Skin gets dry for a lot of reasons, mostly environmental. If you live in a dry climate, or if you’re in an apartment with radiant heat in the winter, you’ll notice the effects of this dryness on your skin. Chapped lips, dry hands, etc., are all more common in the winter (or in the desert) for this reason.
What Is Moisturizing?
Moisturizing is essentially a mixture of oil and water that restore the outermost layer of the skin to its natural condition.
By themselves, oils and balms do not offer “complete” moisture. And they are definitely not hydrators. They need something water-based to first deliver hydration to the skin. In the skin care industry, they are known as occlusives. They could also be called “moisture seals” or “hydration locks.” That’s why it’s super important to use a toner before you apply face oil or apply your body oil to damp skin. The toner adds actual hydration to your skin. Once your skin has been hydrated by the toner, the moisturizer will lock it in, preventing evaporation and protecting your skin from the elements.
Moisturizing is a process.
1. We put water and humectants on our skin (toner or water).
2. We apply oils or occlusives over that to lock in the moisture (face oil and balms).
A humectant is a lyrical word for something that draws water to the skin. One of our favorite ingredients in our hydrating toners is a glycerin derived from flax seeds. The beauty of toners is an entirely related but more elaborate subject that you can read more about what toners do here. For now let’s continue with this moisture manifesto.
Moisturize for Beauty Comfort
Moisturized skin is comfortable skin, and that’s because of a couple of key things that moisturizing does:
1. It reconditions skin by improving skin cell turnover
2. It balances skin’s natural oils (called “sebum”), making the oil less sticky, thick, and prone to clogs
3. It helps skin rebound more quickly from environmental stressors like pollution, heat or cold, and the sun
Skin that is conditioned and elastic and resilient just feels really good. And this applies to all skin types. Oily skin often needs moisture just as much as dry skin does, but for a different reason. For oily skin, adding more oil is about getting your skin’s oil production to balance itself. With balance, it will stop overcompensating, thin out a bit, and clogged pores will be reduced.
Clogged skin is a reality of having skin. But in our effort to help you get to your most comfortable skin, we’re aiming for less irritation and less inflammation.
Our Preferred Plant Fats
Most of the plant oils in our products are high in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that contributes to the health of your skin’s sebum. A deficiency in linoleic acid may cause skin to produce dry and sticky sebum (read: blackheads and clogged pores). Linoleic acid conditions the skin making the sebum more fluid, free flowing and smooth. It is also the essential building block for ceramides, which is a fancy word for lipids, which is a fancy word for fats.
Fats keep hydration in and irritants out. Thus, when you’ve got a lot of conditioning fats in your skin, it’s less likely to wrinkle because it’s more elastic. And again, that tends to feel more comfortable, too.
What Is the Best Moisturizer?
We’ve already established that moisturizing is the process of locking in hydration to the skin. Most people confuse hydration with moisture, and for obvious reasons; both seem to be about the same end goal—less dryness.
Water-based emulsions, like our Aloe Rose All Over Lotion, provide you with the hydrator and the occlusive (water and oil) in one product. Lotions are a great option for on-the-go use. The oils are presented in a palatable, quick-absorbing form because they have been emulsified with water.
But you could just as soon put olive oil on your post-shower, dampened skin and in fact many people, including Tara’s Italian great-grandmother, do/did. Using a separate hydrator and occlusive allows you to tailor your experience to what your skin needs. Depending on the time of year, your skin could use more or less of each product– and it’s nice to have control. Not to mention you can mix and match depending on your unique skin’s needs (ie. blemish-clearing Geranium Palmarosa Face Toner and antioxidant packed Rosehip Chia Face Oil would be a great option for someone with acne-prone, maturing and dry skin.)
The act of moisturizing is two-fold, but it isn’t complicated. That being said, we believe that there is no wrong way to moisturize, especially once you’ve reframed moisturizing as a practice of seeking comfort.