Couple facts to start: 1. Your body doesn’t generate water (it does generate oil). 2. You skin is the outer layer of your body. 3. Water evaporates. 4. A moisturizer can help keep your skin’s water to oil relationship balanced.
So there you go. Non-alternative facts. Now, how best to use a moisturizer? Let’s dive in.
Here are the essential steps for moisturizing:
- Cleanse before applying. Dry with soft cloth.
- Pump a nickel-size amount of moisturizer on your fingers.
- Apply to your skin, including around the eyes and eyelids.
- Let air dry.
Repeat daily, nightly or anytime after cleansing.
Why You Need a Moisturizer
Moisturizers hydrate the skin by preventing water loss and keeping the oil to water ratio on our skin balanced. If you skin is feeling dry — or oily — a moisturizer can help. A good moisturizer will also provide nutrients to the skin, in the same way a good toner or serum will. You can use those products in tandem with a moisturizer, or you can keep it simple and go with one quality product.
The skin’s ability to stay hydrated naturally slows as we age. And a lack of moisture in the skin is one of the main causes of accelerated aging. When hydration is lacking or imbalanced, the skin is more vulnerable.
Skin does produce its own oil and that natural oil does a lot for the skin. But when the skin is dry, it overproduces oil to compensate. This leads to oily skin. And oily skin is, well, oily. To maintain the balance and “feed” the skin some good nutrients, a moisturizer is a core part of any routine.
What’s the Best Moisturizer
It’s not (always) what’s most luxurious and creamy. While we’re all for luxuriating, a moisturizer needs to work. Thick and creamy are nice, but empty if the formula’s missing key ingredients.
Hyaluronic acid is a fantastic starting point. And sodium hyaluronate, even better. Sodium hyaluronate is the salt form of hyaluronic acid and it’s a smaller molecule, meaning it can go deeper into the epidermis. This helps retain moisture lower in the skin, so it doesn’t evaporate as easily. It’s a tiny, effective and proven ingredient. A good friend indeed.
It’s also nice to have antioxidants and soothing agents in a moisturizer. These will reduce inflammation, which can also lead to signs of aging. Squalane and glycerin are both naturally found on the skin and, when applied in a moisturizer, can help keep levels healthy.
Lipids also play a key role in a moisturizer. Lipids are fats, and they’re what makes your skin look plump rather than saggy. These fats are good fats (most natural fats are good fats); and it’s good to keep the lipids plush.
It’s also worth noting that your skin operates differently in different seasons and climates. So keep an open mind for what will work for your skin at the right time. Sometimes, a heavier, more moisture-retaining moisturizer is needed in winter or dry climates. And sometimes in summer or a humid climate a nice light moisturizer can do the trick.
Method for Moisturizing
First step: cleanse. It’ll help the moisturizer absorb better. Then, pump a nickel-size amount onto clean fingers and apply to the skin. Some people like to dab. Some rub gently. You can apply around the eyes and on the eyelids. Then, let air dry. If applying sunscreen (which you should if it’s during daylight hours), wait until the moisturizer fully dries before applying.
Feel free to apply to the hands, neck and upper chest, if you'd like. And that’s it. Very simple.
Immediately after applying, if your skin feels oily or slightly sticky, you may have applied too much. It'll absorb or rinse off on your next cleanse — so no worries. But next time, try a little less. The feel should be protected and full coverage, but not clammy.
Moisturizer versus Serum
It's a healthy debate worth addressing. And really the best answer is both. Serums are typically applied before the moisturizer and tend to be lighter weight and carry specific nutrients for the skin. Moisturizer are more generalists, and can often be a bit creamier. Serums tend to “penetrate” while moisturizers “seal.”
Of course, with the right ingredients, the serum can do the moisturizer's job and the moisturizer can do the serum’s job. Our moisturizer does the necessary work that a serum would tackle, so we offer the routine sans serum (for now, anyway). But every skin has different needs. So serum or moisturizer accordingly. And when used together, a good serum and good moisturizer will have the greatest effect.
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