Skincare School Lesson Three: Moisturizing, pt I
How do you choose a moisturizer? We get confused customers writing to us all the time asking which moisturizer is right for them. Oftentimes, the right moisturizer for you could be multiple products that you layer and it could depend on the season, weather, skin concerns, skin type etc. There’s not always a simple answer. We encourage you to learn about your different moisturizing options and what their strengths are, especially as they relate to your skin type. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to put together a successful regimen with positive, long-lasting results.
In part one of this lesson, we’ll be looking at some different forms of moisturizers. We’re categorizing them based on key ingredients they include (or don’t include). In part II of the lesson, we’ll review how you can pick and choose from each category to craft your personalized regimen.
Before we begin, one last thing – what is a moisturizer? Very generally and for our purposes, a moisturizer serves to make your skin softer and to protect it from moisture loss through evaporation. It achieves this through emollient (softening) ingredients like oils or plant butters and/or hydrating or humectant ingredients and sometimes both of these things. To further break it down, think of moisturizing as some balance of oil and water.
Here are the common types of moisturizers on the market:
Oils can be single-plant oils (like rosehip or argan) or oil blends (like Serum). We’re including 100% oil formulations in this category, so water/aqua/eau is not a component in these formulas. Ground rules: always use a water-based humectant toning mist along with your oil moisturizer to make sure you’re getting a complete moisturizer: something with both oil and water. Your skin will thank you for it. Kahina Toning Mist goes beyond just plain eau and offers both aloe vera leaf juice and rose water to deliver even more soothing skin benefits.
If you’re on Kahina’s site, our guess is that you’re already sold on oils, but there are some that are still hesitant to use oil as a primary moisturizer. You shouldn’t be. If you have acne-prone or sensitive skin, finding the right oil or blend of oils can be trickier than for other skin types. For sensitive skin, definitely start with a single-plant oil. If you do well with it, you can branch out to formulations that use that oil as a primary ingredient, or you can just stick to it. It’s not advisable starting with an oil blend because if there are any issues, you can’t figure out which ingredient(s) is/are causing the problem.
Acne-prone skin should also use this approach. Kahina Argan Oil is readily absorbed, has naturally antibacterial and anti-inflammatory plant sterols, and has been shown to balance sebum production. Use only as many drops as you need to cover your face, use with a humectant water-based toning mist, and exfoliate regularly. Check out this article if you’ve been using oils as your primary moisturizer but are still breaking out. Sometimes it’s not the oil causing the problem. Word of caution: some acne-prone skin types do well with coconut oil, but many do not. Please be aware of this if experimenting with using coconut oil as your primary moisturizer, or any makeup or other skincare products that contain coconut oil. Once you’ve achieved consistently clearer skin, you could consider switching to an oil blend, but it’s not necessary.
Non-sensitive or acne-prone skin that is mature, dry, or normal does really well with oil blends that incorporate some heavier oils into the mix. Kahina Serum and Prickly Pear Seed Oil are two examples of nutritive oils you could use. The benefit of using an oil blend is that you are getting a broader range of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and vitamins for optimal skin health, repair, and resilience.
Lotions and creams are the classic moisturizer and the one you are probably most familiar with. Although there are many exceptions, in general a lotion/cream combines oil and water (via the emulsion process) and you are left with a complete moisturizer. At Kahina, we offer two options: Kahina Facial Lotion and Kahina Night Cream. Kahina Facial Lotion is a great all-around moisturizer with no scent or essential oils. Key ingredients include argan oil (obviously!), shea butter, sodium hyaluronate, and beeswax. Kahina Night Cream is a targeted anti-aging moisturizer with actives like resveratrol and grape juice extract. This moisturizer takes advantage of aloe vera leaf juice in lieu of plain water for additional soothing and moisturizing benefits. Lotions and creams lend themselves to a simplified regimen, since they’re water (actually, in Kahina Night Cream’s case, better than water – aloe vera leaf juice!) & oil in one. Still, we find that often customers like combining them or layering them with an oil to achieve a custom level of moisture.
Attention, dry skin sufferers: balms are your friend. Are you using one yet? A balm is a mixture of plant butters, waxes, and oils. They tend to be protective barriers, sealing in moisture and preventing moisture loss. Balms are essential for skin that is exposed to extreme environmental conditions, like dry heat or cold and wind. Kahina Lip & Face Balm has a velvety, super-moisturizing blend of mango butter, olive oil, argan oil, beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter. Healing and soothing ingredients include carrot seed, blue tansy, calendula, immortelle, and sea buckthorn. Layer a balm over oils or even lotions/creams for extra dry spots. If you’re curious about other ways to use our balm, check out this article.
Stay tuned for part II, where we’ll synthesize this information and turn it into something useful for you: recommendations for an individualized combination of products for your skin needs and skin type.