Skin is a pretty complicated thing. It’s easy to forget that it’s not just a protective layer, but something that is literally connected to our entire body, and thanks to that our skin concerns can be caused by a variety of biology’s finest; poor digestion, imbalanced sex hormones, lack of sleep, high stress levels and that overarching one that no matter how hard you try you just can’t change - genetics!
However, there’s one thing that everyone’s skin needs no matter what, and that’s water. It seems obvious, but why does our skin need H2O so bad?
It all comes down to the fact that when you get to the cellular level, the majority of our skin cells is water. Lots of nutrients the skin needs are also water soluble such as vitamin C, so in order to reap the benefits of these there needs to be plenty of the good stuff to go around.
There’s no doubt that drinking plenty of water is one way to keep skin hydrated, but external application done in the right way will also help to boost hydration levels in cells. What is the right way? Well it’s all about finding balance.
Confusingly enough, if you’re just putting plain old water on your face and nothing else, this could actually dehydrate the skin. This is due to the fact it will evaporate pretty quickly off of your skin and take along water from within your skin with it. In order to avoid this, you need both water and oil based products in your skincare regime, as oils and balms will lock in that moisture so it penetrates into the skin. The walls of skin cells are also made up of fancy things called lipids, which to you and me basically means fatty acids which you can only get via natural oils. The epidermis is also a bit of a specialist when it comes to being waterproof, so it’s all about discovering the ingredients that will do the trick.
Then there are humectants which are fantastic at drawing moisture into the skin and keeping it there. Who wouldn’t like the sound of that? Perhaps the most wonderful natural humectant is honey (a great excuse to slather it all over your face), but there’s also glycerin and aloe vera which are natural veterans. Last but certainly not least are floral waters, which are not only abundant in H2O, but minerals, amino acids and vitamins from the plants from which they’re made. Ever heard of hyaluronic acid? Don’t be deceived by its scientific sounding name as this ingredient is naturally found all over the body, and has some amazing properties. It can hold 1000 times it’s weight in water - I don’t really need to explain why that’s a good thing, do I? It’s also known by beauty brains as a great collagen booster, and can penetrate past the epidermis into the deeper layers of the skin, which is why you’ll find it in so many beauty products, natural or not.
When it comes to green beauty, most formulators aren’t satisfied with just providing the bare essentials in their products, so you’ll find these kinds of ingredients in anything from cleansers to conditioners, with floral waters being the most common and popular. However, if you want to get the full moisturising benefits, stick to toners, mists, water-based serums or cream moisturisers for your hydration fix. Not everyone has time to go hunting down the perfect product, so here’s a roundup of the crème de la crème to address some common concerns.
Dryness: Ensuring you have the right ratio of waters to oils in your skincare routine will definitely help to combat dry skin in general, but there are some products out there that help more than others, and I happen to think the MUN No.11 Anarose Rejuvenating Rose Toner is one of them.
Its intoxicating rose scent alludes to more than just luxury; rose water is known for being a dry skin saviour. Of course when it comes to Mun, this isn’t just any old rose water, but sourced from Bulgaria, steam distilled and organically grown. It also contains a dose of vegetable glycerin and prickly pear stem extract which will leave skin feeling instantly softened and moisturised.
Plumping: If your skin is feeling a bit lifeless and as lost its bounce, then the La Bella Figura Jardin De Fleurs Skin Revitalizer could be the ticket to youthful looking skin.
With a concoction of floral waters ranging from jasmine to honeysuckle, plus coconut water, there’s more than enough to quench your skin’s thirst here. The real star of the show though is low-weight hyaluronic acid which delivers hydration at a deeper level to leave your face feeling moist and supple. Just few spritzes quickly followed by your favourite facial oil will do the trick!
Soothing: Have you ever felt like your face at times just needs a gentle, cooling hug? For sensitive or inflamed (i.e blemish prone or post sun-exposure) skin, providing a certain kind of moisture can bring some much needed relief.
Contrary to what many people think, trying to dry blemishes out is not the answer! Instead the moss Healing Dew uses a healing combination of herbs like comfrey and gromwell root to bring down inflammation, whilst aloe vera delivers calming hydration. If that wasn’t enough this serum also contains ceramides that help to strengthen the cell barrier, which in turn diminishes water loss - aka keeping that water where it should be! Because this is an oil free formula, make sure to always follow up with a balm or oil.
A quick boost: A personal favourite of mine; I would be lost without Josh Rosebrook’s Hydrating Accelerator.
Although it comes in the form of a mist, don’t be fooled as it’s not just water based but contains some beautiful plant oils too such as coconut and sunflower. Thanks to this it means you can spritz to your heart’s content without having to worry about following up with an oil or cream as this vitamin rich spray is an all-in-one moisturiser - ideal for popping in the handbag and misting over makeup during the day. You’ll be sneaking a little spritz whenever you can, because the scent of vanilla is so delicious!
It took me a long time to learn how important it was to make sure my skin had the right moisture levels and to not just use oils alone, but it when I did it was a game changer! Have you been hydrating your skin the right way, or will you be incorporating a new step into your skincare regime?