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November 15, 2022 4 min read

Too often in health and beauty the words hydration and moisture are (mistakenly) used interchangeably; And while they both attribute to your glow, we repeat — they are not the same thing

They are best friends though. Two separate but necessary steps in skin and hair care that are dependent upon one another to fully perform their duties of keeping you soft, smooth and protected. Laurel Skin teaches us that “All plants contain antioxidants and micronutrients that are either water or oil soluble. Thusly, by offering your skin both plant waters and plant oils, you are feeding your skin everything it needs.”

Simply put, hydration is the absorption of water into skin or hair. Moisturizing is what locks that hydration into place, acting as a sealant and barrier against external stressors. 

Now that we’ve established the basics, let’s break things down a little more.  

HYDRATION

The act of skin or hair drinking up water. 

Have you ever wondered why your body oil absorbs so much better right out of the shower? That’s hydration. You’ve turned your body into a sponge from the water and now it can better absorb nutrients. You can replicate this rapid absorption on dry skin by misting your body with a mist first!

Have you ever noticed that when you apply a facial oil without a toner, it can slide around on the surface, never fully going in? That’s lack of hydration.

Hydration is crucial to skin health yet is one of the most ignored steps in skincare rituals. It can be a passive process like when skin naturally absorbs water from a humid environment or a shower, but it is most effective and beneficial when done intentionally by using a hydrating mist.

A hydration mist opens up skin barriers wide like a gate allowing water, vitamins, nutrients and other actives from your products to easily pass through to not only hydrate and plump, but restore your skin’s natural PH, and work on a deeper level to brighten, calm, balance, etc. — depending on the product’s intention.

Aloe or water-based serums take this step to the next level by offering a more intense plumping hydration and antioxidant treatment offering.

It is a common misconception that oily skin doesn’t need hydration… Most oily skin types are commonly dehydrated as well. Most toners are stripping, drying, and designed to breakdown oils and our natural lipid barrier. This leads to TEWL, trans-epidermal water loss, which leads to dehydrated skin.
— Laurel, founder Laurel Skin

Hydration can also be achieved through water based creams (which possess that speedy absorption)! However, the use of a mist of toner underneath is still encouraged to maximize skin health and get another brightening, calming or antioxidant treatment step in your arsenal.

Note: Hydration is the same for hair — it is the water held in each strand on your head after a shower or bath. Pro Tip: Lightly dampen dirty hair with a mist or hydrosol prior to applying any leave-in or shine serum. This will not only refresh your hair, but allow styling and oil treatments to properly absorb and seal the strands.

Proper hydration is necessary for whole skin health and function ... It allows every cell to work at its optimal level. When skin is dehydrated, … function and circulation are impaired [and] can’t effectively benefit from the other phases of skincare.
— Josh Rosebrook

The act of locking in hydration so it does not escape.

Advantages of hydration are short lived if you don’t moisturize right afterward.

Moisturizers contain oils that hold in water, nutrients, vitamins (and whatever goodness you applied on your skin) that you want to retain. It’s important to note that every persons skin has its own natural lipid (oil) barrier, but overtime that barrier breaks down and with that loses moisture— hence the necessity for moisturizers.

Moisturizer selection is usually based on specific skin needs and concerns; some skin may require a rich balm to provide a protective barrier while others require nothing more than a lighter-weight oil to hold in hydration. Some also want their moisturizer to focus on wrinkles or firming, while others need acne support. Every body is different.

Pro tip: For the most plump, dewy, clear complexion for my dehydrated skin, I mist multiple times (before and after moisturizing), as well as layer two hydrating serums underneath my moisturizer. Especially in the winter or when traveling!
— Holly, founder Wildcraft

Note: Moisturizing is the same for hair — apply quickly after hydration to seal nutrients inside the hair strand and prevent water from escaping.

SOME OF OUR FAVE MOISTURIZERS

  1. Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream

  2. Maya Chia The Advanced Response Complex

  3. Laurel Antioxidant Serum - Vibrancy Revival

  4. LINNÉ REPAIR Face Oil

  5. Dr. Alkaitis Ageless Elixir

  6. Reverie Ever Recovery Hair Oil


Citations

Josh Rosebrook. (2018, June 18). The difference between hydrating and moisturizing skin. Josh Rosebrook. Retrieved February 11, 2022, from https://joshrosebrook.com/blogs/articles/the-difference-between-hydrating-and-moisturizing-skin