So apparently, it’s that time of year again when your skin starts flaking off and you (OK, not most of you) try your best not to look ashy.
When I lived in Michigan, I had having soft skin despite winter weather/indoor heat down to a science. Then I moved to Texas, got spoiled by the humidity, and stopped caring. Even though it’s still really warm down here, the humidity is easing up, and my skin is looking a bit rough. And since I realized I better prepare for the cruel, harsh, 50-degree winds in Kansas that I’ll face this week, I’ve been stepping it up a notch in the skincare department.
For those of you who have to deal with this every day…well, first of all, I’m sorry. I get it. And second, here is how I keep my skin soft when the weather would have it dry!
First, I start taking a fish oil supplement. Not only is it good for your heart and body, but it’s great for your skin. During my last year in Michigan, I started taking fish oil, and that spring it occurred to me that I had gotten through the winter months without a dry skin problem. I still moisturized, but it was the first year I could remember that I didn’t have any dry skin on my face. I no longer had to worry that my lips were cracked or that I needed to exfoliate the hell out of the skin around my nostrils. From my extensive but purely anecdotal research, I’ve learned that a lot of my other Michigan friends had the same experience. This is definitely worth adding to your daily routine!
Next, I don’t shower all the damn time. I used to shower like twice a day and was amazed when I discovered on study abroad that not everyone does that. And I didn’t learn it from Europeans; I learned it from my classmates who were confused by why I insisted upon showering when I could be getting a head start on drinking. From a scientific point of view, most of your dead skin and body oils are shed into your clothes, so changing clothes is actually going to get you pretty clean — I learned that from Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars. (Side note: I’m actually fascinated by our cultural obsession with being clean and wrote a paper for a history class my senior year of college on the “cleanliness movement” in Southern America in the early part of the 20th century. It’s amazing to me how that continues to shape our approach to hygiene in the United States. Also, the paper was titled “The Dirty South.”) Anyway, now I just shower when I actually need to shower, which isn’t every day, and — surprise! — I am not That Girl (unless you mean That Girl Who Doesn’t Have Dry Skin).
After I shower (or don’t shower), I love body oils. Coconut oil is the most natural and economic option and I love it for moisturizer. I apply it right out of the shower to damp skin and it doesn’t make my skin too greasy (though I do let it sink in for a minute before I get dressed); it just makes it feel amazing. Replacing my moisturizer with coconut oil has made my skin better than ever…it just looks healthier now. I’m also really excited to try Leah’s recipe for homemade coconut oil face wash; I’m a big fan of using oil to clean and this recipe sounds perfect. (Oh and I prefer extra-virgin coconut oil, but I didn’t feel like going to three stores for it, so I went with regular old virgin. If you can find EV, go with that and definitely avoid the refined stuff! Remember if it’s not virgin or extra virgin, it’s slutty and even though we like slutty, we don’t like our slutty coconut oil. Except when we’re using it in slutty ways, which we do, but that’s just a whole other post.)
If you have really dry skin, you can layer moisturizer over the coconut oil to really seal in moisture.
The Nuxe body oil was a recent addition to my soft skin routine. I got it from a Birchbox sample and fell in love so I bought the full-sized bottle. While it smells amazing and makes me feel so chic and pampered every time I use it, it’s just too pricey to use every day. So now I use replace my coconut oil, so I now save that for special occasions when I want to smell really great and feel fancy. Only using my pricey beauty products for special occasions is how I can get a few splurge beauty products, even on a budget.
When I lived in Michigan, I slept with a humidifier in my room, but I don’t really need that here in Texas. But I did replace it with a new item this year.
I’ve always seen body brushes like this one in stores, and this year, I decided to go that route rather than using some store-bought exfoliating potion. I’ve been using the brush (which came from Whole Foods and cost $7) on my dry skin and the process is as exactly as bizarre and wonderful as it sounds. There are a lot of instructional videos on the Web because it’s actually a fairly common technique for clearing your body of toxins, but I don’t think you need to get complicated. You just gently brush your dry skin (toward your heart, if you’re feeling like you want to detox…and really, if you’re going to do it, you might as well detox while you’re at it, right?) until it’s just a little red. Then I hop in the shower to rinse all the dead skin away. (I also don’t use soap in the shower I take after body-brushing, as that’s drying, and the opposite of what I want to do.) And then I get up close and personal with my coconut oil.
So that’s about it! I’ve really simplified my routine over the past couple years and my skin is way better off because of it. I’m also saving money on products and my routine is way more natural now. It’s pretty much been a win all around.