Welcome back for Part Two of this week’s series on skincare. In case this is your first time visiting, you can read all about my Skin Story here and get acquainted with Cleansing and Exfoliating here. Today I’m going to be talking all things hydration. I decided to refer to this as “hydration” over “moisturizing” for a couple of reasons. First, the word moist weirds me out. Second, I believe it can give the wrong impression as I instantly think of my outer layer, and I’m actually a big believer that having hydrated skin begins on the inside. And that, my friends, is where we will begin, too.
Keeping your insides in good shape will do a lot of good for your outside. A lot of us struggle to drink the recommended amount of water each day, yet have no problem gulping down the $1 large soda from McDonald’s. Or, even worse, I’ve heard people say they got their daily liquids because they had a glass of milk with breakfast, a juice with lunch, two sodas during the day, and a water with dinner. I must point out not all liquids are created equally, and when Those That Be say we need a certain amount of water, they mean WATER. Personally, I rarely have ever had a problem drinking enough water. I can’t get enough of the stuff. One of my siblings is the exact opposite, however. You could give them a billion water bottles and they will maybe drink half of one, if that. Recently, they were gifted a water bottle that has a compartment to infuse the water (with berries or cucumber or mint, for example). For some of you that really struggle with the taste of water, this may be a good option for you to look into. If you are experiencing any type of problem with your skin, try getting your recommended amount of water every single day without fail for a month, and I can almost promise you that you will see an improvement. Google “daily water intake” to find multiple pages that will help you determine how much water you should aim to drink.
Pictured above are some of my favorite water bottles. I think one of the keys to drinking more water is finding a bottle that you like using. I have a couple of large, 32 oz. bottles that I also love, but I can only use them when I’m at home because they are too large and cumbersome to take with me or throw in my purse, so I end up leaving my water in my car during the day which totally defeats the purpose. For those of you that drink cans of soda, or feel like you drink liquids in general faster from that kind of container, I found this awesome faux soda-can shaped water bottle. I just picked it up from 5 and Below a couple of weeks ago and it’s so handy. I especially love this one for when I’m at a friend’s house, and can tell I’m going to get a lot of use out of this once summer hits and there are beach trips and outdoor picnics and concerts. Another really great one for those trying to drink more water is the Camelback Eddy water bottle. Camelback has a range of sizes, and although a little pricey, there are tons of knockoffs for this particular style. Many, many people find they drink more water when they simply use a straw in their glass as opposed to sipping from the glass itself, and there is something about this bottle that has me glued to it even more. You bite down gently on the straw while drinking, and I swear this has to have something psychological attached to it because I’m constantly emptying the bottle when I use this. I don’t know. Finally we’ve got my newest bottle, a purple open top one from Rove. This types of bottles are great for those of you who want to just chug it down. I was gifted this for Christmas from my parents and I haven’t used a different bottle since. I love that the lid closes securely, even if I’m holding it by it’s handle. I bring a water bottle with me to bed, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up to a bottle slowly leaking on me. As long as the lid is snapped, I don’t have to worry about that happening.
Once your body is being properly hydrated from the inside, you can begin to tackle your surface layers. All of us need outer hydration. ALL of us. Even the oily skinned folks. I have oily skin, and keeping my skin properly hydrated helps keep it balanced. If my skin is dehydrated, my body will kick into overdrive to try to balance itself out, which makes me even oilier. No bueno. However, oily and dry skins will need different types of hydrators. Those of us with oily skin are going to want to generally stick on the lighter side of things, using more of a liquid or gel as opposed to heavy creams. Layering, for both skin types, can be your best friend.
The Clinique Dramatically Different line of hydrators is what I use every day, year round. I typically use the gel version, as it does a good job keeping my skin balanced, but for the night or those times I tested a new cleanser and it left my face feeling tight, I will mix a drop of the original lotion version in to create my perfect hydrator. I also love that a little bit of this goes a long way without feeling excessive or too thin. There is also no scent to it, that I can smell anyways. It doesn’t have SPF, which I know can be a problem for many, but I don’t mind because I use something else for my sunscreen, and the lack of SPF ensures I’ll put this on even for a night out when I will be taking pictures (SPF gives off that white cast that makes one’s skin look 3 shades lighter than their body in pictures, even if everything matches in person). No SPF = no excuses.
