What Is The Difference Between Serum And Moisturizer?

So, there’s been this thing going on for quite some time now about a serum replacing moisturizer! Yes, I know, I was equally stunned! A serum cannot replace the moisturizer and vice-versa. Both are separate skincare products and must be incorporated to achieve your skincare goals. The basic difference lies in the benefits they deliver to the skin. A serum concerns a specific target and contains active ingredients in a higher concentration to fight the issue whereas moisturizers have a core purpose of hydrating and moisturizing your skin. It contains humectants like glycerin, and emollients like oils to help in the synthesis of lipids that create keep intact the skin’s natural barrier. 

Read on to learn more about the difference between serum and moisturizer.

What Is A Face Serum?

A face serum is a lightweight skincare product that is formulated with a higher concentration of active ingredients to address specific skin concerns. 

Some common active ingredients that make up a face serum are:

  • Anti-oxidants like Vitamin C and E
  • Vitamins
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • AHAs and BHAs
  • Peptides, etc.

How To Use A Face Serum?

Here’s how to use a face serum:

  1. CLEANSE: Use a gentle cleanser to cleanse your face and remove dirt, makeup, or any impurities.
  2. WASH: Now use a face wash to foster thorough cleansing.
  3. TONE: Apply a toner to your face focusing on the T-zone and acne-prone area on the face.
  4. SERUM: Take a good amount of face serum and apply it evenly on the face. Let it absorb for 20 to 30 seconds.
  5. MOISTURISE: Apply a moisturizer to hydrate the skin complementing the benefits of the face serum.
  6. SUNSCREEN: Make sure to top it off with sunscreen in a morning routine.
  7. CONSISTENCY: Face serums can do wonders if applied regularly and consistent with their application.

5 Benefits Of Using A Face Serum:

While delving deep into the benefits of serums vs moisturizers, let’s have a look at what face serums offer:

  1. It effectively addresses specific skincare concerns.
  2. The active ingredients penetrate deep into the skin and heal the skin from the inside.
  3. It has a lightweight formula that does not feel heavier on the skin.
  4. It forms a protective layer on the skin’s surface that doesn’t let external factors damage the skin.
  5. It helps delay skin aging and promotes brightened and healthy skin.

What Is Moisturiser?

A moisturizer also referred to as a lotion, cream, etc. is a skincare product that is crafted to nourish the skin by maintaining its hydration levels and moisture balance. The primary purpose of a facial moisturizer is to provide intense hydration to the skin, retain the water content, and attract moisture to help the skin stay fresh and healthy.

How To Use Moisturizer?

There’s no rocket science behind the proper application of a moisturizer but knowing when to apply it and where it falls in the skincare process can help you avail of its benefits entirely:

  1. Wash your face with a cleanser first and then with a face wash.
  2. Apply a toner to balance the skin's Ph level and prepare it to absorb the upcoming products.
  3. Now layer your face with a regular serum and let it sit for 30 seconds.
  4. Follow with a good amount of moisturizer and apply evenly on the face.
  5. Top it off with sunscreen in the morning.

5 Benefits Of Using Moisturizer

Here are the benefits of using a face moisturizer:

  1. It hydrates the skin and makes it soft and supple.
  2. It helps prevent dryness and tame the skin.
  3. It creates a protective barrier on the skin’s surface that helps lock in the moisture.
  4. It improves the skin texture and makes it look youthful.
  5. It is a calming agent that helps with irritated skin or some skin conditions like redness, etc.

Difference Between Serum Vs. Moisturizer:

The major difference between serum and moisturizer is the formulation and the targeted benefits. A face serum is crafted with a higher concentration of active ingredients to target and address a specific set of skin issues, whereas a moisturizer is used to enhance and maintain the overall hydration and moisturization of the skin. 


Now that you know the difference between face serums vs. moisturizers, the next part is to get them. Although both of these products are an essential part of skincare, picking the right ones might be tricky. Head on to CosIQ and find your perfect fit. There’s a range of all types of face serums with high, moderate, and low concentration options to cater to your skin needs whereas moisturizers for different skin types are also available to complement your skincare routine.


Ideally, you should use both a serum and a moisturizer. There are some hydrating serums available that contain Hyaluronic acid known to replenish the skin by retaining the water content, however, moisturizers cannot be replaced.

Both of these skincare products deliver different benefits and are important for the skin. You can opt for a serum if you are looking to target a specific.concern and a moisturiser is an indispensable skincare product that has been in the kit forever!

Generally, as a ground rule, you should apply a moisturizer after the serum. A face moisturizer delivers different benefits for the skin that might not form the basic concern of a face serum.

Yes, you should use both a serum and a moisturizer. They hold their separate importance in a skincare routine and must be incorporated to achieve healthy good-looking skin.
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