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Hydrating vs. Moisturising: A Quick Guide to Healthy Skin

Hydrating vs. Moisturising: A Quick Guide to Healthy Skin

Ever wondered why your skin sometimes feels dry and lacklustre despite your skincare efforts? The secret lies in understanding the fundamental difference between hydrating and moisturising.

While many people use these terms interchangeably, they actually refer to different things. Hydrating goes beyond the surface, replenishing your skin's water content, while moisturising seals in precious moisture to keep your skin supple.

Let's break it all down for you and provide tips on how to keep your skin hydrated and moisturised for a long-lasting healthy glow.

What is Hydration?

Hydration is all about giving your skin the water it craves. It's like quenching your skin's thirst from within. Think of it as sipping water on a hot day – it keeps your skin plump, fresh, and resilient by maintaining its natural moisture balance. 

The question arises: how to keep your skin hydrated? Some ways to achieve this are by drinking sufficient water and using hydrating serums and hyaluronic acid products. Additionally, incorporating a gentle hydrating facewash into your skincare routine can help preserve hydration by cleansing without moisture loss, leaving your skin radiant and supple.

What is Moisturisation?

Moisturisation, on the other hand, is like putting on a cosy blanket. It locks in the moisture already in your skin, preventing it from escaping into the dry air. Moisturiser forms a protective barrier, keeping your skin smooth, comfortable, and nourished

Some ways to achieve this are through face creams, body lotions, shea butter, petroleum jelly, and occlusive ointments.

Key Differences Between Hydrating and Moisturising

Understanding the contrast between hydrating vs. moisturising is essential for maintaining healthy and nourished skin. Let's delve into the key differences between hydrating and moisturising:





Hydration focuses on infusing water into the skin, restoring its moisture balance from within. 

Moisturisation entails creating a protective barrier on the skin's surface to prevent moisture loss.

Type of Skin

All skin types benefit from hydration, as water is essential for every skin's vitality.

Moisturisation is especially beneficial for dry, sensitive, or mature skin that struggles to retain moisture.


Hydration improves skin's elasticity, flushes out toxins, and promotes a fresh, radiant complexion.

Moisturisation soothes and softens the skin, reducing dryness and flakiness, and preventing environmental damage.


Hydrating products often contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, attracting and holding water in the skin.

Moisturisers typically include emollients, humectants, and occlusives, forming a barrier to seal in existing moisture and protect the skin.


Hydration improves the skin's natural processes and aids in better absorption of other skincare products.

Moisturisation addresses specific concerns like anti-ageing, calming irritation, or providing a smoother makeup application.

Is your skin dehydrated or dry?

In the pursuit of understanding hydrating vs. moisturising, it’s important to understand whether your skin is dehydrated or dry - meaning, does it crave hydration or moisturisation?

Dehydrated skin lacks water, often appearing dull and feeling tight. It can happen to any skin type when your skin's thirsty for hydration. Dry skin, on the other hand, doesn't produce enough natural oils to lock in moisture, leading to flakiness and discomfort. If your skin feels rough and itchy, it might be dry. Remember, dehydrated skin needs a drink of water, while dry skin needs a good dose of nourishing oils.

How to Pick the Right Hydrator and Moisturiser?

Selecting the ideal hydrator and moisturiser is easy. For hydration, go for products with hyaluronic acid or glycerin, as they attract water to the skin and look for jojoba oil which can help prevent moisture loss. Whereas to moisturise, opt for creams with rich emollients like vitamin E, shea butter or oils like coconut oil, creating a protective barrier. 

Speaking of choices, NIVEA has you covered with creams and body lotions designed to deeply moisturise, hydrate, and nourish your skin. Whether you're seeking to satisfy your skin's thirst for hydration or to strengthen its moisture barrier, NIVEA offers solutions for both needs, guaranteeing the well-being and contentment of your skin.

Start your day with the refreshing NIVEA Aloe Vera Gel Body Lotion, designed to quench parched skin and keep it hydrated under the sun with its non-sticky, fast-absorbing formula.

 For a delightful twist, embrace the rejuvenating power of the NIVEA Soft Scents Playful Peach Moisturising Cream, offering a burst of freshness and nutrients that invigorate your skin. 

Try them today and keep your skin fortified, replenished, and naturally poised for whatever comes your way.

Hydrating vs. Moisturising - The Right Tips & Tricks

Here are some simple yet essential tips to master the art of nourishing your skin from within and locking in that much-needed moisture:

1. Water, Water, Water

Sip water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out.

2. Ingredient Check

Look for skincare products with hyaluronic acid and glycerin to boost your skin's water content.

3. Secure the Moisture

Apply a rich moisturiser with soothing ingredients like shea butter or oils to seal moisture and prevent dryness.

4. Can't Forget Sun Protection

Shield your skin from harmful UV rays by using sunscreen, a vital step for skin health.

5. Gentle Cleansing

Use a mild cleanser to avoid stripping your skin of natural oils, helping to maintain its moisture balance.

6. Consistency is Vital

Stick to a regular skincare routine that includes both hydration and moisturisation for long-lasting results.

The Takeaway

As you navigate the path to healthier skin, the difference between hydrating and moisturising becomes your guiding light. This journey doesn't involve picking one over the other; it's about combining both for your skin's utmost wellness. Adopt hydration's refreshing benefits, the rejuvenating touch of moisturisation, and the synergy they create. So, take this newfound knowledge, celebrate the difference, and revel in the beauty of skin that's truly taken care of.


1. Do you hydrate or moisturise first?

Hydrate before moisturising to ensure water reaches your skin's deeper layers.

2. What is the difference between a moisturiser and a hydrator?

A moisturiser seals in existing moisture, while a hydrator boosts your skin’s water content.

3. How can I make my skin hydrating?

Keep your skin hydrated by drinking water, using hydrating products with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, and avoiding harsh cleansers.
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