15 Moisturizing Miracles for Dry Skin
Even when it isn’t dead-of-winter-freezing or desert-level dry, we all invariably want our skin just a little softer, more supple, plumped with moisture. Creating a routine that builds in hydration is the way to sidestep the irksome cycle of persistent dry spots that you then try to treat as they arise. Instead, keep your skin fully hydrated and healthy with a daily routine, so the skin feels soft, plump, and smooth all winter long.
This involves more than just moisturizer, it should be noted. Laundry detergent can make an enormous difference; go clean, and know that it can sometimes take several washes to really get clothing and sheets free of the persistent chemicals present in the powerful fragrances, sulfates, and optical brighteners found in some conventional detergents.
Water counterintuitively dries out your skin, particularly hot water, which is why dermatologists always recommend (wildly unappealing, especially in winter) tepid showers and baths; they also advise shorter, less-frequent ones. The way to at least partially counteract the drying effects of blissfully warm showers and baths is to get oils and moisturizers onto your skin while you’re still in them.
Bath oils and bath salts make an enormous difference in the bath—as long as they’re clean. Some conventional “bath oils” are made with detergents/sulfates, in order to get the “oil” to foam and bubble, as well as disperse evenly in the water. Rule of thumb: If your oil foams and bubbles, it’s not only un-moisturizing, it’s probably actively drying you out. Real, clean oils do the opposite, actively moisturizing the skin. Pour a small amount into bathwater; it will stick together in spots across the surface of the water. As you’re in the bath, smooth that warm oil onto your skin, especially the spots that tend to be driest. It’ll stay on your skin, even after you emerge, sealing in water and leaving your skin incredibly soft. The best bath oil for you depends on what scents you love. Jasmine is exceptionally moisturizing; French Girl blends theirs with coconut, argan, and rosehip oil, so it leaves skin hydrated, not to mention smelling incredible. The orange-blossom-infused, stunningly-bottled Kypris Inflorescence body oil is a seriously rejuvenating, gorgeous-smelling treatment. Tammy Fender’s Bulgarian Lavender Oil is both calming and uplifting all at once—we especially love it before bed.
Kypris Body Elixir Inflorescencegoop, $95
It’s hard to get past the fabulousness of the bottle—it seriously dresses up a medicine chest or even the prettiest vanity—but this luxurious body oil is equally amazing once opened: Scented with bitter-orange blossom, it’s a mix of potent, highest-quality botanical oils that are usually reserved for face-only formulas. Skin-plumping sweet iris stem cells and vitamin C ester are combined with sustainably procured oils like sunflower, moringa, prickly pear, and tamanu seed to tone, enhance, and glow. It sinks into skin instantly, leaving it soft and silky.
Balmyard Romantic Call Body Oilgoop, $82
On the body or in the bath, this exquisite oil is deeply toning and nourishing. Lavender relaxes the body and clears the mind. It also smells and feels pretty wonderful.
French Girl Organic Lumiere Body Oil – Jasmingoop, $58
Smooth a few drops over your limbs after a shower or bath and feel deeply, sexily French Girl all day: pure organic coconut, argan, rose-hip-seed, and sesame oils are infused with ayurvedic botanical absolutes, resins, and essential oils to treat the skin and create the gorgeous scent all at once. We also use it on the wrists and behind the ears as a subtle perfume, and as a supremely indulgent (and skin-revivifying) bath oil.
Salts are a less-slippery way to make a bath significantly more moisturizing. The salts from Lilfox incorporate gorgeous essential oils with ylang ylang; Ila’s mix in jasmine and sandalwood for a deep peacefulness. Naturopathica’s pale-pink Birch and Magnesium flakes work wonders on sore muscles—they have to be tried to be believed.
LILFOX Orange Blossom Ylang Bang Salt Crystal Soakgoop, $33
Three kinds of salt crystals—Dead Sea, Himalayan, gray French sea salts—are hand-blended with a soothing, detoxifying, and gorgeously sexy mix of neroli, bitter orange, and ylang ylang. The pure organic essential oils and rare salts create a beautifully luxurious, sensuous bath that leaves the mind and spirit cleansed, uplifted, and incredibly relaxed.
goop Body Phys Ed.goop, $35
Harvested at the southern end of the Dead Sea, these salts contain 21 essential minerals to nourish and soften the skin, plus relax the mind and body. The subtle, woodsy scent of bay laurel, white pine, and myrtle essential oils make the experience all the more indulgent. Not to mention, there are exactly zero toxins here. Bonus: The sophisticated aluminum canister fits with any tub décor.
Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakesgoop, $36
These flakes dissolve into a bath, making for a deeply relaxing end-of-day ritual.
