While they say nothing is certain but death and taxes, there's one other thing that's for sure around this time of year: You can never really have enough hydration. The dry, cold climate combined with office radiators cranking at full blast wreak havoc on our skin. When it comes to moisturizers, your first instinct might be to slather on more to get the hydration your skin craves. However, this season we're all about slathering on smarter with an innovative water cream that's perfect for the winter months. We chatted with the pros below on what exactly a water cream is, why it's so effective, and how you can easily incorporate it into your routine.
What is a water cream and what makes it different from other moisturizers?
"Water creams are H2O-based, but that's not necessarily what makes them specialmost moisturizers contain water," says Dr. Heidi Waldorf, associate clinical professor in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. "The key ingredient in any moisturizer is a humectant to pull water in like a sponge," she says. A standout water cream could feature a humectant like hyaluronic acid, which provides moisture and suppleness to the skin.
What is hyaluronic acid and what makes it a star ingredient?
"Hyaluronic acid is a powerful ingredient that has the ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It's biologically something we all have in the foundation of our skin, which makes it safe and supereffective," says Dr. Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology Group. "It also means water cream is great for all skin types. Since it's non-comedogenic and not oil-based, it's perfect for acne-prone, oily, and sensitive skin. Plus, the lightweight consistency makes it fantastic for dry skin since it's so hydrating, but doesn't feel sticky or heavy."
Speaking of texture, what does a water cream feel like on your skin?
"Water cream almost has a jelly-like consistency, but won't leave skin sticky to the touch," says Dr. Nazarian. "It absorbs pretty quickly and you don't need very much product to get full coveragea little bit goes a long way."
Are there benefits to the gel-like texture versus heavier, thicker creams?
"I think there's a misconception that you have to swap out your lighter summer moisturizers for thicker, goopier ones to get hydration in the winter. Skin is a breathable organ and needs to be able to have contact with the environment to regulate itself. For instance, if you're going to occlude it with super-thick lotions, you're blocking your sweat glands since there's too much product clogging up your pores. So a lightweight water cream gives you that vital hydration your skin craves, without the need to add heavy layers of product," says Dr. Nazarian.
Is it oil-free?
"Yes! Oil and water don't mix since oil is hydrophobic. If you're going to put on a face oil, it's better to use as a secondary product. Wait for the water cream to fully absorb for a few minutes and then pat on your face oil if you want extra moisture," says Dr. Nazarian.
How long does the hydration from a water cream last?
"Every time you wash your face or do something that strips the natural oils from your skin, like working out, you'll want to add a fresh layer of water cream. But in general, twice a dayin the morning and eveningshould be all it takes to get long-lasting moisture," says Dr. Nazarian.
Ready to introduce this game-changer into your skincare routine? We love Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream, which not only contains two forms of hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate skin, but also papaya enzymes to reduce the appearance of dark spots and illuminate your complexion.