A few days ago I had to give in, go to the store and purchase some moisturiser. The winter had wreaked havoc with my skin and I had been uncomfortable in it for weeks. Buying that bottle wasn’t my proudest moment since I aim to make my own skin care. Nevertheless, I want to share it with you and share some of the steps I took before I went to the store.
External factors of dry skin
Around the end of last year, I noticed that my skin was getting drier. It is always prone to that in European winter because of the cold air outside and the heated and dry air inside. My skin had been fine so far in the tiny house. When we spend two weeks at my mom’s house however, it started getting itchy and flaky.
I first started to drink a lot more water. I’m not a good water drinker so I made extra sure I drank at least two litres a day.
I also cut down on acidic foods like chocolate, fatty foods and meat, and alcohol.
One factor which also contributed to my dry skin but I couldn’t do anything about was the hardness of the water. We have very hard water at our house now and I know that my skin doesn’t like that. So, I use soap that’s extra moisturising. Since I make them myself I used a recipe with a high percentage of super fat (the fat that’s left after the saponification process and which will essentially stay on your skin). I also did some in-shower scrubs with sugar and coconut oil, which always feel great.
Speaking of coconut oil, when it came to hydrating my skin directly, I, of course, turned to natural oils. I’m a firm believer in natural skin care. In fact, making my own body butter was my entry point into the whole practical sustainability movement I now blog about.
So I tried oils by themselves: coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba oil, and even argan oil. Coconut oil is my favourite oil for skin care because it absorbs quickly and it doesn’t leave a shine and oily feeling on the skin. And most of the time coconut oil was great in my face, but not on skin covered by clothing. All the other oils also helped in their sense (apart from jojoba oil which left my skin extremely raspy) but none to perfection. So I went further.
I mixed some oils and butters together and made myself a good body butter. The combination of shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and sweet almond oil, which I usually love, didn’t work either.
I was at a loss. So, last week I decided that it was time to face the fact that I needed commercial help. I went to the shops to get myself a moisturiser, something I hadn’t done in years.
What I looked out for in a store-bought moisturiser
My number one criterium in a store-bought moisturiser was that it shouldn’t contain any mineral oil. Now, the problem with that is in order to avoid mineral oil I needed to know its common names in cosmetic. My list was this: petrolatum, paraffin (oil), mineral Seal Oil, white Oil, liquid paraffin, paraffinum liquidum, liquid petroleum, and baby oil (which is perfumed mineral oil). And that is just my abbreviated list. Check this much longer list. It can also help to read the front of the bottle carefully and look for ‘mineral oil free’. However, I’ve found that some creams won’t say they are mineral oil free although they are.
I also looked for something without perfume and colour. That’s my personal preference because I tend not to like strongly scented creams. I also don’t want to irritate my skin with more additives I don’t need.
My last reference in the store was something medical looking. Now, I know that that’s not a very helpful criterium if you don’t know what I’m talking about but I basically looked for something in plain packaging.
With all these criteria in mind, I had ruled out about 90 percent of the skin care products in the store.
Why buying moisturiser is such a big deal for me
Now, the reason I went through so much effort was that I firmly believe in caring for my skin. My skin is my largest organ and what goes on it will often end up in my bloodstream. I have been very careful with all the products I use and from the recent issues aside, my skin has been really great.
But, maybe my number one reason for using natural skin care is the price. Buying any kind of cooking oil like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil is cheaper than getting a bottle of moisturiser. It will last longer and if I find myself short of oil for cooking, I know I always have some in the bathroom.
Nevertheless, I now have a bottle of moisturiser in my bathroom as well as all the natural oils. I’ve used it once and it seems to work. Fingers crossed, I don’t need to use it very often and my skin recovers quickly.