moisturiser (face)

Here are some things that have helped to keep my skin stuck to my face.

Recap of skin condition: sensitive; thin, fragile, delicate; fine-texture, with small pores (but structurally thin); irritable, reactive; eczema (not right now, but it is a lifelong condition); if in god condition, it’s normal; if not, it’s dry; also prone to irritation-breakouts and zits, aggravated by various external factors such as stress.

Application: as needed. Some parts of face will need more moisture than others; some may need none, some may need an extra layer.

Also neck, ears, throat and shoulders, all the way down the bosom/décolleté. (Yes, chest/breasts and all, usually/often similar kind of skin. No, I may use eye creams but I don’t believe in boob creams. Press-ups and top-notch bras for sure. And sunscreen. But not snake-oil, fairy-dust, or magic.)

Current moisturisers:


  1. rosehip seed oil, applied like a serum
  2. moisturiser: currently ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Remedy original lotion (fragrance-free); for eyes and lips, see next post
  3. sunscreen: see sunscreens post

PM (NB I often go straight to bed, and usually do b**ger all with face in the evening):

  1. rosehip oil
  2. some moisturiser, if and as needed, on any patches that are very dry and tight by the time I go to bed; usually none


If skin is behaving badly, in a sorry state, and in need of TLC: it’s back to basics time.

  • oil (see previous post): a few drops in palm of hand, applied to skin, patted in gently
  • really basic moisturiser:
    • A-Derma Skin Care Cream
    • Avène Tolérance extrême cream
    • Avène Skin Repair Cream / Cream for Intolerant Skin: I slightly prefer the TE above
    • an emollient cream such as Allergenics


I’ve used all of the following at some point or other in the last decades few years. Would go back to them (most of them), wouldn’t throw them out of bed for sure.

  • A-Derma Skin Care Cream
  • A-Derma Exoméga: the lotion, also the thicker balm and cream
  • Aldi Lacura stuff, and the body, men’s, and baby ranges: check ingredients, and products will vary from time to time, but I’ve found some real treasures here
  • Allergenics Lotion. Better in winter – a great option if you’re based in the UK or Ireland, not seen elsewhere though. Their Emollient Cream is a staple that I make sure I never run out of. I probably have about three years’ supply, plus tubes by every sink in the house, in bag, at work, and in gym bag.
  • Avène TriXéra+ Sélectiose: in winter and/or on drier skin; prefer the Balm to the Lotion/Cream, as the Balm is thicker but less coconut-based (skin clogs). The Balm is a long-term bathroom resident.
  • Avène Tolérance extrème cream or their older, not quite as nice, Skin Recovery Cream / Cream for Intolerant Skin (Crème pour peaux intolérantes): in case of disaster.
  • The Body Shop Aloe sensitive skin moisturisers
  • Boots Expert sensitive skin hydrating cream (clogged a bit, eventually, and I disliked the pot; but really cheap)
  • Clarins sensitive skin lotion and cream: used about 15 years ago, briefly, was nice but very expensive, over priced for what it is methinks
  • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion. Don’t laugh: my skin likes it. I’m not arguing – I’ve seen what happens when I argue, try to reason, tempt with fashionable new-fangled magic potions. What happens? Skin beats me up. Used this off and on for years when in the US during my 20s, went off when back in Europe as it’s twice the price, will probably be going back to this when moving back across the Atlantic again later this year (Avène being a lot more there). And will probably then do some more experimenting to see if I can find something similar without the mineral oil. Looking forward to more sniffing at things in shops, quality time reading labels, making friends with suspicious store detectives, and of course an excuse for more time spent here on MUA … One issue: not moistening enough – need to mix in some oil (sweet almond).
  • Derma E vitamin E & avocado cream: some issues with the scent, but barring that, nice stuff.
  • Desert Essence Daily Essential Facial Moisturizer: excellent and cheap; lighter, nice in summer. Some issues when skin reacting to aloe vera; this happens from time to time, tho’ always fine with juice straight out of the leaves.
  • Dr.Hauschka Rose Cream Light: the only one of their moisturisers I can use, and it is lovely. Pricey, alas.
  • E45 lotion
  • Earth Science Almond & Aloe fragrance-free face lotion, their unscented body and massage lotion, and men’s moisturising lotion
  • Elave lotion or the heavier Intensive Cream
  • Green People (but the unscented one is too heavy, the everyday one is a little too scented)
  • Jason Vitamin E cream
  • Lavera Neutral Facial Fluid (too heavy unless cold dry weather)–also the even heavier cream
  • Marks & Spencer fragrance-free sensitive skin ranges
  • Paula’s Choice hydrating treatment moisture cream: hmmm, too siliconey, would probably not rebuy. Their barrier-repair cream: zits and dryness, oddly–but OK on dry patches. Mind you, so’s Vaseline for a fraction of the price.
  • Sainsbury’s own-brand
  • ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Remedy: the original lotion (fragrance-free) is my favourite of the range–usually marketed (c/o shelf-placement in shops) as a body lotion; the hand cream is also good, a thicker version of the same formula, without water as 1st ingredient; the Facial 24-hour Repair Cream is decent, and also works as a fabulous eye-cream.
  • Simple Moisturising Lotion or Cream until the formulae were changed for the worse (the last one I used was one of the night-creams, being one without SPF, as one of the changes for the worse had been adding precisely those sunscreens which irritate my skin)
  • Tesco’s  own-brand
  • Waitrose own-brand
  • Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Lotion (used to be called Almond Moisture Cream). Lovely, mild, gentle, skin enjoying it. Price keeps going up though, unconscionably. The Cream version is very nice too.
  • Weleda Calendula Baby Lotion: when I can tolerate the smell. Nice sesame-based lotion; sinks in fast
  • I’ve also bought own-brand fragrance-free moisturisers from several other places when needed: Aldi, Boots, CVS, Eckert, London Drugs, Sainsbury’s, Shoppers Drug Mart, Superdrug, Tesco’s, Walgreens.


