Can you tell the difference between hydration or moisturization? More than 90% of people can't!

By Kuma-san, 04 June 2022

When it comes to our daily skincare routine, many tend to confuse between hydrating and moisturizing effects. A common misconception is that they can keep their face hydrated as long as they use enough products.

However in reality, even after daily hydration, your face still feels very dry - why is that so?

After all, there is a certain difference between hydration and moisturizing.

Hydration doesn't equal to moisturization, let's take a deep dive.

1. What is hydration? What is moisturization? Are they the same?

Hydration is to inject moisture into the skin; it's like an empty bottle, where hydration serves to pour water into the bottle.

Moisturization is to lock in the moisture of the skin; it's to add a seal to lock in the moisture and prevent it from leaking out.

In the process of skin care, what we need to do is to hydrate first and then moisturize.

Both of hydration and moisturization have a common purpose to keep the skin hydrated, but hydration and moisturization function differently and complement each other to achieve the best hydration effect for your skin.  

If your skin is dry, that means your skin is lacking oil and it needs to be moisturized.

If your skin feels dull with fine lines or wrinkles, it could mean dehydrated skin, your skin lacks water and it needs to be hydrated.

Therefore, hydration and moisturizing are inseparable.

2. Required products for hydration and moisturization:

Hydration: toner/lotion to hydrate the skin

Moisturization: Serums, rich lotions and creams aids in the formation of the skin's protective film, thus tightly locking in that moisture.

Note: Masks are generally based on hydration. After applying the mask, you must remember to take care of your skin in time and moisturize thoroughly.

3. How to effectively hydrate and moisturize for my skin type?

In general, these after the basic steps you should incorporate into your skincare routine: Cleanse > Hydrate > Seal

  1. Choose mild cleansing products
  2. Use toner to hydrate
  3. (Occasionally) Appropriate selection of hydrating mask(s)
  4. Follow up with Emulsion/Serum/Cream for moisturization


You should place different focus on your hydration goals based on your skin type:

  • Oily Skin: Maintaining water and oil balance (more hydration)
  • Dry Skin: Strong hydration and strong moisturization
  • Sensitive Skin: Moisturization and soothing first
  • Combination Skin: Both moisturization and hydration

Stay tuned for our hydration and moisturization recommendations!

Other related J-Beauty articles:

Shop now