Maybe I am just a freak of beauty nature, but I have a serious problem with moisturizers that don't actually moisturize my skin. I'd say that less than 25% of the "super-moisturizing-for-dry-skin" potions that I try actually hydrate my skin for more than, oh, five minutes. Even worse, when I apply them, I swear that there's a distinct feeling of water evaporating off of my skin as the moisturizer sinks in, which essentially dehydrates my skin even more. What the eff, am I right?
So, when I had a minute to corner Yes To product development manager Amy Hart at a recent event, I essentially grilled her on what makes a good moisturizer. Yes To has always been one of my go-to brands for moisturizers, so these people have obviously cracked some kind of code when it comes to creating effective, natural moisturizers. Amy gave it to me straight: "Moisturizers come in one of two forms. They're either occlusive, and protect the skin, or they are humectant, which draw moisture into the skin. Either of these actions can be accomplished with natural or synthetic ingredients — and we prefer to go the natural route."
Typical occlusive ingredients are petrolatum, or mineral oil, which is petrolatum-derived, Hart explains. "With these products, your skin is trapped under the chemical. And, it physically traps the moisture in. Of course, if you're trapping moisture into your skin, you can also trap dirt and bacteria. Those chemicals are also very heavy." And, what are some better occlusive moisturizer choices? Natural ingredients such as vegetable oils or butters, which our skin more readily absorbs, says Hart. Lighter oils (such as sunflower, jojoba, and argan oils) are both occlusive and humectant.
According to Hart, many consumers judge a moisturizer by the feeling that it leaves behind. "Women don't want to feel greasy or sticky after using a lotion, so many formulas use silicones that allow the lotion to leave a dry, smooth finish on the skin.Although, in many instances, the silicones just end up drying out the skin itself!" That being said, Hart points out that it's difficult to achieve the same super-smooth finish using natural ingredients. "We're always looking at natural ingredients that we can use to create high-performance products that are chemical free," explains Hart. "For instance, we use a resin from a tree in our SPF products, which make them long-lasting." Much better than the typical plastic polymers used in commercial sunscreens, right?
When it comes to choosing the right lotion, Hart declares that it all comes down to knowing your ingredients. "Not all natural products are created equal," explains Hart. So, know your oils and your butters, and be willing to try a few options before you find your moisturizer soul mate. When you find the right one, it'll be just like buttah.
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