Winterize Your Skin

Well, folks, it’s safe to say that winter is here! Most of us have been sighing over the weather forecast, pulling out our thickest sweaters and watching with dismay as the first flurries float down from the skies. The changing weather brings changes to the skin and just as you are switching from floaty tops and motorcycle jackets to cable-knit sweaters and puffer coats, so should you winterize your skincare. Cold winter air and dry indoor heat can be murder even on the hardiest of skin types. Thankfully, we can always call upon a face balm to act as both a cozy cashmere sweater to cosset the skin and as a warm winter coat to shield it from the elements. Balms are particular green beauty favorites because they are waterless: the absence of water means a longer shelf life without a need for preservatives. Packed full of nourishing butters and oils, balms deliver a skin-softening punch and, perhaps most importantly in moisture-sapping conditions, act as an occlusive to prevent moisture loss from the skin without clogging pores. Here are four of my favorite balms that I will be using throughout the colder months to keep my skin happy, soft and moisturized.

Laurel Balms

Laurel Skin’s Transform Daily and Restore Nightly Facial Balms make for the perfect skin-protecting and perfecting duo. Both balms contain nourishing and healing herbs like calendula, chamomile and comfrey in the base of shea butter and nourishing, bioactive oils. Whereas Transform Daily contains sun-protecting, antioxidant red raspberry and cranberry seed oils, the Restore Nightly Balm has anti-aging tamanu and pomegranate oils. Both balms have a creamy, soft texture and a gorgeous, woody-herbal smell. These balms are the softest of the bunch: whereas other balms take a little warming by the fingers to soften, the texture of the Laurel balms are the closest to a cream and they can be swept onto the skin with just a light swipe. I should note that both balms contain beeswax. This helps increase their occlusive properties, but it does mean they are not strictly vegan-friendly.

Because of their high concentration of actives, balms tend to be fairly pricey, but the Laurel balms are the most reasonably priced of the bunch. It is also not strictly necessary to get both the day and the night balm: although I adore and use them both, they contain similar enough ingredients and do not have any that might make them inappropriate for nighttime (SPF) or daytime (photosensitizing oils, retinol) use, respectively. If need be, you could pick the one whose ingredients appeal to you the most and use it to nourish, protect and heal your skin – day and night.

Blue Cocoon

It’s not secret that I am a huge fan of May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon Balm. It’s loaded with exotic oils, butters and EOs, including my beloved blue tansy oil. The Blue Cocoon is the balm that I use on the days when my skin misbehaves. I find that the anti-inflammatory power of its ingredients dispatches occasional pimples overnight or, at the very least, helps take down the redness and shrink them down to half their size. This is the balm for anyone dealing with skin that is both dry and breakout-prone. That said, make no mistake: this is a very rich balm. Although I have a chronically heavy hand when it comes to applying product, I find that Blue (we’re on a first name basis) takes quite a while to absorb and leaves a serious amount of shine even with the lightest application. This is actually good news if you need to face the cold, since that same shiny layer will protect your skin from the elements, but this is not the balm for those days when you are after a matte finish or when you want to apply makeup (though I think it might work rather well as a base for powdered mineral makeup – I just don’t use it, so can’t do a test run).

LBF Rainforest Treatment


La Bella Figura’s Rainforest Hydration Treatment is the balm I would use should I ever decide to take a ski trip to Aspen or Courchevel (I don’t actually ski, but I sure do love a mulled wine in front of the fire): this is skincare for when you’re feelin’ fancy. Like the Blue Cocoon, Rainforest is filled with exotic butters and oils (albeit different ones from Blue), but here the similarities end. For starters, there’s the texture: Rainforest is the hardest of the four balms and it really needs to be warmed by the fingers prior to application, which also means that even someone as heavy-handed as myself is not at risk of applying too much. Once on the skin, it leaves a matte, velvety finish, making it the perfect daytime balm. I think this satiny-dry texture might be due to the olive-derived waxes that are present fairly high on the ingredient list. Those same waxes would also work admirably to protect your skin from the harsh mountain air, should you find yourself on the slopes.

