You may notice that you feel a little lift after applying moisturizer, whether it be a few blasts from a bottle of moisturizing spray, or a cream you gently pat into your pores. It’s a lot like how a plant perks up after you show it some love with a light shower of water. There’s a reason the phrase “water is life” is an age-old adage in so many languages…it’s true! Water is essential to the functioning of our systems, and that includes the largest organ of the human body, our skin.
We tend to think of retaining water as something to be avoided, but we’re not talking water weight here. We mean keeping moisture in the skin so it can stay supple and soft, and that includes any and all attempts to reduce trans-epidermal water loss, or TEWL for short. However, our skin needs more than just water to stay hydrated, and requires a combination of ingredients to remain moisturized. The three main categories of ingredients essential for maintaining skin health are emollients, occlusives, and humectants. And since we’ll be spending a bit of time talking about moisturizers, it’s best to cover these basics first.
Emollients smooth and condition the skin with droplets of oil that fill in gaps between skin cells. Emollients are mostly oils and lipids such as dimeticone, isopropyl palmitate, and jojoba oil, and some are already present in the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin. Adding these oils to the mix can assist you with what your skin does naturally.
Occlusives are ingredients that physically block TEWL (pop quiz – remember what TEWL stands for? If not, this is an open notes test, and it’s written right above. Okay, you’re back. Cool. I mean TEWL). Occlusives basically create a physical barrier on top of your skin that prevents water from escaping. Though you might not have heard the word occlusive before, you’ve probably heard of petroleum jelly (more commonly referred to as Vaseline), mineral oil and lanolin, all of which are occlusives. On their own, they tend to be a bit greasy, but in combination with other ingredients, or on particularly dry skin, they can really seal in that moisture.
Humectants pull water from the dermis (the layer of skin below the epidermis) as well as from humidity in the environment, and also stimulate the shedding of dead skin cells by breaking down proteins that hold them together. They effectively topple the tiny building blocks in our cells so that they can be sloughed off and reveal newer layers of skin.
Now that you’ve made it through that mini lesson on moisturizers, let’s get to the ways you can let them work their wonders on your skin.
Here are 7 ways to use moisturizers:
1. As part of a complete beauty regimen
Just like that well-rounded breakfast that can get you going in the morning, a skincare routine that has all the essential elements can be a boon to your beauty. It’s great to start and end your day with something that seals in the moisture, but you need to make sure you’re taking all the necessary steps.
We often forget about exfoliation, whether it be physically sloughing off dead skin cells with a gentle scrub or removing them with a chemical peel that contains Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Here’s a whole host of information from a previous post of ours on exfoliation and botanical scrubs if you’re curious to find out more.
If you’re exfoliating once or twice a week, then you’re ready for the next steps. Luckily you’re in the right place when it comes to the industry standard of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. Over 60 years ago, Viviane Woodard set the standard of using these three steps that we still follow today. Each of the products in the three-step Moistrio sets start healing skin at the cellular level. The cleanser gently softens skin as it removes makeup, dirt, and excess oil, and because it’s water-based it rinses off well without clogging pores. The toner restores the skin’s pH balance, preps it for receiving moisture, and even begins to soothe it with natural herbs. Finally, the moisturizers deeply penetrate the skin to deliver hydrating and plumping ingredients like aloe and hyaluronic acid. Together this trio (Moistrio, get it?) gives the skin a gorgeous glow. Beauty bonus: There are three Moistrio options, specially formulated for different types of skin.
All you need to do after you complete those steps is to wait a few minutes for your skin to soak in the goodness, and then get on with your makeup routine (or go au natural, gorgeous!). And if you’re repeating your routine in the evening, then just add eye cream or any additional skincare you deem critical.
2. Before applying self tanner (and also, always)
We’ve all been there. Okay, not all of us, to be honest. Some of us start off with a better tan base or more melanin than others, but for those who take it upon themselves to tan, we’re talking to you. If you’ve ever looked down at your legs and wondered what exactly went wrong, we have some thoughts. Basically it boils down to this: before you attempt to self tan, be sure to exfoliate and make sure you moisturize regularly.
The good news is, shaving can be a form of exfoliation in a sense, because it scrapes away at some of the dead cells on the top layer of your skin. And if you’re a shaver (rather than a waxer, bleacher, laser-er, or other-er) you will want to shave before you tan because shaving afterward might actually eliminate some of that color. If you’ve already taken care of hair removal, either by not doing it or just not having a lot of leg hair, then you will want to do a light exfoliation with a body scrub beforehand.
Next, it’s important to moisturize. If you don’t, you could end up with a patchy looking patina. That is, if you don’t moisturize, then the tanner will be absorbed by the drier areas of your skin, and darken those spots. You want to be especially certain that you cover the joint areas like your ankles, wrists, elbows, and such. These areas tend to be drier, so do yourself the favor and zero in on those zones. Once you’ve done that, you are good to go. Get your bronze on.