Additionally, I always have a facial spray on hand. By the multiple bottles, I’m sure you have figured out this Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater is my favorite one, but any facial spray will do. This is one of the cheapest and most impressive I’ve come across, so I hoard it. Remember how I mentioned layering? If I’m feeling dry after cleansing I will spritz my face with this before going in with my Clinique gel, and sometimes even afterwards as well. In these cold months, when the air is dry to begin with, I love to toss this in my purse and use it after driving somewhere. I drive about an hour to work everyday, and when I have my heater blowing in my face, I can just feel all the hydration I worked so hard to have being sucked out in that time. A quick spray of this renews my skin. This is especially great for acne prone people, who don’t want to add another helping of their hydrating facial lotion and potentially clog their pores (OVER-hydrating…). This particular one does smell quite strongly of roses, but like I said, there are plenty of scent free options, such as Evian’s facial mist, available as well.
The St. Ives Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer is something that I would recommend to all of you out there who are either very low maintenance…or lazy. This jar lasts forever, to start with. I bought it when searching for a lightweight night cream, which it does an okay job of, but isn’t going to be my go-to, but ended up using this all over my body. If you are someone who doesn’t like a lot of products or has very limited funds, this jar is something like $5 (don’t quote me) and is the epitome of a multitasker. I use this on my face at night, or my eye area, and I’ve bee using it recently as a full body lotion because I need to finish this dang never ending tub! It sinks in quickly without it feeling like it disappeared – I usually put this on, then brush my teeth, and then get dressed…so somewhere around 2 minutes. It has a verrry light, very clean scent. The one thing I don’t like is its packaging. Jars are my least favorite because they expose the contents to light and air which can break down the product, as well as it being downright unsanitary if you’re not taking proper precautions. You should always wash your hands before washing your face or applying any facial product, even if that means a quick wash a couple of time during your routine. I wash mine prior to washing my face, and don’t touch anything but my face products so I’m okay with putting on facial lotion immediately after, but if I switch my routine and say, wash my face, then brush my teeth or mess with my hair (sometimes I like to put detangler in it early to give it time to work), then I go back and rewash my hands so I’m not transferring all of that to my face. For this jar, I ended up buying a pack of craft sticks, or tongue depressors, and using a fresh stick to scoop out product. Possibly unnecessary, but whatever.
Jergen’s makes another good everyday body lotion. Body lotions are tricky, because if you suffer from body acne, you have to be extra careful. Your facial lotion should be used down your neck and into the tops of your chest, and then body lotion from there. It’s rough needing the hydration, yet not wanting to over hydrate and suffocate your skin. I like this lotion because it’s consistency is right between being too runny and being overly thick. It takes a bit longer to sink in than the St. Ives, but not so long you get frustrated. I have the Shea Butter version currently, and am finding I prefer it to the original for the winter.
If you are someone who takes a hot shower, I highly recommend the Dry Skin Defense body wash by Old Spice. It is a men’s wash, and it smells like a men’s wash, but I hadn’t heard of anything similar until recently and this stuff does a great job. It is such an amazing in shower hydrating wash. I don’t take hot showers and still like to throw this on, especially if I’m feeling a little dry. I try to keep this off any areas I know to be acne prone, but I haven’t had any problems with extra break outs from it personally. It’s great because it just gives you that extra layer of hydration without leaving a greasy, unclean feeling behind. I’m interested in trying the new women’s version of this, and will be comparing it to this to see how it stacks up.
The Body Shop is famous for their body butters, and I am one of their loyal customers. Because this is a very thick cream, I am only able to use this sparingly, which is okay since these are pretty pricey, in my opinion. Having acne prone skin, I mostly use these for my legs and elbows at nighttime. They are strongly scented, which may be an irritant to some, but I am in love. These keep my legs so silky smooth. They can also be found at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s occasionally at a discounted price. I like that they come in different sizes, so if I’m traveling I can pop one in my toiletry case, easy peasy. Again, these are tubs, but with how thick the butter is I don’t think any other type of container would work, so I’m just careful to use clean hands each time.
