Before We Go On
Moisturizing is an essential part of skin care. There's no doubt about it. Even at the beginning of my own skincare journey, if there is only one thing I owned as a teenager - it was a good moisturizer. My mother passed on her favorite dry skin cream moisturizer as the only thing I should be putting on my face. Which was perfect for her skin and mine for the most part until my body started to change and my skin became acne prone. It took me years of trying various products - at the time the online landscape for effective teenage beauty was null - and the only resource I had were light articles in teen magazines. Fast forward to 2019, I’m now quite the seasoned pro when it comes to choosing a moisturizer. I can walk into a skincare store and easily narrow down what works for me or my friend (who dragged me along because they’re overwhelmed by the choices out there). As you can tell I take great pride in this skill. I’ve tried all types of moisturizers from oils, creams, lotions, and gels. The process was grueling and led to many less than desirable outcomes - so in this post, I will share my tips to finding a moisturizer that is best for you without going through the pain of trying it all out. And hopefully, you’ll be confident in choosing what works best for you!
First off, let’s talk about moisturizer textures. There are a few main ones, as I’ve mentioned above: this includes oils, creams, lotions, and gels. Each of those might be paired with copy such as ‘day cream’, ‘night cream’, and ‘SPF’.
Natural oil moisturizers typically work for your body, face, and hair. Or some combination of that. Oils seem like a big no-no for oily skin but depending on what natural oil you choose, it might not be as crazy as it sounds.
Oils are for you if...
you like multi-tasking products. They work all over, not just the face. It’s all natural, and you know that it’s made up of one ingredient only. It’s deeply moisturizing and often nutrient packed. Some favorites are Sweet Almond Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, and Jojoba Oil. These are light oils that absorb quicker than other heavier ones. If you find your skin is incredibly dry you might be able to use heavier oils like Raw Sesame, or Olive oil. Oils are great for the winter or drier months, as your skin becomes dry quickly. It’s also great for lazy girls who want to kill 2 or 3 birds with one stone.
My mother swears by creams - especially for her night time skin care. Your skin is doing a lot of work at night while you sleep and creams can add a lot of goodies to your skin while locking in moisture. Creams are dense and are ideal for night care, dry and flaky skin. It’s quite stiff or firm and takes some gentle massaging to really get your skin to absorb all the goodies it has to offer. Also a great option for Winter months or aging skin.
Creams are for you if…
you like to know you put moisturizer on your face. I would like to reiterate creams are dense, they can feel heavy on the skin - people with drier skin often prefer. Of course, if you happen to be experiencing dry skin, or have a dry skin type and dislike the heavy feeling then I suggest trying oils.
Lotions are lighter than creams, it still requires you to work in the product so your skin can absorb it but it’s more suitable for daytime wear than creams are. It should be noted that lotions should be mixed or shaken well before use, as the liquid (which lightens it from feeling like cream texture) can often separate. It has a more viscous texture than creams without losing the richness of creams.
Lotions are for you if …
You like rich moisturizers but nothing too light or too dense. Normal to Dry skin types often take lotions quite well. As well as drier combination skin. It’s also a great introductory moisturizer texture for pre-teens or teenagers.
Gels are incredibly lightweight, oil-free, and often water based. Meaning it is easily absorbed by the skin and is often recommended for oily or acne-prone skin. But, it’s highly suggested for those who live in hot, humid places because of its lightweight. It’s great as a makeup base as well. Gels are often quite cooling on the skin - another perk for using it in the summer.
Gels are for you if …
You like feeling like you put nothing on your skin. Or if you like looking a little dewy after putting on moisturizer only. Essentially if the other options just feel too heavy for you gel is the way to go.
Shopping for the Moisturizer
If you’re pretty deep into the skincare realm then the above section is probably more than enough for you to start looking for your new moisturizer online. If it still seems a little confusing, especially if you’re new to it, it’s best to go into your closest Sephora, Olive Young, or drug store to try out different moisturizers.
When you’re swatching moisturizers, take a small dollop and put it on your wrist, take a mental note on how it feels before massaging it into your skin. Is it just sitting on your skin, is it being absorbed, is it cooling and so forth. Ask yourself these questions to determine your preference. Lastly, massage the product into your skin and take a look at the finish, is it glossy, matte, or dewy? Does your skin feel sticky, heavy, or like nothing is there? And most importantly does it feel moisturizing enough? Still unsure or trying to figure out what works best for you out of the final options? Take a small bit and put it on your jawline.
If it seems too complex and reading the label of your new moisturizer it sounds like the kind of thing you need, take it home and try it for 2 weeks to a month. It’s a sure fire way to figure out if you like something or not.
I'm typically a fan of gel moisturizers, but when it gets to about 40 degrees in Seoul - even that feels too heavy. I usually find myself substituting my moisturizer of an essence lotion, or hydrating essence toner before layering on some SPF. I usually look for a slightly thicker texture than the typical watery essence or toner. They are quite effective and obviously do not clog my pores.
Like all skin care products, so many variables can change what your skin may prefer from one phase to another. But these tips and tricks should help you quickly locate what's right for you in the time you’re in. Good luck and may your skin stays moisturized and healthy.
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