Raise your hand if you use the words hydrating and moisturising interchangeably. Yes, a lot of us do that all the time.

When it comes to the beauty industry, there are a lot of terms to be learned. And the biggest culprits we’ve noticed falling into this category are the words 'hydrate' and 'moisturise'. While they both address the importance of nourishing our skin, they should not be treated as the same thing.

Which is why we've put together a simple guide detailing the difference between the two, to ensure that you get optimum benefits out of both.

Dry versus dehydrated skin - is there a difference?


The term 'dehydrated' is used to describe lack of water, while the term 'dry' loosely translates to lack of oil. Hence, dehydrated skin needs to be hydrated (as it lacks water), and dry skin needs to be moisturised (as it lacks oil).


Hydrating adds moisture to the skin

Hydrating adds moisture to the skin

If there’s one thing that Korean skincare has taught us is that hydrating makes all the difference when it comes to healthy and glowy skin.

Hydration refers to the amount of water in the skin. And hydrators are products formulated with special ingredients to increase the water content of the skin.

And what are these special ingredients? Humectants. Humectants absorb moisture from the environment and deliver it down to the skin’s layers, facilitating hydration. Glycerin and honey are some great examples.

Therefore, hydration replenishes all the water that the skin has lost and adds some more for good measure.

So, up the water content of your skin by incorporating a hydrator into your daily routine and drinking enough water. A water-based daily cream like the Lakmé Absolute Skin Gloss Gel Crème hydrates the skin deeply while lending it a moisturised finish all through the day. Not only will doing so help your skin regain its proper moisture balance, but will also increase the powers of your moisturiser.


Moisturising locks moisture into the skin

Moisturising locks moisture into the skin

Hydration is a like a glass of water for your skin. It doesn’t matter how many glasses your skin drinks every day, if there’s nothing keeping this water in, it’ll evaporate, leaving your skin dry.

Enter moisturising. Moisturising forms a barrier on the skin that locks water in so it can’t run away anymore and works towards retaining what moisture is present on the skin at the time of application. By forming a protective seal on the skin’s surface, moisturisers are able to reduce the risk of the evaporation throughout the day.

Hence, moisturising is non-negotiable (even if your skin is oily). For oily skin, choose a gel based moisturiser but for dry skin choose something that intensely hydrates like the Lakmé Absolute Argan Oil Radiance Oil-in-Crème but if you have combination skin, use a mix of two creams.

Long story short...

Hydrating is about infusing the skin with a waterfall of moisture, while moisturising is about locking that moisture behind bars and making it stay there.

What your skin needs

But you may ask if both moisturisers and hydrators provide our skin with moisture, how do we know which of the two our skin needs?

Well, the answer is both.

Dehydrated skin that is moisturised will still look dull and feel uncomfortably tight, without receiving hydration. And dry skin that is hydrated but not moisturised will still flake and have a rough texture. So, you need to stock up on both hydrators and moisturisers, or products that offer a combination of them together.

And that says it!

Hydrators and moisturisers are not just synonyms written on products as part of a clever marketing scheme, to make you buy more than you need. They really do have a purpose of their own and together, keep the skin looking plump and happy.