Two Product Reviews For Winter Skin Solutions

This winter has had some bitter cold days, even in my beloved and typically mild Bay Area.  Sitting next to my portable heater while working/blogging on my laptop was really doing a number on my skin.  I started to incorporate some oils that are heavier than my usual argan, but still it wasn’t quite enough, even with plenty of hydrating on the inside.  Although I had previously rejected the oil cleansing method as not the right thing for me, I thought maybe it was time for a seasonal change in my regimen.  I took a short trip to the ultra-dry Lake Tahoe for my son’s hockey tournament, and between the outdoors and the cold/dry rink, the life was getting sucked right out of my face.  But I was prepared, and came home looking better than when I left.

So what’s making the difference?  Three things: coconut oil, a new balm, and a cream I’d forgotten about.

There’s been plenty of mention of the oil cleansing method (OCM) on this blog – where instead of using a regular cleanser, you rub in an oil and wipe it off using a warm washcloth*.  I started by trying coconut oil, and had some success.  It feels wonderfully soothing on my skin, and easily takes off the mineral makeup I wear on a typical day. But I still needed something more…

100% Pure Brightening Night Balm to the rescue.  It has some of the same brightening ingredients I use in my DIY (bearberry, licorice) plus kojic acid and vitamin C in a base of avocado and shea butters.  I use it as a cleansing balm (works great!) and also put on a little extra after cleansing.  Some days I put on a bit in the morning too, after a honey cleanse.  I’ve been able to skip my DIY brightener when I’m using it, with no noticeable return of my sun damaged brown patches.  It might even be making improvements – it’s hard to tell, I may need a few more weeks of use to know for sure.  It’s very thick as the balm designation suggests, and the scent is a light citrus, which is pleasant but does not stick around.

Zoe Organics Extreme Cream goes on over the balm when the weather is severely dry.  I’ve been able to ease up on this the past few days of warmer weather, but it makes a perfect extra layer of soothing protection for super dry times.  I tried it a while back, but kind of forgot about it with all my body butter experiments.  I remembered it recently when a reader was looking for an eczema solution – this is considered by some to be a skin miracle for the super dry and sensitive set.  It’s another shea-based product with jojoba, rosehip, and coconut oils, plus soothing calendula and marshmallow.  It has a light marshmallowy smell and a frosting consistency.

I know I’ll back off from these somewhat as the weather warms up, but they’ll still have their uses, and I’m ready for all the winters to come.  I highly recommend these products for hands too.  In spite of my devotion to hand care, my hands were like sandpaper as soon as I got to Tahoe.  Just one day of layering the products, plus wearing light wool liner gloves, got me back to smooth.  I haven’t had any pore clogging problems.  My standard monthly hormonal breakouts happen and heal, maybe a little faster than usual with the soothing ingredients.

Have you tried these products?  Are you an oil cleanser? What’s giving life back to your winter skin?

*I’ve actually been using mostly paper towels made from 100% recycled materials.  A washcloth is usually a little too rough on my sensitive skin, plus I’m using fewer laundry-related resources so I feel like it evens out.

Beautiful image via the University of Washington Library

33 Responses to “Two Product Reviews For Winter Skin Solutions”
  1. Ally says:

    The 100% Pure Brightening Night Balm sounds nice – I want to try it now! I’ve been using One Love Organics Skin Savior Balm for my hands and dry spots on my body. It’s marketed as a cleanser and facial moisturizer, too, but I break out from it on my face. For my hands though, it’s been my winter pal – and it smells dreamy.

  2. Kate says:

    The 100% Pure sounds intriguing! I love the Zoe Organics cream – I usually have a pot of that around. For me personally, Keys Care Tortuga lotion is the one cream that works when nothing else will and – much like the Zoe Organics cream – has a really reasonable price point.

  3. Emma B says:

    I have been having a true love affair with Green Beaver’s Boreal Face Cream lately. It is thick and creamy, without scent. My sensitive, dehydrated face has not felt this nice in a long time. I can even wear makeup on top without flaking. And it’s affordable. I also like vitamin E oil.
    I skip cleanser altogether in the winter. I use Living Nature gentle eye makeup remover or coconut oil to take my makeup off at night.

