So since my announcement this week (yay!) I’ve been delightfully overwhelmed with well wishes and congratulations. And without fail, one of the first things people say is, “girl, are you crazy? You’re leaving Miami for Chicago? But Chicago is so cold!”

No duh!

I’m not moving to Chicago for the weather, I think only a crazy person would. I’m looking for a good plus size winter coat right about now! I’m moving for the opportunity and the change and the culture… and over time I’m gonna have to get acclimated to the arctic temperatures. This island girl is going to have to suck it up and get used to it. I understand that I’m about to experience ashiness on a level I’ve never anticipated before. My skin and my hair will be parched for moisture. The lotions and salves that have been just for decadent pleasure all my life will now become vital supplies.

So inspired by your comments and my imminent move, here are my top five favorite indie beauty deeply moisturizing butters and balms, some I’ve reviewed before (but not in a while), many of which are made by bellas, for bellas.

1 – Neosoulessentials Natural Shea Butter products are handmade with shea butter, soybean oil, hemp seed oil, fragrance oils, and love. Eva’s Shea Buttah is super thick and extra buttery. I love it on my legs immediately after a shower. A 2oz jar costs 6 bucks (and mine has lasted forever because of how moisturizing this stuff is!) The Aloha scent is my favorite, a dense floral with a soft vanilla underbelly. Warm, exotic, and comforting. Yum, and it also comes in a hemp body wash that will thrill any lover of organic beauty products.

2 — I met the creators of Aromessence Body Products at Tracey Mourning’s Honey Shine Holiday Bazaar. Michelle and Irene are two Miami natives who have found their calling in the world of aromatherapy. Irene is a licensed aromatherapist, and Michelle’s the marketing whiz. Together they whip up Aromessence Body Butter in their home, but you’d never guess. This is a whipped, professional quality body butter that sinks instantly into my skin. So many oils! Shea butter, cocoa butter, sunflower seed, jojoba, virgin coconut, apricot kernel, and aloe vera gel number among this butter’s ingredients. Very moisturizing, highly penetrative. And smells like heaven! I know this post is all about moisture, but I GOTTA shout about Aromessence’s aromatic sugar body scrub. I’ve tried a LOT of sugar scrubs, and this ranks among the best I’ve tried. Super thick organic sugar, scented to decadent perfection, in a non-slippery formula. My skin LOVES this stuff!

3 — I first mentioned Play Pretty Beauty way back in August, and my appreciation for former South Florida news anchor Danielle Knox’s line has only increased with time. That’s mainly because my husband loves how I smell after I slather myself in Nohea Ani whipped body butter cream. $22 for an 8oz tub of floral, fruity, smelly goodness. I’m hoping this stuff will help me maintain a teeny tiny bit of my tropical flava when I’m scraping ice off my windshield.

4 — If you have eczema or really dry skin issues, you should familiarize yourself with Shea Radiance. The product line was borne out of the dry skin issues of this adorable little boy, and the family owned business reaches back to their West African roots for their healing and nourishing body butters and creams. The range of fragrances in their whipped shea body butter is heady just to look at. Black Orchid or Green Tea? Earthy or Floral? You decide. They cost $16.95.

5 — My final pick has a specific purpose. When my feet and knees get that extra dry kicking flour look, I still reach for Elbows, Knees, and Toes by Quench Essentials Skincare. To say this blend of shea, cocoa butter, and coconut oil is dense, is an understatement. This is the stuff I reach for when my feet are in that man down code 10, cannot be seen in public state. The Sweet Butter fragrance is mildly scented, but highly effective. $12 a tub, and because of the understated fragrance factor, this is the kind of stuff your man might need to borrow from you. Because dudes get ashy feet too!

So armed with these lotions and potions, I hope to keep my skin looking and feeling beautiful when I move to the land of ice and snow.

Do you have a favorite winter moisturizer that your skin absolutely craves? Tell me about it!

