Moisturize Vs Hydrate: Which does YOUR skin need?

February 02, 2021
Our Sweet Molly


Balms, creams, serums, oils, toners, lotions, butters....

So many options for dry, sallow, dehydrated skin.

But why does one facial balm seem to work so well for moisturizing your naturally dry skin, and then all of a sudden, it feels like oil sitting on top of a paper bag?!?

Or why does your favorite lotion work so well on your usually oily skin, and then one day, your face starts peeling like an ashy lizard?

It definitely makes it difficult to decide which type of product is best to use, and especially WHEN to use it, when it works one month and not the next.

What gives?

The answer lies within the problem: it tells on itself.

Here's the secret:

Your body is so smart and amazing.

It is made up of mostly water, which gives the skin plumpness and hydration, and even creates its own oil, which becomes a moisture barrier that traps water into the cells and softens the surface, and makes you utterly glowingly beautiful.

But, if your body gets dehydrated internally, it creates a demand for water that must be met. Your skin will begin to look sallow, dull, and feel tight. Fine lines and wrinkles are the tell-tale sign of internal dehydration. 

In this case, skin care products that are oil -based, like balms, heavy serums and thicker creams will feel like oil on a paper bag because they aren't adding needed water to the problem, only a thicker oil barrier that won't properly absorb. 

Conversely, your body may respond to dehydration by creating breaks in the moisture barrier, allowing your body's natural lipids to leak to the surface. At this point, the dehydration takes on a topical manifestation: lack of moisture. The tell-tale signs of a moisture barrier breach: Dry or peeling skin, ashy or crepey texture.

In this case, skin care products that are water-based, like lotions, hydrosols and toners will evaporate quickly because there is no functioning moisture barrier to hold the water under the topical layers of the skin.


The best way to know which type of product to use is to ask yourself:

  • Does my skin look dull or wrinkly? (hydrator needed)
  • Does it feel tight? (hydrator needed)
  • Is it dry on the surface? (moisturizer needed)
  • Is it peeling? (moisturizer needed)
  • When I apply my balm, does it hang out on the surface and not absorb? (hydrator needed)
  • When I apply my lotion or hydrosol, does my skin feel dry or peeling? (moisturizer needed)
  • Does it leave a white line when I slightly scratch my face? (moisturizer needed)
  • Do I have redness that resembles windburn after I wash my face? (Both hydrator and moisturizer)

The best way to know if a product is a hydrator or moisturizer is to ask yourself this:

Will the product disperse or dissolve in a glass of water?

If you took a lightweight lotion or facial cream and added a bit into a glass of water, and swirled it around a bit, it would disperse relatively easily. 

If you poured a hydrosol or some glycerin into a glass of water, it would disperse into the mixture without a sign of separation. 

These are water-based products. They give added HYDRATION.

If you took a facial balm, butter or an oil based serum and added it to water, it would float to the top and not disperse.

These are oil-based products. They give MOISTURIZATION.

When addressing these issues (or ANY issues, Spirit, Soul or Body, for that matter), always work from the inside out:

Drink water. Eat Oil. Apply water. Apply oil. Insides first. Outsides next.

Water first, Oil second. Hydration first. Moisturize second.

These principles are eternal and powerful, and I have much to say on the matter, but I won't digress on this platform. :) You can catch me at for these conversations.


Now that we have that settled, I'm about to make life a thousand times (or at least one time daily) easier...

With Savvy Bohème, you don't have to even THINK about any of this, because I already did. 

I love to make things very complex for myself so that I can see all the parts...and then I make it very simple for YOU so you don't have to have all the steps.

Here's what you are going to do:

Every day, after you wash your face with our African Black Soap and Bisous Pour Tous Facial Exfoliant combo, you're gonna rinse your face and lightly pat it dry.

THEN, you'll take your Raven's Balm, and

you'll add a splash of water to the small dollop of the Balm in your palm (!!!!)

Apply the water/balm mixture to your skin and massage lovingly, joyously into your skin, knowing that you'll never, ever have to try to calibrate a hydration/ moisturization regime into your life because THIS WILL DO IT FOR YOU, FOREVER. 

I's so simple.

You're welcome.

I love you.


Come and Get It.