Hydration vs Moisture 💧 What's the Difference?

by Michelle Li

The terms hydration and moisture are commonly used in the skincare world and it seems like they are often used interchangeably. Even though they may seem like they both help with the skin’s dryness, the process in doing so is very different. So it raises the question of ‘what is actually the difference between hydration and moisture?.’ 🤔



Let’s break it down and first understand the term “hydration”. Hydration is the process of when our skin absorbs water. Usually, we require hydrating products when our skin is dehydrated due to low water content found in our skin. This water loss, called ‘Transepidermal Water Loss,’  happens as we age but also with the negative impacts of environmental stressors. As a result, our skin can appear dull and even develop fine lines and wrinkles. In terms of skincare, hydrating ingredients are commonly found in substances classified as humectants. Humectants allow the skin to absorb water which is exactly what dehydrated skin needs. It pulls water from the dermis, the second layer of the skin to the very top to increase the surface of the skin’s water levels. This ensures that the epidermis, the top layer of our skin looks bouncy and plump. Hydration helps the skin achieve a natural glow from within and can diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles ✨


Higher concentrations of humectants are commonly found in water-based products such as essences, serums, and ampoules. Though these products can be directed for different skin concerns, finding ones that contain high amounts of humectants will leave, even in the deeper layers of the skin, feeling hydrated. For dehydrated skin, we recommend trying out the Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Water Essence. This contains eight types of hyaluronic acid with different molecule sizes to ensure that this ingredient sinks into the deeper layers of our skin. As we continuously use a hydrating essence like the Isntree one, our skin’s natural water content will increase, leading to our skin appearing more supple and plump. 



When we refer to “moisture”, this is often referred to as an oil-based substance. This commonly is associated with a dry skin type where often flaking and dry patches can occur on the surface of the skin. Having a moisturizing product is a must for dry skin types as there is a lack of oil production. By ensuring the skin is moisturized, not only will it help to make the skin smoother but it also creates a protective barrier to ensure that no water (gained from the hydration step we had!) escapes the skin as water and oil do not mix. By having a balance in oil and water levels, not only will our skin look smooth, it results in less dry patches and flakiness. 


An oil-based moisturizer to try for dry skin types is the Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Oil Balm. This balm is enriched with nine different plant-based oils without leaving our skin feeling uncomfortably greasy. As there are various plant-based oils in this moisturizer, it creates that protective barrier to ensure that our skin’s natural oil levels are balanced while preventing water from escaping. In addition to the oils found in this product, this moisturizer also contains ceramides. Ceramides are great for dry skin to strengthen the skin barrier by holding our skin cells together which can prevent and heal dry patches. 

Even though hydration and moisture aren’t the same, more often than not, we need both for our skin to look healthy. Over time, our skin loses its ability to retain water so we need to replenish with hydrating products while making sure there's a protective layer to seal in the water through moisture. 

With so many skincare terms, we thought we would break it down starting with the two most commonly used terms: hydration and moisture. There was a lot to unpack but we hope this has helped our Beauties out. It’s important to understand our skin better to ensure we are finding the right products as everyone’s skin is so different. 

Good luck finding the right skincare for you!

Until next time,

Thanks for reading 🥰

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