• Meg

Oil vs Moisturizer

One of the most common questions I recieve in treatment is: “What is the difference between an oil and a moisturizer?"


Since knowledge is power, let’s break down some of the characteristics between the two.


Conventional moisturizers provide skin softening (emollient) properties and seal in moisture by providing a protective barrier (occlusive). These products also contain water attracting (humectant) ingredients, that pull in H²0 from the body and enviornment, providing much needed cell hydration.


Here’s the thing.


Many of us know that water and oil do not mingle. In order to stabilize this formulation, emulsifiers (binding ingredient) and often times, preservatives must be introduced.

While there are many clean and safe emulsifying and preservative agents, they rarely add any benefit to the skin. These additives, that quickly make up much of the ingredient deck, can cause blockages or buildup within the underlying tissue.


Oils, on the other hand, naturally condition the skin with emollient and occlusive benefits, However, they do not deliver any humectant (water-loving) properties. Happy and healthy skin needs both in order to thrive.


So how do we achieve the balance of water + oil?


To bring water to the skin, a hydrosol/toner/elixir must be applied to the skin prior to the oil. Then, a few drops of oil works to seal in the water molecule, while protecting and strengthening the skin barrier. In dryer months, a balm can be applied over the facial oil as an additional sealant and environmental sheild.


The answer always varies on the unique skin needs and opinion of the individual. For me, eliminating the unnecessary, or clutter, from my products increases the functionality and clarity of my skin. I also find this philosophy works best for many of my clients.


A minimal skincare ritual can provide some of the most powerful results.