When it comes to skincare, cleaning and hydrating should never just be skin deep. With winter in the air, now is the time to make big changes in hydration. So if you're plagued with dry skin, and want to treat yourself to some tender loving care, try our ultimate guide to the best hydrating masks for skin in need of some heavy duty moisturizing. Pre-Mask Care: Homemade Exfoliators Before you start applying your mask, it’s important to exfoliate. Exfoliating allows all the nutrients and skin-cleansing ingredients in the mask to penetrate your skin, instead of just sitting on top of dead skin cells. Just this simple step does wonders for enhancing your hydrating mask’s effects. Scrubs are easy to make at home, and many of them will store for weeks on end so you can keep using them as needed. One of our favorite recipes has only two ingredients — coconut oil and sugar. Just combine 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl by stirring. When the mixture looks well blended, you can put it right on your skin. Gently scrub in circular motions for about one minute, then rinse clean with warm water. If your skin is really in need of some moisture, and you have a little more time to spare on prep, this exfoliating facial scrub with oats, honey, and olive oil is guaranteed to leave your skin feeling fresh for a hydrating mask. Start with 1/4 cup uncooked oats, crushed but not powdered — the oats are the exfoliants, so you don't want them broken down too much. Then mix them together with 1/8 cup honey and 1/8 olive oil. Apply the mixture in a thick layer, gently rubbing it into your skin. This scrub is best when allowed to sit on the skin for up to 10 minutes before rinsing clean. Masks: Store-bought or DIY Now that you're all exfoliated, it’s time to start on your face mask. Some of our faves are homemade, but there are all kinds of store-bought options for hydrating masks that work amazingly. One of the best products available is the Benefiance Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask from Shiseido, which works best when used 2-3 times a week. If you want a one-time mask, the Body Shop’s Ethiopian Honey Deep Nourishing Mask Packette helps retain moisture and prevent dehydration. If you’re dead-set on DIY, simple nutrient-rich kitchen ingredients can pack some power. One of the easiest and best recipes available uses a half a banana, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 tablespoon of natural yogurt, but the specific ratios are great to change as needed. These ingredients are great for your skin. Bananas are incredibly nutritious, and applying those vitamins right to the skin is both moisturizing and nourishing, without sitting too heavily on the surface. Yogurt is full of calcium and all kinds of B vitamins, which heal dry skin. Honey has acne-fighting properties and absorbs excess oil, making it a perfect counterpoint to many processed, pore-clogging products. Start making this hydrating mask by pureeing the banana with the honey, then combine that mixture with a thick Greek yogurt. This mask can sit on the skin for 20 minutes or longer. If you want to really pamper yourself, place cucumber slices over your eyelids and get comfy sitting back for a while. Post-Mask Care: Moisturizing After you've finished off with your mask, it’s important to moisturize. Products that sit lightly on the face and lend themselves well to layering are best for dry skin. That way they won’t stimulate oil overproduction or clog pores, which can cause acne. Post-masking, apply a gentle moisturizing product like Thayers Witch Hazel Rose Petal toner. Follow up with an oil-based moisturizing agent — oil-based products don't have wax or chemical binders that can clog pores and cause irritation. Fresh’s Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil, is a great product, because it uses natural essential oils and nutrients to give your skin all the proteins and vitamins it needs to stay soft and silky. Masks are powerful tools. This full-treatment skin care routine takes you from cleansing to moisturizing, all designed to enrich your skin with natural ingredients that go on soft and feel amazing. You deserve better than dry skin. So stop being thirsty, and start putting your best face forward!