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Moisturizers vs. Face Oils: What’s The Difference And How To Use Both

The dewy, healthy, no-makeup look continues to be beauty’s biggest trend as we look toward 2023. And there’s great news: getting your most radiant skin ever doesn’t require a trip to the dermatologist, or even your esthetician. It’s 100 percent achievable in the comfort of your own bathroom. The secret: deep hydration courtesy of the right moisturizer and facial oil.

While many people view these two products as interchangeable, there are several key differences between moisturizers vs. facial oils. So if you’re wondering whether face oil can replace moisturizer, the answer is a resounding no. Read on to get the science behind moisturizers vs. face oils, how to use them, and why you need both.

What’s the difference between moisturizers vs. facial oils?

Understanding the difference between moisturizers and facial oils requires a deeper knowledge of skin types. Specifically, it’s important to know the difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Fortunately, it’s not that complicated.All of our organs need water to function properly, and your skin is no different. Think of your skin like a piece of fruit. When fruit is fresh, it’s plump and juicy with smooth, taught skin. Now think of a piece of dehydrated fruit. It’s creased and deflated with skin that appears wrinkled. When your skin needs water, its appearance is affected in a similar way. This is why moisturizers are typically water-based; they’re formulated to replenish the skin’s water content, both on the surface and in its deeper layers. They may also contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid which pull more water into the skin. As a result of the added water content, your skin instantly plumps up, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.

As we all know, oil and water don’t mix, so facial oils neither contain water, nor do they add water back into the skin. Their main function is to repair and protect the skin’s moisture barrier (the skin’s natural protective layer) while adding nourishment. They work like vitamin-rich plastic wrap, sealing in moisture to keep it from evaporating out of the skin. In other words, facial oils don’t add water, they retain it.

In a nutshell: moisturizers provide instant hydration, while oils seal, protect, and nourish.Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Can face oil replace moisturizer?

Many people make the erroneous assumption that face oil can replace moisturizer because it’s so rich and emollient. But because face oil adds nourishment and seals in moisture, using it alone is like eating food without drinking water. You’ll get by, but your skin won’t be adequately hydrated.

Almost all skin types benefit from using both moisturizer and facial oils together. When you pair a water-based moisturizer with a nourishing, non-comedogenic facial oil (such as our sugarcane-derived squalane), you’re ensuring that your skin stays hydrated and nourished all day long. This also helps to fortify the moisture barrier, helping ward off the damaging effects of environmental stressors such as bacteria and pollution. 

The result: healthy, hydrated, skin that appears plumper, smoother, and more radiant.

Can I use Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Moisturizer With Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil?

Our Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Moisturizer was formulated to work hand-in-hand with our award-winning Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil to deliver deep hydration and instant brightening.

Each formula contains proven-effective ingredients bursting with benefits, addressing your skin concerns from every angle to give you your healthiest, most radiant and hydrated skin ever. Here’s how the two products compare.

Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Moisturizer

  • Visibly brightens + boosts skin moisture levels
  • Contains fermented lemon peel, a powerful brightener that visibly reduces the appearance of dark spots and provides antioxidant support
  • Utilizes Vitamin C to promote collagen production in the skin, making it brighter, firmer, and smoother while preventing damage from free radicals and pollution
  • Deeply hydrates using sugarcane-derived Squalane
Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

  • Creates instant glow while locking in moisture
  • Utilizes an oil-soluble, shelf-stable form of Vitamin C to visibly brighten and firm while giving you a super-glowy look
  • Firms and revitalizes skin using Chios Crystal Oil
  • Awakens the senses and boosts radiance with Damascus Rose Extract
  • Includes Sugarcane-derived squalane to drive active ingredients deeper while locking in moisture


What’s applied first: moisturizer or facial oil?

Remember: moisturizer adds water, facial oil seals it in. So you always want to moisturize before applying facial oil, regardless of which moisturizer or oil you’re using. Here’s how to pair Biossance moisturizers with our facial oils, according to skin type:

Dry/Sensitive Skin

AM: Squalane + Omega Repair Cream with Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Our ceramide- and lipid-rich moisturizer deeply hydrates while fortifying the skin’s moisture barrier to soothe and protect against irritation. Top it off with our award-winning Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil to add bounce and boost glow while fighting free radicals and sealing in moisture.

PM: Squalane + Omega Repair Cream + 100% Squalane Oil

Your skin is hard at work while you’re asleep. Give it the tools it needs to restore and support its natural moisture barrier with an evening application of our deeply moisturizing cream. Seal in your results by slathering on our sustainable, vegan powerhouse from head to toe.

Combination Skin

AM: Squalane + Proboiotic Gel Moisturizer with Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Our ultralight gel moisturizer balances, hydrates and calms while our award-winning facial oil delivers bounce and glow while locking in moisture.

PM: Squalane + Omega Repair Cream with 100% Squalane Oil

The whipped texture of our mega-moisturizing cream makes it perfect for combination skin as it delivers much-needed hydration to drier areas without making oily areas feel greasy. Seal and nourish with our sugarcane-derived squalane oil to awaken with smoother, more radiant skin.

Oily Skin

AM: Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer with Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Even oily skin can get dehydrated, potentially leading to irritation and acne. Hydrate and soothe with light, yet powerful, hydration followed by our best-selling, non-comedogenic glow-booster.

PM: Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer with Squalane + 100% Squalane Oil

Give your skin overnight nourishment with our unique probiotic blend to improve clarity and help balance your complexion. Our 100% Squalane oil won’t clog your pores, so you can safely seal in all that goodness and awaken looking radiant and refreshed.100% Squalane Oil
Christine Tusher
Christine Tusher Writer and expert
As a lifestyle writer and journalist, I love sharing my passion for ocean conservation and obsession with clean beauty. I’ve tried almost every trend and ingredient, and Biossance’s science-backed formulas are the only ones that consistently calm my reactive skin and make it smoother, clearer, and healthier. I’m so excited to be on this journey of skincare innovation with Biossance, and to share it with you!

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