Although I have acne prone skin, the J. R. Watkins Body Oil Mist is something I can even use on those areas. Like body butter, I tend to use this more on my legs than anywhere, but if I need something super hydrating but lightweight I will choose this. The spray nozzle makes it very easy to apply to hard to reach places, like my back. I like using this at night or even for a night out. It’s a bit slippery (it IS an oil) but my skin drinks it up. I have mine in Coconut Milk & Honey, and have given this away as a gift as well, and it has always been well received.
If you have the time, Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solutions are one of my absolute favorite ways to relax and take care of my skin. Not only is Epsom salt good for a bath, but you can mix a bit with a body wash and use it as an exfoliant as well. Double duty! The Soften & Nourish with Milk & Honey is my absolute favorite scent. I will even throw this on the bottom of my shower just to have the scent in the air, it’s that good. Epsom salt helps pull toxins out, and this particular kind leaves your skin so soft and soothed once your finished with your bath. This soak, a face mask, and candles are all I need to relax and feel totally pampered.
It might not be sexy, but feet need hydration, too! I was using a Dr. Scholl’s foot lotion for a while, and I think for some it may do a good job, there are times when my feet can get rough…like, I need to fix them myself before I would even get a pedicure rough. I heard about the Soap and Glory Heel Genius foot cream, but couldn’t bring myself to pay what I considered a ridiculous amount for foot cream. Ahh, but then I was given it as a gift (or maybe as a “please God fix that mess down there!” Either, or). This stuff. If you are having problems with dry skin or cracked heels close your eyes and spend the money! It is completely worth it. Not only does a little go a long way, so a tube will last a respectable amount of time, but it heals your heels like a dream. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t like the smell. It’s not bad, it’s just not my cup of tea. But I still repurchase this. It may be weird to have a Holy Grail foot cream before a HG foundation or mascara or whatever, but I’m beyond ok with that.
With everything your hands go through each day, it’s important to remember to keep them hydrated as well. Dehydrated hands can age you, as well as produce problems like painful hang nails, which can lead to infections. No thank you! I love the smell of Pacifica’s Tuscan Blood Orange hand cream. It’s not greasy and soaks in fairly quickly, which means I can continue on with my life after applying it, and not get stuck inside a room unable to open it’s door.
The one part of our body almost everyone remembers to hydrate is our lips. I’m still searching for The Lipbalm, you know, the one that does miracles to your lips and you never want to be without? However, I’ve found a lot of great lip balms along the way. I like all of these for different reasons, and equally. I have an outrageous amount of Chapstick and it was a pain to narrow it down to just these few. I keep a tube of something everywhere – my coat, my purse, two in my car, one in my bathroom to apply after cleansing my face, one IN my bed because I wake up in the middle of the night constantly, and of course a bunch on my dresser. Ridiculous. If you have any favorites, I’d love to know! From these, if you have large lips and can track down the tube of EOS, I highly recommend it. It’s the same formula as the round egg packaging, but in an oversized stick form. I like the Banana Boat version because it glides on and contains a whopping 50 SPF. Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers is something I’ve mentioned before that I like when I need something with a bit of color. The tube of Baby Lips by Maybelline is almost empty, and I’m very impressed with myself over that. It does a great job at creating “slip” on my lips without feeling greasy, but it’s not super moisturizing in the long term so I don’t recommend if you’re wanting a serious treatment. It does smell like Trix cereal though, which is amazing. The Tony Moly Bbo Bbo Lip balm is probably my favorite. It’s Honey scented and wonderfully hydrating. Although the packaging is super cute, when it comes down to it, it’s a tube that I have to stick my finger in, and even sanitary reasons aside, I have fairly long nails and the balm gets stick under them, which is very annoying. If it had a bit different packaging this would probably be my Holy Grail.
Staying hydrated both in and out help keep your skin cells healthy and plump, which is what leads to that look of a healthy complexion. Just because your battling oil or acne doesn’t mean you skin doesn’t need to be taken care of, it just means you’ll have to use products meant for that particular skin type! I know staying aware of hydrating my skin has made a huge difference in how it behaves, and I hope this gives you some idea of where to start.
PS – You may have noticed my pics were a little…off. I took them at a completely different time of day than normal and the light was just not there. Sorry about that!