Moisturizing vs Hydrating: What Is the Difference?

A 2017 study by SkinStore found that the average American woman applied 16 skincare products to her visage every day. Whether you’ve got a lengthy routine yourself or you’re looking to enhance your skincare regimen, you have a question: what’s the difference between moisturizing vs hydrating?

Turns out, these words aren’t interchangeable when it comes to skincare. Read on to learn the differences between hydrating and moisturizing.

Moisturizing vs Hydrating: Is There a Big Difference? 

There’s one very easy way to remember the difference between hydrating and moisturizing. Hydration refers to water — you know this already from drinking water to hydrate yourself. Meanwhile, moisturizers are products that quench your skin with oil.

Some products will specifically hydrate the skin, while others are designed to moisturize. Then, there are formulas that do both; we call these humectants.

What is Hydrating? 

Now that we have a general idea of what hydration is, let’s talk about why you’d use a hydrating vs moisturizing formula.

A hydrating product is designed to re-plump skin that’s lost its shine. With proper hydration, though, your skin will return to its bouncy, bright, dewy state.

If you’re looking for a hydrating formula, look for ingredients such as honey, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, gelatin, or sorbitol. See here for more hydrating formulas. You can also hydrate your skin in an old-fashioned way by increasing your water intake — if you’re getting enough H2O, it can help your skin to plump back up.

What is Moisturizing? 

Hydrating is for skin that needs its glow and dewiness back. Moisturizing, on the other hand, will help you if your skin is dry from lack of oil production.

You might be thinking, “Why would I want my skin to produce oil?” But your skin’s natural oil helps seal in the hydration that keeps your skin plump and quenched. Without it, your skin can get dry — and that’s why you’ll need a moisturizer.

There are multiple types of moisturizers for you to try. For starters, you might try occlusives, which create a topical layer on the skin to lock in moisture. Products with lanolin, beeswax, or mineral oil will do this.

Then, there are emollients, which help the skin to improve its own formation of this barrier. Fatty acids are emollients, as are fatty alcohols.

Finally, you might try collagen- or keratin-inclusive products, which are protein rejuvenators. As the name implies, these products restore the skin’s most essential proteins, which can strengthen and rejuvenate the skin.

How Can I Choose the Right Product?

The good news in the moisturizing vs hydrating debate is that most of the products you’d use for one issue will contain the other. That’s because hydrating and moisturizing formulas are all going to improve the look and feel of your skin. Why not use them in tandem?

Of course, if you want to simply hydrate or, alternatively, moisturize your skin, you can find products that do just that, too. So, find what works for you and add it to your skincare regimen — and enjoy skin that’s healthy and glowing.

Be sure to check back in with us for more beauty and fashion advice.


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