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Mrs.Mckinzie says:
January 28, 2009, 3:18 pm
Hey Bella,I've been using a lot of cocoa butter,but thanks for the greaet tips.Cocoa butter just has not been doing enough for me now that i'm getting older so I need something a lot more moisturizing.
puff says:
January 28, 2009, 4:30 pm
i personally love the body shop's body butters - i've been using them for 3 years now and they definitely keep the ashiness at bay AND without being greasy. the brazil nut is my absolute favourite in terms of scent, but the coconut is probably the richest. plus i prefer fruity smells to flowery ones, so they work well for me.
nolagirl says:
January 28, 2009, 4:34 pm
Congrats on the move! I was thinking the same thing about your move. Man its cold in Chicago....... I like blue magic coconut oil hairdressing... it’s marketed for the hair, but is just petroleum with some coconut oil in there. I use it as I would petroleum jelly. , so not great for your hair but a nice heavy moisturizer… and its not bad for a bella on a budget!
kris says:
January 28, 2009, 4:38 pm
ay girl. congrats:D Good luck on finding a cute warm plus size coat:) I'll be in ur boat next winter. One bit o advice....rosebud salve. It will save your lips and cuticles in cold ass weather that our island selves aren't built for :)
Eileen says:
January 28, 2009, 5:47 pm
Hey Bella, I am originally from Miami and have been living in the cold, cold New England area for 5 1/2 years now. I swear by my Land's End Squall coat. It is amazingly thin for the warmth it provides, and they have a good selection of other plus size winter coats too! Good luck in the snow!
Pat says:
January 28, 2009, 6:59 pm
Congrats on your move, good luck to you. Lol@ the CRIX reference. I live in NH and gotta say don't forget to moisturize your lips. I second the Lands' End coat suggestion. Reasonably priced and quite warm without the bulk- I've got the Extreme Squall jacket myself.
in her shoes says:
January 28, 2009, 8:20 pm
just left chicago this past weekend and it was arctic cold. wish i would have read about some of these items before i skin was crying for help!
novie says:
January 28, 2009, 8:27 pm
My winter fave is a face cream--Beauty without Cruelty Maximum Moisture Cream. It's great for really biting and windy cold climates. (I discovered it while at school in rural New York.) It leaves the incredibly soft, on top of being moisturized.
nickiw says:
January 28, 2009, 9:06 pm
I know these are your indie picks but I will say for harsh winter weather, Philosophy's Hope In A Jar is a miracle remedy. I found th s out last February. My first trip to Toronto in minus (-) weather. Yes, minus even in Fahrenheit. I thought I would be ok with the facial moisturizer I had. Wrong! That wind and cold sucked every ounce of moisture out of my skin and my face started to flake and peel. I found the nearest Sephora, bought Hope In A Jar, and was saved. It truly is amazing stuff. I didn't get it when the Queen of Chicago (Oprah) put it on her favorites list years ago. But being in that kind of cold, you need it.
MochaSiren says:
January 28, 2009, 9:19 pm
Try for pretty and affordable plus-size winter coats.
alicia says:
January 28, 2009, 9:55 pm
Wow, I haven't checked in a few days and you are moving to Chicago!!! You need dressy coats but a good Northface coat with would be good too with a big hood- the wind is no joke. And you are right to find a good moisturizer between the indoor heat and the cold weather, your skin will take a beating.
AJ says:
January 28, 2009, 10:28 pm
OMG where have I been? You are moving to the Chi! Yay! Not only because it's my town (suburbs stand up!) but because I can't wait to read about beauty and places with a Chicago edge. I can't really do the all natural moisturizers other than my auntie's aloe vera plant because my allergies are horrible. I am using my new Clinque moisture surge and it is amazing!
missmajestic says:
January 28, 2009, 10:50 pm
I get really ashy in the winter. For years I have used regular old olive oil. That and a humidifier helps with my dry skin. I like olive oil because its not scented and its obsorbs well and isn't greasy, like you might think. I don't like using butters because I have to use so much I run out quickly and it takes too long to rub in. For my hair, I just wash it less.
ladybugfromthechi says:
January 28, 2009, 10:54 pm
Hi Bella! I know its been a while since you have heard from me however I have been here reading silently. Did I read this right, you are moving to the Chi? Im so excited! I mean overly excited. Yeah!!!! If you have any questions at all regarding getting around, etc. please let me know. I would love to help. I mean it! What great news!
Onetta says:
January 29, 2009, 12:41 am
