I've always had dry skin and hair, so moisturizing is a task that's been on my mind since approximately the 7th grade. My obsession with it only got more intense when I moved to New York from Atlanta; the winters here are dryer, longer and more punishing than the ones I was used to in my hometown. With the harsh winter weather that's affecting a lot of people right now (my apartment is a literal ice cave--the windows are covered), I'm betting the creeping scaliness is an issue for lots of people.
I'm a big believer in the psychological advantages of self-care, and being smooth, soft and well-moisturized is an incredibly luxurious feeling, especially in early February. In order to both quench my own interest in the topic and help others who might be feeling a little ashy, I've assembled a list of my own holy grails of moisture, as well as those of some particularly soft-looking and knowledgable friends.
Check out our recommendations below for everything from your hair to your toenails, and if you have a product that you swear by, please let us know in the comments. (I will probably buy it.)
Ahava Dermud Nourshing Body Cream
$32.50 via Nordstrom
I first tried this stuff out as a teenager after finding a random tube on super-sale at TJ Maxx, and I've yet to find another body cream that makes my dry skin feel better.
Anthony High Performance Continuous Moisture Eye Cream
$36 via Sephora
Regular moisturizer can be too heavy for the delicate eye area, but this formulation packs a lot of power without overwhelming your most delicate skin.
Aurelia All Night Repair Oil
$82 via Net-a-Porter
This is the last step in my before-bed skincare routine; I put a little bit on over my regular moisturizer. Oil should always go on last when you're layering because it seals everything in.
Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
$6 via Drugstore.com
This ultra-concentrated moisturizer is great for cuticles, but it can also be used effectively on other stubborn dry spots, like elbows and heels.
By Terry Baume de Rose Lip Treatment
$60 via Net-a-Porter
Over the past decade, this lip balm has built up such a large, devoted following that it's difficult to call it a "cult" product anymore. The price is steep, but by all accounts, it's well worth the splurge.
Christian Dior Capture Totale Le Serum
$165 via Nordstrom
I first started using Dior skincare in college because the Dior counter at my mall had a particularly gregarious salesman, but I've never regretted a dollar I spent on it, even if it was often a little more than I expected.
Davines Oi All In One Milk
$28 via Barneys
Davines (pronounced DAV-uh-ness, more or less) is another brand to which I've been dedicated for the better part of a decade. The quirky Italian haircare range has all kinds of products to explore, but this one is the best cure-all for winter dryness. (If you've got color-treated hair, also check out the Nounou conditioner. Thank me later.)
Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream
$28 via Neiman Marcus
If you're looking to keep your hands silky-soft, look no further than the queen of beautiful nails, Deborah Lippmann.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream
$30 via Sephora
This cream was the most widely mentioned among the friends I polled; they all reported that it's super reparative and works wonders on both face and body. It's rare that you'll find something that can genuinely pull double duty like that.
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser
$38 via Nordstrom
I usually have one of two problems with cleansers: Either they're too gentle to get the job done, or they clean my face well but totally wreck my moisture levels. This cleanser somehow manages to be both gentle and effective, and it's good enough for me to ignore the cucumber smell. (Not such a fan of cucumbers.)
Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Reparative Hair Pak
$25 via Barneys
Not only did one of my female friends recommend this for her hair, but a male friend mentioned he uses it on his beard. One product moisturizes everyone in the family.
Kiehl's Rose Arctica Face Cream
$79 via Nordstrom
This was another Kiehl's product mentioned by several friends--it's a true moisture classic.
Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial
$45 via Sephora
In my experience, anything you can put on your face and let work overnight is a godsend during truly terrible dry winters. This stuff sounds perfect.
Lancôme Bienfait High Potency Day Cream
$46 via Sephora
My mom recommended this stuff for inclusion, and I've never known anyone who gets as many compliments on her skin as my mom, even in her 60s. There is no better endorsement I could give anything than that.
L'Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream
$44 via Sephora
It's hard to go wrong with a big tub of anything from L'Occitane.
Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner
$18 via Nordstrom
This stuff might not be moisturizing in and of itself, but exfoliation is crucial if you want your moisturizers and oils and serums to do their magic. This toner does it incredibly effectively and without tearing at your sensitive facial skin like a scrub would.
$43 via Nordstrom
I've always been a hair product jumper--when I finish one thing, there's usually something else on my list to buy instead of re-buying my previous product. When I got to Moroccanoil, all that stopped. The big bottles are a tad spendy, but unless your hair is very thick and long, one will last you the better part of a year.
Moroccanoil Body Buff Scrub
$52 via Nordstrom
Body scrubs are great for scaly arms and legs, and this one is my favorite because the exfoliant is bound together with a mixture of super-moisturizing oils, like argan and Vitamin E. Not only will you be smooth, but you'll also be soft.
Ole Henriksen Lavender Body Oil
$28 via DermStore
If you're not moisturizing at some point in your day with a body oil, you're doing your skin a disservice. I also like Neutrogena's, if you want to start at a drugstore price point, or Moroccanoil's, if you love that divine smell as much as I do.
Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil
$48 via Sephora
Hot baths feel so great in the winter, but they sap all the moisture right out of your skin. Bath oil can help with that a lot, but just be careful getting out of the tub. You don't want to crack your head open in the name of moisturizing.
Rodin Olio Lusso Face Oil
$170 via Net-a-Porter
It sometimes seems like everyone in the fashion industry is obsessed with this stuff, but once you start opening yourself up to oil-based skincare, you'll never go back.
Susanne Kaufmann Moisturizing Mask
$65 via Net-a-Porter
It's more common to find masks that tout their tightening or deep-cleaning abilities, but they can also be quit useful for adding a serious dose of moisture to skin.
Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser
$64 via Net-a-Porter
Cleansing skin in winter can be tricky because so many cleansers are trying, but cleansing oil is the answer to that problem. Oils naturally emulsify makeup and dirt, which leaves your skin clean and clear, but not dry.
This Works In Transit Spray On Moisturizer
$33 via Net-a-Porter
During this part of winter, my skin feels like trash by the end of the workday, even if I've done a superlative job prepping and moisturizing at home. This take-along spray can give you a pick-me-up in the afternoon if things get bad.
X-Factor for Sephora Nail Hydrator
$14 via Sephora
Yes, even your finger nails want and need moisture. It'll help your manicures last longer.
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