What is the difference between face oils and moisturizers? And What one should you be putting on your face?

Everyone is familiar with moisturizers but have you tried a face oil? They’ve been steadily gaining in popularity and there are lots of people who swear by them. However, there are some people who are hesitant to try them because they think putting an oil on your face is going to make it really greasy or make you break out. Not so. If you’ve tried a hair oil, why wouldn’t you try a face oil? If you want more information on them before you decide to try one out, here’s a comparison between traditional cream moisturizers and face oils.

(Related: The 7 Tried-And-True Moisturizers That Don’t Make Your Face Feel Ultra Greasy)


Moisturizer vs Oil
(Sephora Instant Moisturizer, $22; Tarte Maracuja Oil, $48)

For starters, moisturizers and face oils look quite different. Moisturizers are found in jars, bottles, and containers with pumps. They are usually creams or gels. Oils are liquids and often come in pipet bottles.


Moisturizers usually contain a laundry list of ingredients, including the newest special ingredient. The general ingredients you will find in a lot of moisturizers include water, glycerol which helps water and other ingredients penetrate the skin and ceramides that help restore skin’s natural oils. Hydroxy acids may be included because they help with exfoliation. Oils generally just contain a blend of oils with possibly a few extracts and a fragrance mixed in. Most ingredients are plant-based or natural.

Skin type:

There are moisturizes formulated for every skin type from dry to oily and also sensitive skin. You may not see oils with “suitable for oily skin” labels but face oils work for all skin types. That includes oily skin and even those who are prone to pimples. The majority of oils should be fine on sensitive skin because they’re made from plant-based ingredients.


You probably don’t need me to tell you how to apply a moisturizer since you’ve no doubt figured out the whole massage-it-into-your-skin-thing by now. The application for a face oil is slightly different. Apply a few drops of oil to your hand and rub it around. Sephora suggests that you press the oil into your face as opposed to rubbing it in. Oils can be used for day and night.


Moisturizers can feel rich, hydrating and they can alleviate any tightness you’re feeling. However, they can sometimes feel greasy if they don’t absorb properly. Oils are lipophilic (fat-loving), so they absorb into the skin’s lipid barrier easily. You won’t be left with a residue but your skin while have a dewy, healthy glow. Note: It doesn’t look the same as a shiny T-zone.


If you have a specific skincare concern, it is highly likely there is a specific moisturizer for it. There are brightening moisturizers, ones that contain sunscreen, and of course, there are many that are packed with anti-aging ingredients.

Some of the natural ingredients in face oils are antioxidants which work to improve our complexions. Furthermore, some of them also contain anti-aging properties. Oils can also manage the production of sebum, aka the cause of greasy foreheads.

See Also: 5 Best Face Oils You Should Use Every Day.


You know that moisturizers come in all prices from great drugstore buys to higher-end ones. There’s even a $13,000 moisturizer if you really feel like splurging. Face oil prices are comparable to moisturizers. If you want something like olive or coconut oil, you can pick it up at the grocery store for a cheap price, or just raid your bathroom cupboard. There are lots in the $10 to $20 range. From there, you can find oils in of all different prices from $20 all the way up to just over $100.

(Photo: Images_By_Kenny/iStock)

Leave A Reply