There are so many varieties of personal care formulas: lotions, creams, foams, gels, and liquids. Oh my! How do you choose the right ones for you and your family? A lot depends on what you like to use.
What is a delivery system?
A delivery system is a professional term for the texture and consistency of your cosmetic product. The "delivery system" or the "vehicle" makes up the product's base as a whole and carries the active ingredients--whether a cleansing ingredient or a sunscreen--onto your skin. If you think about baking a chocolate cake, the chocolate is your star active ingredient. Then, all the other ingredients mixed into the recipe are part of the delivery system for that chocolate! The vehicle makes up most of the product and helps a cleanser lather up or a cream glide on smoothly. It allows all the ingredients to mix together and not separate. The formula helps to make a product smell nice and feel good when you put it on.
How to choose the right formula:
Consider the weather
Consider the season when picking a product, whether a face wash or body moisturizer. Is it summer or winter? Do you live in a dry or humid climate? "It makes sense to switch formulas seasonally," says Nazanin Saedi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Philadelphia, PA, and associate professor of dermatology at Thomas Jefferson University. "I use thicker, richer cleansers and moisturizers in the winter when my skin tends to be dryer, and I go with lighter formulations in the summertime. Not only do lightweight formulas feel better when it's hot and humid, but it's also easier to apply sunscreen on top without these layers of products feeling gloppy and heavy."
Think about your skin type and your lifestyle
"In general, a lighter formulation, like a gel or foam cleanser, is water-based and will be better for oily or acne-prone skin. Creams and thicker lotions are usually oil-based and are optimal for dry skin because they contain occlusive ingredients like ceramides or shea butter, creating a moisturizing barrier on the skin's surface," says Saedi. However, it's wise to always look for emollient ingredients in the formula when it comes to the skin below your neck. "This is especially important because the skin on the body is dryer. It tends to be thicker and has fewer oil glands, so it doesn't produce or retain moisture - facial skin is the same way.
Not to mention that most people don't moisturize the body as much as the skin on the face. "Many guys and almost all kids would fit into that category, and some people just hate the feeling of any kind of moisturizer on their body and skip it altogether," says Saedi," which is why it's a smart idea to choose hydrating formulas of hand and body washes." (MyKirei by KAO Nourishing Body Wash, Foam Body Wash, and Foam Hand Wash all contain hydrating ingredients like glycerin and rice water, plus mild, non-stripping cleaners). When you moisturize below the neck, Saedi recommends applying lotion when the skin is still slightly damp from the bath or shower to seal in that moisture. "Even a super lightweight body lotion can do the trick if it's got the right hydrating formulation," she adds. (MyKirei by KAO Soothing Peony Milky Lotion is a feather-light, water-based formula packed with moisture from rice water, glycerin, and shea butter).
The bottom line: personal preference
As with most things, the secret is finding products you and your family enjoy using. What kind of texture do you like? What will your kids have fun using? If it's a foamy hand wash that creates a flower or a paw print in their hands (like MyKirei by KAO Paw Print or Yuzu Flower Foam Hand Wash), that's a winning formula!