Updated: May 2, 2020
Hydration isn't just a single step like an active or even a moisturiser. It's more of an awareness. A way of looking at your skin and understanding where it's at.
I will keep coming back to the concept of BALANCE. When I mention balance all I mean is keeping your skin where both your moisture levels and oil levels are in check.
Now that you've assessed your skin for dryness and dehydration you are probably spending more time poking your face (to test if it bounces back), looking at the colour before showering, and after. Just generally keeping an eye on how it reacts to different situations and when it's happy. This will be essential as you try to find the right hydration solutions for you.
As with all Skincare, no one can give you a perfect recipe for hydration. And as always it will be up to you to experiment to see what works for you. Today we will start to look at some of the products that may be helpful in helping you build a HYDRATION WARDROBE. These are the products that will form the basis of your routine. Because water doesn't remain within the skin hydration is a part of skincare that you need to monitor every day.
TYPES OF HYDRATION PRODUCTS
💦 H2O. WATER. Aqua. Yes, that's what hydration means: Water content within the skin. It fills your cells, lubricates the tissues, helps actives to penetrate and all products to do their job more effectively without sitting on top of the surface of the skin. Water can be just that: the water that gets into your skin from cleansing or bathing. Thermal water sprays. Water-based hydrators. And yes, tap water. The only issue to consider is the hardness/softness of the water where you live (London has particularly hard water, I had to be careful using tap water on my face when I lived there). You can check your water hardness online.
💦 ROSEWATER. The best Rosewaters are pure distilled rosewater. Rose petals are soaked in water and then distilled (boiled and the steam is collected) which yields a very pure product. These Rosewaters are food-grade and often available in Middle Eastern or Turkish grocery stores. Or sometimes in the baking section of large grocery stores or speciality shops. Make sure there are no other added ingredients like sugars etc. Sometimes there is a small amount of preservative added and is listed as an ingredient. That's fine. There are also *beauty* type Rosewaters that have added ingredients, sometimes glycerine (ok) or perfumes (not great). I generally avoid these anyway as they are much more expensive and don't really offer much additional value. The beauty of rosewater is that it's cheap and you can splash it with abandon without counting the pennies. Sometimes Orange Blossom water is for sale alongside Rosewater. Personally I use both interchangeably but some people with sensitive skin can find Orange Blossom more likely to cause reactions.
💦 HUMECTANTS. These are products that help to hold water within the skin. The most obvious example is HA. Hyaluronic Acid is naturally occurring within the body and comes in various forms: powders, gels, serums, etc. You are probably aware that it can hold up to 1000x it's own weight within the skin. You can find out a ton of stuff online about how it works if you want to get into the mechanism of it. But the essential thing to remember is that one drop of 2% HA serum can hold about 20 drops (roughly 4 skins) of hydration within the skin.
Another common humectant is Glycerine. It works in a similar way and has the advantage of being even more gentle and good value so it's found in many products. Products containing Glycerine will help to hold onto hydration.
The Ordinary also offers Marine Hyaluronics which functions in the same way as the HA serum, although it's not as clear how to calculate the amount of hydration it holds. In the absence of a clear directive on this I would judge a *dose* to be the standard TO 3-4 drops.
💦 HYDRATING TONERS/ESSENCES These are mainly Korean or Japanese Beauty products that are formulated with humectants to hold the water within the skin. Some are more concentrated and you only need to use a small amount but the moisture needs to come from elsewhere. Some are watery. These are the products that are most closely associated with the 7 skins method.
💦 OTHER HYDRATING PRODUCTS: - Aloe Gel, available from healthfood stores or fresh from a plant! - Hydrating mists - Hydrating face masks (sheet masks) - Face gels and jelly-type moisturisers
💦 PRODUCTS THAT ENHANCE HYDRATION BY ENHANCING BARRIER FUNCTION: - Face creams. Not every moisturiser will add hydration but most face creams are emulsions (an oil suspended within a water formula) which will help to keep water within the skin. This is why aqua is listed as the first ingredient in most face creams. - Barrier support formulas like the TO Amino Acids. This type of product helps to enhance the skin's function and help it to retain hydration within the skin.
That's a lot to absorb! Questions? Ask me all about hydrator and hydrating products. The next post will be about technique so lets try and stick to the actual products for now and we'll move on to how to use them in the next post.
💬💬💬 What's in your hydration wardrobe? What have you tried? What do you want to try? What results have you had? What questions do you have about hydrating products?