We all have had dry skin some time or other – whether is be our skin type all year round, for part of the year or be a result of using too many clay based masks or skincare containing a high percentage of alcohol. Whatever the cause may be, I’m sure we’ve all gone down the wrong & uncomfortable route of slathering on thick creams, oils and balms in desperation to solve this issue pronto. However what some people don’t realise is that skin of any type is better conditioned by gradual hydration to maintain a constant supply of it throughout the day. It’s indeed tempting to wait for a viscous moisturiser to seep into skin, but that can leave skin feeling sunken in and depleted on the inside for the most part of the day and it just isn’t a friendly approach for our pores.
To keep things straightforward, I have devised a 4 step list of ways in which you can boost skin hydration with as little fuss as possible. It’s a realistic skincare routine. The methods I will discuss do not highlight specific products to reach for, although I will link plenty of recommendations (don’t forget to take advantage of my code for any YesStyle items: ‘ EMMAM995 ‘. I will be more specific on which category of skincare to use as well as key ingredients. Please also note that these steps aren’t precisely in order of application, you may wish to add extra steps in between which you already know are suitable for caring for your dry skin personally.
💧Layer toner with you hands💧
Some years back the 7-skin method came into the limelight. K-beauty bloggers in particular favoured layering hydrating toners 3-7 times to prolong the moisture levels of dry skin in particular. The only issue being that some of these individuals failed to mention that it is very important that toners used for this method must not contain alcohol or artificial fragrance – not even a small amount! If a alcohol toner is layered several times it will have the adverse effect in which you are trying to achieve. Not only will skin become drier, it will cause irritation and sensitivity issues as you are essentially damaging/weakening the Epidermis: the surface of skin which protects the deeper layers of skin including the Dermis which shields us from environmental factors.
- Toners should be alcohol & artificial fragrance free,
- Look for toners which are advertised as ‘hydrating’ or if you have sensitive dry skin consider ‘calming’ toners,
- Apply toner with clean hands rather than with cotton pads, the warmth of your hands aid the absorption of the toner & none goes to waste,
- Opt for toners which are rich in Hyaluronic acid, propolis, honey or glycerin/glycerol.
Recommendations (all are alcohol free + for dry/sensitive dry skin types):
Secret Key – Milk Brightening Toner (most affordable for budgeting)
💧Exfoliate with 2 types of exfoliant💧
One of the most obvious signs of dry skin is flaking of the skin or rough patches. Of course applying moisturising products routinely can solve or control flaky skin, but you need to start with a cleanse base – and by this I don’t mean standard face washing nor the double cleansing method. After cleaning skin, preferably with an oil or balm or even a cream cleaner, you should aim to exfoliate twice per week or up-to three times per week if you exfoliator is gentle enough. Even complete skincare novices aren’t shy of using scrubs, so this isn’t my way of being patronising when mentioning the importance of exfoliation. Exfoliating itself doesn’t provide hydration greatly, it moreso preps skin for thorough delivery of moisture though the use of serums, etc that come thereafter.
When I have the odd spell of dry skin, I find using differing types of exfoliator being better than sticking to one religiously. By no means do I mean choosing two types of scrubs: a sugar scrub & a coffee scrub for example, I say choose one physical exfoliator & one AHA exfoliator.
- Physical exfoliators are your classics, the ones with medium-large sized exfoliating particles. Not all of them are abrasive, yet you can distinctly feel the particles within moving across your skin and in-and-out of pores whilst buffing away the dead skin cells.
- AHA chemical exfoliants are more so of the modern ‘skin-friendly’ variety and usually come as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) peeling gels. They don’t contain particles, and therefore rely on plant derived AHAs from certain fruits to ‘melt’ or break-down the keratin proteins which bind together dead skin cells on the surface of skin. There are also non-abrasive BHA & PHA peeling gels, however there are less options available.
Having these two types of exfoliants to alternate between helps maintain skin smoothness much more effectively that reaching for one type of product or formulation alone. By ‘effectiveness’ I’m not referring to how well using both types leave skin flake free, but how to do so more gently without causing skin dehydration or additional issues like damage to skin’s barrier. Trust me, repairing a skin barrier requires a lot more care than dry skin, so it’s best not to over exfoliate with physical exfoliants even if you think they are better than AHA exfoliants.
Physical exfoliator recommendations for dry skin:
Peeling Gel recommendations:
iUNIK – Lime Moisture Mild Peeling Gel (My 2nd favourite & cheap)
Mother Made – Exfoliating Aqua Peel Gel with Green Tea (My favourite & cheapest option)
🍯Add 2 Honey or Propolis skincare products into your skincare regime🍯
K-beauty brands are becoming particularly good at making honey and propolis infused skincare products. These nourishing ingredient have been around since the days of ancient skin remedies not just in Asia, but also globally – by no means are they a new discovery. Nowadays Korean Skincare brands have begun to make lighter formulas which contain these too treasured ingredients so that we can use them in warmer seasons/climates as well as in the cooler months of the year. The reason I suggest using propolis and/or honey as a source for hydration boosting is because they doubles up as an antioxidant, antiseptic, antibacterial and anti inflammatory – all of which in the long term will help fight and reverse deeper damage to skin cause by prolonged skin dryness, and reduce skin redness which is common for dry skin types.
- Use sticky and gooey honey skincare at night when there I more time for skin to absorb it (e.g. rich creams, mask, sheet masks & sleeping masks).
- Reach for more diluted honey or propolis based products during the daytime (e.g. toners, serums & mists).
Even as someone who doesn’t have dry skin, the inclusion of honey and propolis majorly made a difference in maintaining a healthy balance of skin moisture. Aside from Hyaluronic acid, no other ingredient has been of so much help, which is why I recommend it more highly that coconut infused skincare which is currently trending more than ever for dry skin.
Rich honey & propolis skincare product recommendations:
SKINFOOD – Royal Honey Propolis Enrich Essence (A K-beauty classic & my personal favourite)
iUNIK – Propolis Vitamin Sleeping Mask (Most affordable choice)
Beauty of Joseon – Glow Serum (new product with 60% propolis extract, costing less than $15/£12)
Lighter honest & propolis skincare product recommendations:
SKINFOOD – Royal Honey Essential Eye Cream (An essential for dry outer corners of eyes)
COSRX – Full Fit Propolis Light Ampoule (one of the most popular items on YesStyle)
💧Use pressed serums at least one per day💧
By switching to a pressed serums you will be supplying your skin with a more concentrated form of nourishment. By making this switch you may find you can supply your skin with plenty of hydration whilst simultaneously reducing the number of steps in your routine without ‘missing out’ on any vital nourishment, etc. You may find you don’t need to apply essence, regular serum or ampoule when using a pressed serum as it more or less combines all steps without greasiness or heaviness.
Pressed serums are relatively new, so there aren’t many options available. They can also be pricey, but what you have to remember is that they are a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 product – saving you from having to pay out for two or three separate products. A little goes a long way – a pot should last for 6-8 months depending on how frequently it’s used. I use mine only in my night routine and use a more basic serum in the daytime, but there is no harm in using pressed serums twice per day.
BLITHE – Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum (my current go-to)
I hope this post sparks your interest, & gives you some new ways to treat your dry skin. Remember to use code EMMA995 for any YesStyle purchases (pssst, they also have some great new summer products).
Disclaimer: This blog post contains some direct affiliate links & codes. Some of the products discussed or pictured are gifted items, however all opinions or tips shared are my own & have therefore not been influenced by any brand or company in association.
Social media links & contact:
(Contact for PR & sponsored writing opportunities are welcome, no spam please).