What Is an Emulsion in Skincare? How to use it?

a woman holding an emulsion skincare product

What is an emulsion?

An emulsion is a mixture of two liquid substances that do not blend on their own, this means the mixture of two does not get dissolved on their own. Emulsions are water-based products and are lighter than moisturizing cream. They are of milky appearance and have a gel-like consistency.

In skincare products, an emulsion is a serum and moisturizer mixture. Emulsions are lightweight, the skin remains hydrated with applying emulsions. For example, like oil and water one light and one is not and do not mix easily. The main goal of emulsion is to hydrate the skin and keep it soft and soothing.

What is an emulsion skincare?

It is a moisturizing liquid having its own unique appearance and can be found in gel form too. An emulsion is a part between serum and moisturizer, they are thicker in consistency than serum and thinner than a moisturizer. Emulsions are a soothing product and so it becomes more important to have a patch-up test before applying to your skin as it also provides nutrition to the skin deep inside.

Benefits of emulsions on skin

As we know water is easily absorbable and oil is not absorbable, in the same way, creams moisturize the skin and protect the skin barrier but it does not absorb nutrients to the skin.

Water-based products easily absorb in the skin whereas oil-based products do not. As emulsions are water-based, they absorb deep into the layers of the skin. Emulsions are combined with essential oils and nutrients. The mixture of these two in the emulsion helps maintain a balance between water and oil in the skin. 

Emulsions are treated as a non-comedogenic product. Hence it won't clog pores. The main role of emulsions is to keep the skin hydrated. They can act as the skin barrier and moisturize the skin to keep it healthy.

Emulsions are used to target specific skin problems. They treat specific skin problems. For particular skin conditions, the ingredients in the emulsifier are different based on different problems.

Who should use an emulsion?

Emulsions are best for oily skin people. When you are living in a hot and humid climate emulsions can be most beneficial for your skin as it balances the moisture level in the skin and absorb nutrients in the skin. When applying emulsion product on the skin it does not feel greasy on your face. Even dry skin types also have the great advantage of using emulsion on their skin.

Emulsion when applied under the moisturizer hydrates the skin without making it look overloaded with the products. Due to its water-based nature, the emulsion can be used on every skin type and is most beneficial on oily skin and dry skin types. 

How to Use Emulsions in Your Skincare Routine?

You can apply emulsion in between cream or toner or moisturizer. As it hydrates the skin it should be correctly applied with the correct layer. If you have combination skin, apply emulsion gently and dab the emulsion on the cream on dry areas of the face. 

Take a small amount of emulsion and apply it on your cheeks, chin, forehead, and neck, and gently massage in an upward direction. It should be applied in between the cream and moisture or at the end of your skincare routine. You can also apply emulsion after applying sunscreen with good SPF content in it. 

If you are applying emulsion at night and want to have moisturized and hydrated glowing skin, you should apply emulsion after serum at night. And if you want good plumpy and hydrating face skin, you should apply emulsion after cream or moisturizer. An emulsion is safe for applying daily on your face. It just hydrates and moisturizes your skin giving you a soothing effect to your skin. They go deep layers inside your skin providing nutrients and hence can be used anytime whenever your skin needs it.

What is the difference between an emulsion and a moisturizer?

An emulsion is a mixture of oil and water stabilized by an emulsifying agent. It can be oil-in-water (O/W) or water-in-oil (W/O). Emulsions are used in various skincare products. A moisturizer, on the other hand, is a skincare product that hydrates and nourishes the skin. It contains humectants, emollients, and occlusives to attract and retain moisture, soften the skin, and prevent water loss. While emulsions refer to the mixture, moisturizers focus on the intended function of skincare products to hydrate and nourish the skin.

Take Away

Always have a patch test before using the best emulsions for oily skin. And also talk to your dermatologist that which emulsion can be best suitable for your skin type and your skin products. It is also suitable for all skin types and can be applied anytime whenever your skin requires it. These emulsions are best for oily as well as dry skin, mature skin, combination skin types. So don't be late and be hurry to incorporate in your daily skincare regime.


What step do you use emulsion?

When applying with a toner, you need to apply toner first and then emulsion; and when you are using a serum, apply the thinner substance first.

Where does emulsion go in skincare routine?

Emulsions can be used regularly based on the ingredients they are made of, as they are easily absorbed into the skin.


What’s the best way to use an emollient? By Healthline, Sept 29, 2018.

Emulsions are water based heroes for acne-prone skin. By Byrdie, Apr 26, 2023.

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