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Article: The Differences Between Moisturizers & Balms + Why It's Important to Know!

The Differences Between Moisturizers & Balms + Why It's Important to Know!

Hello, everyone!

Balms & Moisturizers... Two skincare products that are often easily confused or their terms used synonymously. However, there are major differences between these two! 

Today, let's discuss the difference between a cream or lotion moisturizer and a facial balm. Knowing the difference between the two is important because it influences which products to use for your skin needs and the order in which you use them to get the most benefits. 

Let's learn together!

First off, what is a facial moisturizer? A true lotion or cream moisturizer for the face will have these 4 elements: humectants, emollients, occlusions, and a water or aloe base.


Humectants are ingredients like glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid, which are found in two of our moisturizers (also in more of our products!), the Repair Cream and the Blue Tansy Ultra Rich Moisturizer. What do these ingredients do? They are great at drawing water to them which helps to deeply moisturize the skin. These ingredients help to bind water to the skin.


Occlusions are ingredients like oils, that help trap water content onto your skin and deeply penetrate the skin barrier. Occlusions can be found in our facial oils/serums like the Firming Serum, Purifying Serum, and Awake Coffee Serum. Of course, more of our products also contain occlusions.


Emollients are butters or waxes, like Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Beeswax, etc. These ingredients help moisturize AND lock in hydrating ingredients. They typically sit on top of the skin, acting as a restorative barrier to the skin and trapping the product underneath which helps retain moisture. They also add a luscious and creamy texture to moisturizers. Some of our popular products that contain emollients are the Mineral SPF, the Sweet Dreams Glow Balm, The Eye Balm ™, and our various selections of lip and facial balms.


Lastly, aloe or water is used to help combine ingredients and add moisture to the skin when applied as it interacts with the other ingredients.

So, if you have a dry skin type, you probably use a moisturizer of some sort + a balm, or need to start using this combo. First, apply your moisturizer, then your balm to lock it all in.

Speaking of balms...

A lot of people think a balm works the same way as a moisturizer. However, it doesn't necessarily deeply moisturize the skin like a cream or lotion moisturizer. Why is this? Well, because balms contain only occlusions and emollients as their main ingredients and not water. So, they contain mostly oils, butters, and beeswax.


Remember, balms sit on top of the skin and help to lock in whatever is applied underneath.


This doesn't mean balms like our Sweet Dreams Glow Balm or Daydream SPF are not a necessary step in your skincare routine, especially for dry-skinned individuals! Many people need that extra layer over their moisturizer to lock it in the moisturizer ingredients to stay hydrated all day long.


So, we recommend layering! The order you apply your skincare can make or break the results you want from your skincare products.

This is the order we recommend for the best skin absorption.

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Serum
  4. Moisturizer
  5. Balm
  6. SPF

Our Daydream SPF and Sweet Dreams Glow Balm do not have any liquid added to them, meaning they are not "true moisturizers" in the skincare world. Our HA Blue Tansy Moisturizer and Repair Cream are both considered moisturizers due to having liquid added to them and emulsified. So, you would apply our Blue Tansy Ultra Rich Moisturizer or Repair Cream before Daydream SPF or Sweet Dreams Glow Balm.

Also, If you have dry skin, or are over the age of 30, or live in a dryer climate, you need more than just a cleanser and serum or balm! ESPECIALLY during colder seasons like winter! Layering is your friend.

Alright, we hope you have learned the difference between moisturizers and balms and how they, together, work to create a complete skincare routine that garnishes good, hydrating results. =)



All the best,

Brier C. & Chelsea Henderson (SBA Founder & Herbalist)

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