Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a seasonal event hosted by Melvita, one of my favorite natural beauty brands. They tend to fly under the radar on the US market as more of an indie brand, but they have a much larger presence in Europe, especially in France, where the company originated in 1983. Their super-gentle, certified organic skin, body, and hair care products are amazing, and there’s a formidable chance that your favorite French celebrity is a documented fan. (Not naming names, because some people have contracts with Dior, but MARION COTILLARD.)
So like I said, I got the chance to check out some of their fall product launches at their event yesterday, where their Retail and Marketing Director, Julie-France Airenti, was on hand to walk me through the offerings (and thank god she was, because seriously, I would have never known where to begin). We got to talking about how drastically the change in weather from season to season can affect your skin, and how to combat the moisture-zapping climate that we’re about to enter (or I am, at least; lucky Julie flew in from California). I mentioned that I always make sure to slap on body lotion or oil as soon as I step out of my (as brief as possible!) shower, and immediately dry off my face and spritz it down with a toner or micellar cleanser. Julie (who, by the way, has flawless skin and the most amazing French accent) took it a step further ― she said, “People think I’m crazy when I tell them that, because I have very dry skin, I don’t use water on my face.” And I was like, “Girl, you are preaching to the skincare choir.”
So here’s the deal: while drinking water is undeniably beneficial to everything in and on your body, including your skin, putting it on your skin doesn’t have quite the same positive effects. It’s just water, right? Of course, but when it evaporates, it takes your skin’s natural oils and moisture with it. Hot water especially will zap your skin of the oils you want to hold onto. As an unwise adolescent plagued with oily skin, I washed my face several times a day, with cleanser, never following up with toner or moisturizer, in an effort to dry it out. It worked ― my skin became dehydrated ― but do you know what that leads to? More oil. When you strip the natural balancing components from your skin, it reacts by creating more of the bad oil. What it actually needs is more of the good oil. Seriously. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but jojoba oil, which is similar in construct to the sebum your pores secrete (ew, sorry), balances combination skin and clears blackheads like no Clean ‘n’ Clear ever could.
Of course, getting water on your face is fine. Washing your face with water in the morning and at night is fine. What’s important to do, however, for all skin types, is to help your skin to keep the moisture that the evaporating water wants to, and will, take away. How? For starters, it helps to take as short of a shower or bath as you can. This is a really big problem for me because I love to linger in there, so I just make a point of moisturizing thoroughly as soon as I get out. When you get out of the shower, the first thing you should do is lotion up head-to-toe immediately, as in, as soon as you can. If you can do it while your skin is still damp, that’s even better than waiting until after you dry off. Again, this is less about adding moisture to your skin than it is about keeping the moisture that’s already in there. If you don’t mind an extra step, I always use an alcohol-free toner, like Melvita’s soothing Rose Floral Water, on my face before I apply lotion or oil to lock in the moisture and buy me some time to dry my hair and such before I start my skincare routine.
I know, y’all are so stubborn ― I am too ― and being told that water, which we’re always told is hydrating, can actually have the opposite effect is kind of like being told that the mom you always thought was your mom isn’t actually your mom. Kind of. I won’t be mad if you get all defensive and are like, “But water is the salt of the earth!” Because it totally is. Just don’t put it on your face all the time, and if you do, make sure you moisturize! This has been a public service announcement. Thank you for your time.