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.