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What are Humectants in Skin Care and How to Use Them

January 13, 2021 // Melissa Arpino

Today let's talk about Humectants and why you can find them in most of your skincare products.

Humectants are responsible for keeping your skin healthy and happy. They're a great way to keep oily skin hydrated without adding more oil to it, along with amping up moisture in dry skin. Humectants are honestly great for all skin types because all skin types need hydration...yes, even you super oily folks!

First, let's define it: Humectants are ingredients found mainly in lotions, toners, and cleansers that work to hydrate your skin by attracting water molecules in a magnetic-like way. In scientific words, humectants are hygroscopic substances that form hydrogen bonds with water molecules. This bonding helps to moisturize your skin by drawing water from the lower cell layers, which is why it's best to apply products that are Humectant heavy to damp skin because the product will have an easier time holding on to moisture if you're providing it.

Remember, hydrating your skin and moisturizing your skin are two completely different things. Hydrating products will contain more humectants and ingredients that are going to deliver water to the cells, while moisturizing products will contain ingredients to help lock in and seal moisture, typically oil-based. Your skin needs both.

Here's a quick reminder on hydration vs. moisturization:


The absorption of moisture from the air and then infusing your cells with water to improve your skin's ability to absorb moisture and nutrients.


Trapping and locking in the moisture to build your skin's natural protective barrier and soften your skin.

The top two humectants you'll find at Stripped Beauty are Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid.


A small molecule that penetrates deep into the skin, making it great to absorb at the skin's surface.

Glycerin is one of our favorite ingredients due to its ability to increase skin hydration, relieve dryness, and its emollient properties, making it perfect for achieving super soft skin.

Hylauornic Acid

A larger molecule that sits on top of the skin, creating a hydrating layer of plump dewiness.

Hyaluronic Acid is one of those superstar ingredients that work with every skin type because your skin cells already produce Hyaluronic Acid, but this production slows down over time.

Both Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid are excellent ingredients for improving skin elasticity, softness, and suppleness.

For ultimate skin results, always follow up with a moisturizer or face oil after applying a product containing Humectants.

We always recommend applying products thinnest to thickest:







Shop the ultimate duo for soft, hydrated skin

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