In our advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and survey friends, call up experts, and draw on our own personal experience to answer them. As always, please email any online-shopping-related queries to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Ask the Strategist.” We’re here to help.
I would like a skin moisturizer with a definite mint or minty scent.
I’ll be honest, the idea of mint in skin care didn’t totally appeal to me at first (you want your skin to have a cool, refreshing, tingly feel?). But after doing a deep dive into the world of mint-infused skin care, I quickly came to see the benefits, especially for those who are acne prone. As it turns out, mint works as both an astringent (meaning it cleanses the skin while simultaneously toning and drying out excess oils) and an emollient (meaning it also helps the skin retain its existing moisture). When paired with other ingredients that help to improve your skin’s overall look and feel (like nourishing oils and actives), mint can act as a sort of really good backup singer in a skin-care routine. And if you just want to smell intensely like mint, I managed to surface some body lotions that’ll do the trick, including one called, fittingly, Mentha.
The maker of my (and Rio’s) favorite oil cleanser, Banila Co. also happens to make a mint-infused face cream that promises long-lasting hydration and glowing skin. I’m a big fan of the ingredients: mint, neem oil, and basil work together to lock in moisture (that’s the peppermint) and protect skin from environmental stressors like pollution. It’s also a good moisturizer to wear under makeup because it softens while hydrating, which is an ideal canvas for applying a base.
I also like this one from Éminence, especially if you’re looking to balance your skin (Lydia Pang, a creative director, swears by this moisturizer for her cystic-acne routine). The main draw is its inclusion of probiotics (now a veritable thing in skin care), the idea being that good bacteria can help balance your skin’s microbiome as well as help with inflammation and acne, similar to the way a probiotic supplement may help your gut. This one uses yogurt, which naturally contains lots of probiotic cultures and has lactic acid, which exfoliates while helping with brightness and overall tone. It also contains a mix of natural essential oils, including peppermint, that help with acne by toning the skin — while adding to the moisturizer’s scent.
For a facial moisturizer that doubles as a sunscreen, I would recommend this one from Josh Rosebrook, which uses peppermint along with nourishing oils like evening primrose, hemp seed, jojoba, almond, olive, and sea buckthorn to help moisturize skin. I like that its sun-blocking properties come from zinc oxide, a physical-sunscreen ingredient that stops sun damage by deflecting UV rays from the skin. It also has a lightweight consistency and dries down matte with no white cast, making it ideal for wearing under makeup.
Perhaps your skin is on the oily side? In that case, this oil-free moisturizer from Goldfaden MD is ideal. The gel-textured moisturizer is formulated specifically for people with oily skin and uses BHAs like salicylic acid to gently exfoliate while hydrating. In this formula, peppermint acts as both a fragrance and an emollient, meaning it’ll help your skin retain moisture.
If you’re oily but want something with a more distinctly minty smell, this moisturizer from Ursa Major is a good pick. The lightweight, serumlike moisturizer gets its scent from spearmint, which acts as both an emollient and an astringent, meaning it tones the skin and helps dry out oils. The mint is combined with other essential oils like lavender, lime, and rosemary, which give this moisturizer its spa-style scent. It also contains a blend of soothing, inflammation-reducing ingredients like witch hazel, aloe, sunflower oil, and birch, which help to reduce redness, irritation, and dryness.
If you prefer oils to lotions for moisturizing, I recommend this one from Beneath Your Mask, a Black-owned brand that makes its formulas using clean ingredients. This do-everything oil can be used both on your skin and in your hair and contains a mix of essential oils and oils packed with fatty acids, like safflower, hemp seed, and rose hip, which nourish and give skin that hydrated-looking glow. In this formula, peppermint acts as an astringent, emollient, and fragrance, meaning you get all of the benefits in one convenient serum.
We’ve written about this cultish pubic-hair-softening oil in the past, a favorite of wax specialists and spa owners who like that it contains antiseptic and antimicrobial ingredients like grape-seed, jojoba, and tea-tree oils and decreases the likelihood of ingrown hairs. It also contains (of course) peppermint oil, which helps to retain moisture and tone your skin. While this is designed specifically for the pubic area, you can use it everywhere else, including your face.
In case you were looking for a body moisturizer, I’ve included this option from Raw Sugar, which makes one of my favorite-smelling hand soaps to date. This one, which smells of both mint and watermelon (or, as I like to think of it, summer in a tube) is vegan and free of parabens and sulfates. It’s lightweight and sinks in easily, hydrating your skin without that greasy feel. Fragrance aside, it also uses cold-pressed oils like safflower and jojoba and works well for pretty much every skin type.
If you’re looking for a straight-up minty-smelling lotion that’s also ultra-affordable, this one from tried-and-true mall classic Bath & Body Works fits the bill. Formulated by C.O. Bigelow Chemists, this body lotion is infused with cooling peppermint oils that’ll give your skin that refreshed, cooling feel. Think toothpaste for your skin but moisturizing.