The Ultimate (Derm-Approved) Routine For Dry Skin
Is anyone else tired of having dry AF skin? Sometimes it can feel as if winter’s never going to end and we’re SO over the icy temps wreaking havoc on our skin. We’ve curated the ultimate skincare routine for dry skin so you can kiss those scales goodbye and say hello to plump and glowing skin.
We reached out to some of the world’s leading dermatologists for their top tips; Dr. Dennis Gross, Founder of the Dr. Dennis Gross skincare line, Dr.Timm Golueke, creator of skincare brand Royal Fern, and celeb dermatologist Dr. Colbert, who’s responsible for Sienna Miller and Naomi Watts’ radiant skin. Here’s our step-by-step guide to hydrate even the thirstiest skin:
What dry skin looks like: Dry skin is often dull, especially around the eyes, accentuating fine lines and wrinkles. If your skin is dry, your pores will most likely be small and barely visible (yay for you!). Your skin might feel tight and rough; it may even chap. Although, if your skin is extremely flakey, your skin may be prone to skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis.
Why your skin is dry: Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture in the corneous layer, which also makes your pores less visible due to the lack of sebum. The lack of moisture also means that your skin loses its natural elasticity, which is why it feels tight.
How To Treat Dry Skin
Step 1: Cleanse
Cleansing is an integral step in any regime; you just need to find the right formula for your skin type. If you have dry skin, you should stay clear of foam or dry cleansers as these will dry out your skin. We’re obsessed with oil-based cleansers as they provide a more gentle cleanse, without blocking your pores. To lock in moisture, opt for cleansing oils that are high in amino acids, essential fatty acids, and natural vitamins like vitamin A or C as these will really nourish and replenish your skin.
Cleansing balms are another great option for thirsty skin as they’re extremely nourishing. Plus, a lot of cleansing balms don’t require water, you can simply massage them in and wipe off the excess, which is ideal for dry skin as it’ll help you avoid stripping your skin. Dr. Colbert explains; “you mustn’t over wash dry skin because it upsets the natural skin barrier that holds in moisture and protects the delicate equilibrium between dry and oily.” Dr. Timm Golueke, recommends “the Royal Fern Cleansing Balm, $85, as it has cucumber extract.” We also love the Kora Organics Noni Glow Face Balm, $30, as it contains coconut and rosehip extracts to seal in moisture and boost radiance.
At night: At night, we’d recommend double cleansing – our go-to K-beauty ritual. If you’re a regular on HudaBeauty.com, you’ll be familiar with the transformative powers of double cleansing, aka cleansing twice. First with cleansing oil, and then – for dry skin – with a cream, oil or milk cleanser. This will ensure that all of the dirt, oil, and bacteria are removed from your skin.
We recommend: The Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Oil with Coconut and Argan Oils, $16, as it’s super rich and will not strip the skin of any natural oils. If you want to splash out, the Tatcha Pure One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, $48, is one of our faves and contains antioxidant and vitamin-rich Camellia oil, to brighten and revitalize the skin.
Step 2: Tone
Dry skin types need to be super picky when choosing a toner. The right toner will restore the skin’s pH balance, provide a deeper cleanse, and help tighten pores. However, the wrong toner could further dry and irritate your skin. Dr. Dennis Gross says you have to “Avoid alcohol-based toners and look for products that include hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.” Alcohol is an astringent (so are witch hazel and apple cider vinegar), which means it constricts the skin and can be too harsh on your skin. We love formulas with naturally hydrating ingredients like green tea, cucumber, glycerin, oat kernel, aloe vera, and rose water.
We recommend: Mario Basescu’s Aloe Vera Toner, $15, is super gentle on the skin and leaves the skin feeling hydrated rather than tight; it’s also alcohol-free which is essential! Another fave of ours is LUSH’s Eau Roma Water, $11, which is specially formulated for dry and sensitive skin, containing lavender and rose to help treat redness and irritation. For a serious hit of hydration, try the Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner, $40, which has a sensorial gel-like texture that you can pat into the skin for maximum effect – it’s also packed with aloe, and are fave vitamin-rich superfoods.
Step 3: Apply A Serum
While a serum may not be an essential step, it’ll take your routine to the next level. Plus, there are now so many affordable serums that are seriously dope. Serums offer a higher concentration of active ingredients and have a smaller molecular structure, so the potent ingredients can work their magic at a deeper level and make more of an impact.
We recommend: The beauty world is currently dying over the Body Shop’s Drops of Youth, $38, which is super hydrating. But be careful, it’s super potent, so you only need a small amount; 2-3 small drops is enough for your entire face, neck, and decolletage. The Beauty Pie Japanfusion Deep Treatment Serum, $9, is another affordable option bursting with antioxidants to give you extra glowy skin.
Step 4: Moisturize
It kinda goes without saying that if you have dry skin, you need to moisturize, and the richer the formula, the better. Look for products that contain antioxidants, grape seed oil or panthenol as they can retain moisture for up to 12 hours and prevent moisture loss. Also, keep in mind: the higher the oil content, the greater the absorption through the skin, so your skin will be hydrated at a deeper level.
