The Hip Mom Hydrates
Tips for keeping your skin moisturized during the dry winter months
We’re almost through another winter - my 13th as an Okie - and I have an embarrassing confession: I still have not learned to how to hydrate and moisturize my hair, skin and self during these dry, dessicated wind-coming-down-the-plains cold spells. How can I prevent hair from looking like I stuck a fork in a socket, or skin from having the texture of a wizened raisin, or eyes from leaking tears into dry, crusty red corners? My dang foundation flakes off near my hairline and neck - not chic! Now that we’re into March, perhaps the end is near, and the overly drippy and humid days of summer are not far - but you may recall some bitter snowstorms in March! So I decide to embark on a personal mission to keep myself as hydrated as possible for the remainder of winter.
First, hair. My friend, Brooke, occasionally coats her hair the night before with some good, old- fashioned coconut oil and sleeps with it; the next morning she’ll rinse it out in the shower. So, I gingerly coat my hair one evening - I have a jar from Trader Joe’s - and my hair is really soft the next day; I don’t even have to use my usual detangler. Yay! And such a cheap solution! My friend, Megan, buys the big vat from Costco and uses it in her hair, on her face, and even plops some in her coffee. In fact, there’s a whole skin care line, Kopari, based on the lowly coconut: body creams, a really hydrating lip balm, and a natural deodorant which actually works (I don’t care if something is chemical-free if I stink!).
My friend, the professional, Judith, who works as an esthetician at Blue Mercury, says coconut oil is too oily for her, but Moroccan oil has a nice hydrating cream that smooths her hair. She also likes jojoba oil, which is not quite as heavy as coconut. To control frizz, my friend, Laurie, recommends the Wow line of shampoos and conditioners; Ashley likes Living Proof’s frizz line. My good friend, Kerrie, also a staticky frizz ball like me, recommends DevaCurl’s No-Poo conditioner and styling cream. I try out sample sizes of each, and my hair feels soft, comb-able and much less frizzy. My oldest daughter, who was graced with almost impenetrably thick, curly dark auburn hair, uses it, too, and is actually able to comb through her hair (at one point she had given up combing her hair and basically had dreadlocks - it took a hair stylist three hours to detangle her head!). My friend, Susan, uses Kevin Murphy’s Motion Lotion and leave-in conditioner. She can only get it from her stylist, and says it protects her hair every winter.
There are a plethora of recommendations for skin: Judith recommends serums with hyaluronic acid. I use one from Amazon that’s just $14, and it seems to seal in hydration well. I get a complimentary 30-minute, hydrating mini-facial from Judith, and whatever she does is magical - I am a lot more glowy and hydrated for a couple of days. She says, “Every house should have ample amounts of coconut oil and jojoba oil. Also, Weleda makes a product called ‘Skin Food’ that I also think everyone should have. It’s super greasy but also super nourishing, and a little goes a very long way. It should be applied like an oil. A pea-sized amount (or smaller) rubbed into hands and pressed into skin. It can be found at any health food store.”
I try this Skin Food, and it is indeed rich - it feels like I’m smearing Boudreaux’s Butt Paste on my face! So I wear it at night, but I still find my darn Trish McEvoy B&B cream flaking off during the day - ugh! So I try another cream recommended by my beautiful, dewy friend, Cetina, who recommends Exuviance, a gel-like cream that contains peptides, hyaluronic acid and all kinds of great stuff. It goes on smoothly, smells divine, and my face looks rested in the morning. But again, once I pair it with my BB cream, everything flakes off like dandruff!
Finally, I discover (via a podcast, of all things) Volcasmic from Glam Glow. “It’s formulated with volcanic minerals that act like microscopic sponges to help soak up oil, making skin instantly smooth but never shiny. The water balm formula delivers optimal hydration and, if used in the morning, provides a prepped, even canvas for flawless makeup application.” Whatever that all means, I smear this thick paste on and voila! My skin feels like it has a bona fide barrier between it and the outside frozen horribleness. Plus, it doubles as a primer! So, if I’m not doing anything fancy (which is 99 percent of my life), I feel comfortable just wearing it solo, but for a night out, I put BB cream or foundation on top - perfection (well, for an old mom)!
Other general hydrating tips: When you’re cleansing, avoid foaming cleansers that dry out the skin; instead, use creamy cleansers. Right after showering, my friend, Jessica, slaps some Dr. Teal’s body oil over her whole body. My friend, Carol, sleeps with a humidifier right by her bed. And lips get dry too. Try Kopari’s lip gloss, or (gulp, $30 but worth it) Jo Malone’s Vitamin E Lip Conditioner - so luxurious for our chapped lips and slides on much more easily and gracefully than Carmex. Chantecaille’s Lip Potion is one of Judith’s favorites. She notices how dry my lips are, and warns me I might be applying my nightly Retinol wrinkle cream too close to my lips. When we apply cream, once it penetrates the skin, it can spread out subcutaneously up to a half an inch! So I could be unintentionally frying my lips - oops. My friend, Kristen, swears by goat’s milk cleansers and lotions. And for dry eyes, Oasis makes a very lubricating drop for dry eyes my eye doctor recommends - especially beneficial for contact lens wearers.
Finally, in a fit of celebrity-induced wannabee-ness, I buy goop’s wildly expensive “jasmine garden botanical facial mist:” I don’t know if it does a darn thing, but when I’m out and about and feeling dry and assaulted by the cold winter air, I spray it on. It smells like what I imagine the spa smells like at the Ritz in Vail, and it feels like I’m misting my face in a cloud of moisturizing, healthful herbs.
So there are some ideas for some happy hydration. I suppose drinking more water is a good idea, too. Until we can all jet down to our mythical house in Palm Beach in February, this will have to do!