As we transition from the summer weather to fall and winter weathers, it’s important to modify your skin care routine for the cool and dry climate. Adjusting your skin care products can help prevent your skin from drying out or becoming dehydrated, and ensures that your skin gets sufficient hydration to maintain healthy and dewy.
Finding the right hydration for your skin is key, so we’ve created an outline on the different classes of moisturizers, and which type and products are most suitable for you.
There are three main classes of moisturizers:
These little hydrating molecules attract, absorb and hold in moisture by drawing water from the environment towards the epidermis. They help increase the amount of water within the skin to re-hydrate the skin’s surface. Humectants are great moisturizers for majority of skin types. Applying humectant ingredients not only provides your skin with deep hydration, but also plumps your skin to smooth out fine lines. The most popular humectant ingredients used in skin care are Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, and Honey; however, certain chemical exfoliants including like Lactic Acid and Malic Acid are also considered humectants and provide both exfoliating and hydrating properties. Be careful not to over-use chemical exfoliants as these potent ingredients can dry out your skin.
Sheet masks often provide us with the instant plumping and brightening effect because they are an excellent example of products drenched with humectant ingredients. Our favourite sheet mask is Wish Formula’s Centella and Fermented Honey Sheet Mask—with a chock full of humectant ingredients including fermented honey that provides your skin with anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
While humectants attract moisture to your skin, occlusives help maintain hydration by forming a physical film over the epidermis to prevent moisture loss. For many normal and healthy skin types, our natural oils act as a barrier to prevent moisture loss. Occlusives are vital for drier skin types as dry skins lack natural oils that help prevent moisture from escaping. While occlusive ingredients may provide some smoothing effects, they work best when layered over humectant ingredients sealing and retaining all the moisture into your skin. Occlusive ingredients are often oil-based so it may leave a slight sheen over the skin. Some, but not all, occlusive ingredients can also clog pores; if you have oily or acne-prone skin, use occlusive ingredients that are non- comedogenic. The most popular occlusive ingredients used in skincare are Beeswax, Lanolin, Petroleum, Stearates, and Cocoa Butter.
Occlusives are best used in conjunction with humectant ingredients as it seals in all the moisture drawn to the skin. 23.5N’s Bamboo Ultra Hydrating Cream combines humectant ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Honey and Glycerin; along with occlusive ingredients like Beeswax, Stearic Acid, and Shea Butter. This intensively hydrating cream nourishes and repairs dry and dehydrated skin for a more smoother and radiant complexion.
Emollients, similar to occlusives but with shorter lasting effects, improve the appearance of your skin by softening and smoothing out gaps and flakes. Like occlusives, emollients don’t add moisture to your skin, but rather prevent moisture loss. The main difference that sets apart emollients from occlusive are that emollients are more fluid and thinner making them easier to spread during application. Most emollient ingredients are plant-based or animal-based oils making them rich in fatty acids and antioxidants. Fatty acids help strengthen our skin’s protective barrier, while antioxidants help protect the skin from free radicals ultimately reducing signs of aging. Emollient ingredients are wonderful for soothing and protecting dry and dehydrated skins. The most popular emollient ingredients used in skin care are plant-based and animal-based oils such as jojoba oil, olive oil, argan oil, coconut oil; and squalene/squalane.
Banila Co.’s Miss Flower & Mr Honey Cream is a long-time cult favourite amongst k-beauty enthusiasts. Humectant ingredients such as Honey, Butylene Glycol, and Glycerin are combined with emollient ingredients Argan, Olive, and Meadowfoam Seed Oil to restore and retain moisture instantly boosting your skin’s resiliency.
While most moisturizing ingredients are typically composed of two or three of the moisturizing classes, understanding these classes of moisturizers will help you make the right decision on which product is most suitable for your skin's needs. If you have normal, oily or combination skin, you will want to focus on products that have humectants along with some emollients. However if you have dry skin, you'll want to find products that are combine all three classes of moisturizers, or use humectants during your in-between steps, and seal in all the moisture with an occlusive or emollient during the last step of your skincare routine.