My skincare routine for combating dehydrated + dry skin while traveling

Packing skincare for a long trip can be overwhelming. For me, it’s the hardest part. I tend to overpack in these situations for fear of being without the right oil, cream or cleanser to combat dryness and dehydration; the two states my skin oscillates between while traveling due to poor eating, disrupted sleep, weather changes, arid planes etc. And there is nothing worse than a skin reaction or breakout while on vacation and not having the right skincare – am I right, ladies?!

We are leaving for Amsterdam tomorrow, and will be boarding a cruise ship with my parents and in-laws in-tow, so you can add high stress to my list of skin dehydrating factors. This two week trip requires the right skincare. While I could have done my usual – packed the whole bathroom – I went deft and packed efficient! And for the first time, I feel very confident I covered all of my bases in anticipation of dehydrated or dry skin!

Here’s the skincare I packed, and the order I apply them when my skin feels dehydrated or dry.

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But first, what does it mean for the skin to be dehydrated?

I spoke to esthetician and Vice President of Treatment for Burke Williams Day Spas, Diane Hubbard, a while back for an article on dehydrated skin and how it happens – read here for more – but this is how she describes dry vs. dehydrated.

Dry vs. Dehydrated

Dry skin is a skin type, whereas, dehydrated skin is a skin condition. “The main difference is that one is about oil and the other is about water. Typically, with dry skin you are lacking oil production, always flaking, your pore size is really small and you have rough texture to the skin on an ongoing basis. Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, lacks water. When you push on dehydrated skin it feels paper thin and transparent. And you will see microscopic tears and lines in the skin, which can, if you allow your skin to be dehydrated for a really long time, turn into wrinkles.”

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DEHYDRATED ROUTINE

When the skin is dehydrated, adding water to my skin is the priority.

After a gentle hydrating cleanse, I press into my skin the Kose Infinity One Moisture Serum. It has a rice bran complex that helps to strengthen the skin barrier and restore lost moisture. I feel in love with this product after stumbling upon it in Japan last spring, but I’m trying to use it up. Unfortunately, I won’t be repurchasing it again since it has parabens.

Next, I mix the Activist Hyaluronic Acid Serum with 4-5 drops of the Osmia Vital Rose Drops face oil in my palm and then massage into my skin.

Activist is a semi-bespoke skincare line that customizes their HA serums and oils to your skin’s needs. This one doesn’t have a lot of actives in it, just soothing ingredients like aloe, amino acids, jojoba oil and botanical hyaluronic acid.

When I mix the creamy Activist serum with the rich Osmia rose oil, it creates a lush pillowy texture that my skin drinks up immediately. Mixing HA + oil drops has become my new favorite skincare tip!

And finally, I’ll top everything with a light moisturizer like the Avene Calcifate (read my in-depth review here). When my skin is dehydrated it needs water and lightness. Anything too heavy will cause congestion.

  1. Cleanse – Osmia Organics Rose Clay Soap Bar
  2. Tone – KOSE Infinity One Moisture Serum
  3. Serum + Heavy oil – Activists Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Serum (use code BONDENAVANT for 10% off any Activist Skincare purchase) mixed with 4-5 drops of Osmia Vital Rose Drops
  4. Light moisture – Avene Calcifate

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DRY ROUTINE

My skin was normal/combo growing up, but after a round of Accutane in my early twenties it has shifted to normal/dry. I typically follow this routine 2-3x per week, alternating with the dehydrated routine as needed.

First, I’ll exfoliate with the Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub. Physical exfoliants are your friend if you have sensitive skin, ladies! It seems counterintuitive based on everything we’ve been told over the years, but the ones on the market these days are gentle, effective and less irritating than strong chemical exfoliants.

I’ll then follow with a gentle cleanser and begin the Japanese oil layering technique I learned about in Tokyo last spring. The idea is to press oil onto dry skin and then lock it in with a water layer, and repeat the process until ultimately sealing everything in with a balm.

Water and oil seperate. So the notion is that if you put the water toner on your skin first, the oil will seal it in. But what if your skin needs oil, not water? Then shouldn’t you apply the oil first and lock it in with water? Yes. And that’s what I do when my skin is dry.

You’ll notice that the layers alternate between oil, water, oil, balm, water. Whereas when my skin is dehydrated they go water, water, oil, water + oil.

  1. Exfoliate – Dr. Barbara Sturm Facial Scrub
  2. Cleanse – Osmia Organics Rose Clay Soap Bar
  3. Light oil – Julie Hewett Organic Camellia Oil
  4. Tone – KOSE Infinity One Moisture Serum
  5. Serum + Heavy oil – Activists Skincare Hyaluronic Acid Serum mixed with 4-5 drops of Osmia Vital Rose Drops
  6. Thick moisture – Lotus Moon Skincare Cherry Soothe Balm
  7. Tone – KOSE Infinity One Moisture Serum

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Eyes, lips and tinted SPF…

I just began testing out the Sahajan eye serum and so far I like the texture a lot. It does seem to brighten my dark under eye circles, but I’ll be reporting back soon with a full review.

As for the tinted SPFs, here’s an in-depth review of the Marie Veronique Tinted SPF if you’re curious, and I’m giving the W3LL People Bio Tinted SPF another chance.

Sahajan Eye Serum

W3LL People Bio Tinted SPF

Marie Veronique Tinted SPF

Lano Lips 101 Ointment

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And body….

I use clay masks on my face about once a month. Anymore than that and my skin freaks out, but I am a regular neck mask-er. I’m hyper aware of my neck bands, and consistent exfoliation, cellular regeneration stimulation and hydration is my plan to preemptively stop them from deepening. I love using the Tata Harper Purifying Mask! It brightens the skin after one use!

And of course, I can’t be without my In Fiore Firmante and Comfrey Solution Botanique – (read my full review here). These bottles are heavy and clunky, but the idea about being without them for two weeks was more than I could bear, so into the suit case they went.

Finally, I just started testing out the Osmia Body Oil. I’ll be reporting back in a few weeks my thoughts. 

Tata Harper Purfiying Mask

In Fiore Firmante Leg Tonic

Comfrey Solution Botanique

Osmia Body Oil


Written & Photographed by Amy Chang, founder + editor