Well, with an entire BRAND and over 20 products devoted to clearing skin, I figured I’d better write a guide to moss skincare to help you choose what is best for your skin. And also to explain my skincare philosophy.
When most of us think of skincare, we think the most IMPORTANT thing is cleansing. I know I did! I would wash my face obsessively, but would NEVER moisturize or nourish – I would just hit it with noxious anti-acne creams, which were the absolute opposite of moisturizing.
And unfortunately, today my skin shows signs of that abuse…lots of early aging and dullness. (Thank GOD all moss products are restorative and rejuvenating too!)
Some brief thoughts on paleo
When I was healing my acne, I swung to the opposite side of that spectrum – I decided to do the “Caveman regimen” and stopped washing my face all together, except for when it naturally/accidentally got rinsed with water in the shower.
And guess what? My skin liked that better! A lot better – it was way smoother, way less breakouts and the MOST amazing thing happened – it stoppped being insanely oily, and even went so far as to become a little too dry!
Well, today, I think I’ve found a happy medium. Little secret – when I first started moss I had NO intention of ever doing facial cleansers – because of my initial success with the Caveman regimen. But even though the Caveman regimen is DEFINITELY better than using harsh cleansers is it the BEST solution for my skin? These days, I do include cleansing in my optimal regimen and I’ll explain what and how in a second.
I’ve adopted the same attitude towards the Cavemen regimen as I have about the Paleo diet and here’s what I think: Yes, I absolutely think Paleo and Cavemen are BOTH a huge improvement to SAD (standard american diet – ie LOTS of sugar, carbs and processed foods) and SAS (standard american skincare – ie lots of harsh chemicals, over-stripping and over-using). But are they optimal?
I think, that they are still very primal – and being as advanced and intelligent as we now are, we can refine them. For example, with Paleo, you do not have access to legumes – one of the best sources of fiber. But you tend to eat too much meat. The truth is, we are already warping the true Paleo diet a lot – you know they weren’t making cashew cheesecakes with dates! That’s us finding a loophole. 🙂 They also did not have the kind of access we do to meat, so it’s a really good bet that we are eating WAY more meat than we should on the Paleo diet. Plus all of our meat is processed AND the animals we are eating are eating CARBS, not vegetation like they were in Caveman times. Which means WE are eating carbs, since it’s not: “you are what you eat;” it’s: “you are what you eat ATE.” Yikes! Ah, well, a post for another time…
My point it – the caveman regimen is good, but there are still a few teeny things about it that are not optimal now that we live in modern times. Like washing pollutants off the face. That’s a good thing to do – and a good reason to have some sort of cleansing ritual in place. Pollutants DO cause aging through oxidation – they are the reason ANTIoxidant is such a huge buzzword now! Also, the body releases toxins through the skin while we rest, and it is nice to rinse those off in the AM. Finally, there are types of acne conditions that respond well to cleansing, oil cleansing in particular – so if my skin says Yes! then I’m in.
Here is the overview of using moss.
moss skincare system
Here is the ritual I use every time I anoint my skin and the one I will share with you:
I rarely have the exact same skincare routine for more than a few days. I’m always paying attention to my skin, noticing if it feels oily, dry, congested. And depending on what my skin tells me, I adjust my skincare routine to respond as perfectly as possible. Which brings me to:
We’re already on step 2 and so far nothing has touched our face! Yes, but that’s one thing that makes moss different. We want to respond to our skin, not react. So we take our time listening, seeing, feeling, and then we are thoughtful about how we respond.
I created anointing bowls to help you mix and match moss to create the custom skincare. I LOVE anointing bowls. They help me create custom nourishments for my skin. And they really elevate the experience of caring for my skin.
In the customization step we are simply deciding what products or mix of products we are going to use for the following steps. In the winter we will use different products than in the summer, and believe it or not, if we are REALLY tuned into our skin we are probably optimizing our skincare ritual depending on where we are in our cycle (if you’re a chick, lol).
I like to use an oil cleanser at night to really deep clean and unclog pores, and a very gentle cleanser in the morning – since my skin is basically already clean and just needs the slightest refreshing rinse. So in the evening, I use Beurre Céleste – it is a beautiful, decadent blend of oils and raw neem blossom HONEY, so you get the cleansing benefits of both. In the morning I use Miel Noir.
