Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!

Hydration and Nourishment is the next step in a skin care routine. And if you are confused about Serums, Elixirs, Humectants, Oils, and Moisturizer you are not alone. And it's going to be ok. You know by now I'm going to get a little geeky, but it's all going to get straightened out and be less confusing when we're done. So let's chat about Serums and Humectants today.

This was originally posted on our interim blog at catspawfarmblog.com on 12/15/2021.

The products in between toner and moisturizer are diverse. It's no wonder they're confusing. Basically, these products are designed to hydrate at a cellular level, and they're anything but basic. A great payload of nourishment can accompany the hydration and that can be a good thing when that nourishment is organic and natural. Beware of sending a big slurry of synthetics into the deeper levels of your skin. It might look all fine and good at first, and 3-4 weeks down the road when those cells work to the surface you could realize you have a problem. Just a heads up… (check out Milia, and KP, and burns…oh my! for more info)

These are products that are usually sold in small bottles, but don't let that fool you! A little goes a long ways, and since you are applying to skin that has been cleansed and toned your skin can utilize these nutrients efficiently. More is not better. A pumpkin seed or pinky nail sized portion is a good rule of thumb. A thumbnail sized portion is too much.


Serums are an efficient and concentrated delivery method for skin nutrition. They can also target specific concerns such as rosacea and flaking skin, and they absorb easily and deeply.

Serums are relatively new in the scope of skincare. While the first serum was introduced in the 1930's, they did not gain momentum until the 1990's.

Side note and a recipe!

…that early serum was a product with a very short lifespan because it was primarily albumin (egg white) with no preservative and it was designed to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. 

While commercially the product was not feasible, it has merit as a great home facial mask. It's simple to make. (which is another reason it didn't catch on as a commercial product.)

Here's how to make your own Egg White Facial:

  • Separate an egg white from the yolk, 
  • whisk the white into a froth and 
  • apply to the face and neck for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Rinse with cold water, 
  • followed by wiping with a cotton ball saturated in more cold water. 
  • The result is a visibly tightened and lifted appearance.

One of my childhood memories is of my grandmother doing this on Sunday mornings. She was radiant, and it only takes minutes to achieve. It feels great, and is a wonderful addition to your self-care routine. 

Modern serums have a base of purified water and (usually) hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid (HLA) is a sugar molecule that binds water to collagen. HLA is a substance that is naturally present in the human body. It has a low pH (this is why it is classified as an acid), and is clear and gooey. HLA is an essential component of skin because of its ability to support collagen. 

Despite being classed as an acid, HLA is not an exfoliator as you might expect from an acid: it is a humectant. Humectants attract and bind water. 

Collagen firms the skin and HLA nourishes and hydrates the collagen. As a stand-alone product it can be used morning (and evening again if desired), or used as a carrier for something even more magical such as SeaHag Serum!  

Check out all of the skin nurturing Hydration Products at Cats Paw Farm. I"m always happy to work with you to help determine the right one for your skincare needs. 

I get asked frequently if I'm ever going to formulate a Vitamin C Serum. My answer is always no. I'd rather teach you how to make it. Why? Because Vitamin C is volatile and light, heat, and air causes oxidation and loss of potency very quickly. It is virtually impossible to create a Vitamin C Serum product that is isolated from light, heat, and air. 

So...what about those super expensive vitamin c serums being sold by (insert expensive skin care company here)? Sadly, there is no difference-they are not exempt from science. The amount of Vitamin C in those formulations by the time it gets to the customer is negligible, even if you are paying $85 for 1/4 ounce of it. Sorry, not sorry. I won't do that to my customers. 

What I will do is show you how to make it fresh, and make it in a small quantity that you can use right now and get the intended benefits from.

What you'll need for your own Homemade Vitamin C Serum:

Cats Paw Hyaluronic Acid
Liposomal Vitamin C
I get my LVC from Amazon and use the Premium Liposomal Vitamin C 2000mg - 180 Capsules from Natuspur Store for both my internal daily C and making my own Vitamin C Serum…and I don't have an affiliate link or anything so just search for it when you get to Amazon…you're welcome :D )

Separate one of the capsules and sprinkle a little of the Vitamin C into 10 drops of HLA in your hand. Mix it together until it dissolves, and then apply to face. You're really only going to need about 3 drops of the serum, but it's very difficult to mix up 3 drops. Invite a friend over and share - or grab your SO and treat them to some nice skincare, too.

Don't overdo the amount of Vitamin C. It's better to start out with less than you think is right and work up to about a 1:10 ratio of Vitamin C to HLA. Vitamin C/Ascorbic Acid can burn sensitive skin - think about all those sour gummy candies you may have eaten as a child and the mouth sores that ensued after a binge. Ok, maybe that was just me…but probably not. 

When I say a little I really do mean that. You want to use about the size of a drop if the Vitamin C were liquid - a single capsule can last you a very long time so just store it in a little baggie to separate the one you're using for your skin and put it back into the bottle until next time. 

This Vitamin C serum can be used 1-2 times a week to help with skin appearance and texture. You might find it fades blotches and reduces the visibility of scar tissue, too.


Humectants attract moisture - from the air - into your skin! This is kind of magical when you think about it…that you can draw that summer rainstorm into your body, right? Humectants do this and then lock that moisture to their own molecules and take that moisture into the skin tissue. So in a way then you now -are- the summer rainstorm…I love that.

HLA is a humectant. Glycerin is also a natural humectant. Glycerin is a larger molecule than HLA and so does not penetrate as quickly or as deeply as HLA.

Honey is also a humectant and has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is especially beneficial to cuticles, hair, and skin. Honey should really have a post all to itself because it is amazing in so many ways. I'll put that on my future-post list. 

Other natural humectants include Aloe Vera, Pyroglutamic Acid (this is also found naturally in the human body, in grasses, and in some fruits), hydrolyzed wheat, hydrolyzed oats, baobab, hydrolyzed rice proteins, and some plant extracts such as calendula extract.

Humectants have a tremendously important role in skin care and their use should not be ignored. 

Skin cannot remain plump and youthful in appearance without moisture and as we age the amount of natural moisture in our skin wanes so we need to augment it with natural products that promote getting moisture back into our skin.  

I hope you are enjoying this series on skin and the products effective in its care. Next time we'll delve into elixirs, facial oils, and eye creams. Thanks for hanging out with me!

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