Have you ever counted how many steps you go through in your typical morning routine? From shower to hair and makeup, it’s no wonder few ladies can make it out of the bathroom in less than 30 minutes. So it’s only natural we often have the inclination to skip a couple steps where possible. For many of us, that means the body cream drops by the wayside. It’s an easy compromise until one day you look down at your legs only to notice that skin looking rather reptilian.
Skin’s outermost layer, the stratum corneum, is protected by a lipid barrier made up of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids which helps keep water in the skin from leaching out. “The natural lipid layer can be lost during cleansing, so it’s important to use a product that adds them back into skin,” says Ellen Shepard, of Unilever research and development. That’s where moisturizers come in—they treat dry skin, helping improve skintone and texture. Humectants (such as sodium hyaluronate, propylene glycol, sugars, glycerin and urea), attract water from the air around and draw it into skin. Emollients (including oils, silicones, dimethicone, and petrolatum) are occlusive and create a barrier to prevent additional water loss from skin.
So there’s a case to be made for moisturizer but how does that hasten your morning routine? Easy. Check the ingredient lists of the products you’re currently using to see if they offer hydrating properties. From your shaving cream to body wash, sunscreen or scrub, chances are they’re chock full of nourishing additions. Even better if it’s one of the first five ingredients on the label (which means it’s present in large quantities). But do keep in mind that some of the dyes and colorants used in moisturizers can overly irritating to some people, cautions Omaha-based dermatologist, Joel Schlessinger, M.D. If you have ingredient allergies or sensitivity to certain products, seek out fragrance- and dye-free formulas.
Cleansing detergents that sweep away dirt and oils can dry out skin in the process. Ingredients such as stearic acid, glycerin and soybean oils help maintain skin’s delicate lipid layer while penetrating deep down to replenish.
De-fuzz while moisturizing skin. The EOS non-foaming cream formula is chock-full of aloe, oat and shea butter that can be used on wet and dry skin alike. Bonus: the plastic bottle means no rust ring in your shower.
Take legs from pasty to pretty with a bronzing body butter. Coconut, argan- and tamanu-oils rich in essential fatty acids hydrate scaly skin while crushed pearls add the right amount of glow to pale limbs. Free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, dyes, and mineral oil.
Dry oil acts just like the name suggests with all the hydration you’d expect from this lube, but without the slick, greasy feel. NUXE’s mixture of plant oils that include St. John’s Wort, sweet almond, hazelnut, macadamia and vitamin E is so popular, one bottle is sold every six seconds worldwide.
Only soaps made in or around the French town of Marseille can call themselves savon de Marseille. Developed over 600 years ago, this oversized bar is famous for being gentle and superbly moisturizing. Traditional Marseille soaps are made of skin-softening olive or vegetable oils.
Softening Socks & Gloves
Wake up to softer skin after catching a few z’s while wearing these gel-lined accessories infused with grapeseed-, jojoba- and olive oils. Hardened heels get some TLC with Bliss’ Softening Socks while palms find some pampering with Bliss’ Glamour Glove; $48 each.
Get rid of dead cells while unveiling a fresh, healthy layer of skin. Body polishing ingredients like salt and sugar do the buffing while the base of shea butter and sweet almond oil carries much-needed moisture to parched limbs.
Soap & Glory Flake Away; $18.
Soak in sake? Why not? Japanese geishas found this rice wine was the secret to soft, youthful skin. Enzymes keep skin’s surface hydrated while pure ginger warms and loosens muscles. A delicate peach scent and a blend of apricot kernel and sesame seed oils make the bath an indulgent experience.
Fresh Sake Bath; $80
UV protection is key but choose a sunblock with glycerin and it’ll soften skin as it shields it. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E lend some anti-aging oomph.
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