The other thing that adds to Rainforest’s feeling of “fanciness” is its smell: a strong, elegant, jasmine-forward scent that could almost double as a perfume. Now here’s the thing: I love the smell, which is unusual considering that jasmine scents don’t often work for me. It’s sexy and feminine and indulgent. It’s also strong. So much so that I am sometimes wary of using this balm if I have even a hint of a headache, since it can almost feel like an olfactory assault when my sensitivity is heightened. If you love floral smells in general and especially if you are a fan of jasmine, you will love the Rainforest Hydration Treatment (and paired with May Lindstrom’s new  The Jasmine Garden facial mist it could well bring you to ecstasy), but if you tend to be sensitive to smells, I would suggest trying a sample to make sure you can handle it.

You really couldn’t go wrong with any of the products highlighted in this post. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite and they all offer unique and fabulous benefits to the skin (though for the purposes of this statement I am conflating the two Laurel balms into one). Whichever one you decide to pick, each of these skincare superheroes will save your skin even as the temperatures continue to plummet. Happy shopping; I’m off to research ticket prices to Florida.

Disclosure: I was sent a full size of Laurel Skin’s Restore Nightly Balm for my review. I will most certainly repurchase it, though probably not for a while because all of these balms last for-e-ver. I had bought, loved and will continue to repurchase every other product in this post, including Laurel’s Transform Daily Balm.

26 responses to Winterize Your Skin

  1. Laurel Whole Plant Organics is high on my wishlist! Such lovely products and ingredients. Also, balms are so quintessential for winter. I am also eyeing the one by CAMP.

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      I’m waiting on a delivery of Laurel’s face spray, oils and mask and I am SO excited! Can’t wait to review it. Haven’t tried Camp, but heard good things and their packaging is very chic.

  2. Jody

    Love these picks. The May Lindstrom is my favorite. For some reason my LBF smells really strange.. just kind of weird and off and it’s also hard to dig out unlike the May. Maybe I got a bad one?

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      The LBF is definitely hardest to dig out of thr four balms. It gets going once you start using it, but the first time I had to scrape it out with my nail. As for the smell… It could be just that it doesn’t work for you? It doesn’t happenwith this balm, but jasmine oil tends to smell like poop to me (and ON me. No joke). So it could be the scentjust doesn’t suit your chemistry. Maybe ask someone to sniff and if they also think it smells off you can reach out to LBF?

      • You’re not the only one who thinks that Jasmine alone can smell like poop! I especially get that impression when I use the Jasmine dry shampoo by Lulu Organics. Sometimes I use it hoping that people would not think the same since I thought I was the only one who thought so..

        You have such beautiful photographs, taste and write-ups!! I especially love this one post as I am currently in hot and humid tropical weather craving for that cold gush of wind. I haven’t tried all the balms except Blue Cocoon. It’s a really lovely balm, color and scent. I have smelled the Rainforest Hydration however, and the Jasmine scent is.. truly nice.

      • TheHermesHippie – Author

        Thank you SO much! Makes me so happy that you like the blog, especially since I am such a fan of yours 😉 And I’m rather pleased there is another member in my jasmine poop club 😂

  3. Marni

    Very interesting review, and instructive too. I don’t use balm yet, but I have a sample of The Blue Cocoon, and I hope I will appreciate it when the weather will be cold here!
    Do you know if De Mamiel makes a balm?

  4. Lisa

    Hoping you can shed some info on this, why are some balms better as cleansers and some as moisturizers? I love the de Mamiel balm and am not sure why it can’t be a moisturizer since it is soft and light. On the other hand, I think balms like Skin Savoir are perfect for cleansing. And although the ingredients look similar for some reason May Lindstrom and La Bella Figura both cause me to break out, especially the latter. Is there something in those two that is doing it?

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      To be honest, I had often wished that I could use de Mamiel as a moisturizer. I would say the reason that’s not the best idea is because it has emulsifiers to help it rinse off (that’s what makes it turn milky when you add water). Good in a cleanser, but you don’t want them hanging out on your skin 😉 Skin Savior does not have emulcifiers, which is why it doubles as skincare (but it also doesn’t rinse off as easily). As for why May and LBF break you out – it could be anything, but probably the butters used are too heavy for your skin. I always say, what works for one skin type could be a nightmare for another. I know some folks who break out from coconut oil in the Skin Savior, but it obviously works well for you. That’s the one drawback of green beauty: a lot of it is trial and error. So worth it in the end though! 😉☺️

  5. Lynn

    I purchased ML The Blue Cocoon after reading your spa post. I only just started using it a few days ago and I’m already in love. It’s really helped soothe my dry chapped skin. So, thank you Lola for the recommendation. 🙂 Now, I really wanna try the Laurel ones too after reading this post. So many products on my wish list!

