6 Natural humectants for beautiful skin

Moisturization and keeping a healthy amount of water in your skin is key to good skincare. Keeping your skin hydrated can be achieved by adding natural humectants to your skincare routine. We all want soft supple skin that makes us looks dewy and young. Humectants can help you get that. You might be using natural humectants on your skin without knowing it, this article looks at some every day and not so everyday natural humectants for skin that you can use in your skincare routine.

What are humectants?

Humectants are ingredients or products that draw moisture from the environment and into your skin. They do this by binding themselves to the water in the air and allowing the water molecules to penetrate the skin. This gives you a beautiful, supple and dewy skin. Note that humectants won’t work well in dry environments.

There is a difference between hydration and moisturisation. Hydration is when water enters your cells filling them with water and plumping them up. Moisturisation happens when you add a layer of product over the water to ensure the water does not evaporate.

You should start off with hydration. When you hydrate the skin you should use a humectant. When your skin is in need of moisturization picking a heavy cream is the way to go. Alternatively, you can use an oil, oils offer added nutrients to the skin.

Natural humectants for the skin:


This is something that’s probably already in your pantry or easy to get at the store. Honey has a variety of amazing skin benefits, that is why it’s used in many DIY skincare products. One of the amazing benefits of honey is that it’s an effective humectant.

Another reason why it’s great in skincare products is that it contains AHA’s (alpha-hydroxy acids). These acids encourage the removal of the top layer of skin, like an exfoliator. This allows moisturizers to penetrate the skin properly. It’s also self-preserving so it won’t go bad if it’s left in your pantry for long.


This is a humectant that can be found in a variety of serums. It is a lesser-known humectant but it is just as effective as the more known options on the market. It derives from a variety of plants including seaweed, algae and berries. Sorbitol is a good humectant but you need to be aware that if you are in a dry area it can draw moisture from your skin into the atmosphere.


Some people add this to their moisturizers and it really helps keep the skin moisturized and soft. It’s fragrance-free, has no colour and is widely available to the public. This is a well-loved glycerin.

In addition to being able to bring water into your skin, this product can aid in healthy skin cell function. There are both natural and synthetic varieties of glycerine depending on your needs and wants. Note: don’t apply too much because it can quickly make you feel sticky.

Hyaluronic acid

This is a widely used ingredient in products, and despite its chemical-sounding name this ingredient is totally natural and safe to use. It’s usually found in many anti-ageing serums. Making the skin look more youthful and tight. This is a well-loved hyaluronic acid.

The rate at which it can hold onto moisture and bring that moisture into the skin depends on the amount of humidity in the environment. I have an article on how hyaluronic acid is good for oily skin right here. Though this acid is great for all skin types.

Aloe Vera

You can get this product in a variety of forms, either the liquid or the gel. Both do the job well. The aloe vera molecules combine with the water molecules and deeply penetrate the skin. Aloe vera penetrates deeper than many of the other humectants on the market. It’s an easily accessible product and can be used on both the skin and the hair. This is a well-loved aloe vera spray.


Other names given to this ingredient are hydrolysed wheat or rice protein.

This product is a humectant and can help with the regeneration of cells in your body. This is beneficial to use when you are looking to deal with the signs of ageing. You can find this ingredient in creams and lotions usually. This is also a great humectant because it still works when there is not much humidity in the air.

Something to consider:

When you’re using a humectant you will need to use other products such as emollients and occlusives to ensure that the moisturization you just applied is locked in as much as possible

Emollients: Emollients are created to help make the skin smoother and softer. They fit in the spaces between the skin cells filling up the cracks. After you use emollients your skin will feel smoother.

Occlusives: These are products that protect the skin from losing moisture, they protect by creating a lipid barrier on the skin. This lipid barrier prevents the water from escaping. If too much water leaves the skin the skin will dry out, this can result in premature ageing. Note that this is not a moisturiser and you will need to apply a moisturizer beforehand

Does aloe vera contain hyaluronic acid?

No aloe vera does not contain hyaluronic acid. Aloe vera does contain minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants.

Hyaluronic acid is one of the molecules that our body naturally produces. It can be found in the skin cells of the body as well as in connective tissue. This product can also be synthetically created in labs so we can use it on a mass scale.

These two ingredients work well when used together. If you can find a moisturiser that contains both aloe vera and hyaluronic acid you’re in luck. The two will complement each other as they are both extremely hydrating on the skin

Which oils are humectants?

There is no oil humectant. Humectants draw water from the environment, penetrate your skin and deposit the water into the deeper layers of your skin filling the cells with water and thus hydrating them. Oils do not do this, they cannot attract water to themselves.

What oils can do is keep the hydration locked in the skin. Water molecules can exit your skin as quickly as they can enter so they need something to prevent them from escaping, oils prevent escape. Oils create a barrier between your skin and the environment preventing evaporation of the water thus keeping your skin hydrated and softer for longer.

Which oil is good for face?

Oils are good at sealing in moisture and delivering nutrients to the skin. The answer to the question “which oil is good for the face” depends on what skin type you have. For example, drier skin types can use a more comedogenic oil because these oils won’t clog the pores like they would for oily skin types. These are the oils you can use for your skin type:

Oily/ combination skin: Grapeseed oil, if you already have oily skin you need an oil that will help regulate the oil on your skin not make it worse. Grapeseed oil can do that for you. This is a well-loved grapeseed oil

Dry/ normal skin: Olive oil, if you have this skin type you’ll need an oil that really moisturises your skin and softens it up, this oil will do just that. This is a well-loved olive oil

Sensitive skin: Calamine has been used to help people relax and get to sleep, this oil is great at helping to calm your skin as well.

