Put simply: From head to toe, the skin on my body is extremely parched. Over the years, I’ve developed a very thorough face- and body-care routine (involving multiple layers of serums, lotions, and anti-itch creams) that typically helps me keep my eczema calm and chronic dryness at bay. But no matter how proactive I am, extreme drops in temperature, cranked-up indoor heating, and frigid gusts of wind always run the risk of undoing my hard work. It’s not uncommon for me to look in a mirror while I’m out and discover that my face is shedding like crazy (this has become far more common since I started tretinoin, but more on that later). Nor is it unusual to all of a sudden notice that my hands are bright red and scaly as I reach for a book at McNally Jackson. In these emergency situations, I usually hunt around my bag for something that might quickly resolve my snake-like appearance, often that’s products like Glossier’s Balm Dotcom or Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask, which have permanent residencies in most of my handbags. Sure, these products work fine in a pinch but they’re not necessarily soothing and healing my inflamed skin, nor are they formulated to be slathered all over my acne-prone face.
Right before the holidays, knowing the worst of winter had yet to come, I started looking on the Sephora site for a calming, deeply hydrating, multipurpose salve that I could throw in my purse and use in dire situations. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard anything about Farmacy’s Honey All-in-One Repair Salve, but I had liked the moisturizer I’d tried from the brand a while back. I also knew that my temperamental skin responded well to honey (I’m a longtime fan of Cosrx Propolis Light Moisturizer), so I decided to give it a whirl.
I first tried the salve after making one of my most crucial skincare mistakes — I accidentally used my tretinoin too many nights in a row. Whenever this happens, my skin is a menace the following day: flakiness, redness — the works. So the next morning, before I ran out the door, I applied a little bit of the salve in the areas that I know are most sensitive to my tretinoin: on my chin, around my nose, and a little on the sides of my mouth, with the hopes that it might help lock in hydration. And to my surprise, my skin never started to flake and peel — sure it felt a little drier than usual, but my face wasn’t uncomfortable or visibly scaly.
Since I purchased a tube of the stuff back in December, it’s managed to save me on multiple occasions — once right before a work meeting when I noticed extreme peeling around my nostrils and another time when my ankle length jeans exposed my scaly dry skin when I crossed my legs — and in each instance, a quick drop of Farmacy’s All-in-One Repair Salve was able to eradicate any dryness while also calming any inflamed, pissed-off skin. Needless to say I’ve since bought another tube and just might need another for my gym bag.
It all made sense when I took a closer look at the ingredient list: This salve uses a blend of vitamin and amino acid rich, bee-based ingredients that work wonders for those that have severely dry, irritated, and acne prone skin. The formula is a cocktail of propolis (also known as “bee glue”, which has antibacterial and inflammatory benefits), royal jelly (a deeply hydrating substance that’s rich in lipids and vitamins), and honey extract (a natural humectant that has antimicrobial properties, contain antioxidants, and even has wound healing capabilities). In addition to the honey and honey-adjacent ingredients, this salve is also rich in vitamin E (for further protection against free radicals) and emollients such as sunflower-seed oil and castor oil, (which add additional hydrating benefits to the formula).
As is the case with any honey-based product, if you’re allergic to bees I would advise checking with your doctor before trying out this salve.
Of course, this $34 tube of multipurpose salve is pricier than drugstore multipurpose salves like Aquaphor or Lucas’s Paw Paw Ointment. But the truth is, my skin responds remarkably well to this product. It deeply quenches my ultra dry skin (getting rid of flakiness or scaliness instantly) and is so incredibly soothing that I’ll notice a decrease in redness on my knuckles and fingers within minutes. Not to mention the packaging dispenses about 1.6oz of product — a lot more than Glossier’s Balm Dot Com while still being sleek enough to fit in my tiniest and most impractical baguette purse. And the best part about it: It’s never caused any kind of breakouts, no matter how much or how frequently I apply it to my face. In fact, it actually reduced some of the swelling on a pesky chin pimple I’d been battling. So whether you have chronic dry skin, are just starting tretinoin, or just simply looking for a nourishing lip balm, this is a product you need in your handbag.
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