Although it may be easy to assume that having dehydrated skin is the same as dry skin, the causes of both are very different. 

Dryness is a skin type, so unfortunately you are stuck with it. Whereas dehydrated skin is a skin condition, which is a temporary reaction to things like environmental factors, diet and stress. 

We are more likely to suffer from dehydrated skin in the summer months thanks to a combination of hot weather, harsh air conditioning, and long flights to exotic locations (if we are lucky). These contributors can cause our skin to appear dull and rough and can even emphasise fine lines, which is never a good thing. 

While dry skin lacks natural oils, dehydrated skin lacks water – which is why using a product for dry skin for those who are dehydrated can end up doing more harm than good.

If your skin is naturally oily or combination, dehydration can cause skin problems that may remind you of teenage years. Not only will your skin have dry patches, it will produce more oil to combat the dryness, causing more break outs. 

​Sisley Hydra-Global Serum: £179, Harrods

This serum works on the principle that your skin has its own water cycle, so helps the skin boost its own ability to retain moisture and stay hydrated.

“All skin types can be prone to dehydration, at least occasionally. Environmental changes, stress, fatigue and ageing all affect the natural water cycle in the skin.” says Lorna Hurn from Sisley.

It has a light texture which our tester liked, as they normally find that including a serum in their skincare routine overloads the skin. It also had a pleasant scent, thanks to essential oils including lavender and marjoram.

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Clinique Moisture Surge 24hr: £24, Debenhams

These days, we expect our skincare products to be jack of all trades, including everything from SPFs to anti-ageing.

However, a growing trend towards beauty products that focus on one problem area is where Clinique’s Moisture Surge comes into its own.

This moisturiser focuses solely on restoring moisture into your skin. It has a cooling gel texture which feels soothing and absorbs quickly, so it doesn’t leave that tacky feeling on your skin that is associated with gel-based products.

This works well when dabbed on particularly dry patches just before putting on your makeup, as well as its normal use.

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Thalgo Hydra Marine 24H Gel Cream: £37.50, Feel Unique

The Thalgo range is massive in France, but remains a bit of an undiscovered gem in the UK. Popular in salons, it was one of the first companies to harness the power of the sea for skincare before it became trendy.

The range is based on the concept that the human body reflects the same water to skin ratio as the land to sea ratio of the earth (around 70 per cent) and harvests ingredients from the sea such as marine algae. 

Although the Hydra Marine Gel Cream looks quite rich in the pot, it has a light, cooling texture which glides on smoothly and makes your skin feel soft and refreshed. 

The key ingredient is the exotically named Sève Bleue des Océans, a pure marine spring water which is filtered through the rocks off the coast in Brittany. It’s infused with the minerals and vitamins including zinc.

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Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream: £70, Selfridges

The magic cream has a very rich, honey like texture which feels incredibly luxurious on your skin, the product can be used as a mask as well as a moisturiser.

This isn’t designed for daily use unless your skin is really dry, but is superb as an intensive restoring treatment. Our tester did still feel they had a heavy layer on their skin the morning after applying which needed to be wiped off, but your skin looks plump and peachy afterwards as if you’ve just had a facial.

It does take time to use, but the effort is worth – we would definitely want a pot of this waiting for us after a week away in a hot climate. It’s best as a weekly treatment or the night before a special event. 

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Goldfaden MD Plant Profusion Night Cream: £140, Space NK


Created by American dermatologist Dr Gary Goldfaden, this brand is developing a cult following. Fans of the range include Hollywood stars Kate Hudson and Drew Barrymore.

Goldfaden has used his 40 years of experience as a dermatologist to create a range which combines cutting edge developments in medical research with natural, organic, plant based ingredients. 

“Try moisturising your skin while still damp, this allows it to capture and seal in moisture. What we ingest may help to prevent dryness. Choose foods high in omega 3 fatty fats,” he says. 

The cream feels rich, but a little goes a long way – which is probably a good thing as it is on the pricey side. The morning after application, our skin felt soft and plump without any greasy residue.

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Demalogica Calm Water Gel: £44.50, Look Fantastic

Dermalogica Calm Water Gel is perfect for fighting against environmental factors like hot weather. It has a gel texture which transforms into a fluid when you apply it to the skin, feeling light and soft on your face.

It is easily absorbed without feeling sticky after, so you can use it underneath your makeup. The gel is designed to create a barrier between your skin and external irritants such as pollution – so it’s a good one for regular commuters.

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Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Milky Lotion: £30.60, John Lewis


Part of Clarins Hydra Essentiel range, this light moisturiser has the feeling and texture of an emulsion, so it feels light and doesn’t overload the skin. Unlike other products in the range, it also contains SPF15. 

Although designed for all skin types, this works best for combination – dry skin may need a richer product. Unlike the majority of products targeting oily and combination skin, this doesn’t have a gel-based texture so it applies perfectly.

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E.L.F Hydrating Bubble Mask: £14.99 Superdrug

Bubble masks were a big craze among Instagrammers recently, more for the selfie potential – as they makes you look like make you look like a giant marshmallow.

Like a lot of beauty trends at the moment, this quirky trend came from Korea. But there is a brains behind the bubbliness. 

The E.L.F. mask infuses your skin with an intense dose of oxygen, which enables the skin healing ingredients to be absorbed more effectively.

The bubbly sensation did make us feel like we had stuck our face into a shaken can of coke, but your skin feels well cleansed and softer afterwards.

It is vegan friendly and good value for money, so definitely worth a pop.

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The Verdict: Best products for dehydrated skin

Clinique’s Moisture Surge comes in at a reasonable price and is great if dehydration is your only skin issue. The only reason it isn’t our best buy was because it doesn’t contain any anti-ageing ingredients, but if you don’t have a milestone birthday coming up – it’s a great buy. 

For long-term skin goals, our favourite was the Sisley Hydra Global Serum as it works beautifully to improve the overall quality of your skin – despite the hefty price tag.

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