Moisturizers can be complicated, but they're one of the most important steps in your daily skin care routine. You have lightweight moisturizer for the summer when your skin feels extra oily, and a moisturizer for the winter when your skin is parched. But how do you know if the moisturizer you're using is best for your skin?
To begin understanding moisturizers and how they work, it's important to know exactly what they are. Moisturizers typically contain four classes of ingredients: Occlusives, that form a protective seal over the skin; humectants, that pull in water from deep skin layers; emollients, that fill in cracks and roughness between skin cells so the skin feels smooth; and barrier-repair ingredients that replace natural fats that may be missing between skin cells, helping the outer skin layer function optimally.
So, now that you know what a moisturizer is and how it works, here are a few things to take note of when applying moisturizer, to help you determine whether or not it's the right formula for you.
HOW TO TELL IF YOU'RE USING THE RIGHT MOISTURIZER
YOU SHOULDN'T BE ABLE TO FEEL IT
A good moisturizer should absorb right into the skin and relieve any tightness or dryness. It should be lightweight so you can't feel it as a distinct layer on the skin.
IT SHOULDN'T SMELL LIKE ANYTHING
Choose a moisturizer that is fragrance-free to minimize risk of irritation, and also look for one that contains SPF to help protect your skin from UV rays. If it makes your skin feel oily or appear shiny, look for another product. A good moisturizer will just melt into the skin and begin the hydration process.
IT SHOULDN'T FEEL OILY
A great moisturizer should make your skin feel hydrated, not oily. It should absorb, leaving a clean finish, and not just sit on top of the skin. It should also allow you to layer makeup on top of it without pilling up. Immediately, the skin should look plumped and fine lines should look softened if the product is truly moisturizing your skin.
With consistent use of a moisturizer, the skin barrier will be better repaired, so overall the skin should be less irritable and sensitive. Good moisturizers can also normalize oil production, meaning if you are oily in patches, they should become more even thoroughout.
IT SHOULD CONTAIN A NATURAL MOISTURIZING FACTOR
Natural moisturizing factors are molecules that help the moisturizer penetrate the outer layer of the skin and actually do the work of moisturizing. A good moisturizer should absorb quickly and not leave a greasy feeling on the skin. You want it to feel lightweight yet also hydrate the skin so that it feels supple and soft to the touch. If you have oily skin, opt for a gel formula, if you have normal skin, opt for a lotion, and if you have dry skin opt for a cream formula.