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Skin Care 101: Moisturizing

Skin Care 101: Moisturizing
March 12, 2014 4 minute read

If you read my post on cleansing, it’ll come as less of a shock that my holy grail skin care line can be found at…the drugstore! Quelle horreur! I’ve been known to spend a couple hundred dollars (…a few times a year) on fancy skin care lines, so the fact that I now spend $16 on a cleanser may surprise to those of you who know me. I don’t have anything against saving money, trust me, it’s just that I’m used to getting what you pay for – it’s always been less is less and more is more. Well, the same goes for my moisturizers now. Simplicity wins (as you can see from my scarily naked skin in these photos).

The rules for choosing the perfect moisturizer for your skin are basically the same as those for choosing a cleanser; avoid oil, always choose noncomedogenic, and stay away from fragrances.

My Favourite Ingredients

1. Humecants: these were covered only slightly in my cleansing post, and include glycerin and hyaluronic acid. So to explain further, water is brought from the atmosphere (when greater than 70% humidity) and from the dermis (layer of skin below the epidermis – the epidermis contains the stratum corneum, your outer layer) into the epidermis through humectants.

2. Cell Communicating Ingredients: These include cholesterol, also a lipid found in the skin’s lipid profile (lipids being ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol) responsible for holding the skin cells together and retaining moisture. Niacinamide is another good one, helping to reduce redness with possible anti-inflamatory abilities. And ceramides, of course.

The Products

For a daytime SPF (always) moisturizer I recommend CeraVe’s AM Facial Moisturizer, $12 if I’m going to be heading outdoors that day. It contains SPF 30 which is SO important for any type of sun exposure. This is another product using a ceramide formula, which I love in an SPF because it’s protecting my skin from damage and repairing damage at the same time. Hyaluronic acid is also an ingredient (double moisture!) and it contains niacinamide too, an ingredient proven to help diminish facial redness. I love love love this moisturizer. It’s not at all greasy, and it’s perfect on it’s own or under makeup (a great lotion to bring for on location photoshoots).

Another good SPF moisturizer is Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $24. I love this brand, and the woman affectionately known as the “cosmetics cop.” This is another great SPF that contains the humectant butylene glycol, and although it does not contain ceramides it has other cell communicating ingredients like phospholipids and adenosine. Plus, it has the added benefit of antioxidants!

My non-SPF indoor daytime/evening moisturizer is, of course, CeraVe’s PM Facial Moisturizer, $12 (photographed in these pictures). I definitely consider this my go to moisturizer. It has kept my skin nourished and hydrated since I started using it at the end of the summer and WELL into this frigid NYC winter. It uses all of the same fabulous ingredients consistent with the CeraVe line, with the added bonus of being a deep penetrating moisturizer. It just gives the perfect natural glow, but in no way looks greasy – it’s perfect. Plus, it really reduces redness – I flush easily, but even though you can still see the pinkness in these photos it’s 90% less noticeable than when I was using other moisturizers.

The Treatments

Sometimes a moisturizer is just not enough. Living through my first NYC this year has made that more apparent than ever. I mean, what’s with all these random patches of dry skin? Ew. So I’ve figured out a few key ways to get that extra moisture in your skin.

1) Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask, $55. This mask is kind of at war between scientists and naturalists, but I love it. A nice and refreshing floral scent and a gel consistency. The ingredients: “pomegranate enzymes provide deep cleansing and pore minimization, french pink clay reduces the appearance of pores and helps detoxify skin, white willow eliminates dead skin cells and promotes cellular renewal.” After a 20 minute application, and a rinse with tempid water, my face is literally all glowy (and dare I say a little plump!). It gives my mug the hydrating sheen it needs in the dead of winter. I adore this mask.

2) Fresh Rose Face Mask, $58. I’ve mentioned this baby before. I think it’s one of the only products to stay on my top shelf over the years. It’s formula “hydrates and tones the complexion to restore radiance and suppleness to all skin types. The unique, cooling gel formula is infused with real rose petals that literally melt into the skin.” It contains ultra soothing and toning pure rosewater, cooling and calming cucumber extract and aloe vera gel, green tea in all its antioxidant glory, and Porphyridium cruentum, a “smart” algae that delivers optimum moisture.

3) Ole Henriksen Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask, $34. This is a great winter skin fixer – it instantly polishes and moisturizes. The blue/blackberry fruit extract and papaya enzyme renew the skin while smoothing and refining. The panthenol (vitamin B5) is extremely nourishing and moisturizing, and the lavender extract reduces inflammation while repairing and renewing skin cells. It tingles a bit when you first apply it, but that’s one of my favourite parts! I apply a thick layer everywhere, even under my eyes, and rinse off after the full 20 minutes.

As you can tell, my philosophy for facial skin care has evolved to become rooted in simplicity. I have come to love fragrance free, basic, skin-identical ingredient containing products. So has my skin!


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