  4. Annette says:

    I am an oil cleanser. I started with coconut oil, which worked well, then tried grapeseed oil because many products use it. I have settled on argan oil because it is so un-oily. In the morning I am not greasy and I do not feel like I have to rewash my face. After I oil cleanse, I splash on some witch hazel mixed with a drop of carrotseed oil then I massage in a squirt of the Kahina brightening serum mixed with two drops of argan oil. My skin seems to love this regimen.

  5. Dylan says:

    Oil cleansing was what turned me on to natural clean products and regimes! I’m still doing it though I moved from castor oil and olive oil to coconut oil and argan oil.

  6. Rebecca Bailey says:

    I want to add a little something here, especially for those who use my DIY skin brightening recipe (posted in comments here:

    One of the ingredients in my DIY is arbutin. I am considering replacing that with kojic acid in my next batch, which I’ll be making sometime soon. When I first looked at arbutin a long time ago, I felt it was safe. I don’t currently have any reason to say it is UNsafe, but I have recently learned that there’s some questioning of arbutin now. A really awesome and informed student of mine who is an aesthetician was telling me about the potential US ban on hydroquinone, and that arbutin (a closely related structure) is questionable as well. Let me just say, yay FDA for getting around to thinking more about hydroquinone! I haven’t done all my research yet, but since I’ve put my recipe out there for others to use, I wanted to mention that I’m likely going to be making a change. Since I’m liking the way the 100% Pure balm formula works, I’m confident the kojic acid will go well with the bearberry and licorice already in my DIY. I’ll report when I have had a chance to try out a new recipe. In the meantime, I will continue to use up the rest of my original recipe.

  7. Heather says:

    100% Pure is quickly becoming my favorite brand. Cleansers, moisturizers, scrubs, lip gloss, body cream – it’s all been so good! Now I want to try this brightening cream, too.

  8. Annie says:

    Evan Healy Whipped Shea w/ Olive Leaf followed by any of her hydrosols works so well for my otherwise rosacea-bound skin!

  9. Melissa says:

    I love oil cleansers! I’ve been using this one for a while now (I mentioned it in my morning hair & skin routine a while back – and i’m still madly in love with it):

    They also make a moisturizer I’ve been using at night during these cold months because my skin is a dry, flaky, angry disaster (it’s too rich for my skin during the day so i throw it on at night & boom, hydration in the morn!)

  10. Josephine says:

    My single favorite OMG-it’s-really-winter-oh-crap product is the Everon Cold Cream from Weleda. Don’t be fooled by the name–it’s not just some weird substitute for Ponds. It used to be called Everon Face Balm, natch, and it’s amazing. Comes in a tube (yay!), smells like roses, sinks in anywhere, and is basically the only thing I can put on my dry, red, flaky, chapped nose when I’m sick without ending up sick and also plagued by nose zits. So nice.

  11. Silvy says:

    I loooove this post!

    I have a pretty good winter regimen down now, I think. The weather has been a roller coaster, and my skin is fine! In the morning, I only put moisturizer, or sometimes I wipe my face with DermaE Glycolic Toner to brighten, if my skin is flaky.

    At night, I sometimes use washcloth/Hauschka lemon bath water/ cleanser, but mostly I massage my face with coconut oil and then wipe with a cotton pad with rose water. It feels soooo good! Then I add a bit of Hauschka Facial Toner for pore-tightening. If I need any additional moisture, I use a bit of Egyptian Magic or Phoenix Botanicals rose balm.

  12. Silvy says:

    (PS NMDL ladies- would still love to hear your thoughts on exfoliation! How much is too much? Chemical or physical?)

  13. Raquel says:

    Ancient Winds Naturals All Purpose Salve! Just three ingredients….coconut oil, vitamin e and beeswax. Check it out on Facebook and Etsy!