I grew up on the South Side of Chicago and though it's cold in the winter, it's a great place to live. There's never a dull moment in Chi-Town; plus there is a lot of great food to eat here! You will truly need a great moisturizer for the winter months! Good Luck
Ms G says:
January 29, 2009, 6:43 am
a good moisturizer for your body and HAIR! The cold and wind is no joke and you'll definitely need a hood or some form of headgear. That means your curly fro will be smushed and you can't leave your house with wet hair(wash n go)... You will have to create a whole new styling method. Please do a post on that!!! I would like to hear other fellow naturals on how they wear their hair in the snowy months... fyi(I wear my hair ala Belle's from spring to fall and in the winter I cornrow my hair and wear a curly fro wig, that looks just like my real hair) Thanks
Tdotgirlie says:
January 29, 2009, 9:50 am
So you have reached a turning point in life. Congrats on the move and power to you for the bravery it takes to do so. I, Like you am an island native, lived in Florida for many years and made the move to Toronto almost 8 years ago. In my experience, I have found that good ole virgin coconut oil works wonders for your skin. Just rub a little on after your shower...go about getting ready and then use an astringent (I use Thayer's rose petal and witch hazel toner) to wipe off the excess oil on your face. Results - smooth, healthy, moisturized skin. Can be mixed with your hair products as well for extra moisture. Also LOVE Queen Helene Mango and Cocoa Butter Lotion. It is an effective everyday lotion, that moisturizes without being greasy. GOOD LUCK...and welcome to 5 months (MAX) of warmer weather!!!
Bebroma says:
January 29, 2009, 11:05 am
I like Gold Bond Ultimate Healing skin therapy lotion to throw in my purse for my hands, and you can get a little tube for relatively little money. The problem is, you will moisturize and moisturize, but when you go to your car, blast the heat, and then get out of your car and go inside to your destination, you will find that the wind, cold, heat, and all that have made your face look like an ash pit. So carry a little something to put around your mouth and cheeks AGAIN in your purse, you'll need it. I wear my hair with a winter head band thing with Velcro. I have to make sure I don't get my hair caught in the tabs, but it keeps my ears warm. When I need more, I have a big woolen shawl-like scarf that I wrap around my head and neck with that, you can line it with black satin to keep it from ruining and pulling out your hair. That way I can just fluff the fro when I get to where I'm going with my fingers or a pick. Then, when it's really bad, like several degrees below zero, sometimes you just gotta smush with a hat, unfortunately.
NiKita W says:
January 29, 2009, 12:51 pm
Hi Afrobella, Congrats on the move! I will definitely pick up a couple of these products and give them a try!
Natural Hair Product Researcher says:
January 29, 2009, 1:31 pm
This is the best time to buy your new coat because most coats are on sale!!!! I bought a warm $250 coat at Macy's for $80... Good Luck!
Monie says:
January 29, 2009, 1:34 pm
Hi, Currently all I use on my face is L'Occitane Shea Butter. I love it but its crazy expensive. So thanks for the alternatives. I'll be checking them out.
Nikki says:
January 29, 2009, 1:55 pm
Thank you so much for this post! My skin gets so dry it cracks--NOT a sexy look. I have to layer--fresh from the shower I practically bathe myself in refined coconut oil. I then use Cetaphil cream on my legs, knees, elbows and hands. The coconut/Cetaphil combo works wonders for me, but I would like to natural remedy such as a shea butter.
Mrs.Mckinzie says:
January 29, 2009, 3:00 pm
@Nikki I have tried shea butter,and it was a real headache for me.It is not good in a cold climate if you use it alone on hair or skin.I tried to use pure shea butter fresh out of the nut ,and I was so very disappointed.If you use shea butter I would recommend using it with maybe coconut oil or some other oil because by it self it just does'nt do the job.
MsJackson says:
January 29, 2009, 3:49 pm
You probably know about this already, but just in case, you should check this out Its a conference for bloggers of color. Its being held in June in your new hometown.
Stacey says:
January 29, 2009, 3:59 pm
I use Castor Oil. I mix in a small amount of Almond Oil just to thin it out a bit. It's the only thing so far that keeps my skin soft. This winter has been brutal to my skin, more than past winters. My skin get so tight that any pressure applied to it makes my skin itch and burn. Sometimes I cant even reach for something without my skin asking me to stop moving. Taking oatmeal baths or baths with your favorite oils with a touch of baking soda really softens things ups. Good luck in Chicago. The last time I went there I got caught in a hail storm. It gets coooold. My skin would probably spontaneously combust out there.
