Hydrators vs. Moisturizers - A Tall Glass of Water For Your Skin

Hydrators vs. Moisturizers - A Tall Glass of Water For Your Skin

What Are Hydrators and Moisturizers?

Keeping your skin hydrated is essential in proper skincare. It can feel overwhelming at first when deciding what to add to a new skincare regime, and whether a hydrator and a moisturizer is the right product to add. Although they sound the same, moisturizers and hydrators are vastly different in ingredients, and purpose.  Knowing these differences is important as picking the wrong one might not achieve the desired results.

To put it simply, moisturizers trap in moisture and keep the skin oily which prevents it from drying up, causing flakiness. Hydrators help cure dehydrated skin and help bring back shine and elasticity. There are 3 main types of skincare products that help moisturize and hydrate, Emollients, Occlusives, and Humectants. Before choosing which of these three is best for your skin, it is important to know whether your skin needs a moisturizer, or a hydrator.

It is also important to note that while the right skincare product is important in achieving healthy, hydrated skin, eating healthy and drinking water will also do wonders. Adding fruits and vegetables to your plate will benefit not only your skin, but your whole body.

How do Moisturizers work?

Moisturizers are made to retain moisture in the skin using various products and repair your skin to reduce flaking, cracking, or dryness. There are a few ingredients found in moisturizers that help achieve healthy moisturized skin for any skin type. Occlusives and Emollients are the best if your skin needs moisturization.

How do Hydrators work?

Hydrators, unlike moisturizers, do not work to retain moisture in the skin, but instead help attract moisture externally into the skin. Humectants are well known effective hydrators, as explained below.

Emollients, Occlusives, and Humectants


Emollients are another great example of a moisturizing ingredient in skincare products. This ingredient uses what are called lipids to fill cracks in dry skin, repairing the skin barrier and leaving it feeling smooth and soft. Emollients are great for people with dry skin types, or people who are susceptible to cracked skin from medical conditions such as eczema. One example of a popular emollient is Squalene.


Occlusives are usually made from ingredients that form a barrier on your skin. This barrier prevents water loss and helps retain moisture in the skin. Many ingredients used include various oils such as olive oil, mineral oil, and petroleum. Oftentimes, these products can also have silicone or various waxes like beeswax. These ingredients also mean that the product will come out as a thick lotion or gel, which creates a stronger barrier and overall better for moisturizing the skin.


Humectants are ingredients that attract water from your skin. Humectants can both provide hydration, or remove the dead skin cells that block moisture from entering your skin. A good way to know the product is a humectant is if it contains some of these popular ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, or glycerin. These three ingredients are incredibly popular in skincare products for their efficacy and use of Vitamin C and amino-acids which both contribute to healthy soft skin. Products that contain Aloe or Honey are also great ingredients found in common hydrators that are naturally derived and highly effective in hydrating the skin.

How do Moisturizers and Hydrators work on different skin types?

Skincare often requires personalized products and regimens that cater to one person’s specific skin type. Oftentimes, people think they need a gel or liquid. This is not the case! It is more important to look at the ingredients and learn what ingredients are best for your skin type to achieve positive results. Also it is important to note that many skincare products contain both moisturizer and hydrator ingredients, just ensure you know what is best for your skin.

For People With Dry Skin

People with dry skin, or have skin conditions such as eczema would benefit from using occlusives, as they are thick and form a strong protective barrier to repair cracks and scarring, while preventing further moisture loss in the skin. Occlusives will add necessary lipids, which dry and flaky skin is missing, meaning the skin can heal and become softer and less flaky.

For People With Oily Skin

People with oily skin often think that oil means the skin has moisture, however oily skin can mean your skin grows more dehydrated over time. This is because the excess oil in the skin does not allow for moisture to be absorbed. Therefore, hydrator and moisturizer mixes will be great to help your skin get the moisture it needs, but also avoid clogging your pores and causing acne and furthering the cycle of unhealthy dehydrated skin.

For People With Combination Skin

If you have combination skin, it is important to remember that no matter the skin type, everyone needs hydration. Finding a good product with both hydrators and moisturizers can help maintain healthy skin and find a balance between the oils in your skin, while reducing dryness, redness, or flakiness.

If you find your skin is dehydrated, choosing the right humectant will help your skin gain more moisture and have a healthy glow. Look for ingredients such as Aloe, Honey, or Hyaluronic Acid in the form of a serum to nourish your skin. It is still important to add a moisturizer too for a healthy balance for your skin. If you find your skin is looking dull and there are many fine lines in your skin, then that could be a sign your skin is dehydrated. Adding the right products as explained before helps decrease fine lines and give your skin a healthy glow and definition like never before.

Overall, it is important to nourish your skin just as you would your body. That plate of fruits and vegetables with a tall glass of water to compliment the right skincare regimen can offer results like no other, no matter the skin type. There is always a solution for everyone.

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