Beauty Breakdown: What’s the Difference Between Hydration and Moisturization?


Despite summer weather being perfect for walks, picnics, and days at the beach, it’s no secret that all that heat exposure is doing your skin few favours. While sunlight does of course contribute Vitamin D to our bodies (and Vitamin D does lovely things for us like lowering blood pressure, improving muscle function, and even curbing our appetites), it can also dehydrate the skin, causing your skin to feel super dry and perhaps even irritated. Needless to say, then, it’s very important to keep our skin (and our bodies!) both hydrated and moisturized.

But what’s the difference between the two? What do they do, and how exactly are they working for you?

First, let’s consider the ways in which they’re similar. Both products have a high concentration of water and work to protect your skin from dryness and dehydration. Don’t forget that dehydration is the most common cause of aging skin.

Hydrating Products

Products which hydrate the skin (usually toners and masques) work to supplement water content to dehydrated skin, resulting in plump, healthy, and supple skin. These products are significantly higher in water content than moisturizers, and essentially replenish the skin’s water content. There are, of course, different intensities of hydration. Toners are perfect for everyday use and can either be sprayed or patted onto a cleansed face. Masques are a great way to treat dehydrated skin more intensively once a week as they are quite a bit stronger than toners.


A moisturizer works to keep skin soft and smooth by locking in water. Because they are usually made with fine oils, moisturizers create a thin barrier on the skin’s surface, ensuring that water does not evaporate. For dryer skin, it is best to use a thick moisturizer with a higher oil content to really lock in moisture and prevent evaporation. For oilier skin, use a moisturizer with a significantly higher water content. Many moisturizers are also oil-free.

In order to keep skin as hydrated and quenched as possible this summer, be sure to hydrate cleansed skin first with a toner, and then go on to moisturize the skin once the toner has dried. This way, the moisturizer will lock in all that hydrating action that your toner is doing for you. Also, an easy way to replenish water content in your body: drink water!

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