I’m trying to figure out a balance between social issues and beauty reviews, bellas. I’ve been in a contemplative mood these days, so now I’ll lighten it up with some beauty stuff.

Back to my regularly scheduled post, which is long overdue!

I did part one of Moisturize Your Situation (hair edition) back in December, and I started writing these product reviews at least three different times. Every time, I come crashing to a halt. Why? Because I’m tackling something a bit new and there’s so much to say!

“Winter” in Miami has been particularly disappointing this year. I’m probably running the risk of pissing some of you ladies off right now… but December and January are the only months of the year that I get to wear a long sleeve shirt or a sweater here, and it’s been strictly in the Seventies all month. But I watch the news enough to see that extreme cold is gripping the rest of the country, which makes for some beauty issues that are foreign to me.

Confession – I didn’t really KNOW what ashy was until I went to visit my in-laws in Chicago for Christmas. I mean, I’ve had ashy knees, kind of dry skin… but that December it was like I had rubbed my face and body with grey chalk. All of a sudden my formerly supple skin looked aged, my hair was parched and frizzy, and my lips took a turn towards Tyrone Biggums.

NOT cute.

I realized that the heavy moisturizers that I was never really been able to enjoy in the hot climes I reside in are damn near essential in colder environments.

Bellas on a budget might want to do what my coworker recently did, and slather on some good old fashioned Ponds under your makeup. Ponds will moisturize the heck out of your skin, and I love it as a night cream. But if you wear it out during the day, like the C&C Music Factory, it’s gonna make you sweat, baby!

My new favorite supermoisturizing day-to-night cream is the curiously named Complex C Cream Creme. This teeny jar will set you back $55, but if you’re concerned about aging and want a fantastic, emoillient product that will leave your skin feeling nourished and looking refreshed, this could be the one.

Just because I have oily skin and I live in a virtual sweatbox doesn’t mean that I don’t need moisturizers, though — we all do! If you wear makeup (especially powder and foundation), you need a good moisturizer to protect your skin, otherwise all of that gunk is going to clog your pores and lead to breakouts.

Start your face off with a good base of moisturizer, and your powder is less likely to settle into your pores and fine lines, as well. Currently I’m using Skin MD, a shielding lotion. It’s great for hand and body use, but personally I am using it as a face moisturizer. ‘Cause I’m brave like that.

The science behind Skin MD is intriguing, and from a quick read it would almost make you think that this product would make your face or hands greasy with surface layers of humectants and all that. Not the case!

This stuff is light to the touch, absorbs effortlessly, and just makes my skin feel soft and look dewy. The ingredients include aloe vera, vitamin E, comfrey, and chamomile, so it’s gentle enough for those with more sensitive skin as well, and it’s recommended for the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

Even though I normally sweat profusely in the sun, this particular product hasn’t made my makeup melt off in the Miami heat. My only concern is the lack of SPF, I generally prefer a face moisturizer to have at least SPF 15. I hope that Skin MD will release a sunscreen, but currently, I’m still using it as a great day-to-day moisturizer for my face and hands. Two thumbs up for Skin MD!

Two of my favorite office friends are simulataneously pregnant, and they’ve made me realize that pregnancy brings unique beauty dilemmas as well! Both of them complained of having drier skin, especially their hands. When I recieved some adorable product samples from Warm Spirit and My Earthly Basics, I had to pass them along to my office bellas.

Nadine liked the My Earthly Basics Skin Repair Cream. “It’s got a nice lemongrass scent. Texture is a bit waxy/greasy, so I think it’s best for extremely dry patches. I like using it on the backs of my hands, because even after I wash them, my skin is still soft,” she says.

Karen more or less agreed, although she tried a less waxy formula: “My Earthly Basics Passion Fruit Body Butter is sweet smelling and not too greasy, but very moisturizing. It won’t fade away quickly and soothes dry, itchy skin.”

Both of these bellas also tried some teeny tiny Warm Spirit cream samples I got, with adorable names like Kindness Cream and Special Attention cream. Karen liked the Special Attention. “It’s very thick but is definitely best if you are in need of concentrated moisture. It is a bit greasy and will not come off easily which is great for very irritated skin but don’t use it for light duty touch ups. The Mango Body Butter smells great and is also very thick. At first it will have you looking shiny but it absorbs well and then leaves skin very soft,” she added.

The Warm Spirit creams put Nadine’s nose into overdrive. She was picking up on scents I never could have pinpointed! “Something about the scent of the Warm Spirit Kindness Cream reminds me of horses — not horse manure, but the way their hair/skin smells, kind of grassy. It goes on smoothly and absorbs nicely, not greasy or sticky. I really like the way the Vetiver Body Butter smells — very warm, kinda vanilla-like. I could eat it. It goes on greasy at first but absorbs nicely. It looks a little like Vaseline, which kind of turned me off at first, but once I smelled it and rubbed it in, it became my favorite of the bunch!”

