Hair & Skin | Hydration vs moisture
It is very common for people to get hydration and moisture mixed up. Yet, knowing the difference is important so as to be able to determine what you should focus on and thus to provide the right treatment.
Definition and difference
Hydration relates to water content, in other words the level of water in your skin cells or hair fiber. A dehydrated skin or damaged hair mainly lack of water. Then hydrating elements provide and hold onto water.
Moisture relates to the production of sebum. Contrary to popular belief, sebum is important because it helps to protect the skin and hair from external aggressions as well as to prevent them from drying out by creating a protective barrier. Dry hair and skin lack of oil. Then moisturizing ingredients seal the water and do not let it evaporate.
Focus on skin
Water naturally evaporates from the epidermis which dehydrates the skin. This biological process takes place so as to regulate the skin's level of water. In that case, using a simple water-based cream doesn't fully help as it only means increasing the amount of water in your skin cells but this water will go away easily. So you need a product that also contains oil. Oily substances are moisturizing because they play a protective role at the skin's surface, like a barrier that ensures the water doesn't evaporate.
In conclusion, a hydrator will increase water content while a moisturizer will seal this water. Ideally, we need both: first we hydrate, then we moisturize. Always in this order. Many face creams in the market offer a composition that combines both.
Focus on hair
Dry hair is a very common issue for curly hair because their shape prevents sebum from going all the way down to the tips. This issue also leads to a lack of hydration because then water evaporates easily. It is a never-ending cycle if we do not stop it by providing the right routine. It is the same principle as for skin: we need to increase water content (hydrate) then seal the it (moisturize).
Balance is key
When you start thinking of what would be the appropriate routine for you, keep in mind that it is a matter of balance. I personally have a combination skin but I stick to the same routine, whatever brands I use: a hydrating cream for the day and a vegetable oil for night. Don't be afraid of oils! All skin types need them for the reasons explained above.
When it comes to hair, I believe the best thing to do is to alternate between hydrating and nourishing masks. You can focus on one action only for a short period if needed.
The appropriate ingredients
I listed a bunch of hydrating ingredients you can use from your kitchen that can help you take care of your hair but it does apply to skin as well. Other hydrating ingredients you should know are:
- aloe vera
- hyaluronic acid
- rice protein
- silk protein
- black seed