this thing's incredible

The French Lotion That Banished My Winter Ashiness

I’m never buying another winter moisturizer again. Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

Growing up in a black family, my mother and sisters instilled in me that one should never leave the house ashy. Nowadays, my ritual consists of moisturizing immediately after showering or before I leave the house (whichever comes first). This winter, though, has left me ashier than ever. Newly a freelancer, I spend much of my time in my apartment near a radiator that’s always on full-blast. It’s given me itchy and flaky patches that my usual moisturizers — Philosophy’s Pure Grace and Vaseline’s Cocoa Radiant — were no match for.

I was about ready to slather myself in Eucerin (which I consider a last resort because it takes so long to dry), before I found a bottle of Avène’s TriXera Nutrition Nutri-Fluid Lotion in the closet — a remnant of my beauty-editor days. I tried it without any expectations, but it’s turned out to be a winter lifesaver. Like Eucerin, it goes on smooth, with no offensive smell, but unlike Eucerin, it’s milky rather than messy. I can go to bed immediately after putting it on without worrying it’ll ruin my sheets. It calms any itching I have on contact. And — most importantly — there’s no ash in sight even hours after I apply. That’s likely because unlike lighter lotions like Pure Grace and Vaseline, the Avène comes packed with moisturizing fatty acids and skin-barrier-strengthening ceramides (which the Cut called “a secret fountain of youth”). The reviews on Amazon are similarly effusive (4.6 stars and 132 reviews), with praise like, “As a person whose dermatologist told me I had the driest skin she’d ever seen, this lotion has actually changed the texture of my skin” and, “If you have eczema, this is literally all you need.”

The stuff left me so gobsmacked I posted about it on my Instagram Stories, calling it my winter BFF. Four friends DM’d me to sing its praises. Others told me they had just bought some for themselves. One even suggested I put it in on my face and store extra in travel bottles for the gym. It was great on my face, of course — it’s not greasy and my sunscreen layers perfectly right on top. The goop is a happy medium between the lightness of my old lotions and the ash-fighting moisture of Eucerin. I just bought myself a bigger bottle — and I’m never buying a different winter moisturizer again.

Avène TriXera Nutrition Nutri-fluid Lotion

More Strategist-approved winter moisturizers

Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream

Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton cannot get enough of the Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream: “It’s the thickest, most nourishing moisturizer on the planet for combatting scaly winter skin. I can’t imagine surviving a winter without it. It’s insanely dense and hydrating, so it can initially make your skin appear a little on the greasy side, but I promise, as soon as you walk out the door and into the cold, it will sink right in and you’ll be grateful you put it on.”

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum
Photo: Greg Marino/©2015 Greg Marino, all rights reserved
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum

Another favorite of Rio’s, which she calls great “for super-dry and eczema-prone skin. I love this serum for days when my skin feels particularly flaky and itchy — all too common during these winter months. This essentially acts as a shot of hydration, giving your skin a nice boost of moisture on days when just your moisturizer isn’t enough.”

Lavido Thera-Intensive Body Cream

Another good one for eczema, which Rio called “life-changing.” She learned about it at C.O. Bigelow, and it’s “an ultrathick, seriously hydrating body cream that penetrates deep down into your skin to restore the skin’s natural moisture levels.”

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The French Lotion That Banished My Winter Ashiness