Faces and hands aren’t the only areas of your body that crave moisturizer. Baby Magic has been my daily moisturizer of choice for a long time.

The familiar pink bottle with the adorable lamb just brings back childhood memories. Plus, the scent is light and heavenly and it really makes my skin feel soothed and hydrated.

(Note to mamas and bellas who love to baby their skin – Baby Magic now has a Banana Boat Sunscreen with SPF 50! And a Baby Botanicals line. Gotta check that out).

But recently, I was going out in a skirt that showed off my gams to fabulous advantage, and I reached for the tub of Maryam’s Soap Nook Whipped Shea Monoi Body Butter.

I leave the tub on my night stand for back-massage purposes. This stuff is so rich, so moisturizing, so highly fragranced, it’s almost over the top. The scent I have, Coconut and Cream, is rich to the point where if it were a dessert, I would only want to take a teeny bite. (I bet the Tahitian Petals and Vanille de Madagascar would be absolute heaven!)

But this cream could be what cold weather bellas need – super rich, thick butter that slathers on to your skin, and leaves it looking shiny at first before moisturizing to the core. Seriously, just a dab is enough to preserve your sexy all day long!

Do you have a favorite lotion I haven’t tried? I’m always looking for more products. Talk to me, cold weather bellas — what’s your favorite save-your-skin cream?