Ayanna says:
January 29, 2009, 4:15 pm
Welcome to the Chi! I've been following your blog FOREVER - and know that you have already been here several times to visit the in-laws and I can't wait to have a fresh voice and someone to share my Chicago hairstory's with! Again, welcome and maybe we should put out a call to welcome you formally and introduce you to the larger bella community, hmmmmm
Ayanna says:
January 29, 2009, 5:25 pm
Oh yeah, as someone who lives in Chicago and deals with the ashiest skin known to man, Cetaphil moisturizer has been a godsend to me and the fam.
b. says:
January 29, 2009, 5:39 pm
Your choice of soap can make or break any efforts at moisturized skin. Kiss My Face Olive Oil BAR (not the liquid stuff, although I haven't tried it) is the TRUTH. I only get really dry around Jan/Feb using this, and I have REALLY DRY skin (prone to eczema). The bar is saponified olive oil. That's it, unless you buy the one with lavender or honey. A big bar is expensive in my book ($3 or $4) but it goes a long way when shielded from the shower spray. I second the castor oil for nearly everything.
Caribbean Girl says:
January 29, 2009, 7:14 pm
You guys should really try Body Shop's Olive Body Butter - my saviour in cold weather - especially as one not used to it!
Cynthia says:
January 29, 2009, 11:30 pm
Hi Bella! Good luck with your move, I think Chicago is a wonderful place! I live a little north of there (Manitoba, Canada), so Chicago is balmy compared to us! For instance, a few weeks ago it was -49C with the wind chill (that's -56F)!!! When we had an extended cold snap, my skin was so dry that I was constantly itchy, day and night. In my quest to quench my skin, I tried EVERYTHING twice, and my most recent find is Jergens Naturals line. I have paid through the nose for very expensive creams and potions, and in desperation last week tried the Jergens. My dry itchy skin disappeared! AND it's paraben-free! I highly recommend, and it's easy on the purse, too.
Amina says:
January 30, 2009, 12:53 am
I loove shea radiance products.... welcome to chi-town
dettygirl says:
January 30, 2009, 11:19 am
Bella, for the love of God,please don't forget to cover your EARS. I moved to Indianapolis (2 hr. from chicago) and no one told me that. It's just not the cold, it's the WIND that's gonna get you. All my cute hats were of no use. Also, your lips! I keep a lip balm in all the pockets of my coats (rosebud salve, chapstick, vaseline tube, something!) that I can use on my hands as well. I've been to Chicago before for christmas shopping, I will never go again in the winter. NEVER! I'm sure you will find your own formulation Bella and I have no doubt you can pull off the Chi. :)
Daria says:
January 31, 2009, 2:33 am
Really happy to come across your blog. Thanks for the tips on body butters. Best of luck to you with your move.
Tafari says:
February 2, 2009, 11:50 pm
Thx for the Quench shout out!!! We really appreciate it. And I'm still cracking up at "man down code 10" Tafari
bliss says:
February 6, 2009, 12:18 am
I absolutely will not live without my Moisturizing Body Butter in Ginger Lime by Habeebah's Herbals. (Green Tea is also one of my faves.) It is heaven in a jar. The smell, the texture, the ingredients... all wonderfully just right. She's in DC and I no longer live in the area but when I go home, I'm restocking my stash!
Quiskaeya says:
February 8, 2009, 11:12 pm
Good for you moving from horrible South Florida! I've move back to Chicago in a heartbeat if I didn't have so many attachments down here. Chase that opportunity, Bella!
betsy says:
March 24, 2010, 4:55 am
Moisturizing gives the skin a glow, helps makeup go on better, plumps up fine lines, and improves the texture of skin. I just got my suitable moisturizer from I found a feature JLM, its really very interesting.Form JLM we can connect with a community of skincare enthusiastic people also you can tell about products you use and how they make your skin feel great.
besty says:
April 1, 2010, 3:28 am
During the winter months when the temperatures are cooler and the humidity is lower, the drier air can cause skin to feel dry, tight and itchy. Few days back I was suffering with dry skin. Moisturizers only sat on my skin and did nothing for me. Thanks to my friend for sharing her experience with a beauty site, I got my dream moisturizer advises.
skinsavey says:
May 25, 2010, 7:50 am
Thanks for your post. It’s definitely been trial and error for me to know what works on my skin.I will definatly visit this site.hope it may work best for me.
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