Skin Flooding: Benefits of This Buzzy Beauty Trend (and How to Try It!)

Claire Porter - The Upside Blog |

by | Updated: July 1st, 2023 | Read time: 5 minutes

Has a full day in the sun left your cheeks a bit pink? Though summer’s temperatures aren’t as harsh on your skin as winter’s tend to be, you may also find yourself going outdoors more often, exposing yourself to the drying and damaging effects of the sun’s rays. Plus, camping trips, bonfires, fishing expeditions, hikes, sports activities and gardening can all take a toll on your pores. But you can keep your complexion in check during any season by trying the latest beauty trend – skin flooding!

Woman Practicing Skin Flooding Applying Beauty Products to Skin

Not as hazardous as tipping over your canoe or discovering a leak in our fishing boat, skin flooding is essentially layering your most moisturizing and least irritating skin products from thinnest to thickest, allowing moisture to absorb into the deepest layers of your skin.

Why you should “flood your skin

The main benefit to skin flooding is that it deeply moisturizes. Dehydrated skin cells can lead to irritation, redness, inflammation, acne and even eczema. It also creates a dull appearance and lack of plumpness or elasticity that can cause sagging or if severe enough, splits or cracks in the skin barrier when stretched or rubbed.

Though dry skin does not cause wrinkles, as opposed to popular belief, it does give off the appearance of more wrinkles compared to well hydrated skin because moisture is a key ingredient to plump, elastic skin cells and is what you need to soften fine lines.

The 3 main ingredients in skin flooding


Humectants attract and bind water, drawing water vapor from the surrounding environment to help strengthen the skin barrier. Research reveals that humectants also speed up wound repair and reduce scar tissue due to their ability to promote new blood vessel growth and connective tissue that produces collagen.

Hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, niacinamide and glycerin are some examples. Serums featuring these ingredients like Devita’s Luxe C17 Serum tend to be silky and lightweight in texture and will absorb easily into the skin.


Emollients act on a different principle, trapping water beneath fatty lipids to prevent the hydrating vapors from evaporating. Lotions and creams contain emollients which help restore the skin and soften the skin’s surface. Everyone can benefit from using emollients, which include ceramides, vitamin E and colloidal oatmeal, but knowing your skin type is beneficial.

For example, those with dryer complexions can turn to lotions containing coconut or avocado oil, which have a creamier texture, such as Alaffia’s Everyday Coconut Body Lotion, whereas oily or acne prone skin types should use products with jojoba or safflower oil, which are thinner in consistency and absorb more easily.


Occlusives create a barrier over the skin to retain moisture, keeping the skin moisturized by trapping water similarly to emollients but they go further, blocking out external irritants. They can feel thick, sticky, and heavy upon application since they don’t absorb into the skin as well as humectants or emollients and are best applied at night. Occlusives are denser in nature and include beeswax, lanolin, shea or cocoa butter and petroleum jelly, such as Queen Helene’s Cocoa Butter Hand and Body Lotion.

Because of their thick, ultra creamy nature, they are best suited to dry skin types, for use after being exposed to harsher weather conditions, or for those with conditions such as eczema. And obviously, oily or acne-prone skin types should avoid them altogether.

Skin flooding in 4 easy steps

Step 1: Cleanse

Remove any dirt and impurities with a gentle cleanser such as Vanicream’s Gentle Facial Cleanser, which contains hydrating glycerin or Burt’s Bees Gentle Cream Cleanser that has cotton extract to soften as well as rice extract and aloe to moisturize and soothe. You want to begin with a clean slate but one that hasn’t been stripped of its natural oils. This way, you start with soft and balanced skin for the rest of your skincare routine.

Step 2: Mist

Mist your skin with a soothing facial mist – this can be especially enjoyable during warmer times of the year. Try Heritage Store’s Rosewater & Glycerin Hydrating Facial Mist with aromatic and anti-inflammatory rosewater which can also reduce redness, or Earth Science’s Refreshing Facial Mist that cools and hydrates with aloe, calendula and chamomile while energizing with the fresh scent of lemon and raspberry.

Step 3: Apply serum

Without completely drying your face – in other words, leaving it a little bit dewy or damp, now apply a humectant facial serum such as Timeless Skin Care’s 100% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum which contains 1% pure hyaluronic acid. Did you know that hyaluronic acid can hold one thousand times its weight in water? Talk about hydrating! If you’re acne prone, try Acure’s Radically Rejuvenating Niacinamide Serum as it pairs hydrating niacinamide with zinc PCA, an ingredient known to help reduce swelling, redness, excessive oil production and acne causing bacteria.

Step 4: Seal with lotion

Finally, seal in moisture with an emollient or occlusive barrier protecting facial cream. A perfect option is Pacifica’s Vegan Ceramide Barrier Face Cream which contains vegan ceramides to help restore your skin’s natural barrier. SheaMoisture’s Skin Rescue Moisturizer is another option, a moisturizer that contains emollients Vitamin E and hemp seed oil as well as glycerin and shea butter.

What to avoid when skin flooding

This routine is all about building up the skin barrier so simultaneously experimenting with potential irritants like retinol, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide is not recommended. Those with drier skin can afford to do this routine nightly but if you have normal to oily skin, consider doing skin flooding as a weekly treatment, or after you’ve exposed yourself to dry or harsh environmental conditions. Those who are acne-prone should take caution as layering on too many products may risk clogging pores – so choose your products with care.

Now that you’ve discovered the secret of skin flooding, do you see how perfect this deeply hydrating ritual is for when you’ve returned home from Coachella, or a week in Cabo San Lucas or even after a long night in front of a hot bonfire? These four simple steps can easily be incorporated into your nightly routine, and voilà, your skin has now been flooded with moisture and much needed nutrients.

Featured Products

Attitude Oceanly Phyto-Glow Night Cream
Koa Life Ego Boost Daily Face Cream
Shikai Healthy Glow Super C Serum