Get the Most Out of Your Moisturizer (and Save Money)

Are you using up your moisturizer within two weeks? If not, you might not be applying enough.

To adequately moisturize dry skin, you should apply nearly an ounce of cream or lotion to your body each day. Most moisturizers come in 8 to 12 ounce containers; therefore, you should be using up your moisturizer within about 2 weeks.

“Are you crazy, Dr. Benabio??” You say, “Do you realize how expensive that would be?”

It doesn’t have to be.

Skin Care Secret #1: All Moisturizers Are Created Equal.

The most important factor in how well a moisturizer works is not its special berry-juice-fish-oil-rare-tropical-flower-$15-dollar/ounce-ingredient. The most important factor in how well a moisturizer works is how you use it.

True, some moisturizers contain alpha hydroxy acids, humectants, or silicones which help soften, moisturize, and protect the skin respectively. However, any moisturizer, even simple mineral oil, can accomplish the basic tasks: 1. lock moisture in your skin and 2. provide a layer of oils to protect it. The important thing is to use it correctly.

1. Take a shower with warm (not hot) water. Use only non-soap cleansers, such as Dove, to wash. Real soaps strip natural oils off your skin unnecessarily.

2. Dry off by patting your skin with your towel.

3. While your skin is still damp from the water that has soaked into its absorbent outer layer, apply a thin coat of inexpensive moisturizer, such as petroleum jelly.

4. Repeat everyday for two weeks. You should go though at least one jar of petroleum jelly in that time.

5. After two weeks look closely at your skin. You will notice that it is smoother, healthier, and even younger looking (dry skin will wrinkle more easily and dull skin always appears older).

Using generic petroleum jelly will cost $4.00 each month. Compare this to other popular moisturizers, such as Aquaphor, which would cost about $43.00 each month. Over a year that amounts to a savings of $468.

If you happen to have been using Creme de la Mer, ($130 / ounce) using Vaseline would save you $40,560 a year. You could buy a new Mercedes with that kind of money.

How much is your moisturizer?

Photo: Dawvon

23 thoughts on “Get the Most Out of Your Moisturizer (and Save Money)”

  1. Hi Dr. Benabio, what about oily skin? What’s the balance between keeping it hydrated and not aggravating the condition?

  2. Hi Dr. B,
    This advice is very practical but I think some women will have some concerns. First, I am assuming that you mean the same moisturizer could/should be used on both face and body.
    Most body moisturizers do not contain SPF so if you would be subjecting your face to UV exposure while unprotected. Also consider that some women wear pantyhose and tights in the winter-time and some of the more greasy moisturizers may make getting dressed slightly difficult. Lastly, women might be missing out on the benefits of using an anti-aging moisturizer that contains ingredients that have proven results ex. Vitamin A (Retinol, Retin) as well as Glycolic and Salicylic Acids.

  3. Besides some sticky like petroleum jelly…can you recommend another lighter, economical moisturiser?? thanks!

  4. Hi, I wanted to let you know I’m a big fan of your blog and plan on profiling it in the coming few weeks on my own. (PS: I’m also doing a blog roll). Just wanted to give you a heads up.

  5. Christina says:

    While this is great advice for most people, petroleum jelly is REALLY STICKY. Even if you apply it while your skin is damp, it is still likely to leave some residue on your skin.

    Based on this, it may be just easier to buy a generic lotion and use it generously


    Alternatively, I suppose oil would work as well and may sink into the skin faster.

    Of course, these are slightly more expensive options but to be honest, the petroleum jelly idea is just too messy.

  6. There is certain truth to the claim that effectiveness of a moisturizer is not directly dependant on the price. But at the same time, I do agree on most points with Ron Robinson and Christina.

    On the one hand, price does go higher with more sophisticated ingredients and research put into the products. On the other hand, a big part of the price is marketing and product positioning on the market.

    Finally, I think if you manage to use an ounce of 4 $ Vaseline daily for a month and then compare the effect to applying a sparing amount of 130$ Creme De La Mer (it will last you a couple months), you will never in your life will want petroleum jelly touch your skin again 🙂

  7. I like Olay’s In Shower body lotion. I have a bad habit of forgetting to put on moisturizer after I get out, so this is easier. It’s not expensive and it’s easy to use. It’s also easy to get dressed afterwards because your skin isn’t sticky.

  8. I’m on day two of trying this on my body and face. It is very goopy—but after about 2.5 to 3 hours it absorbs quite well and my skin feels great already and there is no stickiness (after those 3 hours). I don’t always have that much time for absorption so I will do this as often as I can.

    On a side note—my cat followed me around licking my legs. 🙂

  9. Would any of the dry oils out there work too?

  10. This is a informative post about Anti Aging and there side effect.
    Thanks for sharing such an informative post.

  11. “Creamy” vaseline is available both in brand name and generic (walmart) formulations. It is inexpensive and much less sticky than regular vaseline

  12. I used Vaseline around my eyes at night. It works really well! The skin around my eyes is no longer dry and looks younger since I started doing this about 6 months ago.

  13. I used light olive oil and applied it religiously after showers when i was pregnant and found my skin was much better…what i did was applied it as recommended, and blotted off any excess with a towel..have stopped doing that now, but may try the vaseline trick!

  14. I’m a little concerned about recommending non-digestible oils for women who might be using transdermal HRTs. There’s some fear that these will bind the lipophyllic hormones and not release them, thus interfering with dosing. Sunscreens are already a labeled caution for the gel HRTs and women who use non-digestible oils have reported hormone instability that has cleared up when they switched to products that don’t contain mineral oil or petroleum jellies. Use of cooking oils (like olive or canola) or nut oils (walnut, almond) or even, if one doesn’t care about saturated fat intake, cooking shortening gets around this while still providing for the effect you’re describing.

  15. At night, I slather my hands and feet with either castor oil or udder cream, and wear socks and non-latex gloves to bed. It works wonders!

  16. You are right about the vaseline, I think.
    I remember my grandmother and other women of her generation applying a very light coating of coconut oil regularly before a bath. They used to have wonderful skin textures.

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  19. Thanks for the great blog! Your information is so helpful and has helped me achieve all of my skincare goals. Ive found so much useful information on your site I just wanted to say thankyou. I also found this great site ( that has loads of useful information. I think their glycolic moisturizer review was great too. Hopefully it can help some of your readers too! Thanks again for the great blog and take care!

  20. I think using oil instead of petroleum jelly would work better. Many would hesitate trying the jelly also because of the health concerns it raises due to being a petrolatum product and it is said that it clogs the pores. A light oil like olive, jojoba or sesame oil would be better.

  21. Christina says:

    I suppose my concern is that my skin doesn’t absorb water very well and since petroleum jelly only locka in moisture – would I be better off with something like an oil or Cerave?

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