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Moisturisers vs face oils: What does your skin really need?

While Indian consumers will never really stop loving their tub of cold cream, they are slowly but steadily warming up to the idea of serums, boosters, and homemade peels – today,  e-commerce sites and beauty aisles are loaded with them. And now face oil is another beauty product that’s ready to take over shelves. A face oil isn’t just a thick liquid serum in a bottle – it’s a key hydrator that nourishes deeply. Preferred as a night treatment , it takes hours to sink in. So why should one choose it over the trusty moisturiser? We spoke with Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr Malavika Kohli about the key difference between the two hydrators and how can you pick the right one for your skin. The battle is here: moisturizers or oils?

What is the key difference between a moisturiser and a face oil?

A moisturiser is a skincare product that improves overall hydration – it can enhance the water content of the skin and prevent water loss. Oils, on the other hand, are a type of moisturiser. They are thicker and more viscous, and not suitable for all skin types. Traditional moisturisers exist in the form of creams, lotions, gels, and emulsions, but oils are exclusive.

Can all skin types use moisturisers and face oils?

“Moisturisers can be designed to suit different skin types and their customised needs—all skin types can find their perfect moisturiser.” A popular options is Clinique iD service that allows you to choose your cartridge of ingredients depending on your skin type. The best way to select a product is to get a patch test on a small area behind the ear. People with acne-prone, sensitive skin, enlarged pores or oily skin should avoid oils.

What characteristics of moisturisers and face oils can help us pick one?

”Moisturisers are handier and weather-friendly. Face oils can clog the pores and increase UV absorption when applied without sunscreen. Scented oils fused with essential oils can cause skin irritation and reactions,” says Dr Kohli. Before trying a new product, keep these things in mind – the drier your skin, the thicker your moisturiser, gels and emulsions work well for combination skin type and face oils suit extremely dry skin types. Acne-prone and super sensitive skin types can try a pure, cold-pressed rosehip oil. Don’t forget to patch test it first.

Take a look at our edition of favourite moisturisers that are great for all skin types

Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Cream, Rs 3,800 

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, Rs 2,550 

Forest Essentials Soundarya Radiance Cream With 24 Karat Gold & SPF 25, Rs 2,950

Benefit Cosmetics Total Moisture Facial Cream, Rs 4,020

Shiseido Essential Energy Moisturizing Cream, Rs 3,700

These are the face oils that work wonders open your skin

L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil, Rs 7,110

Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil, Rs 6,850

Purearth Illumine Elixir Supercritical Face Oil, Rs 8,200

Indulgeo Essentials Rose Gold Daily Oil, Rs 1,280 

Cinnamon Soul Super Seed Elixir Serum, Rs 950

Rasula Supercritical Oil, Rs 4,500

Guide on choosing the best moisturizer for every skin type.

Moisturisers vs face oils: What does your skin really need?

While Anjan’s week is made up of writing and talking about everything from glycolic acid to the best new red lipstick, the weekends are spent testing them all, with Gossip Girl reruns on the side. When she isn’t reviewing a new face mask, you’ll find her sipping on mimosas with a side of truffle fries. Her daily essentials: Iced latte with a side of J Balvin and Prateek Kuhad.

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