How to Find the Best Moisturizer and Why it Matters

How to Find the Best Moisturizer and Why it Matters

Choosing the right moisturizer is a pivotal step in crafting an effective skincare regimen tailored to your unique needs. A moisturizer serves as a foundational element, locking in hydration and safeguarding the skin's barrier. No matter what your skin type is, or skin concerns are, finding the right moisturizer takes just a few steps and it starts here.
applying moisturizer

Why Moisturizers Support Skin

With an array of options available, understanding your skin type, concerns, and the ingredients that work together with your skin is crucial. A well-chosen moisturizer not only hydrates but also complements other skincare products, ensuring a custom routine that works for your skin.

All moisturizers rely on the presence of Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF), a collection of ingredients that mimic the skin’s natural moisture barrier, which helps to keep the skin hydrated. These include amino acids, Sodium lactate, urea and hyaluronic acid.

Now, what’s the difference between hydration and moisturization? Although they might sound the same, hydration and moisturization actually have distinct differences. When we talk about hydration, we’re talking about increasing the water levels within the skin using humectants like glycerin,hyaluronic acid, urea and beta glucan. Moisturization on the other hand refers to supplying the skin with both hydration (increased water levels) and lipids to help prevent water from leaving the skin. Common examples of lipids used in skincare are triglycerides, ceramides and fatty acids. We refer to them as emollients, which is the collective term given to oil-loving molecules that help hold water in to smooth and soften skin.

A Closer Look at our NMF Formulas

At the Ordinary, we offer three different moisturizers, or as we call them, NMF formulas, a collection of ingredients that mimic the skin’s natural moisture barrier. All three support moisturization (an immediate and long-term hydration boost), are non-comedogenic, meaning they should not clog pores, and offer barrier support. Identifying the right one, comes down to your skin type, and skin concern needs.

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
Good for all skin types, this moisturizer works with your skin to support its natural hydration barrier, and provides both immediate and lasting effects, making it a great option for a variety of users. This cream formula is our original surface hydrator that keeps the outer layer of your skin protected and well-hydrated, without feeling greasy.

Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides
This moisturizer is our richest formula yet. It immediately boosts skin hydration, helps strengthen the skin barrier, and offers all-day hydration. It contains nearly four times the level of moisturizing emollients, and twice more hydrating humectants than our Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA formula. Users across all skin types can use this product, but may be especially suited for dry skin.

Natural Moisturizing Factors + Beta Glucan
Our first gel moisturizer and due to its lightweight gel texture, it may be especially suited to oily and combination skin. This lightweight formula strengthens the skin barrier after one application and barrier support is maintained throughout the day. This formula provides topical delivery of natural moisturizing factors, ceramides and beta glucan. Beta glucans are sugar-based molecules found in grains, bacteria, yeasts and fungi. The Ordinary sources its Beta Glucan from Reishi mushrooms, which have over 400 active biomolecules inside, and have been investigated for a wide range of benefits.
moisturizer swatches

How to Add NMFs Into Your Regimen

Layering moisturizers into your skincare regimen is an important step to support the skin barrier. Think of a regimen as having 3 steps: Prep, Treat, and Seal. All of our Natural Moisturizing Factors fall into the Seal step where we lock in the benefits of our treatments.

Apply a small amount after your serums, oils, or other Treat products but before layering on your SPF. Learn more about how to build a skincare regimen here..

Some key hints and tips when layering in new products into your regimen:
  • “Pilling” can be caused by many different reasons such as the amount of product being applied or the products being used. Some formulas may just not layer well together. To reduce the chances of pilling, we recommend applying less product than you think and allowing it to fully absorb before applying the next one.
  • Patch testing can be a way to help ensure that your skin is compatible with the new products before fully incorporating them into your routine. Patch-testing is not fool-proof, and you can still experience a reaction, but there are some additional steps to try and ensure you have the best chance for success with your new products. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to perform a patch test.

Other Tips to Support Skin Moisturization

Aside from finding the right moisturizer for your skin, here are some other helpful tips for soothing dry skin:

  • Use warm water instead of hot water.
  • When applying your moisturizer, pat or gently sweep.
  • Apply moisturizer to damp skin, rather than dry skin to help with water retention.
  • Use gentle, fragrance-free products.
  • Apply moisturizer throughout the day, when needed.

Moisturization Matters

Adding moisturizers to your skincare regimen is key because they help maintain skin hydration, protect against environmental stressors, support a healthy skin barrier, and can address specific skin concerns, ultimately promoting a supple, radiant complexion and overall skin health. Explore The Ordinary’s range of Natural Moisturizing Factors to find the right one for you and your skin.