TikTok's "Skin Flooding" Routine Is Exactly What My Dry Skin Needed

  • “Skin flooding” is a new skin-care trend going viral on TikTok.
  • The process involves using certain ingredients in a certain order to “flood” the skin with moisture.
  • The routine begins with a hydrating cleanser, a face mist, followed by hydrating serums, and then an emollient.

If you have dry skin, you know about flakes around the nose, dry patches that makeup always seems to cling to, and that endless “tight” feeling after washing your face. I’ve been stuck with dry, dehydrated skin my entire life, and I’m always combating it — no matter the season. When I first heard about “skin flooding,” a viral TikTok trend that promises hydrated, supple skin, my interest was immediately piqued. However, although I’m a big fan of the platform, I’m weary of trends, especially when they come to my face. After speaking with experts, and learning about the routine and what it entailed, I thought it might be worth trying.

“The concept of skin flooding is flooding your skin with moisturizing products in a particular order to provide a deeper level of hydration,” Melissa Wilson, director of education at Woodhouse Spas, previously told POPSUGAR. Typically, a skin flooding routine begins with a hydrating cleanser, followed by a hydrating facial mist, partnered with hydrating serums and then a moisturizer.

Azza Halim, MD, board-certified multi-specialist physician, previously told POPSUGAR that the goal of skin flooding is to achieve better absorption of products, which in turn will boost skin’s elasticity. Applying products while skin is still damp allows for better absorption, which is why using a hydrating facial mist is important.

The other key is making sure you apply your products in a particular order — there’s a science to this trend, after all. After cleansing and misting, the first serum should include hyaluronic acid, which plumps the skin and holds onto the moisture. The second serum should be something with niacinamide, which calms inflammation and also helps skin retain moisture. Then, finish with the emollient, aka your moisturizer.

I’m typically a vitamin C serum, moisturizer, and SPF person, so I was a bit nervous about switching things up, but my dry skin had gotten so bothersome that I was willing to try anything. I committed to flooding my skin for two weeks — and by the end of it, I was completely sold.

In the morning, I started out by washing my face using my typical face wash, the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($15). This is one of the only products that doesn’t leave my skin feeling stripped or tight and dry after use, so it’s a staple in my household. Next, I spritzed the R.e.m. beauty Mist Thing Calming Face Mist ($24) all over my face until it was damp to the touch. From there, I applied three drops of the Alphascience HA Booster Serum ($105) directly to my skin, followed by a few drops of the La Roche Posay 10% Pure Niacinamide Serum ($40). Once those absorbed, I sealed everything off with the most hydrating moisturizer I own, the La Mer Moisturizing Soft Cream ($200).

At night, if I was feeling really dry, I would complete the previous steps with the addition of Aquaphor ($16), which I slathered all over my face until my skin resembled a freshly waxed bowling ball.

In addition to being dry, my skin is also sensitive and acne-prone, so I was nervous about adding two new serums into my routine at once (let alone Aquaphor), but surprisingly, I didn’t run into any issues with breakouts. Instead, what I noticed was way more hydrated skin, and the complete disappearance of dry flakes — even around my nose, which has been a notoriously difficult area for me to keep moisturized. Plus, after adding the niacinamide into my routine, I noticed that my skin looked less red on a daily basis, which was an unanticipated but welcome effect.

Overall, the state of my complexion has improved so much since I started skin flooding that I can’t imagine how I ever lived without doing it.

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