How to Moisturize Dry Skin

The answer to dry skin seems super-obvious: Just moisturize! But if you stop at moisturizer, you might not be giving dry or dull skin the full amount of moisture it actually needs. When you wake up to skin that feels flaky or looks rough, it helps to take a more comprehensive approach to moisturizing your skin — a key part of that is delivering both water and oil, which need to be balanced. The best moisturizer for dry skin should offer both, and ingredients that boost them throughout your routine can help. Here, how to optimize your skincare routine for dry skin.

Dealing with oily skin? Check our guide for how to moisturize oily skin.

Start moisturizing when you cleanse

Make a preemptive strike against dryness, both now and forever, by cleansing with a moisture-rich formula such as a cleansing balm. The Papaya Sorbet Enzyme Cleansing Balm not only melts away makeup and grime and lightly exfoliates with papaya enzymes, but it also contains a blend of botanical oils (papaya, camellia, and apricot kernel oils, to be exact) to replenish lipids in the skin barrier. It leaves skin clean, soft, and smooth — a pretty good start to your dry skin routine, if we say so ourselves.

Wash, rinse, repeat: Here’s the best way to cleanse skin according to your skin type.

Prep with a hydrating toner

Once upon a time, toners were a huge no-no for dry skin. With alcohol and oil-removing astringents, they basically left dry skin at desert status. These days, though, toners have taken a note from Korean essences. They’re now brimming with hydrating ingredients in order to dampen skin, hydrate, and prep it for the following products, allowing them to better penetrate.

Exhibit A is the Watermelon Glow Pore-Tight BHA+PHA Toner, which pairs gentle exfoliants — beta hydroxy and polyhydroxy acids, if you’re wondering — with moisture-boosting cactus water and hyaluronic acid. It gives you the best of both worlds, brightening and replenishing skin in one refreshing step.

Mist on layers of moisture

If your skin drinks up moisture, keep it hydrated by spritzing on a mist. Once is good, but between every step in your routine is even better. The Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist has a bi-phase formula that pairs nourishing oils with water-based actives, such as watermelon (which makes up a whopping 84% of the formula) and hyaluronic acid. In each spray, you get a combo of water-loving humectants and oils, which helps balance out the ratio in skin.

Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum

Deliver ample hydration

If all you focus on is the lipids and fatty acids found in oils — which, to be fair, are a must-have for the skin barrier — you might be missing out on those water-boosting ingredients and their benefits. That’s where skin can get dehydrated, meaning it has enough oil but lacks water. Or it can be both dry and dehydrated, meaning both oil and water are scarce.

Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum gives skin five different sizes of hyaluronic acid, a humectant that captures and helps skin retain water, to reach every layer of skin. It also has a plum complex that actually stimulates skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid — not to mention offers a ton of antioxidants.

Skin looking lackluster? Learn how to tell dry skin apart from dehydrated skin.

Strengthen your skin barrier

Dry skin is primarily a problem of your skin barrier. Lipids, which include fatty acids and oils, are an integral part of the skin’s moisture barrier, so much so that the barrier is actually referred to as the lipid barrier. Without them, skin becomes dry, rough, and prone to moisture loss. So, replenishing those lipids is important. Banana Soufflé Moisture Cream contains magnesium, which supports skin barrier health, as well as squalane, which is a shelf-stable form of squalene (a lipid naturally found in the skin barrier). 

Replenish moisture while you sleep

Woke up looking like you just emerged from a sand storm in the Sahara? Blame circadian rhythm. Really: Your skin naturally loses moisture overnight, which can lead to dryness in the  morning. Research has found that the moisture barrier is most permeable at night, leading to more trans-epidermal water loss while you snooze.

So, amping up your moisture overnight is a strategic way to offset this inevitable moisture loss. Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask delivers nutrient-rich avocado oil to nourish skin as you sleep. The retinol in question is encapsulated, meaning it penetrates skin without impacting your skin barrier and drying out skin — and, of course, gives you all the brightening, skin-smoothing benefits of retinol.

Read more about optimizing your routine for dry skin:

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