SKINCARE FORMULATIONS -DO YOU *REALLY* KNOW THE DIFFERENCES?

SKINCARE FORMULATIONS -DO YOU *REALLY* KNOW THE DIFFERENCES?


6 minute read

Here at the mushroom-based skincare company, Babington Soap Co, we know you want answers (and beautiful solutions) to your everyday skincare issues, and we bet our bottom dollar that some of them are down to a basic misunderstanding as to what different products actually…do! Sometimes even the most basic building blocks of a routine like the differences between serums, lotions, and moisturizers (not to mention when to use them!) can be a serious stumbling block. We’ve got all the info you need right here, so get yourself ready to go back (briefly) to skin school…

 

SERUMS:

 

What are they, exactly?

The market is flooded with literally thousands of different serums all claiming to perform miraculous transformations but are they really worth space in your routine? SPOILER: it’s a big fat yes, and it’s the texture that makes them stand out from the crowd.

 

How to identify them?

Serums are traditionally extremely runny and are absorbed rapidly by the skin on contact. They’re designed to be small in molecular weight to enable them to penetrate quickly through to the deeper layers of the skin (dermis) and make changes to your skin at a cellular level. This is where many of the active ingredients are contained in your routine with most formulations being packed with much-needed skincare vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and acids depending on your desired results.

 

When do I use them?

This is where things can get (a little) more complicated as it depends on what ingredients you’re using but as a general rule of thumb, you need to apply your serum of choice after completing a thorough cleanse. Many of the most common skincare complaints come from not cleansing your skin effectively. Consider cleansing as step 1 and serum application as step 2 in your routine. Our top tip: no need to worry if your skin is slightly damp still after washing. The water molecules actually help some skincare ingredients, like super hydrator hyaluronic acid, be absorbed more effectively saving on time AND extra laundry…

 

MOISTURIZERS:

 

What are they, exactly?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that if most of the goodness in your routine is included in your serum formulation – surely you can skip out on moisturizer, right?! Unfortunately, not. Your moisturizer actually goes far beyond just hydrating your skin. Think of it as your raincoat protecting your outfit when you go out and about. It helps to lock in all those benefits from your serum, safeguard against any nasties trying to get in, and prevent any existing goodness from escaping.

 

How to identify them?

This is *usually* a simple exercise as they generally have a heavy, creamier consistency and are contained within pots or pumps rather than pipette-style bottles. Get ready to strap in as unfortunately that’s where the simplicity with this formulation ends. The good news is there are only three different types of moisturizes to get your head around: humectants (draw in moisture from the surrounding environment), emollients (restore moisture from the inside out), and occlusives (create a physical barrier between your skin and the outside world).

 

The type you decide to go for is entirely up to you and your skin’s needs. If you tend to use a lot of drying skincare ingredients such as harsh acids or alcohol (to which our advice would be stop!) humectant moisturizes can help to counteract these effects by attracting water molecules from the air to the skin’s surface. Look for ingredients on the inci-list like hyaluronic acid and glycerine. Emollient moisturizers have a similar effect but work on restoring the skin’s natural lipid barrier enabling the cells to retain moisture themselves more effectively. Check for shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, and isopropyl palmitate. Finally, occlusive moisturizers work entirely differently. They create a physical barrier to prevent water loss and protect from environmental aggressors. These are generally the thickest formulations of the bunch, so if you’re not a fan of a heavy feeling moisturizer, steer clear of any product containing waxes (e.g., beeswax) or oils on the inci-list…

 

When do I use them?

Generally, your moisturizer is always considered the last step in your routine. Going back to that clothing analogy, if you applied your serum after your moisturizer, it would be like wearing your underwear on top of your coat – inadvisable for both protection and effectiveness!

 

LOTIONS: 

 

What are they, exactly?

In a word, confusing. In slightly more, they tend to break the traditional ‘rules’ of skincare formulations: every lotion moisturizes but not every moisturizer is a lotion…

 

How to identify them?

Following this logic, you would be correct in thinking that a lotion is a type of moisturizer. Gold star for you! It’s generally thinner in consistency and lighter in feel when absorbed into the skin. This requires extra preservatives to keep the ingredients at this consistency and often comes with added fragrance to mask the smell of these chemicals. Consequently, we tend to see lotions reserved for body products as these added ingredients can cause inflammation or irritation for areas of delicate skin.

 

When do I use them?

At exactly the same point in your skincare routine – last. Cleansing the skin on your body is still crucial for maximizing results. Afterall all there’s little point simply moisturizing dead skin cells, so a great habit to get into is applying a lotion immediately after a bath or shower...

 

Your skin will be cleansed, and the warmth of the water will help the product absorb resulting in silky smoothness from head to toe.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE?

 

There you have it, a simple guide to the not-so-simple world of skincare formulations. Getting the routine correct is half the battle and we may have some really exciting news coming regarding all things skincare…

In the meantime, you can always take a look at Our Story for the special moisturizers we use.

 

Keep your eyes peeled! 

 

Babington Soap

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