Moisture vs. Hydration

You hear or read that products moisturize and/or hydrate your skin. Great. But what does this actually mean? And why do you need it? And wait, moisturize and hydrate are two different things?

I was always under the impression that moisturize and hydrate were synonyms for one another and buzzwords commonly name dropped in the beauty world. However, when my esthetician recently told me my skin was dehydrated but not dry, I said, uh what? and did some research to learn more about how they are two very different things.

Both moisturizers and hydrators aim to fight dryness and combat aging. And the truth is, both hydrating and moisturizing products are needed – for all skin types! Both have the same goal but need to work together to achieve that goal. Batman meet Robin.

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Hydrators – or better known as humectants – increase your skin’s water supply by ‘grabbing’ water from its surroundings – both outside and inside your body.
Moisturizers provide a oil barrier on your skin, trapping water in so that it does not evaporate away.

So you can see now why you need both. Your humectant brings the water in and your moisturizer traps it on your skin!

Although all skin types (yes, more on that later) need both in their skincare routine, your skin will tell you a story. If it looks or feels a certain way, it is telling you it needs more of this or less of this.


If you find your skin looks dull, your skin is telling you that you need more hydration.


  1. Drink water: As I mentioned, humectants pull water from your surroundings – both from the air and inside your body! So if you are ingesting enough water, hydrating your body, humectants will be able to pull water from the inside to help your skin’s hydration.
  2. Hyaluronic Acid: This is seemingly everyone’s favorite ingredient for hydration. I will be doing a post entirely on its awesomeness next week stay tuned!
  3. Glycerin: Glycerin is commonly used as a humectant in conventional beauty products. It can be used in clean beauty products if derived from vegetables and not animal fat, yugh.

*Some more gentle humectants include: aloe, honey, and marine extracts like kelp, algae, and other seaweed varieties.


If you find that you have dry, flaky skin, your skin is telling you that you need more moisture.


  1. Butters: Commonly used, moisturizing butters are shea butter and cocoa butter
  2. Waxes
  3. Botanical/fruit extracts and oils like rosehip, avocado, etc.

*Some more gentle moisturizers include: jojoba, almond, and moringa oils.


Yes, even oily and /or acne-prone skin needs BOTH pieces of the puzzle. If you don’t provide your skin with needed hydration, it will end up secreting more oil and thus, can cause breakouts!

For your humectants and moisturizers, you’ll just want lightweight, noncomedogenic products like argan oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, or hemp seed oil. I love sunflower and safflower oils because they are super affordable!


Kahina Giving Beauty Moisture Mask:


I LOVE LOVE LOVE how happy this makes my skin feel in the crazy
cool–>warm–>freezing–>scorching temperamental temperatures of Los Angeles.


This baby is packed with BOTH hydrating and moisturizing ingredients to ensure your skin is getting the best possible treatment. I like to leave this on as an overnight mask 1. because it’s easy and 2. because when I wake up, I can see just how much my skin needed it because the product is fully absorbed. It’s crazy.


What are you doing to treat your skin?

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