Alright, are we ready for this? Let’s go.
I’ve teased this enough but yes, I stand by my statements that a moisturizer is NOT a skin care essential.
Because your skin’s moisture might be just fine without it.
Or, your skin’s moisture might be just fine after you’ve started taking care of it correctly, using ingredients and products that protect and repair the barrier, that encourage healthy skin growth, etc.
That is to say, all too often, I have people asking me for a moisturizer recommendation but that’s a question I can’t really answer without knowing if you’re already exfoliating (and doing so in a way that’s proper for your skin type) or if you’re using a retinol or doing any of the steps I’ve outlined in Part One, Part Two, or Part Three.
Further, what season is it? What kind of climate do you live in? How much water do you drink? All these things can factor into you needing a moisturizer or… not. It all depends.
ALSO, many of those skin care products already have some type of emollient in them. So you may find, after you’ve been cleansing and exfoliating and protecting your skin well, that the right routine and the emollients already in those products are sufficient for your individual needs. For instance, your retinol may also have hyaluronic acid. Your choice of vitamin C may also have a peptide/ vitamin E mix. In the last part of this series, I recommended a solid facial cleanser, the Woodlot Nourishing Cleansing Balm. This balm contains olive oil, shea butter and jojoba oil. If I take this with me on a trip, I will not need a separate night moisturizer because that is quite a lot of moisturizing ingredients…. for me.
And THAT is why I don’t think a moisturizer constitutes a “skin care essential.” Because it DEPENDS. And anything that DEPENDS cannot, by definition, be essential.
However… (you knew this was coming, right?)
There will be times when you are doing everything right and still you feel dry or itchy. Then you have the delightful experience of picking out light or heavy, fragrant or organic, or whatever type of moisturizer you need for YOUR FACE.
For me, in the winter, I love a good oil (but only certain types because other types clog me up.) I love the luxurious feel and putting a nice healthy barrier on top of any active ingredients I’m wearing that day. For several years, my go-to has been the Boscia Tsubaki Oil which seems pricey but a bottle lasts a long time (until my sensitive skinned teen got a hold of it – but hey! It works for her too!)
Another quasi-moisturizer I like to put on after using chemical exfoliants at night especially is the Scinic Honey Ampoule. It feels thick and sticky when it goes on but in the morning my skin feels soft like a baby’s behind!
This is an ingredient that is everywhere and can be found in a lot of skin care products. It’s cheap and effective and I don’t think you can overdose on it, so pile it on!
I personally use this Hado Labo one and it’s the complete opposite of the Honey Ampoule. It almost feels like water when you apply it, it’s so light and, well, watery. Obviously, I use this on days when I just feel the need to put a little something extra on top of active ingredients or if I’ve had a bit too much sun or wind exposure.
Peptides And Collagen
Two other buzz words in skin care lately and yes, they’re important but again, probably not as essential as all the other stuff. Once again, you’ll probably already see these ingredients pop up in your Vitamin C, retinoid, etc. If you are doing the other things and you do NOT have any peptides and collagen, these would probably be the next best thing to add to your routine.
Personally, I like The Ordinary’s Buffet (which, LOOK! Also has hyaluronic acid!) but I also prefer to add collagen to my diet, not just topically, because then I get the benefits throughout my aging and decrepit body. I add a collagen powder to my morning coffee and like the way this one dissolves: Collagen Peptides.
Now you’re really starting to look at me funny… if you’re American. If you’re in Asia, you’ve already heard of Snail Mucin because it is ubiquitous in skin care and for good reason. Because it is a freaking miracle ingredient. Here’s an article about it which says that it’s basically a nice organic moisturizer but there’s still something really magical about snail mucin.
If you’re dipping your toe into this area, just go straight to the Mizon products, like the All in One Repair Cream or the Intensive Ampoule. I think either one would be great for all types of skin.
Other things you can use: Masks, Spritzes, Toners, Oh MY!
At this point, let’s be honest. A sheet mask is probably not going to change your skin tone and erase twenty years of sun damage if that’s ALL you’re doing. But if it feels good and makes you happy, experiment! Have fun! Use what feels good to you! I don’t personally love putting slimy cold paper towels on my face, but you do you! Once you’ve got the basics down, there’s a beautiful, fun world of skin care to explore that won’t hurt anyone, might boost your self-confidence and distract you from the dumpster fire that exists in the real world.
So go. Be Beautiful.
ONE LAST WORD….
OKAY, A FEW MORE WORDS.
DAIRY / SUGAR.
If, after trying all the products and routines, you still are not happy with your skin, you’ll have to take a good hard look at your lifestyle and what you’re willing to change. For some people, you might be willing to drink three gallons of water a day before you’ll give up cream in your coffee. Other people might do the opposite. For me, my skin blows up when I consume dairy, liquids especially. Giving up sugar also helps me get *that* glow.
But it might not work for you. That’s okay. At the end of the day (and this blog series *WHEW*) that’s what it’s all about. Figuring out what works for YOUR LIFE and what is going to make you feel your best.
For helping me learn more about what works for me, hat tip to The Ordinary Regimen Guide: https://theordinary.com/regimenguide
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