If you do nothing else, do NOT skip this step! I always get very sad when an order comes through for many products…but none of them are an oil or balm. Maybe the individual making the purchase already has a facial oil. That is what I hope, because the alternative is that they do not have a good understanding of how to care for their skin.
The skin, ESPECIALLY acne-prone skin, needs to be, and absolutely MUST be, nourished in order to heal. You must right now, immediately, forget everything anyone ever told you about using oil-free products for the skin. First of all, they were most likely talking about petroleum based products, not these lovely, light, nutrient dense plant oils that we use at moss. Second of all, if you do not nourish your skin, barrier function will weaken, which means more bacteria and clogged pores, ie MORE acne. Also, sebum production will never balance and you will always be fighting oily skin. Oil is not only good for the skin (used correctly) but it is absolutely necessary for skin health.
Trust me – I started moss with ONE product – a facial oil that changed my life, and that today remains the CORNERSTONE of my skincare rituals. (Later, I will tell you exactly how to choose the right oils and/or balms.)
5) SUPPORT + INTENSIFY
Now, this step is kind of optional but even I, a skincare minimalist, go here more often than not. It is comprised of serums and/or absorbing fluids. These are basically very lightweight, hydrosol based (as opposed to oil) products.
If you just cleanse and nourish, I will be very happy, and a lot of the time, if I am in a hurry that’s exactly what I will do. But – here’s why you might consider this step. There are a lot of hydrophilic (water soluble) nutrients and compounds that simple do not mix well with oils, but that are also wonderful for the skin – aloe vera juice is a prime example. So are all the exfoliating ingredients that keep skin glowing like Willow Bark Extract and Ursolic Acid (found in Equilibrium).
Now – if we were to create a lotion, so that we COULD mix the hydrophilic components with the oils, a couple of things would happen:
We would have to include an emulsifier and also amp up our preservative system. Not great, considering that emulsifiers are the MOST comedogenic of all the skincare components by far, and preservatives often do little for our skin, sometimes even causing irritation and hormonal imbalance.
I prefer to keep my oils separate and pristine, and to keep my hydrophilic elixirs very light on the emulsifiers, so that you are getting beneficial plant nutrients, not a face full of stuff added for the sole purpose of making something aesthetically and tactically pleasing. In fact, the very first product I created in this category – Nutrient Synergist – has the consistency of water, EVEN THOUGH it has the power of a serum. But it has NO fillers or thickeners or emulsifiers and is 100% pure.
Right off the bat there are three great reasons to include this step:
- to simply get a greater diversity of nutrients and round out the benefits for your skin
- to add exfoliation (if desired)
- to add water based hydration (equally as important as oil based hydration, especially if the skin is very dry)
BUT there’s more! All of the serums and absorbing fluids contain either MSM or liposomes which are very special compounds that actually HELP draw nutrients deep into the skin. The deeper a compound permeates the dermal layers, the deeper the damage it can address and heal. So another reason to include a serum or absorbing fluid would be to help nutrients – from both the oil step and this step – get more fully absorbed.
The last reason to include this step is profound. A lot of people don’t like using oils because of the greasy feel they leave behind. Well, applying them properly can help a lot with that, but an absorbing fluid is my secret. It TOTALLY RETEXTURIZES the oil, and makes it change from being greasy to dewy. That’s because it emulsifies with the oil on the skin, helping it sink into the skin much faster than without the fluid. So in the summer, I use absorbing fluids a lot more. I find that Healing Dew and Nutrient Synergist make the best absorbing fluids when applied AFTER the oil. Equilibrium I like to MIX WITH the oil.
Here’s more info on how this step works.
Overall, less is more. You are putting very, very nutritionally dense products on your face, so you only need a tiny amount to get all the benefits. And the more you use product to SUPPORT the skin, instead of trying to take over its job completely, the more easily it can breathe and rebalance. At any one time, I only ever put a few drops of product on my skin. And at most, only two layers – oil then fluid. If I want to use more than 2 products, I use my anointing bowl to mix my nourish products and my intensify products in a beneficial way. And then – only a few drops of each mix, only 2 layers max.
Don’t overwhelm the skin!
Skin is always changing, so your skincare should be flexible and alive, not regimented.
Above all, love. When you care for your face, think loving, supportive, hopeful thoughts, instead of frustrated, impatient thoughts. The emotions we bring to the ritual get imbibed by the skin as surely as the products we massage in.
Next time – we talk cleansers!
In beauty and bliss,