Can Ampoules Replace Moisturizer?

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Ampoules are one of the fastest-growing trends in skincare products in North America. Though still a relative novelty in this hemisphere, they have been available for decades in European apothecaries and have been a long-time staple of Korean beauty regimes.

Can Ampoules replace moisturizer? In short, no, they can’t replace moisturizers.

Ampoules have been developed with a high concentration, active ingredients for targeted skincare to address specific skin concerns.

And because it’s only recommended to use ampoules 1-2 times per week, because of the super-concentrated ingredients, you should be using a moisturizer as well.

We will get more into details as we take a close look at ampoules, what they are, and how to incorporate ampoules into your skincare routine.


What are Ampoules?

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It’s all in the packaging.

If you want to get technical, ‘ampoule’ actually refers to the packaging rather than the serum contained inside.

Ampoules are sealed, small glass or plastic capsules, or sometimes vials. They contain a boosted, highly-concentrated serum that often features one main ingredient or a combination of ingredients that work together to focus on one specific aspect of skincare.

Ampoules are designed for one-time use. The contents are portioned for one application. And once you break open an ampoule, you can no longer close it – which is fine because you are expected to use the entire contents of the ampoule.

Why single-treatment ampoules are more effective than bottles

What makes ampoules such an ingenious and effective vessel for skincare products is that a lot of the active ingredients in ampoules that you might find in other skincare products are highly unstable.

Ascorbic acid, the pure form of vitamin C, is a perfect example.

Because of its instability, skincare products with Vitamin C either need to use a Vitamin C derivative or mix it with other ingredients in order to keep it stabilized. This lessens the potency.

However, with single-use ampoules, there’s no need to worry about stability or oxidation.

With every ampoule, you get a sterile, one-portion dose of the highest concentration of the active ingredients in their purest form.

Ampoules are able to preserve the purity and potency of the ingredients because the product is not exposed to things like light and air that can degrade the ampoule contents that come from repeatedly opening and closing a bottle.

Ampoules are not a one-trick pony

When it comes to skincare products, you know moisturizers moisturize, cleansers cleanse, and toners tone.

Most of them are named for their function.

Ampoules, on the other hand, are called ampoules because of the unique packaging that allows for the purest form of ingredients in the highest concentration — not for what they do.

Different ampoules provide different targeted skincare. Maybe it’s a super-charged ampoule of retinol to combat wrinkles and skin aging, a boosted dose of Vitamin C to brighten dull skin, or a highly-charged kick of hyaluronic acid and ceramides to plump, moisturize and increase collagen production.

Ampoules use different ingredients to target different skin concerns.

Can Ampoules Replace Moisturizer?

Mizon Ampoule

Unlike a daily toner or moisturizer, ampoules aren’t daily-use products. They are meant to be used sparingly as part of your everyday skincare routine due to the high concentration of their active ingredients.

Moisturizer that contains SPF is one of those things you should be using every day, not just to keep your skin soft and hydrated, but for the SPF.

If you swap out your moisturizer for twice-weekly ampoules, even if ampoules on their own are enough to keep your skin moisturized, you are not protecting your skin from the elements.

And no matter how many ampoules you use, it will not counteract the damage from exposure to UV rays.

Ampoules containing ingredients like Hyaluronic acid will retain and lock in moisture, and when used along with your moisturizer will give your skin a super boost of hydration.

Can I mix ampoule and moisturizer?

Though you will find lots of blogs suggesting mixing an ampoule with your moisturizer, we do not recommend this. The ingredients in your moisturizer may prevent your ampoule serum from fully absorbing into your skin.

For the most effective results, read the section below on how to use ampoules in your skincare routine.

How to Use Ampoules in your Skincare Routine

ISIDN Serum Ampoule

The thing you need to remember, If you are using an ampoule with other skincare products, is that you should apply your products in order of texture – from light to heavy.

The serum content of ampoules falls in the light end of the range.

Creams and moisturizers are on the heavier end of the spectrum. This means they could prevent your ampoule’s serum from fully absorbing into your skin if you apply them first… or if you mix them together, as it’s often suggested online.

Ampoules should be applied after cleansing and toning, and before moisturizing. See When to Use Ampoules in Your Routine for more information.

Do a patch test!

There’s no doubt, if you’ve never used ampoules before, that you’ll be super excited to try them out. Before you use one on your face – do a skin patch test first!

You never know how your skin will react to a new product, especially since the active ingredients are so concentrated.

Apply a small amount of the product on the inside of your forearm and wait a few hours. If you are going to have a reaction – better it be on your arm than on your face! If you experience any type of redness, rash, burning or discomfort from your ampoule serum, do not use it.

Remember, ampoules are different, have different ingredients, provide different results and may target specific areas or be okay to use all over. As to where any particular ampoule should be used and how to apply, it will depend on the ampoule and what it’s for. Make sure you read the product packaging information for your ampoule.

A Few Great Ampoules to Check Out 

Take Away

So getting back to the primary question – Can ampoules replace Moisturizer? You should not use ampoules as an alternative moisturizer. Instead, use them as a boost to your skincare regime, along with your moisturizer.

Don’t forget that a daily moisturizer with SPF is something you should be using every day to protect your skin against the damaging effects of the sun.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).