How to work with deconstructed moisturizers

How to work with deconstructed moisturizers

Whether you are new to green beauty or a pro, combining products to customize to your skin's unique moisture needs can be a little tricky. Below we've put together five tips to get started.

Our products are designed as "deconstructed moisturizers". Pairing humectant-based, hydrating products and lipid-rich facial oils and balms that can be blended together and tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

With this approach, the Live Botanical line remains "emulsifier free" and focuses to mimic the skin's natural structure and function. Though we want to mention not all emulsification systems are "bad". Often the binary language of "good vs bad" is a result from the complexity and nuance of the subject matter, often when there is no simple answer. We'll have a blog post on the topic of emulsifiers soon :)

Why is moisture so important?

When your skin moisture level is "off-balance" it can cause your skin to be flaky, sensitive, easily irritated, and/or more prone to breakouts because the protective layer of the skin becomes compromised. 

This moisture barrier, also known as your acid mantle or stratum corneum, provides critical protection for your skin. So restoring your moisture, especially throughout the seasons of your life, is a vital step in caring for your skin state.

Tip #1

Avoid putting a facial oil or balm onto dry skin.

If you've ever experienced dry patches on your skin it may be due to a lack of hydration.  So if you've been just washing your face and then directly putting on an oil or balm, try layering a type of hydration product underneath.

This small shift can get your skin back to feeling great!

Tip #2

Humectants are our friends.

Water content in the skin is the primary factor that governs its flexibility. Humectants help hold and retain water in the skin. So using a hydration product rich in humectants is the key to skin strength and elasticity. 

All of our hydration products contain humectants such as aloe vera, hyaluronic acid*, snow mushroom, marshmallow etc, which are all researched and proven to draw and bind water into the skin.

*Tips on using Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

HA is a little unique in that it hygroscopic, drawing water to the skins surface and from the atmosphere. So if your skin is dry or your are in a dry environment, there may not be enough moisture to pull from. Applying HA in the bathroom after a steamy shower can help optimize its effects. Also maintaining your internal hydration is helpful.

Tip #3

Oils & balms (occlusives, emollients) lock in hydration 

The constituents of plant-based oils, waxes, butters, ceramides and sterols (ie lipids or fats) aid in skin barrier restoration/disruption and help hold in moisture.

Once you have a cleansed face, added a humectant-rich hydration layer and the skin is still damp, it's time to seal it in with an oil and/or balm. 

Anhydrous products (oils & balms that contain no water) are considered non-polar meaning they attract to each other so when laying oils & balms you are melding the two products. I tend to layer balms over facial oils due to the richer, slower-absorbing butters and/or waxes which create a tighter seal in order to prevent water evaporation. By adding this as your last step you are providing a bit more moisture protection since facial oils on their own absorb a bit faster.

This sandwich/layering technique is the magic of beautifully moisturized skin.



Tip #4

Adjust your blend to your preferred moisture level

Everyone's natural sebum (oil) production varies. You may have excess oil, combination, or little to no oil production at all (ie dry or dehydrated).

Your oil production can change daily, monthly, and most likely seasonally (hello, winter). The goal is for your skin to feel comfortable.

There are endless custom blends you can create to tailor to your skin.


Create an emulsion:

Mix together your hydration product (elixirs/mists, hyaluronic acid, etc.) & your preferred oil and/or balm into the palm of your hand until a milky texture forms. Once everything is mixed together and massage and/or press into skin.

So you can reap all the benefits that doesn't require to layer one on top of the other or in a specific order.


Applying products one at a time directly onto the skin:

Layering products one at a time is great way if you want a little more control on your product usage like saturation, dry down times, incorporating massage, etc. If you are unsure which product to start with a good rule of thumb is to apply products by weight, from lightest to heaviest or thinnest to thickest. Also most brands have suggestions on how to use their products. Use the instructions or reach out to them directly :)

However, try not to get caught up in the rigidity of layering, especially with deconstructed plant-based skincare where raw oils and butter have a bit more breathability than synthetic silicones and petrolatum.


'Sandwiching' products:

Concepts like 'moisture sandwiching' which is a layering technique of hydrating goods & oil-based goods can give a wide range of options to help shift through the seasons to make your routine lighter or richer depending on your needs. 

So it would look like this… { hydration + oil + hydration + balm }

For example, after cleansing, add a light hydrating mist, followed by a facial oil, then use a light creamy moisture serum like our Ambient Moisture on top. This is lovely for those who struggle with truly dry skin (meaning it does not produce much oil on its own). Finish with a facial balm.

By replenishing the lack of oil in your skin first, the water/oil emulsion on top actually works a bit better since the skin has more support to hold onto the humectants/hydrating ingredients. The routine is then completed by finishing with a waxy and/or buttery balm to seal it all in.


Tip #5

Listen to your skin

Sometimes experimenting can help find that perfect balance without needing to add new products to your skin regime.

Get to know your skin, and see what it reacts well to, and what it doesn't love. Give yourself space to feel into what is most nourishing to you.


1 comment

Wonderful information, thank you!

Kathleen Stewart

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