Facial Serum Questions

Answers to two frequently asked questions about facial serums (seriously, I get asked these two questions, and variations thereof, well, frequently!

Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Q: I’m more used to face creams than oils, and I’m freaked out about putting oil on my face. Why don’t you make creams or lotions instead?

A: A cream or lotion is made by adding water to oil, bound together with an emulsifier. It’s the same process as making mayonnaise. Just like mayonnaise, if you want a cream or lotion to last more than a few days, you must add preservatives. The addition of water gives molds and bacteria an easy way to get a foothold. There are some natural-ish and non-toxic preservatives on the market, but I prefer to avoid the whole problem by making and using facial serums instead. If you find that the serum is leaving your face greasy, you might be using too much, using it incorrectly, or using the wrong formulation (hang on for question two!).

Using oil blends as your primary skin care doesn’t just avoid the preservative problem. It’s great for your skin! I was recently at a wildlife sanctuary where I saw a demonstration of how sea birds who have been contaminated with oil are treated. You’ve might have seen a commercial showing them using a certain dish detergent to clean the oil off birds - but in fact, before they soap them up, the birds are gently cleansed with vegetable oil - this removes most of the oil from their feathers. When the caretakers use the detergent to get every bit of the remaining oil off the feathers, the birds are very vulnerable - the soap strips off the tar or petroleum, but also the natural oils that keep the bird waterproof. 

Sound familiar? Not only will soap strip your skin of it’s natural oils while ‘degreasing’ you - it will actually encourage your skin to produce more oil to make up for the scourging you’ve given it. Unless you’ve been wading in an actual oil slick, you can stick with phase 1 of the seabird cleansing method - use the oil to gently cleanse, treat and moisturize your face, without stripping your skin’s natural protection.

Q: That sounds great - but my face is all greasy after applying my facial serum - why?

A: Most likely you are using too much on a dry face. The ingredients are very concentrated, and a little goes a long way. Shake the bottle, and drizzle a dime-sized dollop of oil into your damp hand. Rub your hands gently together and gently massage the oil onto your damp face, neck and décolletage*. By making sure your face is damp, you dilute the oil and ensure an even, light application to your whole face. If you are not putting on your oil right out of the shower (that’s how I do it), then wet a washcloth with warm water and wipe your face with it first. That will leave the right amount of wetness to blend with the serum!

If you’re doing all that and still feeling greasy, you might be using the wrong formulation. Nourishing Facial Serum is full of heavy hitters for dry and thirsty skin. Switch to Regenerating Serum if you’d like the skin-repairing effects, or 3-in-1 Serum which is generally compatible with all skin types. If you have naturally very oily skin, try using the Cleansing treatment with 3-in-1, rather than the Moisturizing, and steam most of the oil off.

Shine on friends (in the non-greasy sense!)


*décolletage is one of my favourite words and criminally under-used in our modern era. There's really no more elegant way to say "your upper chest/and or boobs"!

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