We recommend: Drunk Elephant’s Protini Polypeptide Cream, $75, is packed with nourishing essential oils to leave your skin feeling silky smooth. Chia seeds are another amazing ingredient for moisturizing the skin, and we love the moisture-rich Chia Seed collection from The Face Shop; check out the full range here. Embryolisse Filaderme Emulsion, $33, is also great as it contains mega-hydrators; shea butter, aloe vera, and squalene, which give an omega-rich surge of hydration that’ll boost levels of elasticity in the skin. Read the full review here.
Step 5: Use A Face Oil
Face oils are especially effective for dry skin, as they’re lipophilic, which means they have a smaller molecular structure and can penetrate the skin further, allowing your skin to retain hydration at a much deeper level.
We recommend: The Ren Skincare Rose 012 Moisture Defence Oil, $80, is a cult fave and contains a potent combination of rose oil, safflower oil, ximenia oil, and cranberry seed oil, which will help repair the skin’s natural barrier and revitalize the skin. The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, $10, is an amazingly affordable option, while the Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil, $50, is also a great option as it’s rich in omegas and fatty acids to soften and save dry skin. Typically, we’d only suggest using a face oil at night to avoid midday shine, but with dry skin, you can use oil in the morning, especially during the winter months.
Top tip: When you’re applying a facial oil, make sure you warm up the oil in your hands first to activate the ingredients. Then gently massage and pat the oil into your skin.
Daily Essential: SPF
We can’t stress how important it is to use SPF on a daily basis. But for dry skin, it’s even more important, as sun damage can dry out your skin further and heighten sensitivity. Sun damage will also deepen fine lines and wrinkles as well as dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
We recommend: The Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment SPF 30, $52, is perfect as it’s infused with minerals that’ll sooth the skin, while it also corrects redness and helps to even skin tone. Another cult classic that’ll heal and replenish the skin while protecting it from sun damage is the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen, $32, as it contains antioxidant-rich shea butter and meadowfoam.
Extra Steps To Fix Dry Skin
Just because you have dry skin, doesn’t mean you should skip exfoliation. Dr. Gross explains; “With dry skin, it’s important to exfoliate because it can lead to clogged pores, but stay away from scrub cleansers as they can be too harsh on dry skin. Exfoliation allows for better penetration of the hydrating ingredients your skin needs. Look for products that contain alpha and beta hydroxy acids.” Also, as your skin is more sensitive, exfoliating once or twice a week is plenty!
We recommend: The First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, $32, contain both lactic and glycolic acid so they’ll tone, exfoliate, and help shed any dead skin that’s sitting on the surface making your skin look dull. Plus, they’re alcohol and fragrance-free and contain soothing ingredients like cucumber and antioxidant-rich Indian gooseberry. The Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic, $15, is also suited for dry skin as it contains AHAs like glycolic acid and moisturizing ingredients like ginseng and aloe vera.
Use A Sleeping Mask
Sleeping masks are our latest beauty obsession for getting soft, hydrated skin overnight. When you’re in a deep sleep, your skin naturally repairs because your skin’s metabolism improves, thereby boosting skin cell regeneration. By using a sleeping mask, you’ll enhance this regeneration process, by giving it all the nutrients and hydration it needs, while also protecting it from dirt or bacteria. It should be the last step in your nighttime routine, and to ensure that the product doesn’t transfer onto your pillow, apply it 10 minutes before you sleep. We suggest using a sleeping mask two to three times a week during the summer and every other night in the winter.
We recommend: Our current fave is the Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask, $45, which has a creamy consistency and locks in moisture all night long. We also like the Laneige Water Sleeping mask, $25, as it contains antioxidant-rich, brightening ingredients like apricot and primrose extract.
Extra Tips For Dry Skin
Don’t let your skin air dry: Dr. Colbert explains that “Evaporation further dries the skin,” and although he says that “water on the skin is fine,” you should “pat off water and then seal in the surface water with a face oil, like the COLBERT MD Illumino Face Oil, $150.”
Shower 101: Dr. Gross shares his skin saving shower rituals; “After a shower or bath, keep the bathroom door closed to preserve the steam. Gently towel dry your body and apply moisturizer to skin that is saturated. Skip hot baths and showers and choose cleansers that don’t completely strip the skin of its natural oils. Also, try adding bath oils to a bath to make it less stripping.”
Avoid soaps: Dr. Colbert explains, “Soaps have a special molecule that finds oils and strips them from the skin. We need our natural oils for retaining moisture,” so make sure you never use soaps.
Avoid harsh ingredients: According to Dr.Timm Golueke, you should “Avoid using products that contain harsh or strong ingredients. These include products that have high percentages of vitamin C, fruit acids, and retinol.”
Let us know what skincare concern you would like us to write about in the comments below.