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What's the Difference Between Serums & Moisturizer

By Shrudi Shyam

When it comes to skincare, two of the most essential products that often take centre stage are face serums and moisturisers. Both face serum and moisturiser serve unique purposes in maintaining a healthy complexion. However, understanding the difference between the two and how they can work together is crucial for an effective skincare routine. In this blog, we will delve into the characteristics of face serums and moisturisers, explore the difference between serum and moisturiser, discuss whether they can be used together, explain how to layer them, and provide key takeaways to enhance your skincare regimen.

What is a Face Serum?

A face serum is a lightweight, highly concentrated skincare product designed to deliver potent active ingredients deep into the skin. Formulated with smaller molecules that penetrate the skin more effectively, serums target specific skin concerns such as wrinkles, dark spots, uneven texture, oiliness, dryness, etc. These powerhouse products are typically water-based and may contain antioxidants, vitamins, peptides, or hyaluronic acid, catering to various skin needs. For example, if you want to get rid of hyperpigmentation, you can use POND'S Bright Beauty Anti-Pigmentation Serum with 12% Gluta-Niacinamide Complex for flawless radiance. Similarly, you can choose any serum that gives you targeted benefits.

What is a Moisturiser?

Moisturisers are thicker creams that provide hydration, seal in moisture, and protect the skin's natural barrier. These are essential for maintaining skin health, preventing water loss, and improving overall texture. Moisturisers usually contain a combination of humectants, emollients, and occlusives, ensuring the skin remains hydrated, plump, and nourished. Moisturisers are available in different formulations to suit various skin types, from dry to oily. For example, if you have oily skin, you can use POND'S Super Light Gel with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to moisturise your skin without any sticky feel. Similarly, you can choose a moisturiser according to your skin type.

Face Serum vs Moisturiser: Major Differences

Let's look at the difference between face serum and moisturiser:


Face Serum



Gel or water-like



Lightweight, fast-absorbing

Thicker, creamier


High concentration of active ingredients

Lower concentration of active ingredients


Targeted treatment

Hydration and protection


Active ingredients, antioxidants

Emollients, occlusives, humectants


Penetrates deep into your skin

Works on the outer layer of your skin


Before moisturiser

After cleansing and serum application

Can Serums Moisturisers Be Used Together?

Yes, serums and moisturisers can be used together in a skincare routine. While serums target specific concerns, moisturisers provide hydration and seal in the benefits of the serum. They work synergistically to address different aspects of skincare, with serums delivering targeted actives and moisturisers ensuring overall skin nourishment and protection.

How to Layer Serum Moisturiser

To effectively layer serums and moisturisers, follow these steps:

1. Cleanse your face with a gentle face wash to remove any impurities from your skin such as POND'S Bright Beauty Spot-less Glow face wash.

2. Once your face dries, you can apply toner or directly move on to the serum.

3. Take a few drops of serum onto your fingertips or directly drop it onto your face with the dropper.

4. Gently massage the serum onto your face and neck, avoiding your eyes.

5. Wait till the serum gets completely absorbed into your skin.

6. Choose a moisturiser that suits your skin.

7. Take a dollop of the moisturiser on your fingertips.

8. Dot it all over your face and neck, distributing evenly.

9. Massage it in gentle upward circular motions until fully absorbed.

10. Wait for a few minutes and then continue with your sunscreen and makeup application.

Face serums and moisturisers play distinct roles in skincare. Serums are designed to provide concentrated treatments to target specific concerns, while moisturisers are meant to offer hydration and protection to your skin. By incorporating both serums and moisturisers into your skincare routine, you can achieve a well-rounded approach to address your skin's individual needs effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Serum or Moisturiser, which is best?
Both serums and moisturisers serve different purposes. Serums target specific concerns, while moisturisers offer hydration and protect the skin barrier. Both are beneficial and should be used together for optimal results.

Can a serum be used as a moisturiser?
No, serums cannot be used as a moisturiser. Keeping the difference between serum and moisturiser in mind, it is best to use both for a comprehensive skincare routine.

Do you need a moisturiser after a serum?
Yes, you will need to use a moisturiser after a serum. Serums deliver active ingredients and target specific concerns, while moisturisers provide hydration, nourishment, and seal in the benefits of the serum.

Should I use a serum or a moisturiser first?
The general rule is to apply a serum before a moisturiser. Serums have smaller molecules and can penetrate the skin effectively, allowing the active ingredients to work their magic. Applying the moisturiser afterwards helps seal in the serum and provides overall hydration and protection to the skin.


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