If you hear the phrase “skincare hybrid” and you’re overwhelmed, you’re not alone. It’s understandable – it seems like every couple of days a new category pops up in the beauty industry, leaving you lost in a sea of products. But if there’s one hybrid skincare product worth incorporating into your routine, it’s a serum oil. This unique duo combines the supercharged actives of a serum with the hydrating benefits of an oil, giving you the best of both worlds. To learn more about serum oils — from their specific benefits to ingredients to look for — I contacted Dr. Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, owner of Vibrant Dermatology and Skin Bar MD in Boston and Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, a dermatologist based in New York, to know everything. Keep reading for the ultimate guide, plus some product recommendations you’ll definitely want to add to cart.
What happens when a serum and an oil meet?
According to Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip, serums are lightweight, super-concentrated liquids that deliver active ingredients into your skin to target specific needs. Think hydrating hyaluronic acid serums, brightening vitamin C serums, and smoothing anti-aging serums. They’re usually water-based, says Dr. Mudgil. A face oil, on the other hand, typically has a richer formulation, and it’s meant to hydrate and “strengthen the skin barrier while sometimes providing anti-inflammatory benefits,” he adds.
When a serum and an oil come together, your skin gets the best of both worlds: the delivery of active ingredients and the moisturizing benefits of an oil. “When serums and oils are combined,” adds Imahiyerobo-Ip, “you get the nutrients and powerful active ingredients provided in the serum as well as the essential fatty acids to the outer layers of the skin, which help lock in moisture. .”
What are the benefits of using a serum oil?
One of the main advantages is that you will apply fewer products to your skin. “An oil serum essentially gives you an all-in-one type product, rather than layering separate serums and oils on your face,” says Dr. Mudgil. It also delivers hyper-concentrated levels of active ingredients to your skin while locking in moisture, adds Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip. “Serums also tend to contain humectants, which help hydrate the skin,” she adds. “Therefore, when you use a serum oil, you’re helping your skin get both hydration and hydration.”
Can any skin type use a serum oil in their routine?
Generally speaking, Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip recommends serum oils for people with dry or dehydrated skin. Don’t know how to tell the difference? Look at the texture of your skin. Dehydrated skin usually looks dull and tight, while dry skin often manifests as scaly patches.
For those with acne-prone skin, Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip generally doesn’t recommend facial oils: “Some can be comedogenic and cause breakouts to get worse.” Dr. Mudgil adds that if you have oily skin you may be able to use these products, especially during the winter months, but be sure to proceed with caution.
Sometimes oily skin is the result of overcompensation, so if your skin is irritated or dehydrated, it overproduces oil to try and soothe it. Adding extra oil to your face can actually help balance your oil production. Look for formulas with lightweight oils, like rosehip, tea tree, squalane, or jojoba, they typically won’t clog pores or leave a greasy, smooth residue.
When should an oil serum be applied?
It really depends on the product, says Dr. Mudgil. “Serum oils are typically a pre-bed, late-night tool, but some are designed for all-day use. It all depends on the specific product and the active ingredients.
Shop Our Favorite Serum Oils
Skin Jewel Oil Serum
A few drops of this serum oil are enough to prevent dryness and dullness from appearing on your skin. There’s a blend of seven plant oils to moisturize and smooth, plus plant-based active ingredients like anti-aging rosemary leaf extract and brightening persimmon leaf extract.
Skin Caviar Night Oil
This super charged serum oil features a unique caviar-derived formula with moisturizing benefits to balance the drying effects typically associated with retinol. Warm two to four drops between your palms before gliding the product onto your skin. Soon you will notice smoother, softer texture and plumper looking skin.
Radiance Multi-Repairing Oil
Swirling inside this formula is an optimal blend of Vitamin C and Vitamin E; not only do the two antioxidants defend skin against environmental stressors, they also work to fade dark spots while other ingredients, like cha hu extract and rosehip oil, help boost skin tone. elasticity of your skin.
Clé de Peau Beauté
If your skin needs a pick-me-up, consider this serum oil. It’s packed with plant extracts, including Evodia rutaecarpa extract, an ingredient that visibly evens out your skin tone over time, plus a blend of jojoba oil, grapeseed and rosehip for a high dose of hydration. Tap it on the high points of your face for a subtle effect that will last all day.
Black Rose Precious Face Oil
Quench dehydrated skin with this lightweight serum oil, which has an omega-rich formula and a combination of plant-based active ingredients, like black rose extract, to soothe and balance skin while smoothing fine lines and leaving a luminous glow.