Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with my extremely dry skin. Some days would be completely fine but others, especially in the winter, it would feel painfully tight or even become flaky. There was only so much I could do to manage it… or so I thought.
Over the years, I tried an obscene amount of lotions, body washes, and oils to try and cure my dry skin. Spoiler: there is no cure. But what I did discover what ingredients & practices my skin responds to and today, I am here to pass these lessons on to my fellow dry skin beauties!
Whether you’re here to completely reevaluate your routine or just need to add a little extra hydration, these tips and recommendations will help you banish dehydration and dryness for good!
When you find yourself browsing for products, it’s important to be able to read an ingredient list. Even if you’re unsure about the brand or a product’s claims, the ingredients will always tell you the whole story.
#MelaninMoiTip – The higher up an ingredient is in the list, the more concentrated it is in the formula. So if a product has its key ingredients listed last, put it down. Marketing can sometimes work against the consumer, but the ingredients list doesn’t lie!
In order to help hydrate and moisturize your facial skin, you should be on the lookout for these specific ingredients: almond oil, rose (water or oil), hyaluronic acid, honey, oat, and squalane. For body care, I love using shea, jojoba, almond, and hemp oils to moisturize post-shower. There are of course many more ingredients out there, but these are considered safe and effective within the industry. Furthermore, as you go on your skincare journey, you’ll learn that your skin will have particular favorites (for example, my face loves rosewater and honey).
Note: yes, pure coconut oil was all the rage for a minute, but it is extremely comedogenic (AKA pore-clogging) for all skin types. For the body, as long as coconut oil is low on the ingredient list, I personally find it to be safe, but the face tends to be more sensitive to its clogging effects and should therefore be kept a coconut oil-free zone.
Here are some of my favorite reputable products that will keep your skin smooth and hydrated:
This product is extremely unique and is even approved by Sean Garrette (one of my favorite licensed estheticians on Insta)! It’s a milky, hydrating liquid that you can use as a toner AND moisturizer, best used as the last step in your routine. If you have dry skin, you may still want to layer on an extra moisturizer, unless you need something lighter weight. Plus, it is extremely soothing on the skin.
This is a great non-greasy, lightweight serum that is a step above The Ordinary’s original Hyaluronic Acid formula. It adds a light layer of hydration that will keep your skin quenched, day or night. This has also gotten great reviews from Sean Garrette!
I love using cream cleansers because they cleanse the skin without stripping it of moisture. This cleanser from Korres is enriched with Greek yogurt, which contains probiotics that both nourish and soothe, making it suitable for sensitive skin types as well. I use this day & night and afterwards, my face always feels so bouncy and soft.
Hydrating mists do wonders for your skin’s hydration levels and your own stress levels. One of my favorites of the collection is the Fresh Rose Water & Aloe, which locks in my moisturizer and gives a dewy finish. Plus, it smells amaaazing.
This has to be one of the most talked-about products in the industry! The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb is perfect for dry, sensitive skin without being too heavy or greasy, perfect for staying hydrated throughout the day. It glides over the skin easily, and a little goes a long way.
One of my favorite body care products, this shower gel will leave you with beautifully soft skin. Plus, the rich lather and light fragrance (there’s a wide variety to choose from) make for a luxurious experience. You need very little product, and the bottle is sizeable, so this lasts a while!
I’ve found that dry skin really responds to the nourishing effects of oil cleansing, both on the face and body.This product is used as a body wash and is enriched with grapeseed, sweet almond, and sunflower seed oils. These nourishing ingredients will leave your skin healthy and soft!
This product is a game changer! It’s pure liquidated shea oil, making it deeply moisturizing and able to lock in lasting hydration without leaving greasy residue. This has been my go-to body moisturizer for the past year and isn’t going anywhere.
Skincare isn’t just about the products but also how and in what conditions you apply them. Here are some techniques that will maximize the benefits of your routine:
Do NOT Over-Exfoliate
You shouldn’t be exfoliating more than 2-3x a week, perhaps even 1-2x if you have especially dry or sensitive skin. This applies to exfoliating washes, liquids, and toners. Less is more!
Use your Hydrating Serum Before Exfoliating
A hydrating serum will serve as a buffer to keep your leave-on exfoliating agent from overworking your skin.
Use your Hydrating Toner After Exfoliating
After exfoliating, be sure to replenish the skin to keep from dehydration. In fact, toning between every step in your routine is recommended by many estheticians, including LA Beautyologist.
Incorporate Nightly Facial Massages
Skin care is self-care, so why not add in a massage? Just use your fingers, palms, and knuckles to work in a hydrating oil of your choice (I love the Plant-Derived Squalane from The Ordinary for this) for as long as you’d like. Not only is this super relaxing, but it will help your products, and therefore the hydration benefits, penetrate deeper.
Just say NO to Makeup Wipes and Start Oil Cleansing
Makeup wipes are extremely irritating and drying. Oil cleansing is a far healthier way to remove makeup without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. Check out my latest article on oil cleansing to learn more!
Stop Showering / Washing with Scalding Hot Water
Hot showers can feel amazing, but sadly they dry out and irritate your skin. Lukewarm water is best!
Apply Body Oils on Wet / Damp Skin
This tip has saved me time, money, product, and sanity. I used to apply oils on completely dry skin and would always end up using a ton of product with little payoff. Now, I apply my body oils (notably, the Liquid Gold from Didara) in the shower while the skin is still wet. You will use way less product and can feel it penetrating deeper into your skin.
Last but not least…
Twice a day, no exceptions!
If you’d like some extra recommendations or tips for dry skin, check out some of my previous Melanin Moi articles on cheap and effective products, an indie brand that well caters to dry skin, a Black-owned luxury body care brand,and more information on the importance of hydration & moisture.
There is no single cure for dry skin, sure, but there are ways to manage it. Remember, you have to live with your skin for the rest of your life, and its long-term health is contingent upon building a consistent routine that works for you. So, start the journey towards healthy, nourished skin today by incorporating some of these products and techniques. Your skin will thank you!
Which of these tips or recommendations are you excited to try? Or are there any other tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!