We’ve written many times of our love of the combination of a hydrating serum with a moisturizing facial oil in our email newsletter. The face serum + face oil combination (like Dara's own favorite combination, shown above) isn’t necessarily better than a lotion or a cream, but if your skin ever struggles with dehydration, a cocktail like this one ensures that you can get that balance of moisture and hydration just right for your own skin, every single day.
There are myriad other benefits, too. And who better to describe them than the founders of Marie Veronique and YULI, two of our most beloved brands? Check out what they have to say in this delightful mini-interview multi-brand mashup.
We don't usually share different brands' points of view in one post, but in cases like this, we think it can help you see how differing (and similar) perspectives can not only sit alongside one another, but also help you come to a deeper understanding of a complicated question.
After all, is there ever one single right answer to the most interesting questions?
Marie-Véronique Nadeau, founder of Marie Veronique
AYLA: You have a unique, highly specific, and very well-respected approach to skincare formulation — and an incredibly loyal following as a result. In your view, what are the benefits of using a facial oil instead of a cream or lotion?
Facial oils are typically a blend of different types of oils (with differing levels of EFA content) and an antioxidant to prevent them from going rancid. They occasionally contain a preservative, though the risk of bacterial growth is much different than with a lotion, as oil blends don’t contain water. Facial oils are meant to replicate the protective lipid layer of the skin, which supports a balanced microbiome, helps protect the skin from stressors, and allows the skin to retain its moisture balance naturally.
Creams/lotions are an emulsion, which is made by combining a lipid or oily portion, water, and an emulsifier such as wax or paste. The resulting formula is usually pretty high in water content, which means it requires a high amount of preservative to inhibit the growth of mold. The waxy portion of the lotion is meant to create a sort of seal on the skin to keep moisture in; however, it can end up causing issues such as clogged pores, or even inhibiting the skin’s self-hydrating system.
Eddie Zhao, co-founder of YULI
Ayla: Your YULI skincare system approaches skincare with a deeply thoughtful perspective and also has an incredibly loyal following. In it, you opt for oils (applied with elixirs or Ambrosia) in lieu of creams or lotions. Why is that?
It’s not because they’re bad. But I think that the relationships many people have with their creams and lotions could be reevaluated, mainly because these types of products tend to be overused.
Creams and lotions work best on the skin’s surface, where they provide that semi-occlusive barrier required to prevent TEWL (Transepidermal water loss) and support the skin’s own barrier function. So, some people need them and should use them. But creams and lotions aren’t intended to address issues like deficits in hydration or nutrition content in the skin, and that’s where they tend to fall short.
Our products are designed to help build skin’s resilience, retraining it to boost its own natural moisture retention capabilities through a system, as you put it, designed specifically for this purpose. That system might close with an oil based serum, but it starts with an effective yet gentle, barrier supporting cleanser and includes hydration based elixirs, too — and those are equally important in creating the ideal environment for the skin to strengthen.
I like creams and lotions; we're testing how we want to approach this category. But we don’t want anything in our collection that doesn’t move the needle forward; that’s why we emphasize balanced cleansing, hydro-based elixirs, and serums (hydrous and anhydrous) as the foundation of a thoughtful skincare routine. These are the core products that do the heavy lifting, the real transformational powerhouses that work in much more profound ways. Creams and lotions are helpful. But for now, we’re focusing on the foundation first.