Debunking ingredients. Moisture Binders for winter skin.

Latest and greatest vs. tried and tested 

 When it comes to ingredients and “breakthroughs” in cosmeceutical skincare I have an age-old saying: “buyer beware”.

 Just because something is “new” and “groundbreaking”, doesn’t mean it is going to gazump good old tried and tested. In fact, many new cosmeceutical ingredients are a bit like startups...less than 5% survive their first year in the market!

 I often give the analogy: Does the antioxidant benefit of a blueberry ever become less valuable??? 

 Short answer: No! The benefits are tried and tested and stand the test of time and do not become outdated by novelle new scientific discoveries.

 Even I get surprised when I read about the latest trends that are sweeping the skin care industry. It’s even more shocking when you see skincare brands jump on the bandwagon without an ounce of sustainable, scientific backing. It can be distracting but I always remind myself of the big problem in skincare:

PROBLEM: The skincare industry is full of fads and full of fraud.

SOLUTION: Look for tried and tested ingredients with REAL scientific backing, that have stood the test of time and have RELIABLE REPRODUCIBLE EVIDENCE!!!

 So coming into winter, when the humidity drops, and that good old tight dry skin feeling kicks in, and are face and lips can feel like sheets of paper, let’s discuss some of the tried and tested moisture-binding ingredients (humectants), and why I use them. 

Discover the Concentrated Hydration+ here.

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid - more like hype-uronic acid. This has got to be the overpromise of the 21st century when it comes to skincare. Don’t get me wrong, HA delivers moisture, and is especially helpful when used to treat facial volume loss or scarring in the form of a cosmetic injectable. 

However topically there is very little support to show the long term water-binding effect of Hyaluronic acid in comparison to far less flashy ingredients like good old glycerin. 

Fact 1: Hyaluronic acid can bind up over 100 times is molecular weight in water

Fact 2: Its longevity is a matter of hours as it rapidly gets broken down in the skin by an enzyme known as hyaluronidase. 

Hyaluronic acid has limited long term hydrating benefits. It is therefore considered a secondary humectant, totally outweighed in water binding terms by the oldie glycerin.


This ingredient would appear in almost every moisturiser, and it works by drawing moisture to the top layers of the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (while improving your skin’s functioning). It has the capacity to biologically change and improve your skin, even after you stop using it!!!

 It's considered a primary humectant / water binder. While Hyaluronic acid is considered a secondary one to complement glycerin, not replace. It mimics the skin’s natural moisturising factors and draws water out of the atmosphere, binding it to your skin.

Medical Grade lanolin

Lanolin is one of those ingredients that everyone’s grandma has in her cabinet, and for good reason. It’s the oil derived from the wool of sheep, and anecdotally it was the solution for stretch marks and ageing for women in the Australian countryside. 

It is a healing product that delivers intense moisture and soothes even the driest, chapped skin. Its structure and function mimics that of our natural sebum. Therefore it integrates seamlessly into our skin. Its role in moisturisers is that of an occlusive, to rebuild and protect the barrier layer whilest holding moisture into the skin.

Despite old school beliefs, it won’t clog your pores. Probably because it mimics our natural sebum. In the old days there were reports of contact allergic reactions to lanolin. More sophisticated “medical grade” variants are now available, that have been purified and therefore no longer having allergic potential.

Discover the Concentrated Hydration+ here.

 The medical-grade format forms the base of the Concentrated Hydration+ and works in the routine as the final step of your night routine. Locking in the nutrients and actives from the previous steps while protecting your skin from overnight moisture loss, soothing inflammation and rebuilding your barrier layer. 

Discover the Concentrated Hydration+ here.

Shea Butter

Derived from the karite tree, it is rich in fatty acids (these are an essential part of our natural lipid system in our epidermis) and it’s precisely these fatty acids that nourish and soothe dry cracked skin. 

Like the others, it locks in moisture, and raw shea butter has a grocery list of benefits (similar to aloe vera) including treating sunburn, insect bites, dry cracked skin on the hands and feet, and even acne.

Discover the Concentrated Hydration+ here.


To simplify, these ingredients are derived from coconut oil. We have all heard of the moisturising benefits of coconut oil, however, when this ingredient is added to a moisturizer it has more of an effect on the way the product glides onto your skin. A benefit known as an emollient. All well-formulated moisturisers need a combination of emollients to enhance the feel and fill the gaps between the cells of the epidermis, humectants to hold water into the epidermis and occlusives that restore barrier function and prevent moisture loss through evaporation ( A process known as transepidermal water loss TEWL).

 So what’s the takeaway?

 Don’t forget in this world if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Never underestimate the ongoing benefits of tried and tested Versus latest and greatest in this world where the new shiny kid on the block wants to take away from the one that’s stood the test of time (and empty your wallet in the process).

 For me to invest in a “new ingredient” I want to see several years of reproducible, stable scientific evidence before I would even consider investing it into one of my formulations.