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I’m Obsessed With Thick Moisturizers, Here’s What I Use on My Body, Face, Lips, and Cuticles

Photo: Tembe Denton-Hurst

Now that I’ve been home for a few weeks, I’ve been moisturizing even more than I usually do. And I usually moisturize a lot — I have a Jamaican mother with a disdain for ashiness, and an obsession with looking like a dewy dumpling. Before I began staying at home, I would slather my body from head to toe once a day, but now I’m approaching my routine with renewed vigor, moisturizing at least twice daily, sometimes more. This is due in part to my frequent hand-washing and showering, which I’ve upped all around in the name of cleanliness and keeping myself and those around me healthy. The air in my apartment is particularly drying too, and I’m outside soaking up humidity less and less. And I’m not the only one. Everyone from my co-workers to my mutuals have been talking about their moisturizing routines, swapping their favorite lotions, balms, and oils. My personal routine, below.

For my body

This is my go-to lotion, especially in the summer when I need something a little lighter (ironic, I know, considering that this is the brand’s “richest” formula). It’s infused with their deep moisture serum and almond oil, which helps to lock in moisture and keep me ash-free for the entire day if I apply it in the morning. I will say though, that this one isn’t the best during winter months where my skin dries out the moment I step outside.

That’s where my Mutha Body Butter comes in. Marketed to pregnant women looking to prevent stretch marks and nourish the skin, this pricy moisturizer has found a home among other non-pregnant beauty enthusiasts like myself, beauty reviewer and hand model Yana Sheptovetskaya (known more popularly as @gelcream), and beauty blogger Sydney Utendahl. A tub of this stuff rolled across my desk nearly six months ago, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. I’ve been using shea butter for a long, long time, and usually source it from random beauty supply stores, outdoor markets, or by begging my friends visiting the continent to bring me some back. I’ve even purchased shea butter off the street if it smelled good and looked right. This is basically an ultra-fancy shea butter, and has added ingredients like mango butter and avocado oil. I’ve been using this daily for the past few months (everywhere, including my hands), and my skin thanks me for it — I have never been so well-moisturized. I love its whipped, easy-to-spread consistency and pleasant, slightly citrusy scent, which means a lot coming from someone who won’t even touch scented hand cream or sanitizer. A note about stretch marks: Although I have plenty from growing, shrinking, and growing again, many of them are old, so I can’t speak to the Mutha’s ability to fade fresh stripes. It has, however, made my older ones softer and a touch less noticeable (though to be honest, I don’t pay much attention to them).

Another shea butter I love is this one from HanaHana Beauty, which smells incredible (it literally smells like summer) and really moisturizes the skin. I also love that this shea butter is sourced sustainably, and goes above and beyond fair trade practices to support the cooperatives they source from.

For my face

I have a two-step approach when it comes to moisturizing my face too, starting with my lotion-y moisturizer from First Aid. I like it because it’s formulated for sensitive skin, and while my skin isn’t sensitive, it is very reactive to fragrances, so I like as simple a formula as possible. This one is nourishing without being too thick, and doesn’t feel oily or like it’s just sitting there — it sinks right in. It isn’t as thick and creamy as my Nivea, but it gets the job done and works well through every season.

Next, I tap on an oil, specifically The Ordinary Rosehip Oil, which I like for it’s ability to help me maintain an even, bright complexion. It meshes well with my First Aid Beauty moisturizer, and while I don’t love the smell, I have noticed that my skin is suspiciously glowy at all times when I use it regularly. I alternate between this and the Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil, which is really excellent and hydrating and expensive, so I use it before special occasions.

For my lips

I can’t stand having dry lips, so I’m constantly applying and reapplying lip balms and glosses. This is my favorite because its a bit of both, offering shine and moisture in one swipe. If my lips were peeling I would opt for something with a more vaseline-like consistency like Aquaphor, but this works for everyday nourishment. I like to use this as a base layer for my glosses, which helps create a barrier between my lips and my favorite ultra-shiny, ultra-cheap picks and makes wearing thicker lip glosses more comfortable.

More gloss than lip balm, this has become an essential part of my lip moisturization routine. I wear this daily and have one in every single one of my jacket pockets. I’m partial to the clear gloss, but like the other colors too (namely Fire, a sheer orange), which gives my lips the slightest hint of color without changing my overall look.

At this point, who isn’t a fan of this lip mask? I sometimes use it as intended (at night, before bed), but mostly I put it on whenever I feel like it. There’s definitely something magical about this little mask — it immediately soothes and moisturizes my lips, no matter how cracked or dry they feel.

If I feel really really dry or have a cut on my lip, this is the only thing I’m using. An OG staple, I’ve been using it for years, and it’s never failed me. Aquaphor is an occlusive (meaning it creates a seal on the outer layer of skin), which allows my skin to heal underneath. For that reason, I can and will never go without it.

For my cuticles

$30 for 2

As someone who gets their nails done religiously (I schedule my appointments six months out, sometimes more), having crusty cuticles feels like a betrayal of my nail tech’s work. Now that salons are temporarily shuttering in New York City, I’ll be keeping this close during the grow-out period, which will help my nails look fresh and (slightly) less overgrown. What I like most about this one is that it’s easy to use and convenient to carry around. It comes in a click-pen format and is applied using a sponge-y tip, so it’s not messy like an oil or lotion. I keep a few of these on hand, and swipe it across my nail beds a few times a day.