  14. Mary says:

    We’re having a fairly harsh winter here in Minneapolis, so I’ve been pretty vigilant about making sure my already dryish, sensitive skin is cared for. I usually oil cleanse with jojoba when I feel I need to — and then I use a dollop of Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic on my face (and elbows). It goes on a tad greasy, but really sinks in. It’s cheaper and has a creamier consistency than Egyptian Magic (which I used last winter). I gave some to my niece for her hands, which were rough & irritated from gymnastics chalk, and it worked like a charm! Also great on minor kitchen burns…

  15. Rooney says:

    I’m an oil cleanser! It started when I was in a musical and I used coconut oil to remove caked on stage makeup, but my skin felt incredibly smooth and moisturized afterward, so I just kept it up after the show closed! I’ve actually never been happy with any traditional cleansers, most feel too stripping for my sensitive, dry skin, and oil cleansing is the first method that leaves me feeling clean and balanced. Plus it’s WAY cheap so it leaves me a few extra bucks to splurge on argan oil or another serum. I use coconut oil with a few drops of aloe.

    Also that Zoe lotion sound fanTAStic! I’m going internet shopping right now…

  16. mangomadness says:

    At night, I use the OCM to remove my natural make-up. I use my DIY Jojoba Oil/Tea Tree Essential Oil blend or Boots Botanics Organic Face Nourishing Eye Makeup Remover. Both remove my make-up and leave my skin soft. I always follow up with Aubrey Organics Vegecol with Aloe Facial Cleansing Lotion.

    In the morning, I cleanse with Lush Angels on Bare Skin Facial Cleanser which smells awesome and leaves my skin super soft, smooth and supple. That — in combination with a drop of my DIY Jojoba Oil/Tea Tree Essential Oil blend mixed with my moisturizer (Aubrey Organics Facial Cleansing Lotion) — keeps my skin hydrated in the chilly weather.

  17. Laura says:

    I am currently using Kahina’s Brightening Serum and having good results. I have been using it for about a month. Does any know how 100% Pure’s Brightening Night Balm compares? I would like to have an option for the top of my hands and Kahina is expensive! Thanks.

  18. Kate says:

    I <3 oil cleansing! I use coconut oil with a few drops of rosemary and lavender essential oils. It's incredible, and I can't imagine using anything else!

    For the method:

    I wet my face with warm water, and then get my facecloth (soft, bamboo) under the tap and run really hot water over it. While my facecloth gets drenched with steaming water, I rub the coconut oil/eo mixture into my face and massage it in. Then, I drape my face with the cloth and let all that heat penetrate. I rub the cloth in small circles over my face, and voila!

    I don't need to remove my makeup before doing this — the whole process does a great job of removing any makeup I'm wearing AND cleaning my face. It's been such a great ritual for me, and my skin ha never looked this good.

  19. nancy says:

    Double yes for oil cleansing! And I don’t even live in a place that has winters..
    While I haven’t tried the products you reviewed, I’ve been using One Love Organics Waterless Balm (lovely). Recently I received a sample of Sprout’s Makeup Remover(olive oil, jojoba,almond ) and decided to use it but while it does the job the feeling is that you are using your basic EVOO.
    I just do the oil cleansing in the evenings (double cleansing actually as after the oil part I use my Kahina cleanser- older formula-) for mornings it is just a swipe of a clean and dry washcloth and them my normal routine.

  20. nancy says:

    @ Melissa,
    After reading your routine and your comments on FrenchGirlOrganics I gave it a try and loved it. They are everything you say and them some.

  21. Andrea says:

    SO glad to see 100% pure face balms being mentioned on here! I have used the Healing Balm all winter long as my go-to moisturizer. Right out of the shower, I pat my face with a towel and apply it the balm there is still a bit of steam in the room. When I wake up, my skin is glowing and my acne scars have slowly started to heal!
    I, too, have used it as a cleanser. And that works well also! Though I prefer straight up Jojoba for the OCM. The 100% Night Repair balm is coming in the mail for me as well, can’t wait for it!

  22. Naomi says:

    I’ve been experiencing extreemly dry skin this winter as well! After cleansing* I mist my face with a pure rose hydrosol, use a homemade jojoba/argan/marula oil moisturizer, and then use 100% Pure’s Brightening Night Balm on the dryest parts of my face. While I can’t attest to it’s brightening abilities, but I no longer wake up with dry skin.