    P.S. Could you please recommend some cleansers for dry dehydrated skin?

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      Yaaay! So, so pleased it’s working for you! The Laurel stuff is so lovely – I just got a big batxh of their other stuff (oils, mask and face spray) and can’t wait to try it all. As for a cleanser, definitely nothing even remotely stripping. I have been using and loving Josh Rosebrook’s Moisturizing Cleanser: it’s super/gentle and cleans well. And of course cleansing balms and oils are awesome for dehydrated skin because they don’t strip. I did a balm cleanser post with my faves and going to do an oil cleanser one, but the OLO cleansing oil is great!

  6. Lynn

    I’ve always loved reading your blog posts and do trust your recommendations/reviews as you have such an excellent taste. I think I’ve purchased most of the products mentioned in your posts right after reading about them. So, thank you for your lovely posts, Lola. What oils did you get from Laurel? I’m waiting for their Black Friday sale to place an order and I still can’t decide what products to get. I’m thinking their day balm and one of their oils. I’d love to order Josh Rosebrook’s cleanser from Integrity Botanicals, but can’t bring myself to pay $35 for international shipping. Especially after having to pay nearly $150 in customs duty for my package from Content Beauty today! I certainly hope the products I got were worth the hefty duty. Anyway, how does the JR’s cleanser compare to the OLO foaming one? I have a small bottle of the OLO I have yet to try though.

  7. What a gorgeous photo! Laurel is so high up on my wishlist, in the new year I will definitely be buying something from the range! The night balm is calling out to me, my skin loves tamanu oil!

  8. Jenna

    Out of the balms mentioned. My picks would have to be The Blue Cocoon and the Rainforest Hydration treatment for scent and performance… I have a hard time with the Laurel products and there scents…. Something just doesn’t go well with my liking…for me it has to smell good if I put it on my face.

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      Scent is so important! I can’t use even the greatest of products if the smell isn’t right. And all of these balms have rather different textures, so it’s no wonder that some work better than others. Frankly, I think I’m pretty darn lucky that all 4 of them work so well for me 🙂

  9. sbgirl

    Happy Holidays! Hope I haven’t missed a post and am not being redundant, but do you know about Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic? She has a few products that appear to be incredibly pure, organic and well priced! I’ve just ordered a jar to try for myself, as this week I’ve been dipping into my mother’s since she arrived for Christmas! It smells lovely and has a very nice texture. Ingredients are olive fruit oil, beeswax, honey, propolis, bee pollen and royal jelly. Have you come across this line? Looking forward to a natural and beautiful 2015 with my HH pals! xoxo

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      Happy Holidays, beauty! You haven’t missed a post – I have just been a hirrie slacker 😞 Have lots of things in the pipeline though 😉 As for Medicine Mama, I love her stuff! This probs qualifies as an ovedshare, but her V Magic Balm (yes, for that) is an absolute lifesaver. I don’t have any currently, but love the Bee Magic and so glad you reminded me of it. I am doing a post on honey-based skincare and will make sure to mention. It’s a winter skinsaver for sure! Lots of love and best wishes for the New Year! Xxx

      • SBgirl

        So nice to hear back from you!!! I noticed the other products on her site 😉… I am looking forward to trying the bee magic balm when it arrives, and also can’t wait to see your sweet honey post! Happy New Year and lots of love! ❌⭕️

  10. Ann

    Upon your review, and since we both live in harsh winter climates (you certainly had quite a doozy of a storm just recently), I splurged on the ML Blue Cocoon. I’ve tried other balms and still had small dry patches on my skin. But the Blue Cocoon works wonderfully on maintaining a much needed moisture on my face which is mostly exposed to the dry heat from an ongoing blast of the furnace. Also, it smells so good – there is a hint of cocoa (at least to me) which is always delicious. Thank you for your review, and your wonderful blog, I’m learning about a whole other world of beauty based on a purer alchemy which seems to be created mostly by women. Sweet.

    Ann / MN

    • TheHermesHippie – Author

      Oh I’m so pleased the Blue Cocoon worked for you! It’s delightful, isn’t it? And thank you so much for your sweet words – means so much! ☺️ x

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