Learn the difference between oils, serums and concentrates

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Do you know the difference between an oil, serum or concentrate, and which one your skin needs? 

Staphanie-Anne from Optiphi gives us a breakdown of the differences of each, and how to add it to your skincare regime:


Face oils usually contains plant extracts and essential oils, with the specific purpose to provide lipids to the skin for extra nourishment.  Oils are usually applied over a moisturiser, due to its larger molecular structure, to lock in the goodness of a moisturizer and to target the outermost layers of the skin. Skin oils are particularly great in treating oil-dry skin, mature skin and skin’s exposed to very cold temperatures.


A serum is an added step to an already existing skincare regime to provide a boost to the skin or to target a specific problem, such as wrinkles, dehydration or redness.  The formulation is water based, with a small molecular size to enable deeper penetration into the skin.  Peptides, hyaluronic acid or anti-oxidants will be used in serums.  A serum should be applied after cleansing, prior to a moisturiser.


Concentrates are very similar to serums in that it contains concentrated amounts of ingredients to target specific problems in the skin, whether a dull appearance or a pimple.  A concentrate majority of the time only consists of one ingredient such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E or Rosehip to provide a targeted boost to the skin where needed.  A concentrate can be used alone or in conjunction with a serum or as a spot treatment.

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