Break the dryness cycle by cutting your addiction to chemical moisturizers and using plant-based oils. Yes, I said addiction.
Commercial lotions cause a dependency where the more you use the more you need. Basically, the artificial moisture signals the skin that it doesn’t need to produce it’s own oils. If you stop using your chemical lotion for a couple days, you notice that your skin becomes really dry without it. That product is created in a lab simply to add an external layer of moisture, thus covering up the problem of dryness much like medications simply treat symptoms rather than causes.
The solution is to balance out our bodies’ natural oils by giving the skin’s oil-producing centers some time to recover from being “turned off”. After an adjustment period, your body will reach its happy balance. Plant-based oils don’t interfere with this process. For years, I had dry patches on the front of my shins. Since I started moisturizing in the shower with olive oil a few times a week (and doing nothing else), those patches have gone away and my skin is perfectly hydrated.
Of course, I’m sure a high raw diet with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies helps, too! But that’s for another day…
And this is not just for the ladies. My husband swears by this (he also uses jojoba oil as his only hair product).
Natural Oils for Moisturizing
Any plant-based oil is fine – olive, jojoba, coconut, etc. I just use olive oil because it’s inexpensive, available everywhere, and I have it around the house anyways. Do you carry around a bottle of petroleum jelly in your purse? Read this short little article I found on why vaseline is bad for your skin. And don’t use mineral oil as it really will dry out your skin (plus it’s another petroleum product).
If you have a really dry patch or want a little extra boost to soften up your feet or hands, try 100% shea butter (fair trade). It’s solid at room temps but will melt into your skin.
Why Moisturize with Olive Oil?
Inexpensive and easy-to-find
I buy it in a big one-liter bottle and can get it pretty cheap from Trader Joe’s, but it can be purchased almost anywhere (at least in North America).
You probably already have a bottle in your kitchen – in that case you don’t even have to get another product. Just fill up a travel bottle and keep it in the shower, ready for action. I even bring it with me when I shower at the Bikram Yoga studio.
If you apply the oil when your skin is still wet after your shower, it absorbs really well. If it’s too glossy, just pat your skin dry with a towel to absorb some of the excess oil.
Olive oil isn’t a common irritant, and with only one ingredient, there are zero harmful chemicals added! We take this seriously because Jay has to be very gentle in his ingredient choices or his eczema will flare up.
So, what’s a girl (or guy) to do?
Apply Olive Oil Before You Towel-dry
In the shower, after you turn the water off but before you towel dry, rub a layer of olive oil all over your skin, toes to neck (even your face if you want). The water still clinging to your skin will dilute it so you don’t have slippery limbs. Your pores will already be opened up from the shower, allowing the oil to absorb well.
It might take awhile for your skin’s natural oils to balance out, but have a little patience. Both Jay and I have been doing this for years, and my skin feels great, more moisturized than it ever was before. And we live in the desert. ‘Nuf said.
Now your turn. Have you had success moisturizing with a different plant-based oil? Leave it in the comments.
For more tips like this one, read my article 6 Toiletry Swaps to Save Money, Reduce Chemical Exposure, and Declutter. I’ll be posting a new article like this each Minimalist Beauty Monday for the next couple months. To make sure you don’t miss any (and to get extra insight I don’t share on the blog), subscribe to my newsletter below:
Don’t worry, I respect your email privacy, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Though I hope you won’t want to!