Study Reveals the Exact Method to Keep Your Skin Hydrated Longer.

We're getting incredibly close to the dryest time of the year....winter.  Every year I suffer through the discomfort of dealing with excessively dry skin.  But, this year, things will be different.  I'm already planning a detailed strategy way ahead of time.  And, thanks to the findings of a recent study, I just may have another way to keep my skin's moisture levels exactly where they need to be.

If you aren't doing so already, chances are that you'll be layering products this winter in order to experience maximum hydration levels.  Layering products is great but is it the most effective technique?

This study was conducted by a group of Chinese researchers and involved 20 female participants.  The women were divided into groups and were given various skin moisturizing routines to execute.  Here is a rundown of the various options:

C Group // Were directed to moisturize using a cream only
T Group // Asked to moisturize using toner only.
C+T, T+C Group // Applied cream then toner or toner then cream.
C-T Group // Applied cream moisturizer then toner every 2 hours
C-S Group // Applied cream moisturizer then sprayed water on the skin every 2 hours.
T-T Group // Applied toner to skin every 2 hours
Untreated Group

The skin was then evaluated for retained moisture levels 2,4,6, and 8 hours post application.  When compared to the untreated area of the skin, every group experienced an increase in moisture levels. 

But which combination helped the skin to retain the most hydration?

Before I reveal the most effective method, can you guess which method produced the least impressive results?  If you guessed the toner only group, you are correct!  Obviously, toner hydrates the skin upon contact but can't help sustain moisture levels on the skin for long durations of time.  My theory is that its watery texture is mostly absorbed leaving only traces of product behind.

The group that applied a cream moisturizer then rehydrated using a mineral water spray every two hours didn't fare much better than the toner only group.  This group experienced an initial spike of moisture but started losing moisture quickly at the 4, 6, and 8-hour mark.  I suspect that the water quickly evaporated, drying out the skin.  I used to be a huge fan of water sprays like Evian but after realizing that they can strip away moisture, I quickly diverted my attention to facial sprays with moisturizing ingredients included.  In this study, the group that used plain water spray seemed to lose the benefit of the moisturizer applied hours before.  If you absolutely have to use water to hydrate, be sure to layer moisture ON TOP so that water isn't the only product sitting on the outer most layer of the skin.

The group that combined cream and toner (in no particular order) both performed well.  They ranked the 3rd highest in overall moisture retention. This speaks to the value of layering products versus using cream alone.  I'm assuming that the participants used a hydrating toner which adds water and humectants to the skin prior to layering on a cream to further seal in the moisture.  I've been raving about the wonders of hydrating toners for years.  My favorites include Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion Missha's Essense and (most recently) La Mer's Treatment Lotion (expensive and amazing).

In 2nd place is the group that was instructed to apply (hydrating) toner to the skin every 2 hours.  This group started out with lower moisture levels than their peers who used a cream moisturizer.  But because of their consistent application, they were able to build the skin's moisture levels over the span of 8 hours.

The group that outshined in this experiment were the ladies who basically remoisturized their skin with cream and toner every two hours.  I know this might sound a bit excessive (and maybe it is) but one has to wonder if certain situations call for this level action.  For example, if you live in extremely cold climates with crazy low humidity, this might make sense.

There's also another reason why one might do this.  It just so happens that I came across the regimen of a celebrity who has used this method for years as part of her anti-aging strategy.  She's over the age of 50 and hasn't aged a bit.  I'll share exactly who this person is along with her other beauty secrets in my next article.


  1. so you apply cream first and then toner is that right?

    1. I typically apply toner first then seal with moisturizer, but according to the survey, the order applied didn't make much difference in overall moisture retention.

  2. this is really interesting. it really brings me back to the infamous korean skin care regimen that sort of prides itself on many layers/steps. Quenched skin is happy and healthy, and many skin creams and SPFs tell you to reapply anyway. I just dont know anyone who actually does it

    The only drawback would be for those of us who where make up. I have oil skin that is slightly less oily during the winter (ha) and so I really love how lasting my make up is with less fighting against it. And so reapplying anything is just not possible. maybe on days where I dont go anywhere... but would if be effective then?

    1. This would be tougher to execute if you wear makeup. My suggestion would be to experiment with powder foundations that give coverage (if you need). Or, if you have great skin, you can just reapply concealer as needed after moisturizing. can reapply moisturizer where you need it most. For instance, when I test my skin's moisture levels, my forehead always gives a lower reading than my cheeks. It's also where I notice fine lines. So I might moisturize that area only if I don't want to disturb the rest of my makeup.

  3. I just may have another way to keep my skin's moisture perfect because of this product cerave moisturizing cream. Thank you for a great review.


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