I've had life-long challenges with face and body moisturizers because of my ongoing skin issues. I have frequent eczema flair-ups (aka dermatitis) and scaly, insanely itchy legs that I treat with prescribed topical ointments and lotions. I mention this off the bat because, as you can imagine, the vast majority of non-prescription skincare products do not work for severely dry folks like me. (Hello to my fellow dry folks!)
Vaseline or CeraVe products are fine, but when you've got bone-dry skin like mine, those kinds of products just sit on top of the skin rather than absorb. Since I depend so heavily on pharma steroid creams, I generally need all-natural, highly concentrated (read: thick, but not goopy) formulas that actually hydrate to balance out my otherwise Rx-heavy skincare regimen. It's why when Balmonds — a UK-based clean skincare line developed for people with various skin concerns or conditions — got on my radar earlier this year, I knew to give these products a heaping slather.
When it comes to a facial routine, I first start off with a cleansed face. From there (while my face is still damp), I warm up a few drops of the plant-based Intensive Facial Oil using my palms, then pat and press that into my cheeks, neck, and forehead. I will say that Balmonds products have a distinct, crunchy smell to them — that's what you get with natural products, I suppose — and this oil, which is made from ingredients like rosehip, chamomile, and lavender isn't the most pleasing to me but I do prefer this over something that's heavily perfumed.
For as dry as the rest of my body is, my face is a classic combo — oily with acne-like zits and pimples in the T-zone; flaky and tight everywhere else — so I try not to overdo it on the oil, which is specifically made for those with sensitive skin in mind. An oil reviewer named Carlene wrote, "I have had dermatitis on my hands for many years and I have tried many products, [and] in just 2 weeks my skin has improved markedly. And it's a big impact for me." While I have yet to use this oil elsewhere (beyond my face), I find that it is a nourishing first layer when it comes to my facial routine, especially in the evenings.
After that, I generously scoop some of the brand's award-winning Skin Salvation into my hands and then proceed to slug it all over my face. The overnight hours are when my face seriously dries out so this "balm bomb" helps lock moisture in, though it does leave my face a bit shiny. (In the mornings, I just rinse my face off with warm water without a cleanser.) The genesis of Balmonds apparently began with this cult-fave Skin Salvation, which was developed by a mom who needed a gentler product for her eczema-prone baby. She concocted the first iterations in her kitchen using beeswax, natural oils, and herbal extracts, which worked so well that she soon started making it for friends. This balm is known to treat eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and general dryness within a few weeks.
A reviewer named Kate wrote, "I was covered in welts and rash as a reaction to drugs from cancer treatment. It soothed from the very first application. It healed the cracking around my mouth in 2 days. I continue to use it not only on my face but variously all over my body where skin damage is most pronounced. As an added benefit it has softened some scarring I already had." I haven't had to tame intense eczema on my face in a minute (fingers crossed), but I hope my consistent use of this salve keeps flair-ups at bay. I've also been using this Skin Salvation as an eye make-up remover alternative, which instantly melts the most stubborn waterproof liners and mascaras.
Now, moving on to the rest of my body. This is where I've been experimenting a bit. There are two body products I've been using — the Bath & Body Oil and the Daily Moisturising Cream (shout-out to the British-English spelling) — but it's rare that I'll apply both at the same time.
Since I live in an NYC rental, my bathtub isn't really meant for baths which is a shame because it seems like a small pour of the Bath & Body Oil would be a sick addition to a warm soak. Alas, I slap on the Body Oil after particularly warm-to-hot showers instead. TBH, I generally stay away from super steamy showers because of how awfully dry my skin gets afterward (I'm more of a room-temp-to-lukewarm water showerer), but when my stinky body needs that heated H2O, I will always default to the Body Oil immediately after to help seal in whatever moisture I can.
With the Bath & Body Oil reserved primarily for after hot showers, I've found that the Daily Moisturising Cream has been my most-used Balmond product to date for its easy packaging that I can throw in a gym bag or weekender for short trips. Whether I'm jumping out of a shower or need a hydrating boost in the middle of the day, I can pump some of this cream for my arms, chest, and thighs for a non-greasy finish (I haven't yet tried this product on my lower legs, which still get Rx lotion for my skin condition).
With an impressive rating of 4.8 stars and 416 reviews, this well-loved cream is as gentle as it is effective for babies and adults alike. "I suffer from acne on my chin and sometimes dry skin that I find very hard to clear up at times," wrote reviewer Samantha. "After trying many products over the years I was watching [YouTuber] Kerry Whepdale and she recommended the skin salvation product which I also bought so I decided to give it a go." Another reviewer Sheila wrote, "I have varicose eczema and have tried many different creams and ointments. However, this is the first cream that does not aggravate my condition. For the first time, I am virtually free from burning and pain." (These are my people!)
It should be noted that while I've only tested four Balmonds products, the brand's offering is quite expansive — and it's worth scoping out the rest of the lineup. What I appreciate about the Balmonds site is how the products are categorized by "Skin Concern" (Eczema, Psoriasis, Rosacea, Dermatitis, and others) and "Skin Type" (Dry & Sensitive, Allergy Prone, Teenager, and Mature) which helps shoppers like me sort out the best products for whatever the skin issue is. While I don't want to make any sweeping, generalized statements about Balmonds (after all, I've been using these products for less than a month), what I can confidently say is that these naturally-made products do make good on their promiseand, best of all, there's no possible way these moisturizers can add harm to my already sensitive skin. And, for derma-sufferers like me, that's all that you can really ask for.
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