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Asha says:
January 25, 2007, 12:10 pm
I actually just use pure Shea Butter, but I find that during the winter (I'm in NY) it's not a buttery soft as I like and it's sometimes tough to extract from the jar. I recently bought Oil of Olay's Quench body lotion and it's okay, but as soon as it's warm enough I will return to plain ole shea butter. I've read that shea butter has some SPF properties, but I still use a separate sunscreen on my face year round. One thing I definitely only use shea butter for is moisturizing my feet. I was neglecting my feet for a while until a couple weeks ago it felt like I could grate a coconut on my soles. I instantly scrubbed them smooth, bathed them in shea butter, wrapped them in plastic caps and covered them in socks. This cold weather is nothing to play with.
samantha says:
January 25, 2007, 12:15 pm
Well im in miami too, so I just queen helene's cocoa butter lotion.i know cheap and old but it works for me.
Coffy says:
January 25, 2007, 12:29 pm
i use cocoa butter with a touch of hemp, and then put on my thickest lounge wear.
Neosoulbeauty says:
January 25, 2007, 12:37 pm
I have always had a dilemma with my skin getting so dry and itchy in the winter time no matter how many times I lotion my skin. However, what has saved me in like two years from the dry and itchy skin is Aveeno's skin relief mositurizing lotion which contains natural colloidal oatmeal and cooling menthol to relieve and protect itchy, extra dry skin and the daily moisturizing which comes in the green label. However, a few weeks ago I went to Carol's daughter to pick up a few things that were beginning to run out and I picked up the Groove Shea lotion. Believe me when I tell you that is smells wonderful and it moisturizes my skin very good.
Amn.eris says:
January 25, 2007, 12:52 pm
I am a constant sufferer of dry itchy skin...no matter what the weather is. In the summer I use Nivea's Vitamin E lotion. I like the soft scent, the oily but non greasy feel and it smells good with my Dove soap. In the winter I use either Johnson and Johnson's baby lotion or Palmer's Coco Butter in combination with Neutrogena's Rainbath bath oil. I have a friend who just turned me on to Vaseline Intensive Care's Coco butter lotion. It is really nice, non greasy and has a loverly scent. And something that I ALWAYS have in stock is Carol's Daughter Mango Body Butter. I swear by that stuff.
cassandra says:
January 25, 2007, 1:28 pm
One secret to much better skin (winter or summer) are good sheets on your bed. High thread count sheets do not irritate, scratch or draw moisture out of your skin. I travel a great deal and I my skin can tell after a single night the difference between usual hotel (scratchy) sheets and my home 300+ count sheets. During the winter, I LOVE Whipped Body Spread from Greenridge Herbals (www.greenridgeherbals.com). This stuff is a wonderous blend of cocoa, shea, mango butters and some natural oils (no mineral oil, no parabens) that sinks right into my skin and never shows up on even the most delicate clothes. You can get this in multiple fragrances, but I get unscented so there is no clash with the perfume of the day. Also, I like the Arbonne Body Butters -- they only sell these during the Holiday season (no idea why) and these are just as rich and nourishing. Right now, I like the Almond Velvet best, and the Ginger Citrus has an awesome smell. In the summer I use a shea butter lotion I bought from Whole Foods (can't remember the name) or Eucerin. Facial moisturizers require darn near a dissertation. I use different products depending upon where I am, summer vs winter, and sun exposure. But bottom line is a good SPF, and some anti-aging properties.
Lteefaw says:
January 25, 2007, 1:36 pm
I have the driest skin in the world. No, my skin was beyond dry it was ASHY. So as soon as I get out of the shower I pour baby oil on my wet skin then towel dry. After which I lavish my skin in Love Spell Ultra-Softening Body Butter by Victotia's Secret.
BlackHoney says:
January 25, 2007, 1:49 pm
I think my situation is odd. I have an oily face that flakes at night and a dry body. My favorite moisturizer is clarin's energizing morning cream. It makes my skin plumb. For the body i use dove deep moisturizing body wash and a body butter from the body shop. I love the consistency of their butters. I think I need to buy a humidifer for my bedroom.
Natural Sista says:
January 25, 2007, 2:59 pm
BlackHoney, you should buy a humidifer! I purchased one a couple of months ago because of my dry itchy skin and dry throat. The humidifer is improve my situation 90%. I use baby lotion. It's okay but, I am thinking about getting some pure shea butter, vegetable glycerin, almond and mango oils and make my own body butter!
Cali Girl says:
January 25, 2007, 4:33 pm
Even though I live in California, I have been having major dry skin issues, this winter in particular. A friend gave me one of the Sephora whipped body creams and it's been working really well for me.
Dj says:
January 25, 2007, 4:54 pm
I use the Vitamin E Cream moisturizer from The Body Shop. Its great for all seasons.
Niki says:
January 25, 2007, 4:59 pm
I think the key to moisturized skin is also watching how you cleanse it--too hot showers/baths and harsh, irritating soaps and washes can leave your skin ashy and upset. When washing my bod in the shower, I use Dove Cool Moisture or Olay with Shea Butter body washes. They are lightly scented (so they don't interfere with whatever other scent I might put on and my man can use them too without smelling like flowers) and, especially when I use the Olay with Shea Butter, I don't really need a body lotion afterward. You just need a dab on a wet shower pouf and it lathers up very nicely. I use Aveeno Positively Radiant lotion for the summer time and for special evening occassions because it gives your skin a subtle,lovely golden-bronze shimmer-wear a short skirt or flirty dress and you feel like a golden goddess! I also use the same line for my face, but use an Ambi Moisturizer with SPF 15--paying special attention to the area around my nose, which gets so dry in winter. I also dab some Vitamin E eye cream on at night. In the fall and winter, I use good ol' $2.99 Africa's Best Hair, Skin & Scalp Oil straight from Walgreen's on my bod. It is light, I love the smell, and it is chock full of good, natural oils and extracts.
naomi slapbell says:
January 25, 2007, 5:10 pm
I love the 100% pure line found at Bath and Bodyworks. The line is all vegan,and my favorie scent is the strawberry lemonade.
naomi slapbell says:
January 25, 2007, 5:14 pm
I love the 100% pure line found at Bath and Bodyworks. All of the prodeucts featured in the line are vegan. Superingly, the lotions are very thick, and my favorite scent is the strawberry lemonade
CurlyJ says:
January 25, 2007, 6:10 pm
lately I have been using Palmer's Shea Butter formula to beat the cold down here in the ATL...also I found some great white gardenia body butter from Wal-Mart...nice and thick with a soft smell. Both of these keep the skin soft and moisturized all day
Fatimah says:
January 25, 2007, 10:42 pm
I live in Toronto, Canada- way up north so moisturizing is everything year round for me. I just started using pure shea butter while I was in Barbados because it was the only thing that the mosquitos wouldn't attack. I also use these pure cocoa butter bars that a friend brought back from TnT- they've really changed my skin. I alternate between the cocoa butter and shea and I use them on my face and body. Coppertone SPF 30 or any oil-free sunscreen in the summer or in warmer climates. Palmers Cocoa butter is my ish 4eva.
Traci says:
January 25, 2007, 10:53 pm
We've been having some severe cold weather here in California lately which is very unusual for us. I love The Body shop's body butters and oil sprays. They keep my skin nice and soft. Of course, some good ol' vaseline for my feet because those suckers can get pretty dry. I've already slipped down my steps three times. I use a hydrating B5 gel by Skinceutical under my moisturizer. It contains hyaluronic acid that helps the skin to retain water. In other words, it adds a boost or enhances your moisturizer.
Erika says:
January 26, 2007, 2:43 pm
P- I LOVE LOVE LOVE Baby Magic! My mom used it on us when we were babies and I've been using it ever since. I thought I was the only adult in love with it. The gentle baby scent is divine :)
katrinats says:
July 13, 2008, 1:50 pm
I use Perfective Ceuticals Divine Age Guardian Creme. I had originally bought it for my mom's rosacea but i am using it too now. All i can say is wow! my mom's skin got better immediately, and my skin felt honestly like a baby's butt! Perfective Ceuticals says its moisturizer is made with nano particles so it sinks deeper, i am not sure of the biology, but it made a big difference in my skin.
susan says:
October 25, 2008, 10:04 am
Vaseline is excellent for your face. rub it into your face then wring out a facecloth in very hot water and lay it over your face then wipe. Can anyone please tell me how to use the TNT Pure Cocoa Butter bar?
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