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How to Hydrate Your Skin

For people with dry, combination or mature skin types, hydrating skin can seem like a never-ending struggle. When the default state of skin is a rough texture and dry appearance, achieving soft, bouncy and radiant complexions often feels fleeting.

How to Hydrate Your Skin

Skin hydration refers to moisture balance. A few core components make up skin moisture – including sebum, ceramides, water content and lipids. Promoting and supplementing these properties is key to hydrated skin. Fortunately, a supportive and gentle skincare routine can help with this!

Read on to discover the signs and causes of dry skin, and how to hydrate skin with Kiehl’s plant-powered formulas.

What is dry skin?

Some skin types are naturally prone to dryness due to a reduced amount of protective lipids (oils) produced by the body. However, there are also lifestyle and environmental factors that can cause impact skin hydration.

A common lifestyle factor is over-cleansing and the use of harsh skincare ingredients. Overuse can damage the skin’s natural protective barrier (called the skin moisture barrier) and hinder its ability to retain surface moisture.

Weather and climate control systems are also common stressors, which is why dry skin is more apparent in winter. The air has less moisture in colder seasons and heaters work to further dry out air indoors, making it hard for skin to draw in hydration.

Difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin

Though often used interchangeably, dry skin and dehydrated skin are two different things. Dry skin refers to a lack of sebum (our natural oil) in skin’s layers, whereas dehydrated skin occurs through a lack of water. Hydrated skin has healthy water content and sebum levels, resulting in soft and radiant complexions.

Ingredients that promote skin hydration

A consistent skincare routine and positive habits promote healthy levels of moisture. Ingredients which fit into the humectant (water attracting), or emollient (water retaining) category are especially effective at locking in hydration and protecting skin moisture barrier strength. See which ingredients help to hydrate skin and retain moisture for consistently bright complexions.


Squalane is a plant-derived ingredient that mimics the skin’s natural lipids (oils). Squalane replicates the moisturising effect of squalene (with an ‘e’), a natural skin lipid that works to keep the surface layer of the skin hydrated. Squalane-enriched products help to supplement decreasing natural production – in terms of how to hydrate ageing skin, we recommend implementing this ingredient.

Hyaluronic acid

The past few years have seen hyaluronic acid take the skincare world by storm. Does hyaluronic acid hydrate skin? A powerful humectant, hyaluronic acid attracts water molecules to the skin’s surface. It’s estimated that hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water, helping the skin’s surface to re-plump and hydrate.


Glycerin is often used in moisturising skincare and for good reason. Similar to hyaluronic acid, glycerin is a humectant ingredient that attracts water particles to the skin’s surface. Glycerin is often derived from plants or vegetables, and can help to maintain hydrated skin throughout the day.

Lactic acid

Lactic acid offers a rare combination of chemical exfoliation and hydration. Lactic acid’s chemical exfoliant function helps support skin hydration by sloughing away dry, dull surface level skin that can hinder product penetration to the deeper layers of the epidermis.

Kiehl’s skincare for hydrated skin

Kiehl’s plant-powered products help to mimic skin’s natural moisture properties and are supportive without overwhelming skin. If you’ve noticed an uptick in dryness or typically find it tricky to maintain the feeling and look of hydrated skin, nourishing steps can be implemented into your routine. See our picks for hydrating skin below.

Ultra Facial Cream

Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane provides 24-hour hydration in a non-greasy formula. This daily step is enriched with nourishing squalane and glycerin for intense hydration and moisture. Suitable across all seasons including winter, our #1 moisturiser balances hydration and can be used on all skin types (including sensitive). To hydrate skin, apply a coin-sized amount in the morning or overnight as needed.

Avocado Nourishing Hydrating Mask

Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask supports skin which feels rough and looks flaky. Avocado fruit extract, primrose oil and avocado oil benefits skin hydration by providing intense moisture and sealing it in. After cleansing, apply a visible layer over your entire face. Use up to three times a week and be sure to rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Daily reviving concentrate

Daily Reviving Concentrate is a lightweight antioxidant facial oil enriched with ginger root, tamanu and sunflower oils to help maintain radiant skin all day. As an oil formula, the concentrate provides an emollient barrier to seal in moisture on the skin’s surface. Apply by patting several drops over the entire face each morning, after cleansing and applying serums. For enhanced skin hydration, pair this concentrate with our Midnight Recovery Concentrate in the evening.

Other tips for how to hydrate your skin

Supportive skincare formulas are one component of healthy skin hydration. To maintain optimal levels of moisture, we recommend integrating healthy lifestyle habits into your daily routine. Alongside hydrating skin products, you can support skin in the following ways:

·       Avoid high temperature water. Using hot water to cleanser or wash your face can stress skin and cause dryness, alongside redness in skin and discomfort. For bright and soft skin, use lukewarm water to support your skincare routine.

·       Protect skin with SPF. Especially in Australia, UV radiation is one of the biggest motivators of skin stress. By applying sunscreen as the last step of your skincare routine you’ll help protect against UVA/UVB.

·       Follow a healthy diet. Optimal water intake and a nutrient-rich diet promotes body health – including in skin! Alongside this, a healthy sleep schedule will promote fresh complexions.

Found this article helpful? Discover how to get glass skin next.

View our full skincare range to find products tailored to your skin concerns, from dryness to congestion.


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