I Used a Moisture Sensor to Test Which Products Actually Hydrate My Skin

A little while back, I went to an industry event where each editor's skin hydration levels were tested using the MiLi Pure Skin Moisture Analyzer. It syncs to your phone, and after you open the MiLi app, you press the analyzer to your skin, and it'll tell you how moist your skin is. Much to my total horror, my skin registered a zero. Zilch. I demanded my neck get tested in case my foundation and powder were messing with the accuracy of the meter, but even then I only received a 10. Other editors received 25s, 30s—the hosts of the event, two Korean beauty experts with glass-like skin received numbers in the 80s. Convinced that my skin was shriveling up like a prune, I decided it was time to make changes. I drink a ton of water every day, I quit coffee—I wasn't doing anything that could have an effect on my skin other than using peels and retinols a few times a week, which I suspected were the culprits, despite the fact that I used hydrating serums and hyaluronic acid gel creams every night. But maybe I was just using the wrong moisturizers.

In the name of investigative journalism, I decided to get my own MiLi Analyzer, poll my co-workers for their favorite hydrating products and survey customer reviews, and then test each one of them with my new gadget. Each night, I tested my hydration levels immediately following application because the results of the products would be instantaneous, according to NYC dermatologist Rachel Nazarian. "Many of them contain hyaluronic acid, which is immediately absorbed into the most superficial layer of skin and helps draw in additional moisture. A lot of lotions and creams also contain ingredients such as ceramides, which, although they immediately hydrate skin, also help with long-term hydration with continued use." Below, take a look at the results.

The goal of this experiment was to test the hydrating prowess of individual products, and overall, I was surprised that using only one product on its own could hydrate my skin by such a substantive percentage. However, I'd love to try this experiment again by product cocktailing toners, serums, and gel creams or oils to see if I could reach the hydration levels of the women at the event (who employ the 7-skin method daily). This experiment also taught me that using so many different products per week isn't doing my skin any favors—perhaps I need to pare down (a tall order for someone whose job is to test products). All things considered, I'm happy I've discovered some new favorites, and I'm excited to keep restoring my moisture levels.

This story was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Which product do you swear by for intense hydration? Please tell us below!