3. Before you soak up the sunscreen
There are two types of sunscreen, chemical and mineral, and they work in different ways. Mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and block absorption of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. These are your sunscreens that contain the active ingredients of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreens (which have ingredients like oxybenzone, homosalate and octinoxate) create a chemical reaction after the skin absorbs the UV light, and causes it to leave the skin in the form of heat. Either type reduces harm to skin cells and the chance of a sunburn.
However, several sunscreens provide no moisturizing benefit for your skin, so if you want to keep your skin soft and supple as well as protected, you need to make sure you moisturize. Also, in order for the sunscreen to do its best work, you’ll need to have absorbed all that moisturizer first. If you leave too much lotion on your skin, it may interact with the sunscreen in such a way that it becomes less effective.
Your best bet is to spread a thin layer of lotion all over your skin and let it soak in. That shouldn’t take more than ten minutes. Then you’re ready to add your first layer of sunscreen. Yes, that’s right, reapplication is key to avoiding the damage done by those UV rays. In fact, there’s a whole lot more about the marvels of moisturizer and sunscreen in this previous post about when to apply sunscreen, if you’re interested.
4. After hair removal (and also, always)
Whether you shave, wax, use a depilatory cream, or have another method for getting rid of body hair, it’s not the only thing you’re removing. These treatments also remove skin cells and natural oils, which can lead to dry skin and ingrown hairs. It’s of utmost importance to reintroduce moisture to the skin as soon as possible.
Shaving can often result in irritation or razor burn, so you’ll want to find a lotion that works for sensitive skin. With waxing there is an increased risk of ingrown hairs, so exfoliation is equally important as moisturizing. And if your preferred method is laser, you may find that something soothing, like aloe vera, works well. That’s because laser treatments not only remove moisture but also cause slight localized burning akin to a sunburn, and we all know the cooling sensation that a little aloe lends to sunburned skin.
However you go about hair removal, it’s important to remember that regular application of lotion is an important part of preparing skin. Your skin stays thirsty, just like you do, so give it the gift of moisture and it will thank you.
5. As part of at-home manicure or pedicure
Have you ever stared down at your toes after an attempted DIY pedicure and cried out “why?” or “the horror!” If so, you’re not alone. You might tell yourself, “But I did two coats! I even waited for each coat to dry. How can they still look like dragon claws?”
Well, when we paint our nails at home, we often forget to fully indulge in that part of the pedicure or manicure that involves scrubbing, soaking, and moisturizing. It may not be the star of the show, but it sets the scene and really makes all the difference. So do it! Remove some of those rough spots, treat yourself to that soak, clean and trim the nails, and before you paint, break out that bottle of lotion and smooth it on. Then just wipe off the moisturizer from the nails before you move on.
If you treat yourself and follow those steps, then the next time you glance at your fingers or toes, you’ll know you slayed that dragon and rescued yourself.
6. Spray throughout the day
Most of the time we tend to think of moisturizer in it’s lotion or cream form, and forget about the benefits of a good spray. You can use a moisturizing mist on your face and body any time throughout the day, even in combination with other lotions.
It’s a great way to wake up in the morning, or to refresh your face in the afternoon. And some sprays like Viviane Woodard’s HydraMoist Total Body Mist work wonders on your face as well as your body. In fact, it even hydrates dry and damaged hair, giving it back some life and luster. The not-so-secret but super-powered ingredient is the hyaluronic acid, which is a humectant that draws in moisture and keeps it locked in. So if you’re concerned about dry skin, spray those worries away.
If you happen to have some vitamin E oil, glycerin, and aloe vera juice around the house, you can even try a little DIY and mix together a spray like the one in this video:
7. Let sleeping beauties sleep
Sometimes you don’t want anyone to wake you from your sweet slumber, and if there is any sort of prince in your life, he already understands this. Rest and relaxation are a big part of looking and feeling rejuvenated, as is good skin care.
When your head hits the pillow you’re ready for that beauty sleep. And one way to rest assured that you’ll have it is to get an extra dose of deep moisture before you drift off. Something like Viviane Woodard’s Intensive Hydration Set will make it so you won’t just dream of softer and smoother skin, you’ll actually wake up with it. The Intensive Hydration Mist and Intensive Hydration Complex saturate cells with moisture-rich ingredients. The emollients soften the skin so it looks renewed, while the hyaluronic acid and antioxidants do a deep dive to heal and hydrate. So before you say goodnight, a good nighttime beauty regimen like this is highly recommended.
So what is the moral of today’s story? Well, not to sound too much like Jan Brady in everyone’s favorite episode of the Brady Bunch, but it’s…moisture, moisture, moisture!!! There’s a reason moisture gets so much attention, Jan, and it’s because hydration is critical to skin health. And that’s a whole bunch of truth.
For over 60 years, Viviane Woodard has represented “The Purity of Skincare”. We are the leading beauty brand for water-based skin care products and promote the importance of good skin hydration. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest for skin care tips, product discounts and more.