Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
It is almost winter down here in North Georgia and we’ve been suffering from the longest drought in many years. My skin is crackling as I write this post.
I don’t know about you, but I have extremely dry skin and this is only exacerbated by the fact that I spend a lot of my days outside in the elements. From sun exposure, to wind, to simply having skin that on a humid day manages to STILL be ashy, my skin is on my hit list right now.
Because of this I’m constantly on the lookout for the best, most natural ways to moisturize and I think I’ve found two product lines that I’ll continue to use until the earth produces something better (which is probably going to be never).
My husband is from Burkina Faso in West Africa and he often brings back bottles of pure, unadulterated shea butter that you can use to cook with and also lather all over your body. Shea butter’s moisturizing powers are so strong that I never need to reapply throughout the day, except for on my hands (because handwashing). I have to admit though that I don’t really dig its natural scent. It’s not stinky per se, but it doesn’t smell like what spring smells like—if you catch my drift. I like my shea butter lightly scented with natural fragrances and I like it to be affordable!
In The Shower
Enter Alaffia. These fair-trade and sustainably harvested shea butter-based products are high on my list for their ability to both moisturize my cracked crocodile skin and for the company’s mission to empower women in West African communities.
My absolute favorite Alaffia product is the Triple Milled Shea Butter Soap in Fresh Lavender. I know many of us have sworn off using bar soaps, but this one is different. You’ll enter the shower after a sweaty run and linger, lathering yourself in this very lightly lavender-scented creaminess that you won’t want to wash off. There is no weird residue left over and you’re left feeling refreshed and moisturized with natural shea butter. These bars come in at a whopping $5 per bar.
The other Alaffia product that I adore is their Tangerine Citrus African Black Soap Body Wash ($9). Mmmmm! Just like the luxurious feeling you’ll get after using the bar soap, the body wash will leave you feeling silky, again without residue.
So what to do after showering?
After The Shower
My other favorite product of nature is coconut oil. Unless you have an allergy to coconut, look no further. You can eat it, put it in your coffee, on your feet, on your lips…there are so many uses of coconut oil that you cannot go wrong.
Over the summer I started using Skinny & Co’s 100% Alkaline Cold-Pressed Unrefined Wild Harvested Coconut Oil Products. I will probably never go back to using lotion as my primary mode of moisturizing, although I have never met a lotion that didn’t become an instant friend to my arid skin (okay, maybe hospital lotion.)
Anyway, there are three standout Skinny & Co products that I know will get me through this cold, dry winter.
The Skinny & Co Facial Oil with Lavender, Roman Chamomile and Essential Oils ($38 per bottle), is by far my favorite. It’s another lightly scented concoction that makes my skin sing. It may be too heavy for summer moisturizing, but come fall and winter, your face will thank you profusely. I’ll admit that I’ve also used it on my legs because I love the fragrance so much. Plus, anything that smells like creamed coconut immediately puts me in the mindset of vacation on a small, private island with palm trees blowing in the breeze.
I ran out of the Whipped Body Butter with Jojoba and Almond Oils ($32), because I used it every single day. It is what saved my skin from sloughing off after spending many hours in the sun and mud this past summer. It was light enough for summer moisturizing and it’s also sturdy enough for keeping your winter legs, arms and joints soft and supple. And it smells AMAZING.
Last, but certainly not least, is Skinny and Co’s Exfoliating Vanilla Sugar Body Scrub ($30). MMMMMMMM! In addition to smelling and feeling delicious after scrubbing away you dead skin cells, it is also edible. If you need a sugar rush with all of the health-giving properties of coconut oil, you can spoon some into your coffee or tea, which I have done too, and it’s heavenly.
Good luck keeping your skin supple and moist this winter!