Oil vs Moisturizer: What’s the Diff?

Differen between oil and moisturizer

Ahh, the oil versus moisturizer debate. Which one should you use?


There’s hydrating benefits for using face oils and face lotions (commonly known as moisturizers), but what’s the difference? When should you use lotion and when should you use face oil? Can you use both?

Let’s dive in and answer all of these questions, and more!

What’s the difference between face oil and face lotion?

Simply put, face oil is oil and face lotion is lotion. I know, real ground-breaking stuff here.

The difference doesn’t necessarily lie in the consistency (as that’s pretty obvious), but rather the effects it has on your skin.

Generally, oils, like jojoba oil, have properties that blend naturally with your sebum (oil) production. If you tend to have oily skin, then jojoba oil will align with your sebum to prevent any excess oil production. If you have dry skin, then the oil will help lock in moisture. 

Oils are usually derived from plant properties and aren’t mixed with harmful chemicals if you purchase from a well-trusted brand

Face lotions are also made up of a variety of medicinal plant properties that are blended together to form a lotion consistency. Lotions, however, can contain silicone which can clog pores and affect natural sebum production, as well as other harmful ingredients like aluminum, parabens and phthalates.

If you prefer to use face lotions, then just be weary of the ingredients and do your research!

When should you use oil and when should you use lotion?

Using oil or lotion boils down to your personal preference. Which one works better with your skin?

Whichever method you decide to use, it’s best to moisturize your skin twice a day after cleansing. We suggest cleansing your face, applying a toner, then moisturizing after. 

Can you use both?

While technically you can, applying both oil and lotion can overload your pores and natural sebum protection. It depends on the ingredients and, specifically, if your face lotion contains some of those harmful ingredients previously listed. Sometimes, mixing both products can obstruct the positive benefits from your face oil. 

You don’t necessarily need to use both. However, if you want to, then make sure your face lotion is free of any harmful ingredients. Blend a pump of your face lotion and a pump of your oil into your hand before applying to your face.

Just to be clear, you can do that, but we believe that plant-derived face oils are more than enough to moisturize and balance your skin. 

What’s up with the oil vs lotion debate?

Some critics of face oils believe that oil sits at the top of your skin and doesn't actually absorb at a deeper level, which prevents true moisturization.

Critics of face lotions believe that there’s too many harmful chemicals and metal properties that actually do more harm than good to our skin. 

The truth, however, is that both face oils and face lotions can contain harmful chemicals and can be lackluster in actually penetrating the skin. That’s why you have to be diligent and do your research before relying on a product.

So, how do I know if a face oil or lotion is effective?

Retinoids, which are a cell compound closely linked to vitamin A, are one of the few properties that can penetrate the epidermis, reach the bloodstream and actually cause improvements on a cellular level. However, most retinoids in skin care products are produced synthetically in a lab.

The good news? There’s plant-extracted oils that carry vitamin A and similar moisturizing properties of retinoids, like:

Both face oils and lotions are derived from plant properties and have been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Use whichever product works best for you, but make sure to do the research to ensure your face products are clean and nourishing for your skin!

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