Damp skin – how get the most out of your skincare products!

By Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

So why would I be writing an article on damp skin?! And why would you be reading it?!

Because it’s a valid and beneficial element to add to your beauty routine that will have great beneficial effects on your skin and make your skincare products work better for you!

Why damp skin?

Creating a layer of ‘damp skin’ or moisture on the surface of your skin, will enable your skincare products to absorb more effectively into the skin, giving us better hydration, a better skin appearance and more of a fresh, hydrated glow.

Basically, creating damp skin prior to product application will enhance the benefits of our products.

The Skin

The skin, as our largest organ, provides us with a waterproof barrier all over our body. This means that (most) substances can’t penetrate the skins surface or be absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin.

If we did not have this waterproof protection, our skin, would absorb water whenever it came into contact with it, and we would end up, swollen, bloated and shrivelled!

Our skin is made up of 2 main layers. The epidermis on the top which, in itself has 5 layers, and the dermis underneath. Even though the epidermis has 5 layers, it is still very thin – almost paper thin. The top couple of layers of the epidermis is where most of whatever products that we use on our skin, will sit.

Very few products, or more specifically ingredients, will not go past these very thin top layers.

Only certain substances can penetrate through the epidermis and reach the lower layer of the dermis. These substances are essential oils, some medication, and some fat soluble substances.

(Note – there may be other ingredients that penetrate into the skin – I cannot speak for all products and ingredients everywhere!)

But, just know, that most skincare we use, just sits on the surface of the skin.

While this sounds disappointing, it is actually very helpful, as we need hydration here, to keep our skin supple, protected, soft and to prevent the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

So, we need to ensure we do everything we can, to make our products work at their optimum for us, so this brings us back to the benefit of damp skin.

Lock in even more moisture, by adding HYALURONIC ACID to your routine

Damp skin solution

Applying skincare products onto damp skin will help the product absorb more effectively and help them work better for us.

By damp skin I mean damp – not wet – a very fine layer of moisture on the skins surface.

Applying skincare to very wet skin, will just result in the product taking ages to rub in, lots of wastage of product as you end up wiping it away and very little absorption.

To have a better understanding of how this all works, imagine a make-up sponge or a beauty blender. When you try to apply foundation with the sponge dry, the make-up ‘scratches’ over the skins surface. The foundation will ‘cake’ on the surface of the skin, and not blend in properly – basically it doesn’t do what it is supposed to do.

Apply a little water to the sponge – soak it and squeeze out all the excess water – to make it damp, and the foundation glides over the skin much more easily and helps it look smoother, more natural and just way better.

The skin is the same. If the skin is a little damp, products will glide over the surface more easily and absorb much more effectively and locking in an extra layer of moisture created by the toner, or mist. It’s win, win!

How to create damp skin

The most obvious choice is to splash your face with water or to leave some water residue when you wash your cleanser off, which is fine, however there is a better and more effective way.

Your toner or a facial mist spray is much more beneficial to your skin and creates a perfect damp layer on the surface of the skin before you apply further products.

In addition a toner or a facial mist will have added ingredients in them to further benefit the skin, hydrate, repair and give a glow.

Try a toner that already comes in a spray bottle – this is so easy and effective to use, or alternatively decant your toner into a spray bottle, like this one.

My favourite products to use to create damp skin;

The Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Spritz

The Organic Pharmacy Rose Facial Spritz – a delightful spray, infused with Rose Water. Rose is particularly good for the skin, as it has very good cell regenerating properties.

Avene thermal water spray – an ultra fine mist spray, that is ideal to create a ‘damp layer’ prior to skincare application. Also an ideal mist to spray throughout the day, to add hydration.

Caudalie grape water

Caudalie Grape Water – a wonderfully refreshing hydrating spray toner.

Products not to apply on damp skin

However there are some products that should not be applied to damp skin. The following products should all be applied to dry skin;

  • Acid products (AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs) – these products are thought to be absorbed quickly, so are best applied to a dry skin
  • Retinols or retinoids – while there is no specific evidence that applying a retinol product to damp skin, increases sensitivity, it is best applied to a dry skin.
  • Acne medications  – ingredients in these are designed to penetrate the skin, so are best applied to a dry skin

Products that are best applied to damp skin;

  • Water-based cleansers (mousses, gels, creams, etc.) 
  • Serums
  • Face oils
  • Moisturisers
  • Hydrating Masks

All of these products will get a boost, if a fine layer of moisture is on the skin first.

My damp skin routine!

So, its pretty simple adding the layer of damp into your routine, but if you need any more guidance, here is what I do. I like to use a toner as my ‘damp’ layer, as I’m using one anyway and you get the added benefits from the product itself.


  • Splash my face with water (I don’t think its necessary to cleanse in the morning)
  • Apply toner, either by spray or with damp cotton pads
  • Hyaluronic acid serum (I do wait a few minutes for this to absorb some)
  • Moisturiser and SPF


  • Cleanse
  • Tone – with spray
  • Facial oil
  • Facial moisturiser

By layering several products onto my damp skin, I get a huge boost of moisture, that sinks into my skin, leaving my skin fresh and hydrated throughout the day, and with plenty of moisture on the surface, to allow my skin to refresh and renew overnight.

Conclusion on damp skin

So, keep your facial mist, or your spray toner handy! Layering your products is a great way to keep all your skincare products absorbing and working more effectively, but adding that extra layer of moisture or spray in between, makes them work even harder!

These facial mists are also brilliant for carrying around with you to spray onto your skin – even over make-up – to hydrate and keep your skin fresh and glowing throughout the day.

Remember – the more hydrated a skin is, the less aged it looks!

About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist, and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years of experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, which has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.

3 thoughts on “Damp skin – how get the most out of your skincare products!”

  1. Pingback: Winter Skin - Essential Oils & Aromatherapy Products For Great Winter Skin

  2. Pingback: The Best Essential Oils For Anti-ageing Plus Skincare Routine

  3. Pingback: The Best Essential Oils For Dry Skin - 10 Oils That Work!

Comments are closed.