The 21st Century Herbalist

DIY Skin Care Month: Step 3 – Moisturize

It’s week 4 of DIY Skin Care Month and now that you’ve cleansed and toned, it’s time to moisturize!

Why moisturize?

Lotions don’t just hydrate your skin, they also help protect it.  When you apply a moisturizer to your skin, you are creating a barrier between the epidermis (skin’s upper layer) and the environment around you.  Lotion protects your skin from pollutants and from the drying effects of air-conditioning and heating.

Different Moisturizers for Different Skin Types

It’s important to select a moisturizer blended for your skin type.  Lotions, facial creams especially, are all blended with a certain skin type in mind which is usually marked on the container with indicator words like: hydrating, sensitive or light formula.  Using a light lotion on dry skin will leave it dehydrated and tight.  Conversely, using a dry skin formula on an oily complexion often leads to even more oil production and shine…yuck.  So be sure to check the label to make sure you’re making a lotion appropriate for your skin.  You can also review the list of “Ingredients to Avoid” from my post about cleansers, as many of the ingredients are also found in lotions.

Dry and Sensitive Skin – Choose a lotion that is thick and creamy, yet gentle.  Look for words like hydrating, night cream, deeply moisturizing or creme.  These rich lotions will form a barrier on your skin, protecting it from water loss and dehydration.  Don’t be afraid to layer moisturizers.  You can use a light, fast absorbing base oil, like apricot kernel oil, directly on your face before applying an additional moisturizer.

Normal & Combination Skin – Select a lotion that is lightweight, you don’t need heavy creams.  You probably won’t need to layer moisturizers, like those with dry skin, except in the dry winter months.  If your skin’s condition changes with the weather (dry in winter, oily in summer), you may need to use two different lotions.

Oily Skin – You may not need to moisturize at all, depending on how much oil your skin produces.  You can use light lotions when necessary and for protection from the elements.  Remember that putting lightweight base oils like apricot kernel, grapeseed or hazelnut oil on your skin will NOT make it oilier.  In fact, sometimes these oils can help eliminate shine because they hydrate the skin properly and your sebum glands tend not to produce as much of the oil that leaves your face shiny.

Don’t give up if the first product or solution you try doesn’t work.  So many things can affect your skin chemistry, where you live, what you eat and drink, how much sleep you get and the list goes on.  If one product doesn’t give you the hydration you want, change products!

DIY Lotion

If you’d like to make your own lotion, check out my Softening, Rose, Apple and Honey Face Lotion recipe from Lotion Making Month.

Regardless of the type of moisturizer you use, you’ll want to massage it into your skin using gentle sweeping and circular motions.  Massage the skin as you apply the moisturizer, always moving your hands outward and upward.

Thanks to everyone that stopped by last week and shared their favorite toners, there were a lot of great suggestions and good conversation.  Same goes for this week, if you’ve got a favorite moisturizer, please share in the comments!

Next Week: DIY Skin Care Month – The Eyes

image via: istockphoto

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