Storytime: a little over one month ago, I was laying in bed, nursing my baby, on my phone, and stopped in my tracks when Dr. Stefani Kappel’s reel popped up about how if you have dry skin or want to hydrate your skin, oils are NOT the way.
As an oil connoisseur and someone with super dry skin, I was shook.
Could the oils I had been using all these years not have been serving me?!
Nope, they probably have not been. And they might not be serving you, either.
In case you’re curious, here is the reel to see for yourself. It makes so.much.sense. If you want to hydrate your body, you drink water. The same concept goes for your skin cells. They will not plump up from an oil application. I thought, DUH! It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out lol. Here I was, having shared so many oils here on this blog, and on social media for YEARS. I was passionate about my oils. I had tried nearly every kind of oil meant for the face and body.
So, what did I do after watching that mind-blowing reel? I did my research. And then I replaced my oils with other products. I tested for about a month. And now….I am a believer from experience that if you want to really hydrate your skin, you need to use a water-based product(s).
I am proud to say that I’ve unlearned what I thought I knew about the basics of skincare hydration.
Here is what I learned on this oil to water skincare transformation…
It’s pretty obvious when a product is labeled ‘oil’ in the name, but when you’re trying to avoid oils and are searching for a serum or moisturizer, it takes a little more digging.
What’s the difference between a water and an oil based moisturizer?
Products that are water-based will list either water or aqua, or even aloe as the first ingredient(s) on the list. Glycerin, amino acid, peptides, urea, and/or hyaluronic acid near the top of the ingredient list are also great ingredients to look for as they are humectants, which slow water from evaporating and therefore keep your skin hydrated.
If the first ingredient in a product is oil, such as jojoba oil, for example, it is an oil-based moisturizer.
The science of dehydration and hydration
Dry skin is different than being dehydrated, and the difference is that dry skin produces less sebum (oil) than normal. Sebum serves as a barrier to the skin. Dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of water, not a lack of oil. Dehydrated skin can be caused due to a poor diet (as your body needs amino acids, sufficient water intake, etc), from excessive sun exposure, or incorrect product use. When your skin is dehydrated, it actually tries to compensate by producing more oil which can result in your skin looking flaky AND oily at the same time.
Oils will only sit on top of your skin while water-based products can be absorbed in to your skin… which is why many oil-based products feel greasy until you wash them off.
A personalized approach to skincare
The short answer is that using all oil based products to moisturize is not a good idea because the oil will only serve as a barrier. So regardless of if you are planning to use an oil or not, make sure that you incorporate a product that serves to hydrate.
Skincare is a totally personal thing – and if you’re not sure where to start, try testing out different kinds of products to see what works best for you.
My skin is dry, which is why I had used oils all these years…I thought I was doing my skin a favor. Turns out, I wasn’t. I can tell that my skin is so much happier now that I’ve nixed all oils except for my oil cleanser to remove my makeup at night. My skin is softer, less textured, more moisturized at all times of the day, and I have smaller pores after just a month of not using oils on my face.
A fabulous water-based moisturizer
I had my work cut out for me to replace my skincare products that were oil based…which was most of them. I’m still perfecting my morning and night time routine and I will share the full routines when I have them ‘down’ but for now, I have to share the moisturizer that I LOVE. When I started looking for a new moisturizer, I knew it had to be water-based, but I also wanted it to contain hyaluronic acid, be ‘clean’, and cruelty-free.
Enter Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer. An advanced facial moisturizer that brings an incredible sensorial experience while delivering weightless, water-light hydration. It feels like you have nothing on your skin, yet it’s incredibly hydrating…even for me, with dry skin. The packaging explains that the electrolyte-spiked hydration replenishes skin’s water content above and below its surface. It’s also paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free, fragrance-free, oil-free, and silicone-free.
There you have it! I would love to hear your thoughts on water-based products vs oils? Tell me all the things.