What you need to know about moisturisers

It’s a skin care product that most of us use – even if you’re not into skin care at all. Moisturising is probably the most common skin care product that we all turn to in order to soothe, hydrate and give our skin a soft feel. However, there’s a lot to learn about moisturisers, their function and how to use them. But also about what moisturiser is best suited for your skin type and what ingredients you should look for. 

In this blog post I’m telling you everything that you need to know about moisturisers!

What do moisturisers do and why do you need one?

Let’s start with a shocking fact: moisturisers don’t moisturise. Yes, you read that well. Although they often do have hydrating properties, it ironically isn’t a moisturiser’s main function.

So what are they for, then? Moisturisers are actually meant to create a barrier between your skin and the outside world. That way it locks in moisture and prevents any from leaving your skin. So you could say that moisturisers help to keep your skin hydrated, but when your skin is already dehydrated a moisturiser won’t solve that issue.

What does help for dehydration is to apply a hydrating serum, for instance one that contains hyaluronic acid. Serums are lighter and will penetrate more deeply. And with a moisturiser on top, your active ingredients have no chance of leaving your skin and can freely work their magic.

What do moisturisers consist of?

There are four main ingredients that are often found in moisturisers: 

  • occlusives like white petrolatum that form a protective seal over your skin’s surface
  • humectants like hyaluronic acid that works like a magnet for moisture
  • emollients like glycerin that shed off any roughness between skin cells to reveal a smooth skin texture
  • barrier-repair ingredients like ceramides that make sure your skin’s barrier (outer layer) is in the best state to protect you from external factors

When should you use a moisturiser? 

To be fully protected against moisture loss, you should use a moisturiser in the morning and evening. Throughout the day, there are a lot of external factors like wind, air conditioning and central heating that try to suck up all the moisture from our skin. That’s why you need to work extra hard on that protective barrier. 

At night, you need less of a barrier but more nourishment, which is why I often choose for a lightweight but juicy oil instead of a cream then. Your skin goes into healing and repairing mode at night and you should feed it to aid that process. Plus if you add in some hard-working serums before,  you’ll have to top it off with a protective seal. 

Apply your moisturiser after cleansing and/or toner, mist and serum. It’s actually always the last step in your routine, as it’s the thickest product you apply and the one that creates a seal. Anything you put on top will ideally not be absorbed, so it has no use to put active serums on top of your cream. 

Of course, SPF goes on top (or in the same product) and so does makeup. Take a good look at the product description to see if it’s suitable to use around the eyes – mostly it’s not, because the eye zone is very delicate and requires a targeted formula. 

For the men: it’s a good idea to use a moisturiser after shaving. The irritation of your blade and the shaving cream you used can make your skin more prone to dryness. A moisturiser will prevent moisture loss, keeping you skin smooth and hydrated. And if you choose one with soothing properties, it will also calm any redness the shaving has caused. 

What is the best moisturiser for each skin type?

There are a lot of different moisturisers out there: thick creams, water gels, milky lotions, butters and oils … But which one should you choose?

Texture-wise you’ll want to take a look at your skin type. Is your skin very dry and sensitive? Then lotions and creams are great. Do you have oily/combination skin? Then a water gel can be very refreshing and balancing. Oils are always good, especially at night. 

Here’s a bunch of my favourites in all textures: 

What’s your favourite moisturiser?