Creams aren’t the best answer for dry skin

Creams aren’t the best answer for dry skin

When I think about the literal ocean of moisturizers in the world (which now includes Brad Pitt and Travis Barker skincare lines…no, not a joke…), creams don’t impress me much. 

And yet, most people look for richer creams during Fall and Winter to soothe and moisturize drier skin conditions. But the product I believe everyone should be looking for is a hydrating mist or toner - aka fluid

Having cared for many different faces and skin types over the years, I haven’t seen a product soothe, relieve, soften and awaken skin with the quickness and the efficacy of hydrating fluids. 

Once hydrating fluid is applied, I may reach for a cream to layer over that. But, more often I go for a few drops of oil - the absolute perfect compliment to fluid for moisturizing skin. Oil and water play off each other beautifully at the surface of your skin. They are the ultimate dance duo, helping the other penetrate further into your skin. 

If you think about it, a cream is an emulsion of water and oil as well. But with the fluid and the oil separated into different products, or steps, you get to control the amount of each. And that, my friends, is really powerful and useful for your skin health. 

Here are some of my top tips and insights on using hydrating fluids, which we also shared on IG this week:

  1. Hydrating fluids are usually named ‘mists’ or ‘toners.’ Read the label to make sure yours is predominantly water based, and does not contain a high level of acid, or alcohol (that would be more of a cleansing toner). Though some hydrators contain low levels of hydrating acids (like lactic) to be more clarifying, the acid is not the functional focus.
  2. After cleansing, apply a generous amount of your hydrating mist or toner. I have noticed that many don’t apply nearly enough hydrator that gets the best moisturizing outcome.
  3. Always massage your fluid in. Literally no one does this. Except for my patients after they see me. Massaging fluid into skin, just as you would a serum or oil is the money move for your skin, people! Make sure you are doing this and you will be amazed at the difference such an easy, simple tweak makes. 
  4. After you apply and massage your fluid, check to see if your skin is damp. If not, do another round of application and massage. Keep doing this until your skin can remain damp (but not dripping wet), for long enough to apply your next layer.
  5. Apply lighter serums after your hydrating fluid, and before your oil or cream. 
  6. In between layers, apply a micro round of your hydrating fluid if your skin is stubbornly dry. 
  7. Skin that is damp from your hydrator is the perfect condition for facial oils. Your skin should be damp for best results when you apply your oil. 
  8. You only need a few drops of oil! I cringe when I see people using half to full droppers of oil. That’s way too much! Start with 3-4 drops massaged into your skin. Apply more only if needed, a drop or two at a time. Your skin isn’t better moisturized with an excess of oil. In the long run if you are consistently overdoing it with the oils, your skin may even become sensitized.  
  9. You can apply occlusive balms over this to seal in if your skin benefits from extra sealant. You can also apply spf over your oil layer as well.
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  • Loved this post and completely agree. That is why I spray my toner or mist into my hand and then massage it into my face. (I don’t think spraying a mist at my face is effective.) If my face still feels dry, I spray more into my hand and massage that in as well. Once my face feels hydrated, I move on to an aloe serum mixed with a couple of drops of oil. If my skin is still feeling less hydrated than I would like, I seal in the hydration with a balm. For example, for evening I might use Earthwise Rose toner, On a Swing Among Trees and Nap In the Meadow Serums layered, a couple drops of an oil like Black Locust pressed into my skin, and then Yasuni balm to the serums and oil into my skin. In the morning I use lots of toner, then C, then Ambrosia do Cerrado with a couple of drops of Ruby oil, and then Plumscreen sunscreen. My skin feels happy, and it is not dry or dehydrated. I have similar routines with Marie Veronique, Yüli, Twelve, and MÜN.

    Katherine C. James
  • is the maholo balm good for after hydrating especially for gua sha treatment?

    carole Ann Adamson
  • is the maholo balm good for after hydrating especially for gua sha treatment?

    carole Ann Adamson

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