Through no fault of its own–because it’s winter, or otherwise cold and dry, or summer in a place with heinous air-conditioning.

On which: peeps, enough of the excess of air. There are these wonderful things called fans. They’re very civilised: instantly making the fan-ee more stylish and giving them at least the appearance of sophistication, culture, cultivation, and an aura of civilization; and their presence in any given culture is a marker of its civility, of its being a civilization. Seriously: do a brief run-through of great civilizations of the world, and see how many of them deploy the fan. The two go together. Even in places where fans aren’t always necessitated by the climate, or where some other fanning device occupies its ecological niche. Also, really big fans and multiple fans require more than one person’s hands, thus encouraging social interaction (and, again, civilness) and creating employment.

Back to heavier-duty moisturisers. In order of how dry my skin has to be before I use them. This may or may not be useful: there are a number of factors to take into account on skin apparent dryness, including water-content, ability to retain moisture, oil production, successful release and dispersal of sebum, thickness/thinness (that is, of top layer) and structure (large/small pores, distance between pores, how easily they get clogged, how skin reacts to having stuff sit on top of it). Plus diet and environmental (air) and lifestyle (sleep, exercise, general health) factors.

  • add a layer of oil underneath: depending on time of year, state of skin, and degree of dryness this would be either the current multi-purpose oil or one of its heavier components: usually almond, if very dry then avocado and/or borage.
    Apply like a serum: pat all over face, then pat in. Not too much: if oil is dripping off, that’s too much.
  • mix a couple of drops of oil into moisturiser
  • move to a heavier moisturiser, but use lightly:
    • Allergenics emollient cream
    • Elave cream
    • E45: it’s a classic. Used on flakier skin and colder drier weather. An unscented pharmacy-sort of basic emollient
    • Eucerin
    • any other emollient cream
    • any unscented hand cream
    • Lavera Neutral face cream
    • Nivea Soft in the white tube/tin
    • Weleda Cold Cream (used to be called Everon Face Balm)
  • add heavier moisturiser on any localised patches that are drier
  • if things are very dry, layer of the really heavy-duty stuff on top:
    • Alba UnPetroleum Jelly
    • Badger Balm, unscented
    • BalmBalm, unscented version
    • Boots Botanics face balm
    • Nivea classic in the blue tin
    • Nuxe Rêve de miel Baume des familles
    • shea butter: I prefer refined, many people prefer unrefined, virgin, organic, etc.
    • Vaseline or other non-branded petroleum jelly
    • various other kinds of balm …


  • If it works, use it: that includes body lotions as face lotions, same for creams and balms.
  • Know your skin and know your ingredients: helps for previous item.
  • If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  • Think twice when tempted to stray and try out new things: do you really want to, or need to? is this a displacement activity? do you actually need something else–happiness, less stress at work, chocolate, lunch? Before buying anything, I’d usually recommend having something to eat first anyway: just to check that the urge to spend money hasn’t got confused with urge to fill belly. I can be quite confused about things like that.
    No further comment on shopping (and web-browsing) to alleviate procrastination and work-avoidance.
  • Patience. And pragmatism. A holistic approach to skin–whole body, take other factors into consideration (diet, sleep, exercise, work, stress, mood, living habitat, workplace, relationships, etc.). Combined with a sound scientific one. With the methodological rigour of testing, blind or double-blind where possible, controlling for outside factors where possible, daily diaries and monitoring of situations, data collection. And the application of reasoning: sorting out that data, synthesizing it, producing hypotheses for what works and what doesn’t and why, then testing these hypotheses out with further practical experimentation, and so on.

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