The next wave of skin-plump­ing hy­dra­tors is here and ready to help you on your quest for dewi­ness


The new way to quench your com­plex­ion

De­hy­drated skin is an equal-op­por­tu­nity af­flic­tion: It can strike peo­ple of any age, with any skin type, at any time of the year. Hap­pily, the skin­care world has been hard at work find­ing ways to help our skin hold onto its water con­tent and, thus, its plump­ness, smooth­ness and soft tex­ture. The new­est so­lu­tions are beauty or cos­metic wa­ters (some­times called essences or lo­tions); think of them as liq­uid mois­tur­iz­ers that pen­e­trate quickly and deeply to drench the skin with mois­ture. “It is not like a toner, which con­tains water and ac­tive in­gre­di­ents— this has a much higher con­cen­tra­tion of in­gre­di­ents,” says Elis­a­beth Bouhadana, the L’Oréal Paris global sci­en­tific com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor, who worked on the brand’s new Hy­dra Genius liq­uid skin­care, which stars hyaluronic acid and aloe water. “And it’s not like a gel, which stays at the surface of the skin and gives a sticky ef­fect. By us­ing hyaluronic acid, you get some­thing that has a vis­cos­ity close to water.” So if you’re look­ing to get a dewy glow this spring (and we’re fairly con­fi­dent you are), here’s what you need to know to stay hy­drated.

1. Water loss is a uni­ver­sal con­cern.

Re­gard­less of your age or skin type, mois­ture nat­u­rally moves from deep within the epi­der­mis to the surface, where it evap­o­rates. “It’s a way to keep the skin sup­ple, be­cause older cells at the skin’s surface are dead,” says Bouhadana. “Water goes through them and keeps them sup­ple.”

2. De­hy­dra­tion in­creases as we age.

Gold stan­dard hy­dra­tor hyaluronic acid, which holds many times its weight in water, ex­ists nat­u­rally in our skin—but its amount and qual­ity dwin­dles over time, so the fi rst sign of ag­ing is de­hy­dra­tion. “The first anti-ag­ing prod­uct should be a mois­tur­izer with hyaluronic acid, which is re­ally the best hy­drat­ing in­gre­di­ent,” says Bouhadana.

3. Hy­drat­ing in­gre­di­ents are not cre­ated equal.

“Big­ger par­ti­cles of hyaluronic acid will work like a stor­age water tank at the skin’s surface, able to de­liver water when the skin needs it,” says Bouhadana. Smaller par­ti­cles drive the cells to pro­duce their own hyaluronic acid to plump the skin with mois­ture from within. Hy­dra Genius con­tains two sizes of hyaluronic acid par­ti­cles plus aloe water, which helps pre­vent water loss by fi lling the gaps be­tween the skin cells and also helps water to travel from one skin cell to an­other. “So if there is one cell miss­ing water, he can take it from his neigh­bours.”

4. Iron­i­cally, H2O is dry­ing.

“When we talk about the ca­pac­ity of water to hy­drate, usu­ally peo­ple imag­ine them­selves in a bath­tub for an hour,” says Bouhadana. Ac­tu­ally, tak­ing a long soak de­hy­drates the skin be­cause your cells di­lute their own nutri­ents to try to match the low min­eral and vi­ta­min con­tent of the water in your bath­tub. “If you com­pare the skin to a sponge, you’re not try­ing to put more water on the sponge—you’re try­ing to re­in­force the ca­pac­ity of your sponge to keep the water for a longer pe­riod of time.”

5. Water-based skin­care is per­fect for warm weather.

We’re head­ing into spring, but save the wa­ter­based skin­care for af­ter the last gasps of cold, dry win­ter weather. “If it’s un­der five de­grees, it’s prob­a­bly bet­ter to use an emul­sion of oil and water or pure oil to pro­tect skin,” says Bouhadana.

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