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From oils to emulsions, the secrets to a fully moisturized complexion, revealed.
Written By Jayme Cyk
Best Methods for Hydrating Skin | The Violet Files | Photography by Guy Aroch | @violetgrey

— PHOTOGRAPHY BY GUY AROCH FOR THE VIOLET FILES. MAKEUP BY LISA STOREY

Radiant skin can be elusive, and the greatest obstacle to attaining it is most often dehydration. The good news? A dewy face doesn’t always require a surplus of products—in most cases, a dehydrated complexion is nothing a vitamin C-charged serum or an emollient cream (plus a tall glass of filtered water) can’t cure. The trick, though, is deciphering which formula—from fluid lotions to zesty face mists—is right for you. 
Below, The Violet Files enlisted Dallas-based esthetician Rania Saleh, Chanel skin care adviser and dermatologist Dr. Amy Wechsler, and dermatologist and product developer Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas provide a taxonomy of winning moisturizers, and explain how to find your hydration hero. 
SERUMS

SKIN TYPE: All.

FOR THE WOMAN WHO...
Wants to plump up her visage. “Serum is very concentrated, so it’s going to hydrate the deeper layer of your skin,” says Saleh. “It’s like fixing a house—you have to have a foundation that’s really solid.”

HOW TO USE:
Massage onto moist skin after cleansing, day and night, for quick and deep absorption. 

LASTING BENEFITS:
“When applying a serum with hyaluronic acid, you’re going to see that your skin is plumper and more hydrated, and retains water better, because hyaluronic acid is a carbohydrate that attracts water,” explains Saleh. She also suggests using a serum infused with antioxidants like vitamins C and E.
FACE CREAMS
  
SKIN TYPE: Those with oilier skin will benefit from gel formulas; those with dry complexions, from richer creams.

FOR THE WOMAN WHO...
Luxuriates in treatment-focused creams and saves “me time” for her skin care routine. 

HOW TO USE:
Make your face cream the last step in your regimen to best keep you hydrated throughout the day, layering in SPF if your product of choice does not include sun protectors.  

LASTING BENEFITS:
Even the driest complexions emerge softened and renewed. For Alexiades-Armenakas’ 37 Extreme Actives High Performance Anti-Aging Cream, she sourced the best essential fatty acids and other non-oil, non-petroleum lipids for locking hydration into the skin. “I trademarked the term ‘one-step skin care solution,’” she says. “You don’t need to layer because it functions like a serum and it’s very matte.”
MISTS

SKIN TYPE: Dry.

FOR THE WOMAN WHO...
Requires a refreshing pick-me-up throughout the day. “Mists can be applied over everything,” says Saleh. “They also set makeup or can be used instead of a toner to give you an extra boost of hydration.”

HOW TO USE:
Spritz two or three times, 5 to 7 inches away from the face, to prep skin before applying makeup, or after to set your completed maquillage. 

LASTING BENEFITS:
Instantly revives and rejuvenates skin. Coordinate with your 4 p.m. caffeine fix. 
OILS

SKIN TYPE: Dry and mature. “If you happen to have acne, you’ll want to steer clear of the oil trend,” says Alexiades-Armenakas. “The problem is that they are very acidulous. [Oils are really for] women who are postmenopausal.” 

FOR THE WOMAN WHO...
Treats her skin as an investment and demands deep rejuvenation overnight. “The best time to use oils are in the evening, when your skin is rested and needs repair,” Saleh explains. “Oil traps in moisture and keeps it intact.”

HOW TO USE:
Apply onto skin directly before your face cream, or mix a few drops of oil with your moisturizer and apply it to clean skin for an extra boost of hydration.

LASTING BENEFITS:
Repairs and protects skin at night so it’s at its prime when the alarm sounds.
EMULSIONS & LOTIONS

SKIN TYPE: Combination to oily.

FOR THE WOMAN WHO...
Seeks a daily moisturizer with a fluid texture and quick absorption properties—especially when time is of the essence.  

HOW TO USE:
Following your serum, spread a quarter-size dollop evenly over the face to avoid looking shiny.

LASTING BENEFITS:
A hydrated yet airy complexion. For example, Chanel’s Solution 10 is geared toward sensitive skin types and contains only ten ingredients, including glycerin, shea butter, and silver needle tea to soothe skin. “Solution 10 can be used every day, one week per month, when you’re traveling, or only during times of stress,” says Wechsler. “It’s also great post-procedure or during times of hormonal change. We did extensive testing on all types of sensitivity to ensure that the product would have maximum tolerance.”

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