Let’s start with the bare facts or, more accurately, impressions backed by lived experience. Ah, youth! In my 20s, I thought I had dry skin. At around age 40, I was premenopausal, and my skin became drier. By 50, I was out of the chute, fully menopausal, and dryness reached unimagined dimensions: wrinkles looked deeper, the skin felt tight (but sagged and looked dull), products that I used to cover up or disguise my skin applied unevenly, exacerbating the issues. Products that claimed not to settle did just that. The dryness was an open invitation to settle.
What to do? I set out to try products that promised “moisture.” There are a good many of them, so I kissed a lot of frogs during this quest. I am a university professor, that is, professionally verbose, so this is my rather long-winded way of saying that out of necessity (and vanity), I have become a connoisseur of products for dry skin — and now, aging dry skin.
When I accepted the Dare To Try challenge for the New Zealand product Moana Moisturiser (NZ $99 or $78 USD in the shop), I was excited — and skeptical. The first ingredient is water and the third ingredient is aloe. In theory, my skin should like these ingredients. In practice it doesn’t. Water-based and aloe-based products always feel great — until the water or the aloe evaporates. (Think of your skin after a long bath or shower, and you’ll understand the phenomenon I’m struggling to describe). I also worry that water-based products need to be preserved, a fact that generally introduces the dreaded preservative problem. (Moana, for the record, uses benzyl alcohol and dehydroacetic acid (DHA), a preservative understudied but generally presumed to be safe and often chosen for natural and organic products).
So, how did this Moana water-based, aloe-based product perform? I’m delighted to say that the moisturizing effects didn’t disappear when the water and aloe dissipated, probably because there are at least a dozen good-for-you skin oils in the mix, including harakeke (New Zealand flax). The first few times I tried the product, I used two pumps (I’m of the more-is-better school when it comes to moisturizers), but this dosage is far too much. The product really spreads and absorbs evenly. One pump is sufficient for the face and décolleté. I’ve used the product daily for almost two months, and I think there’s still plenty of product left in the bottle, although it’s difficult to tell because the bottle is opaque in order to prevent sunlight from destabilizing the ingredients. I’ve tried the Moana moisturizer between a serum and an SPF moisturizer; I’ve also mixed the Moana in with SPF moisturizers that I didn’t feel gave me enough hydration. Both ways, it worked. I wasn’t able to use the product in the dead of winter — that’s the next test — but I did use the product in mid-spring when my skin was still winter stressed. Summer is less of a moisture challenge for me (we’re in a humid climate), but I have used the product after swimming and have been pleased with the hydration it delivers.
In sum, I’m finicky when it comes to moisturizers, but based on my trial of the Moana Moisturiser, I’m definitely inclined to continue use and to pick up other products in this line, especially since the product is 100% natural and 82.8% organic, as well as cruelty-free (love seeing the bunny logo!). From this uber-dry, aging skeptic, high marks.