If you’ve ever wondered whether you should be using a cream or lotion – or perhaps a serum – you’re not alone!



Cosmetics companies are free to use whatever descriptors they like for their products as there isn’t an absolute definition for any of these terms. Broadly speaking, however, there are some differences:

  1. Creams are made by mixing oil with water. They tend to be moisturizing by nature. In addition to hydrating and emollient ingredients, creams may contain a range of additional actives including antioxidants, skin lighteners, cell-communicating ingredients, etc. Think of creams as thicker based products, most often suited to normal or dry skin types.
  2. Sometimes called fluids, lotions are similar to creams in that they contain both oil and water. They too, can contain emollients and hydrating ingredients, but they are lighter in consistency than creams. Lotions may be used by all skin types but those with oilier skin may find them too heavy. Lotions, like creams, may be moisturizing and can contain a range of active ingredients.
  3. Serums are thick liquids, which are often, but not always, clear. They are sometimes referred to as gels. Serums are water based, making them lightweight and suitable for all skin types. Serums are an excellent delivery system for all manner of active ingredients, including antioxidants, AHAs, peptides and retinoids. Because they are so light, they are ideal for layering under creams and lotions, without interfering with their activity.

If you think you’ve got it all figured out – cream or lotion or serum – hold on a minute! Now, there’s also the ‘essence’. Popular throughout Asia, many brands now offer essences in addition to these three treatments.

My research reveals that essences are a way to deliver targeted actives to skin – much like serums. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two. Essences may sound exotic but they are essentially serums; two names for the same product.

Whether you opt for a cream or lotion, or a serum or essence, is irrelevant. What’s most important is that it suits your skin type, it contains ingredients that deliver and that it fits your budget.

★ Judge.me Reviews

Let customers speak for us

61 reviews
Grapefruit Ginger Natural Deodorant Roll-On
Mellisa Herlache (Suamico, US)
Didn’t work for me.

I couldn’t get past the scent of the Grapefruit Ginger deodorant. It’s definitely not detox- I’ve been exclusively using natural deodorant for almost 2 years. However, customer service was amazing. They reached out to me and refunded me my purchase cost. Really wish it would’ve worked for me but worth a try for others, especially since they stand by their satisfaction guarantee.

Dear Mellisa,

We're so sorry to hear that our deodorant doesn't work for you. All Apothekari products come with 100% money-back guarantee. Someone from our customer service team will be in touch to help resolve this issue.

Customer Service

Bespoke Vitamin C 15% Serum
Allison H. (North Vancouver, CA)
Nice glow

I use it every other day and have no sensitivity issues with this product. A lot of other products can give me acne if they're too thick/creamy or they bother my skin if they have a strong perfume scent. The only downside is it can be hard to use up before the expiry date, but I have learned to keep half the bottle in the fridge to make it last a bit longer. I will keep buying this product in the future.

A is for Anti-Aging Retinal Serum
Lisa Pelzer (Mexico City, MX)
Very satisfied

I was never able to use a retinal cream before. My skin was just too sensitive. This is a really nice product 👍🏻

Ageless Skin Set
Alana (Vancouver, CA)
Simply the BEST

The BEST skincare line I have ever used. My skin has never looked or felt this good. Thank you 😊

Love it

First healthy deodorant I’ve tried that actually works for me…and no rash. Thank you for developing this awesome product.

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