One question I’m often asked in our Skin Consult service is whether it’s preferable to use a serum, a cream or both as a moisturiser. It’s not surprising - our water-free products are different to other skin care, and making the switch to our concentrated, undiluted products can take some getting use to. What’s more, our skin’s needs vary depending on the time of the month, the season and our age. Here we outline the main differences between our serums and creams, and the purpose and benefits of each, to make it a little easier to fine-tune your Mokosh routine at any time.
What are the main differences between the serums and the creams?
Our serums are a blend of pure botanical oils, designed to deliver a concentrated dose of essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are vital for protecting and restoring your skin’s barrier function (read more detail about this here). In contrast, our creams include a blend of botanical oils mixed with plant butters, which means they include more of the saturated fatty acids, giving the creams their creamy consistency. Saturated fatty acids are more occlusive to the skin, which means they are more efficient at stopping water from evaporating and keeping the skin well hydrated.
Which ingredient gives the creams their creamy texture?
Our creams have one ingredient in common - unrefined shea butter. Its high saturated fat content makes our creams beautifully creamy, keeping the skin well hydrated. Unrefined shea butter also gives our creams their soothing, healing properties (read more about the benefits of shea butter here). Unrefined shea butter has anti-inflammatory effects, keeping the skin calm and soothing inflammation. It also has anti-ageing properties, slowing down the degradation of collagen and elastin, and is an excellent emollient, keeping skin soft, smooth and plump.
What are the particular benefits of a serum versus a cream?
In summary, our serums deliver a more concentrated dose of essential fatty acids, and therefore do more towards rebuilding the ceramides in the lipid barrier of the skin. The creams also restore the ceramides, while also delivering more occlusive, hydrating properties to the skin.
What else is in Mokosh moisturisers?
In addition, our creams and serums deliver concentrated doses of a broad range of antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamin E and anti-inflammatory molecules that work together to keep your skin calm, smooth and well hydrated. You can read more about them here.
So armed with that knowledge, it's time to discover how to choose the most suitable Mokosh moisturiser for your skin type, and how to boost that protection when you need to.
My skin is quite oily - should I use a serum or a cream?
Skin that produces excess sebum is almost always deficient in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that is critically important in maintaining the skin’s barrier. As a result, oily skin benefits from a moisturiser that is rich in linoleic acid and other essential fatty acids, which will help to normalise sebum, restore the skin’s barrier function and reduce the risk of developing acne. We suggest the Elderberry & Chia Seed Serum or the Bakuchiol Revival Serum for oily and combination skin, because they have the highest levels of these essential fatty acids. A few drops applied to moist skin after cleansing is all you need to moisturise your face.
For most oily skin types, our creams will not be suitable. Although they do not contain pore-blocking oils (they are not comedogenic), creams will feel too ‘heavy’ for these skin types most of the time. During winter when the air is drier, and from the mid-20’s onwards, some oily skin types will benefit from occasional use of a cream to add extra hydration, keep the skin calm, and protect it from wind and cold. We would recommend our essential oil-free Pure Face & Body Cream or the Light Face Cream for oily and combination skin types.
My skin is normal - should I go with a serum or a cream?
Normal skin generally has a healthy skin barrier, which means it does not produce excess sebum, nor does the skin become excessively dry. The aim here is to supply the skin with essential fatty acids and other nutrients to maintain the health of the skin’s barrier, together with richer oils to deliver nutrition and more occlusive butters to maintain hydration. Most people with normal skin would benefit from using the Raspberry & Pomegranate Serum or the Bakuchiol Revival Serum as a light moisturiser, particularly during the day. Both are abundant in the important barrier-building essential fatty acids. The serums can be used alone, layered under sunscreen or under one of our face creams.
Normal skin types would also benefit from our Light Face Cream or Pure Face & Body Cream, which are richer and more protective, and more efficient than the serums at keeping the skin hydrated. Normal skin types might use the creams more frequently during winter and during extremes of weather, when a more occlusive effect is needed. They are also popular for use as a night cream, or layered on top of the serum to maximise the nutrient benefits of both products.
My skin is dry or mature - when should I use a serum and when should I use a cream?
Dry and mature skin have very similar needs. They need a good supply of essential fatty acids from our serums, together with the heavier creams to maintain optimal hydration and keep inflammation at bay. During the day, or as a light moisturiser, the Raspberry & Pomegranate Serum is ideal and may be used alone, as a rich source of barrier-building essential fatty acids.
However when skin is particularly dry, during winter or during harsh weather, Rich Face Cream may be needed in addition, layered over the serum, for its extra protective effects. At night, most people with dry skin prefer to use the Rich Face Cream, sometimes layered on top of the Bakuchiol Revival Serum for its extra anti-ageing benefits.
Which is the best moisturiser for body? the Sesame Body Oil or one of the Body Creams?
When it comes to moisturising the body, the same principles apply. Our Sesame & Frankincense Body Oil includes higher levels of essential fatty acids, which will help build the ceramides in the skin’s lipid barrier (read more here).
Our 2 body creams, the Pure Face & Body Cream and the Frankincense & Orange Body Cream, both contain shea butter, offering more occlusive properties, greater protection from the elements and improved hydration under harsh, drying conditions.
it is important to remember that different parts of the body vary significantly in their requirements for moisturising. For many, an all over application of the Sesame & Frankincense Body Oil leaves the skin in perfect condition. However with increasing age, the skin tends to become particularly dry and damaged on the feet, lower legs, knees, elbows and hands, and additional protection from one of the body creams may be needed, especially during winter. When skin is severely dry, our more occlusive Pure Body Balm will offer even greater protection, because it contains the more occlusive beeswax and cacao butter, as well as our highly nutritious shea butter.
Still not sure what’s right for you? Head to our Find Your Routine page, or if your question is more complex, fill out the questionnaire on our Skin Consult page and we’ll get back to you with a personalised routine.