    *Pangea Organics cleanser (egyptian calendula and blood organge) or Alba Botanica (Deep Cleansing Coconut milk – not perfect but somehow less drying than the Pangea one).

  23. Moni says:

    This winter has been especially unkind to my skin! My current regimen consists of Crunchy Betty’s Exquisite Stuff Cleansing Oil , 100% Aloe Vera as a toner, and Crunchy Betty’s Royally Flawless Facial Oil Moisturizer. I finally broke down and got an extra layer of moisture to add to my regimen. I have heard so many good things about 100% Pure – I think from you Rebecca! – and so I went down to trusty Duane Reade and grabbed 100% Pure’s Intensive Healing Moisture Balm. I’ve been putting it on morning and night over my facial oil moisturizer and I am finally seeing less flaky dry skin (between my brows was especially bad, and my actual eyebrows were snowing – ack!) It’s really soothed my face. For body moisture I use coconut oil EVOO and/or a homeade whipped shea butter mixture. My hands however were still extremely dry – even after the extra layer of argan oil that I would use to massage into my nail beds and in between my fingers. So for that I have Burt’s bees’ Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme.

    I’m intrigued by the 100% Pure Brightening Night Balm! I feel like I will be using the healing moisture balm forever since I need so little – literally a tiny amount less than a pea size amount. But when I run out of it I really want to try the brightening balm – I could use some skin brightening ;-)

  24. Audreiana says:

    I’ve been going crazy this winter trying to find products that will moisturize my really really dry skin. I’ve tried oils and heavy creams and it only seems to work for a little and then I’m super dry again. I’d love to try the Zoe Organics Extreme Cream. Xo, Audreiana from True Beauty By Nature

  25. Liz says:

    @Silvy, chemical exfoliation kinda scares me. I find nothing works better than baking soda – I keep a box under the sink and whenever my skin looks flaky, I just put some soda on my palm and blend it with whatever face wash I’m using. Works better than anything else I’ve ever tried!

  26. Thank you for your suggestions and informative post ! I am truly grateful to have discovered the I use all their organic pure argan and prickly pear seed oils to nourish, protect and heal my skin and hair through the seasons. I must say though my favorite is the Pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil . Using it over the last 4 months as a serum in combination with the argan oil has literally healed years of my accumulated sun damage ! In fact my respect for and happiness with the KENZA product line caused me to be chosen to speak about them for the TELEMUNDO news program NOTICIAS. Below is a link to the segment which aired just last week ! KENZA products support social change for the women in Morocco who produce them by hand. THe company’s founder Khadija Fajry generously donates a portion of their proceeds to the New York Foundation for Women which is based in NYC.

  27. Silvy says:

    @Liz- I don’t think chem exfoliation is scary, if done in moderation. Even a lemon/yogurt mask is technically chemical exfoliation, and works fabulously without irritating skin (or mine at least). Scrubbing your face physically can cause micro-tears in your skin, so there’s pros and cons to both.

  28. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Silvy, re: exfoliation, I generally go with physical, though I have definitely used some products that are very mild chemically (cleansers with lactic acid, for example – though I didn’t choose it specifically for exfoliation). For face, I like Pai’s muslin cloth, one of my grainier honeys, or a combination of the two. I can do my nose and lips every day but mostly leave other areas alone. For body it’s body brushing. In terms of how much is too much, I think everyone will be different. If you notice redness that exceeds a glow, or you start being too dry or too oily, it may be too much for you.

  29. Rae says:

    @ Kate you’re routine with added rosemary and lavender oils and the warm cloth sounds relaxing and luxe! I need to try this asap!

  30. Elizabeth says:

    Does anyone know how the Zoe Cream compares to SW Basics cream? WHat is your preference of the 2?

  31. Rebecca Bailey says:

    @Elizabeth, I like both. I’d say the Zoe is thicker and feels more protective to me, and it has less scent. SW Basics is softer so spreads more easily, and it has that distinctive shea butter smell, which I love. Both excellent products.

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