Why one moisturizer is (seriously) not enough
Sometimes choosing the right skincare products can feel a bit like a Goldilocks situation: This one’s too heavy, this one flares up my acne, this one’s not hydrating enough. It’s very rare to find a single moisturizer that’s just right.
Which is why when makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes mentioned she was a devout practitioner of multi-moisturizing, our ears instantly perked up. “Multi-moisturizing means creating your own concoction, dependent on what your skin needs,” she says, noting that different zones of the face usually need different types of product. For instance, a person can have very dry patches on their cheeks, but also struggle with a very oily T-zone. So a lightweight moisturizer may not address their dryness needs, while an intense moisturizer could increase their oiliness.
Similar to multi-masking, this multi-moisturizing allows you to create a customized approach to your skin by ditching the concept of a one-size-fits-all product and instead targeting your specific needs. “It’s about tailoring your products to you and being mindful about what your skin needs, rather than just slapping something on,” says Hughes.
Another reason multi-moisturizing works so well? Your skin, like your sparkling personality, has many different facets, so it can’t be labeled as just one thing. “The classic ‘skin typing’ of dry, oily, normal, and combination is a bit archaic,” explains Nancy Samolitis, MD, a dermatologist and co-founder of Facile, a hybrid dermatology office and skin spa in West Hollywood. “Most people do have a more complex combination that can vary depending on genetics, products they are using, or even seasonal weather changes.”
“Multi-moisturizing means creating your own concoction, dependent on what your skin needs."
Now, we’re not going to tell you that you need 15 different products in order to properly hydrate the skin. On the contrary—all you really need for a fully customized regimen is two reliable ones. How you use them is also up to you, as there are a few different approaches to try. Here are our two favorites.
The first method is face zoning, which is Hughes’s go-to trick mentioned above. In order to pinpoint the right product combo for you, you’ll first need to identify what areas need more moisture. “When you wash your face, as your skin dries some areas might feel tighter than others,” she explains. “The areas that are tighter usually need more hydration.”
When looking for products, Dr. Samolitis notes that ingredients matter just as much as texture. “Lighter moisturizing serums that contain hyaluronic acid are great for the mid-face and T-zone,” she says. “For the cheeks and around the mouth, I recommend a more emollient cream or even an oil.”
Her combination of choice is Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel and Nia24 Treatment Catalyst. Hughes’s two favorite products to use on her celebrity clients are Augustinus Bader The Cream and Weleda Skin Food. She starts by taking Skin Food and applying it along the perimeter and the high points of the face, almost like a highlighter. Once that’s blended, she gently pats the Augustinus Bader cream into the center of the face and any other areas that tend to be oilier.
"The classic ‘skin typing’ of dry, oily, normal, and combination is a bit archaic.”
If your skin is less of an oily/dry combination and more of a dry/drier situation, you could benefit from some strategic product layering. Debbi Burnes, a celebrity esthetician and founder of Sumbody skin care, uses a method on her clients that she calls “seal the deal.” She notes that a thinner oil (like squalane, rosehip, or prickly pear) actually works for all skin types. But if you find you need a little extra help, you should add a cream moisturizer into the mix.
“To seal the deal, put your oil moisturizer on first and then a cream-based moisturizer on top of it to seal the oil in,” she explains. “That way. you get all the benefits of the oil and the cream seals it in for an extra moisturizing boost.” Her Hydration Station Squalane Moisturizer is full of lightweight oils, while the Crème Fraîche Goat Milk Face Cream is packed with vitamins and fatty acids to help skin retain moisture.
So, instead of wasting time with skin cream after skin cream that don’t work, do yourself a favor and concoct a blend that will give your skin that “just right” feeling. —Megan McIntyre
Feature image by Linh Ha. Product photo by Jessica Bollaci.