We need to talk: Your skin is dreadfully dry, and your skincare routine could be to blame. You surely realize your parched skin is in need of moisture, but you may not be addressing that need in the right way. Searching for the best moisturizer for dry skin isn’t enough. Your skin is calling out for a complete skincare routine for dry skin, including everything from the right cleanser to an indulgent, hydrating face mask. And we’re here to help. Below, follow along with our dry skincare routine. Your skin will be nourished before you know it.
Cleanse Away Impurities with our Best Face Wash for Dry Skin
Cleansing is an essential first step in any skincare routine. Dry skin types may be hesitant to cleanse their skin, but that’s likely tied to having used the wrong face wash in the past. If you wash your face and your skin is left feeling drier and less comfortable than it did to start with, you haven’t found a product match. With dry skin, it is important to use an ultra-gentle formula that respects your skin’s barrier.
Lightly-foaming formulas, like Ultra Facial Cleanser, will cleanse without over-drying or stripping skin of its natural oils. We recommend this formula with vitamin E and avocado oil because it’s a customer favorite that’s tested for safety and gentleness.
At night, remove makeup with Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil, then use your foaming face wash to double cleanse. This will ensure all impurities are removed, along with even the most stubborn waterproof makeup products, while leaving skin soft, supple, and replenished.
Exfoliate Dull, Dry Skin Using a Gentle Scrub
If you’ve applied moisturizers for dry skin to no avail, the problem could be that those hydrating formulas aren’t able to really reach your skin. Dead skin cells build up on skin’s surface, and beyond making skin look dull, they can block your dry skin products from absorbing into your skin and doing their jobs. That’s where exfoliation comes in. While super harsh scrubbing certainly isn’t a fit for your skin (or anyone’s, for that matter), regular exfoliation is one of our biggest dry skin tips.
There are two things to keep in mind to make this effective. First, your product. We recommend sloughing skin with Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion. It exfoliates for smoother skin while also providing a conditioning action—exactly why it’s our pick for dry skin. Once you have your scrub, the second thing to consider is frequency. Exfoliating away dead skin every day may hold some temptation, but your skin is unlikely to be able to handle it. Instead, exfoliate up to three times per week, using the formula on your face, hands, and decolletage.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: Play it safe with your skin and work up to more frequent exfoliation. If you never scrub your skin, it’s best to start with only including exfoliation in your skincare routine for dry skin once per week. After you see how your skin responds, you can build up your frequency over time.
Soothe Skin With Our Best Toner For Dry Skin
When you think of toners, your first thoughts may be of drying formulas that are meant for oily skin, but that far from accounts for all toners. Alcohol-free options can be excellent for dry skin, helping to sweep away lingering impurities and refresh and soothe skin in the process. Try Calendula Herbal Extract Toner; the soothing, alcohol-free formula is infused with calendula petals and allantoin.
Apply a Hyaluronic Acid Serum For Hydration and Radiance
A hydrating serum can help treat skin that feels tight and taut, and hyaluronic acid has earned a reputation for being a must-use ingredient for dry skin. It is capable of retaining large amounts of water, is an effective moisturizer, and can help strengthen skin’s moisture barrier. This makes using a serum with hyaluronic acid an easy choice. Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum is clinically demonstrated to double skin’s strength.* It also boosts radiance and improves resilience for healthy-looking skin.
Layer With a Face Oil For Dry Skin To Replenish Moisture
Layering the right hydrating and moisturizing formulas is our secret for dryness. Instead of relying on moisturizers for dry skin to do it all, you can strategically apply various dry skin products to give your skin what it needs. Next up is face oil. At night, use Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil. It is formulated with distilled botanical oils, including lavender essential oil, evening primrose oil, and squalane, to replenish skin overnight and leave it feeling hydrated and supple. Skin is most receptive to repairing itself from damage caused by daily aggressors while you sleep, which makes offering your skin this nighttime care key.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: You can also apply face oil during the day. Use it to boost moisture and your look at the same time by dabbing it onto the highpoints—your cheekbones, brow bones, and the bridge of your nose—of your face. The gleaming oil will act as a highlighter—no makeup needed.
Nourish The Skin Around Your Eyes—It Gets Dry, Too
Don’t forget the area around your eyes; showing it attention is a must for your skincare routine for dry skin. Our best-selling Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado moisturizes and nourishes the eye area with a burst of hydration that lasts all day long. The uniquely-concentrated, creamy formula, which contains avocado oil and shea butter, also de-puffs and brightens, addressing all your major eye area needs at once.
Lock In Hydration With a Cream or Lotion For Dry Skin
A lotion for dry skin may not be the sole step in your dry skincare routine, but it’s certainly an essential one. After applying your serum, facial oil, and eye cream, smooth on a layer of intense hydration for soft, smooth, and healthy-looking skin. Ultra Facial Cream balances even skin’s driest areas with 2.3X more moisture. It also absorbs into skin easily, thanks to its lightweight texture, so there’s no need to worry about skin veering to the opposite side of the spectrum and looking greasy.
Defend Against UV Rays With Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen
There are certain skincare steps that remain the same regardless of your skin type, and that’s the case with sunscreen. Everyone needs to use SPF to protect their skin. You can use a moisturizer that offers sun protection or finish your skincare routine with Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+. This lightweight facial sunscreen helps protect dry skin from UVA and UVB rays while also providing pollution protection against skin-damaging free radicals.
Pamper Skin With a Hydrating Face Mask
We may call this a bonus step, but a few times a week, taking a break and showing yourself self-care is non-negotiable. We recommend doing so in the form of a face mask. You can keep things super simple with an overnight mask that works while you sleep. Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask has a long-lasting hydrating formula that leaves skin looking refreshed by morning. Use it twice per week, applying it before bed post-cleansing, and proceed with your regular skincare routine in the a.m.
To give your skin a treat during the day, try Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask. The mask features both avocado oil and avocado fruit extract, which join forces as a rich and creamy formula that leaves skin softer and hydrated in just 15 minutes.** Add it to your routine three times per week and make sure to let the formula sit for 15 minutes before rinsing off and completing your dry skincare routine.
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Next: For more dry skin tips, read about How To Help Dry Skin Overnight.
*Based on a 4-week clinical study on 58 subjects tested in urban and polluted environments, using the Skin Strength Index = Composite average score of skin suppleness, plumpness, and resiliency.
**Based on a consumer perception study in the U.S. on 55 subjects, all skin types, and based on an immediate time point.