Some time ago, an article was published along with a headline that warned readers the word 'moist' was used in it 23 times. (WARNING: The word 'moist' is mentioned in this article more than 13 times).

Many Facebook groups dedicated to the anti-moist sentiment and a study, An Exploratory Investigation of Word Aversion, even found that people detest the word so much that its very utterance conjures up maddening images, similar to nails scratching a chalkboard.

"One tantalising possibility is that words like 'moist' are aversive because speaking them engages facial muscles that correspond to expressions of disgust," it says. 

It has been found that people react negatively to the word  'moist' because of its meaning, not because of its sound – and similar-meaning words, like damp, also give people the heebie-jeebies.

But the definition of moist is changing, and we're so here for it.

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The 'moist' beauty movement

Over the years, magazines have trained us to be powdered pretties. The Kim K led us astray with her almost surgeon-precision contoured cheekbones. Fatigued by layers upon layers of makeup, often with lacklustre results, a 'moist' approach to beauty, might just be able to save us and breathe new confidence into our over-stimulated minds and bodies. Just breathe…

Pyunkang Yul Eye Cream, Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream and the Petitfée Black Pearl & Gold Hydrogel Eye Patch might be brands and product types a lot of us have never heard of or even experienced. But Cape Town-based writer, Zainab SvR, has made these products her staples over the last few years.

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An advocate for the multi-step K-beauty regime, promising damp-face perfection, she says: "I use multiple toners, but most people only use one so basically, I 'tone' my face seven times in the morning and then again at night."

Her list of products is extensive - all with local suppliers like Glow Theory and Butterkup Beauty - she highlights snail bee products as some that have rendered the best results for her sensitive skin.

This product contains 90% snail extract and bee venom instead of water and is excellent for retaining moisture in the skin. Meticulously applying 10-12 products on your skin two to third times a day can seem deceivingly anti-Marie Kondo. But it is, in fact, minimalist moist beauty at its best. 

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Her skin shines without her looking sweaty - hydrated radiance, without much makeup. Glass skin. Honey skin. Dewy-dumpling skin. All the variations of moist skin health achieved. She says this routine saves her money. Initially, she spent around R4 000 but says less is more - proving that multi-step skincare doesn't have to mean slapping on the product. 

Echoing veteran Cape Town beauty editor, Lameez Hendricks, who once told me: "Skin first, then makeup," that is her motto. Set the canvas. Better skin means less paint is needed to bring the canvas to life.

Using 10-12 products to achieve optimal moist levels is not for everyone.

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Dr Clare Neser, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Cape Town, recommends using only three products: Retin-A, a daily moisturiser, and a cleanser. Our skins are all different – and your method to moist skin is out there.

So, instead of saying the word, harness its innate watery energy and turn it into a force of nature.

Moist has been redefined, as its incorporation within beauty and skincare has sparked a different kind of joy in us – one that is now evident on our shiny, glowy, dewy-dumpling faces. 

What's your go-to beauty treatment? Tell us about it here.

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