In the shower, harsh scrubs can be both seriously drying and irritating—cut back in winter. The exception: Ultra-hydrating, gentle scrubs get rid of dead skin cells without stripping and layer rich oils onto the skin while you’re still in the shower. The Sea Siren scrub from Shiva Rose is amazing in this regard—it leaves you softly exfoliated and intensely moisturized, and the oils are so rich that they really stick to your skin, not the shower.
goop Body G.Tox Scrubgoop, $40
For the most moisturizing, skin-silkening shower pretty much ever, this body-butter scrub is made with blue-green algae that’s wild harvested from the Cascade Falls in the mountains of Oregon. The algae is blended with rich butters and oils that hydrate and smooth skin like crazy, and the luxurious formula smells gorgeously of lemongrass. You’ll step out of the shower fully moisturized, faintly scented, and seriously radiant.
Once out of the bath or shower, the choice between oils, creams, or lotions is totally personal. If your skin is terribly dry, layering an oil—we love the soothing ones from De Mamiel and May Lindstrom, as well as the Anti-Aging body oil from Uma—is your best bet.
goop Body G.Day Body Oilgoop, $60
This magical, super-hydrating, luminizing potion uses golden minerals to lend skin a tanned glow. Its top-of-the-line ingredients—from rose absolute and ylang-ylang to cocoa and lavender—create a subtle but utterly stunning scent, a gorgeous texture, and deeply hydrating results.
de Mamiel Revitalising Body Serumgoop, $87
A miracle blend of oils from sea buckthorn and prickly pear to baobab enrich this slightly shimmery (it imparts a pretty sheen on legs, shoulders, or collarbones—especially good before going out) oil-serum. Scented with a stunning mix of citrus, floral, and woody essential oils, it moisturizes like crazy, leaving skin nourished and beautifully supple.
Uma Absolute Anti-Aging Body Oilgoop, $90
A daily skin elixir inspired by the ritual baths of Indian royalty, this soothing, hydrating body oil mixes pomegranate, moringa, and grapeseed oils with sandalwood, rose, and neroli. The lightweight, glow-inducing miracle worker soothes more than just your skin: It smells incredible, and works as a gentle-but-powerful aromatherapy treatment, invigorating body and spirit. Use right out of the shower, when your skin is most absorbent.
Creams—Rodin’s thick, jasmine-and-neroli-inflected one has to be one of the world’s most indulgent beauty products of all time, in any category—have a beautifully comforting texture. Neal’s Yard makes a pillowy jasmine and ylang ylang cream, and Weleda’s Skin Food incorporates 22 incredible-smelling essential oils into one miracle-working green tube. Lotions, on the other hand—we love the faintly pinon-scented one from Los Poblanos—sink in the quickest; depending on your skin, they can be best in the morning, when you’re in a hurry to get dressed. Balms are generally the most occlusive option, meaning they most effectively seal in moisture, incredible for persistent problem areas like shins or elbows (you can also apply some balm to your feet, put cotton socks on over, and leave on overnight for a sort of effort-free pedicure). The balm from African Botanics is the most luxurious we’ve ever tried—it leaves a glorious, healthy sheen on skin along with serious moisture.
Rodin Crema Luxury Hand and Body Creamgoop, $84
Slather on this silky cream alone or layered with olio lusso body oil. Either way, skin will feel hydrated and just a little bit scented with beautiful Neroli (it’s a member of the citrus family and a source of Vitamin C).
Los Poblanos Lavender Lotiongoop, $16.50
Made with organic New Mexico lavender essential oil, this incredible everyday moisturizer hydrates, calms, and uplifts the senses all at once.It feels and smells amazing as it leaves your skin soft, rejuvenated, smooth, and refreshed.
African Botanicals Marula Botanical Body Creamgoop, $85
This supercharged moisturizer transforms skin, delivering intense (and long-lasting) soothing hydration. Made with omega-rich African marula oil, alpine rose plant stem cells, coenzyme Q10, Kalahari melon seed and baobab oil, green tea extract, and grapefruit-rose extracts, the formula nourishes intensely. Brilliant for dryness, even at its most extreme.
Grown Alchemist Intensive Body Lotiongoop, $89
Packed with every beyond organic (aka biodynamic) oil under the sun, this green tube is brilliant for face, hands, body—it feels amazing, smells incredible, and moisturizes like crazy.
The Organic Pharmacy Detox OilNeal’s Yard Remedies, $68
A rich, subtly-but-beautifully scented cream that hydrates with organic honey, apricot kernel oil, and jasmine and ylang ylang oils for incredibly soft skin.