Skincare 101

How to Choose a Moisturizer

Choosing a moisturizer can be complicated. Despite being one of the most basic steps to your skincare routine, they have become anything but. Filled to the brim in fancy ingredients, sensorial experiences and other bells and whistles, there’s so much to consider beyond even the basic finish, texture, and occlusivity level your unique needs may crave. 

It’s a lot. So where do you even start?

Start at...

The core purpose
The core purpose of a moisturizer is to moisturize. And the reason moisturization is important is because moisturizers (1) create a barrier on your skin that keeps moisture (aka the water and oil in your skin) from escaping, (2) keep harmful external stressors from causing dryness or irritation, (3) and treat already dry and/or irritated skin¹. (Source 1: Mayo Clinic)

From there, assess and address any skin concerns that you may have. Do you suffer from dry skin, fungal acne, oily skin? Depending on that, what your skin may need or doesn’t need to achieve an optimal state can be determined. 

Things to consider and remember:

  1. Whatever your skin condition or concern at the moment is, your goal should be to balance those conditions and bring your skin into a healthy and zen state, where it can regulate and largely take care of itself. Skincare products, like a good moisturizer, can help you get there but remember...they are simply products helping you get there.

  2. Your moisturizer (and any other skincare product, really) should (1) do what it’s supposed to, like moisturize, and (2) do no harm to your skin.

    If you’re struggling to figure out what’s best for your skin and need a place to start, we recommend starting with a basic af moisturizer that you know is completely safe for your skin and fits your moisture craving levels. Then from there, if (and only if!) your skin needs it, identify any extra cravings your skin may be calling for to add in. If not, stick to some good old-fashioned hydration and say goodbye to over-complicated routines.

    Sometimes it’s just about the simple things in life, and moisturizer can be one of them.

  3. Ingredients are obviously very important - there’s no arguing that, however, it’s not all black and white when it comes to this. There’s a lot more to a product, then what’s on the back of it’s label.

    There are a variety of factors and conditions that go into formulating a product, like the quality of the ingredients, the technology behind the formula, how the ingredients in the formula offset and compliment each other, and how all of that comes together to ultimately impact your skin.

    Make sure to do your homework and know the facts, so that you can make the best decision for your skin and your skin’s health.

    Bonus point: doing your homework on how a product may work for you, also, sets you up to be a more conscious and intentional consumer, which is a win-win-win (!) for your skin, wallet and the environment 😉.

  4. The state of your skin and the concerns you want to address will largely determine what you want to look for in your moisturizer, such as, the water and oil content (how it moisturizes), the viscosity/occlusivity (how much it locks in), and, of course, the ingredients they are formulated to ensure its safety for your skin.

So, to give you a little head start on your research. If your skin is:

Dry

Dry skin means your skin is lacking in oil production. So if you suffer from dry skin, you may benefit from heavier, oil-based moisturizers as they are better at preventing the moisture evaporate from your skin. If you don’t love the feeling of a super occlusive moisturizer or are only dry seasonally, consider adding an oil into your routine.

Dehydrated 

Dehydrated skin means your skin is lacking in water content. Dehydrated skin can indicate a compromised skin/moisture barrier, in which, one can experience an easy escape of hydration in your skin (aka trans-epidermal water loss aka TEWL). Look for humectant-rich and skin-barrier repairing ingredients, like glycerin, sodium pca, honey, ceramides, or cholesterol, in your moisturizer and skincare, and be sure to not further weaken your barrier by over-cleansing and over-exfoliating. 

Oily/Acne-Prone

If you’ve read any of our Acne Series blog posts, you know that the oil aka the sebum found on your skin serves a purpose. It’s your skin’s way of naturally providing moisture and, commonly, an overproduction of it can indicate that you are stripping your skin too much (like from over-cleansing) and not providing it enough moisture. If this is your concern, you may benefit from a lightweight, gel type moisturizer that contain sebum-regulating ingredients like niacinamide, or oils with higher linoleic acid content like rosehip oil.  

Sensitive

If you suffer from sensitive skin, you should first and foremost avoid moisturizers with any added fragrance as this can quickly irritate your skin. Choose a super basic moisturizer with calming ingredients like oat extract (😉), niacinamide or honey that will help soothe your skin and do it no harm. 

Fungal Acne-Prone

If you suffer from fungal acne, you should avoid oils and fatty acids in your moisturizer like Lauric, Palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic acid or fermented ingredients like galactomyces, and instead look for ingredients with antifungal properties like honey, propolis extract, green tea extract, or salicylic acid. Hot tip: make sure to not over-moisturize your face during hot weather because fungi love humidity, and this can support their growth. 

We’re all about giving you the full picture, so that’s why we’re providing you with some info on what to look for, as well as what to avoid. But, again, keep in mind that your skin is smart, and it knows how to take care of itself when it’s in a healthy state. The best thing you can do for your skin is do it no harm. So, before you click out of here and go on a rampage to find the perfect moisturizer based on the above - take a second and pause. Remember that the only thing your moisturizer really needs is to provide moisture. Listen to your skin, do it no harm, and only give it what it’s craving.

