How to Moisturize Dry Skin

Woman looking in the mirror in the bathroom

The key to moisturizing dry skin isn’t expensive spa treatments, but mostly just taking care of your skin on a daily basis. To start, here are three tips on how to moisturize dry skin:

1. Wash

One of the biggest culprits of dry skin are soaps that dry out your skin. Look for moisturizer based soaps made out of the “butters.”

woman washing face
Healthy woman washing her face

2. Exfoliate

The removal of dry dead skin cells is important because it allows newer, healthier skin to thrive. For daily exfoliation, purchase a plastic mesh body sponge (you find them at most drugstores for well under $5). You should exfoliate your skin using a gentle body exfoliation cream, like The Body Shop’s Cocoa Butter Body Scrub 2 to 3 times per week.

3. Protect

Now that you removed the bad stuff and exposed the good, you need to protect your skin with a thick, non-pore clogging moisturizer. Some people swear by petroleum jelly brands like Vaseline (which we cover below and can clog pores). But brands like Neutrogena and The Body Shop’s line of lightweight butters (I really like the Mango Body Butter) are excellent choices that are also budget friendly moisturizers.

On a bit more expensive side, try brands like LUSH and Crab Tree & Evelyn (C&E’s new citrus line of products are amazing).

Also using sunscreen, even in the winter, is a major component of protecting your skin. Constant sun damage, leads to a break down in skin cells, which among other things, can dry out your skin.

Look for a body moisturizer that has at least spf 15  and/or mix in a bot of sunscreen with your regular moisturizer.

4. Maintain

Drinking water (at least 8 glasses a day), really is the best way to help maintain moisturized skin.

How to Moisturize Dry Skin: To Vaseline or Not to Vaseline

The secret to fabulous skin doesn’t lie in a $150 bottle of La Mer, but in a $3 tub of Vaseline. Now before you send me angry emails about clogged pores and La Mer related miracles, hear me out.

Vaseline has been the secret beauty weapon of African-American women for generations. It’s a a make-up remover, skin softerner, hair gel, and sun burn soother. It can even be used as a smile enhancer (rub a little underneath your upper lip).

Ageless beauties like Beverly Johnson and Lena Horne, both of whom could afford to drop big dough on expensive moisturizers, opt for Vaseline to moisturize their dry skin. I bet you even Oprah’s got a bottle or two in each of her fabulous houses.

jar of generic petroleum jelly

Now if you’re still not sure about the powers of Vaseline, try these alternatives, available at your local drugstore, Target, and Wal-Mart (except for the Mango Body Butter):

Johnson’s Baby Oil Gel

This lightweight moisturizing gel will leave your skin feeling as soft as baby. Try the chamiolle scented version after a relaxing bath.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula, Moisturizing Body Oil with Vitamin E

This is a great smelling cocoa butter oil that’s easier to use than ultra thick solid versions. Use it right after you get out of the shower.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Aquaphor is a great alternative for those with extremely dry, chapped skin who want the moisturizing benefits of Vaseline, without the ultra heavy thickness.

The Body Shop’s Mango Body Butter

This is one of my favorite moisturizers  for dry skin. This rich mixture of shea nut butter and sweet almond oil is a great smelling, creamy, and can be found online at or at your local Body Shop.


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