Hydrators, Moisturizers & Ingredients, Oh My!

Hydrators, Moisturizers & Ingredients, Oh My!


Hey everyone! Looks like you like this new angle I'm going in combining my love for science and beauty, so I'm back with another post! This one is about hydrators, moisturizers, ingredients, and some terms you should get familiar with. Disclaimer: I am not an expert(yet), I just do my research. ;) ......Okay, let's get into it! 

I'd like to begin with the basics: hydrators gives your skin water, moisturizers lock in that water, and emollients lock in the moisture. It’s levels to this, okay?! I’m going to focus on hydrators and moisturizers in this post because I don’t personally use emollients, but for reference, some examples are Lanolin, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly. They are occlusive agents that also serve as emollients (aka they soften the skin and prevent skin cracking, irritation, and ashiness lol). As you can see, emollients are pretty thick and probably can be used instead of, but they are personally too heavy for me.

You may have heard of applying lotion to your body after you’ve showered, but before drying off. And for what purpose? To lock in that water! Research shows that this allows the water to both penetrate the skin and keep the skin moisturized for longer periods of time. Double whammy! It does take a little longer to dry this way, but it’s worth it. I have a very bad habit of rushing so I don’t alway have time, but spring has sprung so you besta believe I’m back on it, but I digress. Hydration uses hygroscopic ingredients (ex:  glycerin, honey and hyaluronic acid) to attract water from its surroundings through absorption or adsorption from the air to hydrate.

Moisturizers reduce transepidermal water loss (TWL or TEWL) by creating a barrier that locks in that water. When the skin is healthy, it is able to produce lipids* in cells that naturally protect from moisture loss and tell sebaceous glands* to produce more sebum*. You can get hydration from sheet masks, hydrating mists, hydrating serums. There are also some water based moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid that help with both hydration and moisture. So for my homies with dry skin, it might be more beneficial to use two separate products to make sure your skin is retaining. Moisturizers use humectants and also occlusive agents (which you're already familiar with). Humectants, like, glycerin, sugars, sorbitol, urea, sodium hyaluronate, propylene glycol, and alpha hydroxy acids attract water into the skin cellsNeutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel is my ABSOLUTE favorite. Hands down. I’ve mentioned it in both a favorites and an empties video because its so bomb. To be completely honest, I don’t put on a cream moisturizer after applying the water gel. My face feels so smooth and supple afterwards and did I mention I have oily skin? I have oily skin. When it comes to skin care, it feels like everything is trial and error. You face has to like it. Below I have a list of different types of moisturizers (since they are more common than hydrators). 

Oily skin: Oil free moisturizer, water based gel

Normal skin: General moisturizer that maintains hydration and balance

Dry skin: Essential oils

Combination: Combination of cream on dry areas and oil free moisturizer on the T-zone and/or other oily areas

I'm learning more and more about this topic so I do want to start incorporating both into my everyday routine. If you have any hydrators or moisturizers you recommend, please leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter and Instagram!


*lipids - biomolecules soluble in nonpolar (hydrophobic or water fearing) solvents

*sebaceous glands - skin glands that secrete sebum in the hair follicles for skin lubrication

* sebum - oil secretion from sebaceous glands

* occlusive agents - agents that prevent water loss