How To Craft Your Perfect Moisturizing Cocktail

By Rose Griesgraber

With so many moisturizers on the market and everyone talking about different “skin types,” it can be overwhelming to try and find a simple routine to keep your skin supple. What everyone should know is that preventing dryness is key to happy skin and anti-aging. So I’m going to break it down for you, and go over a few different types of moisturizers and how they work. You can use this info to make a customized moisture routine OR use the simple one-size-fits-all routine that I lay out at the end.

The three main types of moisturizers are Occlusives, Emollients, Humectants.

Occlusives are your oils and waxes - they keep the skin moist by physically preventing water loss and forming a lipid barrier over the skin. Occlusives contain little water themselves.

Examples are: olive and mineral oils, petroleum jelly, etc.


Emollients are similar to occlusives in that they use lipids to moisturize, but they contain a great amount of water. These tend to be lotions that mirror the lipid composition of the skin and work to lubricate it, rather than create a barrier.

Examples: shea butter, cocoa butter, etc.


Humectants function quite differently from the other two kinds of moisturizers. You can think of emollient and occlusives as physical moisturizers while humectants are chemical moisturizers. Humectants attract and bind to water, therefore preventing its loss from the skin. When applied they draw water up from the deeper skin, hydrating more surface layers in the process.

Examples: hyaluronic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, glycerin.

A good skin routine should utilize a combination of these materials, to achieve the best results possible. Amazing custom moisturizer routines are possible with a little trial and error...and maybe in another blog post I’ll expand upon routines for various skin types ;)

But for now, here is an excellent general routine to try out!

In The Morning:


You don’t want a super greasy face all day, so try applying humectants in the AM. Then throughout the day if you (hopefully!) drink the recommended amount of water, the humectant will draw moisture into your skin.

At Night:

Now is the time to slather it on - you’re going to bed so embrace the emollients (or
even) the occlusives. Apply a good coat of a lipid based lotion to protect your skin
throughout the night and keep it happy and hydrated.

PS: Whatever you do, don’t forget sunscreen! There are lots of great products that combine moisturizing and UV protection. If you’re following my advice, find a product with a humectant active ingredient and a sun blocker. That way, as you reapply to fight UVs throughout the day, you reapply the humectant too!

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1 comment

I never keep UV protection in mind…thanks for this info! Super helpful

Grace June 18, 2019

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