The Pros & Cons Of The "Moisture Sandwich" Trend, Explained By Derms

SkinTok swears by it — here’s what the pros said.

What does it mean to moisture sandwich your skin care products? Here's a breakdown of the hydrating ...
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From skin cycling to slugging, SkinTok is seemingly obsessed with achieving the most hydrated, moisturized, glowing, juicy, beautifully dewy skin as humanly possible. And with countless products on the market, accompanied by a laundry list of the ideal steps to add to your own personal skin regime — the latest trend to gain some traction uses a hydrating facial mist to get the job done (and a lot of it, at that).

If you’re a late night scroller (guilty), you may have noticed that “moisture sandwiching” is all over TikTok ... but WTF does that actually mean?

Well, in short: It’s a skin care hack that essentially buffers each step in your routine with a few spritzes of an ultra-hydrating facial mist to create a so-called “moisture sandwich.” Mist, serum, mist, moisturizer, mist — you get the idea.

Sandwiching your skin care products with endless spritzing all sounds well and good, especially for those like myself who find that misting is the most satisfying and refreshing step in my routine — but does it actually provide moisturizing results, or is it just an ineffective waste of all that good good? To get to bottom of the trend all over the For You Pages of skin care lovers, Bustle tapped two NYC-based, board-certified dermatologists: Dr. Hadley King and Dr. Brian Hibler.

How To “Moisture Sandwich” Your Skin Care Products

First things first, King advises that “applying a mist that contains humectants and emollients after cleansing and before your moisturizer can add extra hydration to your skin.” And while moisture sandwiching may sound like the ultimate dry skin hack, it seems King is not all that convinced, sharing that, “you need the moisturizer to help to lock in [the mist’s] hydration — [but] I don't think it needs to be applied at multiple steps. I think one step, post cleansing and before heavier products that contain emollients and occlusives, will suffice.”

Hibler echoes the sentiment, explaining that, “while we recommend applying moisturizers to slightly damp skin because they help seal in the moisture, this additional step between skin care layers has not been shown to be beneficial for increasing skin hydration or penetration of active ingredients.” What’s more, he brings up a valid point with regards to using too much mist that’s water-based: “When applying active ingredients to the skin, you do not want them to become diluted down by the water. Anything in an oil base will not mix with the water which you just sprayed on the skin.”

So there you have it: the moisture sandwich trend may just be a SkinTok gimmick ... but facial sprays can boast some serious benefits when used correctly. King shares a reminder: “Face sprays can be used as a toner after cleansing and before a moisturizer. Apply the moisturizer within 30 seconds to help lock in hydration.”

And with a major pro tip when it comes to sun protection, Hibler notes “some cosmetic products, such as sunscreens, should not be applied to damp skin or they will not be as effective.” In other words: Skip the mist when applying sun care.

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Dr. Hadley King, board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Brian Hibler, board-certified dermatologist