Acne skin: Tea tree oil, this is an astringent oil so it will help to regulate sebum production on the skin while nourishing the skin as well. This is a well-loved tea tree oil

To heal the skin: Black currant oil, if you’ve been out in the sun for too long or you’ve had some rounds of laser testament and you need help with the skin healing process then black currant oil is the oil for you. This is a well-loved black currant oil

Is Vaseline a humectant?

No Vaseline is not a humectant. Vaseline works just like oil does, as an occlusive. It won’t add any moisture to your skin but it is great at sealing moisture into your skin. It’s a great product to use on your skin because it does not contain any irritating ingredients that can cause a reaction on your skin.

To use simply apply your favourite humectant or hydrating moisturiser then apply a thin layer of Vaseline on your skin. The Vaseline will help lock in all the hydration and won’t clog your pores.

What foods help dry skin?

If you have dry skin and you want to keep the skin hydrated from the inside out there are a few foods that help to keep your skin soft a supple. Instead of forking out a whole lot of money on expensive lotions and creams you can choose to eat your way to soft skin. These foods will significantly help with your dry skin:

Fish: Fish offers a number of nutritional benefits and it’s good for your skin as well. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout and tuna contain high levels of omega 3 fatty acids. These do a wonderful job at strengthening your skins moisture barrier making sure it doesn’t dry up

Oysters: Another win if you like seafood! Oysters contain high levels of zinc, the more zinc you consume the more collagen your skin will create. Collagen keeps your skin elastic and prevents drying

Avocado: These offer good fats to the body, this is due to the high amount of vitamin e, monosaturated fats and antioxidants. All these essential  nutrients help to keep moisture in your skin keeping your skin from drying out

Sweet potatoes: If you want something more hearty to help keep your skin moisturised sweet potatoes are a good choice. The body converts beta cretonne from this food into vitamin A. The vitamin A keeps moisture locked in your skin making sure your skin does not become dry

Cucumbers: Many vegetables that are rich in water contain the compound silica. Silica is essential in helping to increase moisture levels in your skin. This increase in moisture also leads to skin elasticity and this prevents dry skin.

Is Rosewater a humectant?

No rosewater is not a humectant, the rosewater molecules do not attract water to them and bring water into the skin. That being said, rosewater has other benefits that are great for your skin. Rosewater is a lightweight product that can penetrate deep into your skin to deliver the nutrients your skin needs, the rosewater also treats the skin. Here are some rosewater benefits:

Contains antioxidants: rosewater contains antioxidants which help to fight dangerous free radicals

Acne fighting: rosewater is antimicrobial, it will kill off any acne-causing bacteria on your skin that cause further pimples.

Antiinflammatory: if you have any redness, itchiness or generally inflamed skin rosewater will help calm your skin and soothe the redness and irritation.

Softens the skin: rosewater will give your skin an added boost of hydration and moisture helping to keep your skin from getting dry.

Slows down ageing: the drier your skin looks the older you look, babies skin looks much fresher and younger because it is so hydrated and moisturised. Keeping your skin hydrated with rosewater will keep you looking younger for longer.

Has astringent properties: this isn’t the type of astringent that dries your skin out, quite the opposite, the rosewater will help to reduce the appearance of large pores

Maintains ph:  you may have noticed that some people use rosewater as a toner, rosewater is able to maintain the natural ph of the skin making it a great toner

How do I hydrate my skin overnight?

If you want to hydrate your skin overnight you can use an overnight mask. These masks work overnight to provide hydration to the skin as you sleep. They are applied before you go to bed in the evening and need to be washed off when you wake up in the mornings.

Overnight masks offer deep hydration and moisturisation. Your skin loses lots of water when you sleep at night, these masks help to replenish the water levels.

They hydrate by creating a permeable cover on your face. This allows for your other products to enter deep into the skin without quickly evaporating later. This is an effective overnight mask

How can I hydrate my skin fast?

The best way to rehydrate your skin fast is by using a hydrating sheet mask. In just 15 minutes these face masks can take your skin from dry and dull-looking to hydrated, radiant and glowing.

The fibre, paper or gel masks are soaked in hydrating serums which usually contain a potent formulation of ingredients.  The mask gets rid of redness, faking, rough patches, flaking and dry skin in general. Some masks can also help to rebuild your skins natural moisture barrier. A good mask to use is the MEDIHEAL Intensive Hydrating Mask

How do you increase collagen naturally?

You can increase the rate at which your body produces collagen by eating more of the foods that your body needs to produce collagen. This entails eating food that is rich in amino acids, vitamin c, zinc and copper.

Amino acids: You can increase your intake of amino acids by eating foods such as eggs, dairy, beef, fish milk and other dairy products.

Vitamin C: To increase the vitamin C in your body your diet has to be rich in foods such as red and green peppers, tomatoes, and greens, broccoli and citrus fruits.

Copper: copper can be found in foods such as nuts, meats, whole grains and beans

Supplements: if you feel the need to, you can take supplements to supplement your diet and deliver the nutrients and minerals you need for your body to be able to produce the collagen you want.

I hope you enjoyed this article looking at natural humectants for the skin. If you enjoyed this article please share it.

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