product can effectively penetrate the skin and deliver its benefits. Here's a step-by-step guide to correctly layering moisturizer and facial oil:

Step 1: Cleansing and Toning

Start your skincare routine with a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, makeup, and impurities. Follow up with a toner to balance the skin's pH and prepare it for subsequent products. A well-prepared canvas allows your moisturizer and facial oil to work more effectively.

Step 2: Moisturizer

After cleansing and toning, apply your chosen moisturizer. This step helps to replenish the skin's hydration levels and create a protective barrier. Gently massage the moisturizer into your skin using upward motions, paying extra attention to areas that tend to be drier.

Step 3: Facial Oil

Once your moisturizer has had a moment to absorb (usually a minute or two), it's time to introduce the facial oil. Dispense a small amount of oil into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together to warm the oil slightly. Then, using gentle pressing motions, apply the oil to your face. Focus on areas that need extra hydration, such as the cheeks and forehead. The facial oil will seal the moisture from the moisturizer and provide an extra layer of nourishment.

Following this layering sequence allows each product to fulfill its intended purpose without interfering with the absorption of the other. This approach maximizes the benefits of the moisturizer and facial oil, leading to a well-hydrated and glowing complexion.

In pursuing radiant and healthy skin, choosing between a moisturizer, a facial oil, or a combination of both should be guided by your skin's unique needs and skincare objectives. Each product offers distinct advantages, and when used correctly, they can complement each other to create a comprehensive skincare routine. Remember that there's no one-size-fits-all answer; what works best for your skin may evolve over time. By understanding the properties of moisturizers and facial oils and mastering the art of layering, you can harness the potential of these skincare staples to achieve a complexion that genuinely glows from within.

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Featured image by Anna Nekrasevich