What are Occlusives and Why Should I Use Them?

hydrating moisturiser for soft skin

Occlusives to Seal in Moisture: The Ultimate Guide to Hydrated Skin

Have you ever wondered why your skin still feels dry despite using layers of hydrating products? You’re not alone. The secret to achieving truly hydrated skin often lies in understanding and incorporating occlusives into your skincare routine. Occlusives are the unsung heroes in the battle against dry skin, working diligently to seal in moisture and protect your skin barrier. But what exactly are occlusives, and how can they transform your skincare regimen?

What Are Occlusives?

Occlusives are ingredients that form a protective layer on the skin's surface, trapping moisture and preventing water loss. Think of them as a cozy blanket for your skin, shielding it from the harsh elements and locking in hydration. Unlike humectants, which draw moisture into the skin, and emollients, which soften and smooth the skin, occlusives create a physical barrier to keep that precious moisture from evaporating.

Common Types of Occlusives

  • Petroleum Jelly: A classic and widely recognized occlusive, petroleum jelly is known for its powerful sealing capabilities. It’s ideal for areas that are extremely dry or cracked, such as the elbows and heels.
  • Beeswax: This natural occlusive not only locks in moisture but also offers antibacterial properties, making it a great choice for sensitive skin.
  • Plant Oils (e.g., Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter): These oils are excellent for providing both occlusive and emollient benefits, making them versatile additions to your skincare routine.
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Why Are Occlusives Important?

Hydration is the cornerstone of healthy, glowing skin. However, simply applying hydrating products like serums and moisturizers is often not enough. Without an occlusive to seal in that moisture, the water can easily evaporate, leaving your skin feeling dry and parched. By adding an occlusive layer, you effectively lock in hydration, ensuring that your skin remains soft, supple, and radiant throughout the day.

How Occlusives Enhance Your Skincare Routine

Imagine you’ve just applied a luxurious night face serum. It feels great, but how do you ensure its benefits last all night? By following up with an occlusive, you create a barrier that keeps the active ingredients and moisture locked in, allowing your skin to absorb them more effectively. For instance, using a high-quality anti ageing serum, followed by an occlusive, can maximize its rejuvenating effects.

Choosing the Right Occlusive for Your Skin Type

Not all occlusives are created equal. Your skin type plays a crucial role in determining which occlusive will work best for you.

Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, you’ll benefit from heavier occlusives like petroleum jelly or rich plant oils. These ingredients provide intense hydration and protection, making them ideal for overnight use.

Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

Those with oily or acne-prone skin should opt for lighter occlusives, such as silicones or jojoba oil. These options provide a breathable barrier without clogging pores or exacerbating breakouts.

Sensitive Skin

For sensitive skin, look for occlusives that are gentle and free from irritants. Beeswax and shea butter are excellent choices, as they offer protective benefits without causing irritation.

How to Incorporate Occlusives into Your Routine

Integrating occlusives into your skincare routine is easier than you might think. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Cleanse: Begin with a gentle cleanser to remove any impurities.
  2. Hydrate: Apply a hydrating serum or moisturizer to infuse your skin with moisture.
  3. Seal: Finish with an occlusive layer to lock in all that hydration. For an extra boost, consider using a rich moisturiser, which combines the benefits of plant oils and occlusives for a comprehensive skincare approach.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even the best occlusives can’t work their magic if not used correctly. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:

  • Skipping Hydration: Applying an occlusive without a hydrating layer underneath can lead to even drier skin. Always ensure you hydrate first.
  • Using Too Much Product: A little goes a long way with occlusives. Applying too much can make your skin feel heavy and greasy.
  • Ignoring Your Skin Type: Choose occlusives that are appropriate for your skin type to avoid potential breakouts or irritation.


Occlusives are a game-changer in the quest for hydrated, healthy skin. By understanding their role and incorporating them into your skincare routine, you can enhance the effectiveness of your other products and achieve that coveted glow. Remember, the key to beautiful skin is not just about what you put on it, but how you seal it in.

So, the next time you reach for your favorite hydrating serum, don’t forget to follow up with an occlusive. Your skin will thank you for it.

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