Do you know the difference between a serum and a moisturizer? A very wise make up artist recently answered this question for me with a simple gardening analogy. Serums are like fertilizers and moisturizers like water. In order for the garden (and the face) to thrive, you need both.
A moisturizer, as its name suggests, is like water as it deposits moisture and hydrates your skin. Moisturizers are made from molecules of oil and water, bound together by emulsifiers. These are large molecules so it cannot penetrate into the deep layers of the skin. A serum, on the other hand, is like the fertilizer, it adds nutrients to the skin. It is oil-based, hydrophobic (wow I haven’t used this word since high school Chemistry!), contains smaller molecules, so it can penetrate into the deeper layers.
Of course, the garden analogy isn’t perfect. For example, water penetrates soil better than the fertilizer – but hey, it’s still a pretty good analogy. It helps explain why skincare for the young is lower maintenance, the original ‘soil’ is already rich. Think about the regenerative abilities of baby’s skin! Over the years though, the soil nutrients become depleted, and you need more TLC.
The make up artist continued with her garden analogy to explain the importance exfoliation. Layers of leaves prevent both water and fertilizers from being able to enter into the soil layers properly. If the skin is not exfoliated (gently, only a few times a week), serums and moisturizers would not be effective.
She left me with a wonderful insight: “Good skin is the best canvas.” What a great acknowledgement for a makeup artist to make! That’s why maintaining as healthy a complexion as possible (whether by improving your diet, sleeping better or treating yourself to some good skincare products) should always be the real foundation in your beauty regime.