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What Makes a Great Moisturizer

The most important step in a skincare routine outside of cleansing of course, is moisturizing. I believe a great moisturizer is the key to clear, amazing, glowing skin. As someone who has always used Cetaphil on my body and face, I’ve never really had to worry about hunting for the great moisturizer, because I already had it. That changed of course, when my face changed. And man is it a frustrating jungle out there. I’ve been delaying on this post because I’m still on the hunt but I’m not as ignorant as I was when I started this process back in September so I thought it was time to share what I’ve learned, because after all, I’m not an expert or anything close to one.

Right now I can give you a long list of moisturizers I’ve tried in the last three months and have absolutely hated and wondered why any woman would buy any of the garbage, big name companies were peddling; I could but my mama taught me better than that. What I can tell you is that, I’ve learned a lot about my skin, it’s apparently really sensitive to anything with fragrances, sunscreen, and harsh chemicals. To be fair and honest, I don’t want any of that stuff in my skin or going through my pores so I have to say I can’t be too mad at my skin for being picky. For those like me, still looking for a holy grail moisturizer, have you honestly taken a lot at the ingredients in the products you’re buying? I know, here I go again with reading ingredients and labels, but really what I’ve found is, it REALLY pays off to simply read. I bet if you went and looked at your labels right now, you might not actually like what you see, but I digress.

Like everything I’ve done in regards to skincare, I went into this hunt, a little blind and very much as ignorant as a person can be, especially a desperate one as I, to achieve perfect skin once more. After my seventh moisturizer, I figured out that maybe the reason these moisturizer weren’t working for me was probably because of my skin. I was so frustrated, I made a sheet or two of the moisturizers and their ingredients, I’ve used and started to compare them and then I started to look for similar ingredients in the one moisturizer I knew my skin loved. What I found: my skin likes simple and effective, NOT all the extra unnecessary jazz.

What's REALLY in your moisturizer? Yeah I wasn't kidding

What’s REALLY in your moisturizer?

What I want: a great moisturizer, that delivers and won’t give me a heart attack when I look at the price tag. What my skin NEEDS: a moisturizer that will lock in moisture all day, has no fragrances, little to no harsh chemicals, will not clog pores, and serve as a protective barrier.

What’s IN a great moisturizer:

  1. Humectants- urea, glycerin, alpha hydroxy acids and dimethicone; these ingredients take the moisture out of the air, lock it into your skin and rejuvenate it.
  2. Emollients-  lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum; these ingredients fill in the gaps between the skin and fat cells.
  3. Non-Comedogenic, on the label- won’t clog pores.
  4. Tailored for your skin type: a) sensitive skin- look for fragrance free, acid free and hypoallergenic; b) oily skin- look for water based, light weight, non-comedogenic; c) dry skin- look for oil based moisturizers with anti-oxidants; d) combination- look for something that says your type of combination skin or use a combination of moisturizer on the specific areas; e) normal skin- look for water based moisturizers, cetyl alcohol, cyclomethicone.
  5. Sunscreen- we need to protect our skin, if your skin can tolerate it being in a moisturizer then yes, look for one with it. Look for one that has at least SPF 30. (please note that I’m not advocating against the use of protection against the sun)
  6. For those trying to fight the ageing process, a moisturizer with antioxidants like retinol or alpha hydroxy acids will help combat wrinkles.

Things that are potentially harmful found in moisturizers, parabens – methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobtyl ketone, ethyl alcohol, and methylene, and of course the ones that end with “paraben”. Yes they are preservatives, yes products need preservatives for a good quality shelf life. I’m just saying that if other countries can ban parabens from products and are fine, how come we can’t get more parabens free products here that won’t break the damn bank. Like seriously? I have to pay at least $60 for wanting to treat my skin and body right? now that ain’t right.

Ingredients that are harmful to the environment but can be found in moisturizers, now let’s just think of that sentence before I even tell you what they are. These companies are putting ingredients that are bad for the environment but are somehow okay to use in your body? Anyways, they are: diethanolamine, 1,4-dioxane, coal tar and toluene.

I know it’s a lot, and that is part of my frustration in finding my “holy grail” moisturizer, I really do love lotions and creams but that frustration has lead me down the path of Oil discovery and right now I’m enjoying my skin because of Oils. Hopefully this post is helpful to you, I’ve learned a lot and am making smarter choices to the products I’m purchasing for my skin, hopefully you are too. Until next time, Good Luck Beautiful!

*for the record, I still love cetaphil and use it on my body.



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