Is the facialist to Michelle Obama quite possibly the most influential skin expert in the world? Heads are nodding in Breaking Beauty’s sound studio where yes, we sat down with Montreal-based Jennifer Brodeur—dubbed JB Skin Guru by the mighty Oprah Winfrey, another star client. You’re definitely not going to want to miss Jennifer’s stories about tending to the skin of the entire Obama family in the private quarters of the White House!
Plus, find out which product from Jennifer’s all-natural skincare line for sensitive skin, Peoni, the former First Lady called out on People.com’s holiday gift guide this year. (We’ve also got the scoop on a brand new line coming in hot off of the production line from JB Skin Guru called Lumi, designed to brighten dullness with all the luminance of freshly fallen snow.)
You’ll hear some of Jennifer’s somewhat radical opinions, like why she never recommends exfoliating (say what?!). We also get some choice tips on how to get your skin red carpet ready for your own holiday events this season. And finally, the skin pro divulges the secrets to detoxing your complexion from the inside out post-holiday.
But wait…! Jennifer mentions which humectants to look for and which to avoid in a deep dive on good-for-you ingredients. She promised us specifics, and we promised to post the document we were sent over:
Humectants (hygroscopic) work by pulling water from the dermis to the epidermis. This process increases the level of moisture in the stratum corneum. If the humidity is over 70% humectants can even draw water vapor from the air to help moisturize the skin.
They are added to products to mimic the role of natural hydrophilic humectants in the stratum corneum. The unique structure of the stratum corneum of the skin contributes to its function as a barrier to water loss and the external harsh environment. The injury to this barrier by the environment and common irritants with the resulting loss of water from the skin is the main reason for the development of dry skin or irritant dermatitis. Moisturizers containing humectants can help to increase the hydration of the skin and possibly repair/restore the barrier through use of chemicals that are similar to the skin’s natural moisturizing factors or occlusion of the skin to prevent water loss.
Synthetic humectants are able to lock in moisture; however, they don’t provide any nutrients or benefits to the skin. In some cases, they can end up drying the skin over long- term use. It’s always a question of percentage and use.
There is a large variety of very different compounds providing moisturizing effects
including proteins, acids, polysaccharides, and various small molecules (e.g. glycerine,
sorbitol, urea, aloe vera etc.).
They serve as a dual purpose, drawing moisture to the surface of the skin while enhancing the skins own hydrating ability. (It can be confusing as glycerin and hyaluronic acid may be derived from animal sources, although most are vegan synthetic versions).
Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5)
Beeswax (often used in lip balms)