Relevant features mentioned in this blog post:

To read more about how weather may affect your skin’s condition, check out our blog post: Change in Weather = Change in Skincare.

For more tips and ingredient recommendations for a compromised skin barrier, check out or blog posts on Skin Barrier 101 and TEWL.

For more tips and ingredient recommendations for oily and acne-prone skin, check out our Acne Series: Skincare Routine for Acne-Prone Skin and Fives Rules to Control Your Oily Skin

Skincare 101

All the skincare basics covering routines, skin concerns, ingredients, and more.

Skin Barrier 101

Skin Barrier 101

Your Uncomplicated Guide to Skincare

Your Uncomplicated Guide to Skincare

All About Antioxidants

All About Antioxidants

Supplementary Skincare for Your Skin Concern

Supplementary Skincare for Your Skin Concern

How to Choose a Cleanser

How to Choose a Cleanser

Ingredient Series: Oats

Ingredient Series: Oats

How to Choose a Moisturizer

How to Choose a Moisturizer

10 Skincare Myths Debunked

10 Skincare Myths Debunked

Five Rules to Control Your Oily Skin

Five Rules to Control Your Oily Skin

10 Skincare Mistakes That Make Your Acne Worse & Sensitize Your Skin

10 Skincare Mistakes That Make Your Acne Worse & Sensitize Your Skin

What's The Difference: Whiteheads, Milia, Fungal Acne?

What's The Difference: Whiteheads, Milia, Fungal Acne?

Acne Skincare Ingredients 101: All you need to know about best acne-fighting ingredients

Acne Skincare Ingredients 101: All you need to know about best acne-fighting ingredients

Does My Skin Get Used to Products?

Does My Skin Get Used to Products?

Should I Refrigerate My Skincare?

Should I Refrigerate My Skincare?

Ingredient Series: Rosehip Oil

Ingredient Series: Rosehip Oil

The REAL Talk On Silicones

The REAL Talk On Silicones

Image Source: http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Calophyllum_antillanum

Ingredient Series: Tamanu Oil

Ingredient Series: Ceramides

Ingredient Series: Ceramides

Ingredient Series: Get to Know Niacinamide

Ingredient Series: Get to Know Niacinamide

Ingredient Series: Natural Moisturizing Factors

Ingredient Series: Natural Moisturizing Factors

Ingredient Series: Retinoids to the Rescue

Ingredient Series: Retinoids to the Rescue

Image Source: https://overthemoon.com/beauty/prevent-post-workout-breakouts-skin/

New Year, New Me: Pre and Post Gym Skincare

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/Br5v0fsh5-n/

Ingredient Series: Skin Brightening Ingredients to Target Hyperpigmentation & Sun Spots

Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BrAclsKF691/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1jicj9np03q09

Ingredient Series: Vitamin C

Image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BobwZsqgMAt/

Ingredient Series: The Chemical Exfoliators, AHA and BHA

Image Source: https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/why-humidify-and-which-type-of-humidifier-is-best

Ingredient Series: Hello Humectants!

Ingredient Series: Oils, why do we need them?

Ingredient Series: Oils, why do we need them?

Winter Series: What is Eczema?

Winter Series: What is Eczema?

Winter Series: Guide to Choosing Winter Skincare

Winter Series: Guide to Choosing Winter Skincare

image source: https://www.instagram.com/beawuty/

Change in Weather = Change in Skincare

Acne Series: PIH, PIE, and Acne Scars

Acne Series: PIH, PIE, and Acne Scars

Acne series: Skincare Routine for Acne-prone Skin, THE REAL GUIDE.

Acne series: Skincare Routine for Acne-prone Skin, THE REAL GUIDE.

Acne Series: Fungal Acne

Acne Series: Fungal Acne

Acne Series: Causes and Solutions

Acne Series: Causes and Solutions

Acne Series: Demystifying Acne

Acne Series: Demystifying Acne

A Love Letter to All Your Beautiful Faces

A Love Letter to All Your Beautiful Faces

Height of Summer: Post-Sun, Beach, & Travel Care

Height of Summer: Post-Sun, Beach, & Travel Care

Height of Summer: TEWL

Height of Summer: TEWL

How to Manage Summer Breakouts

How to Manage Summer Breakouts

Skin Myths: Fact or Fiction?

Skin Myths: Fact or Fiction?

The Relationship Guide: Skin + Body

The Relationship Guide: Skin + Body

Let's Ditch "Skin Types"

Let's Ditch "Skin Types"

A Food Guide to Healthy Skin

A Food Guide to Healthy Skin

Out of office: In-Flight Skincare Tips

Out of office: In-Flight Skincare Tips

Why Your Acne Products Aren't Working

Why Your Acne Products Aren't Working

Essential Oils in Skincare : Are they sensitizing your skin?

Essential Oils in Skincare : Are they sensitizing your skin?

The Cheapest & Most Effective Skincare: How to Repair Your Skin Barrier

The Cheapest & Most Effective Skincare: How to Repair Your Skin Barrier