What's the Difference Between Lotion and Moisturizer?

It’s the new year, people, which means it’s time for green tea and grain bowls and Meditation and Self Care. It’s time to treat ourselves to feeling good; it’s time to mask our faces with indigenous soils and lather up our bodies like we’re in some sort of commercial and luxuriate in the warmth of our collective internal glow. But before we spend our first week’s paycheck on the season’s buzziest new product, or raid the drugstore aisle for another promised cure-all, we should probably know—what exactly are we rubbing all over ourselves, anyways? It’s time to learn the difference between lotion and moisturizer. 

First, let’s talk about moisture. It’s easy to think of moisture as water; when something is moist, it’s kind of wet, right? But when it comes to skin, water is a horrible moisturizer; it evaporates too quickly to soak in.

Lotion has a higher water content than moisturizer, and therefore does its work on top of the skin to cause some sort of effect, like preventing sunburn. Lotions certainly can carry vitamins and minerals, but ones that have a topical use; they’re doing something on the surface on the skin, rather than penetrating it. 

Moisturizer, on the other hand, is a cream that’s designed to bring moisture or vitamins or minerals into the skin, not just on top of it. This means that many moisturizers have sealing agents, like mineral oils or petroleum jelly, to help lock in that moisture. Moisturizers are therefore thicker than lotions, and are more effective for treating dry skin—especially in the winter.

Another thing about water? The more water that a product has, the more likely it is to attract bacteria—which is where preservatives and fragrances come in. Because lotions are more water-based than moisturizers, they’re more likely to have extra added ingredients, and therefore are more prone to irritate your skin. So when you’re shopping, be aware—those cucumber/coconut/cantaloupe scents might seem great, but they have a purpose other than making you smell like a spa. 

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What's the Difference Between Tights, Pantyhose, Stockings, and Leggings?

You feel that clean, crisp chill in the air? ‘Tis the season for chunky sweaters, for pumpkin spice lattes, and for shoving your pale, bumpy legs into tight-fitting armor and strutting back into the world with newfound confidence. As a short person with calves too large to fit into normal-width boots, I like to pretend my legs don’t exist, and there’s no better enabler than cold weather. Here are the differences between the various leg-sheaths on the market. 

Let’s start with pantyhose. Thought of as hosiery, pantyhose are the thinnest of the bunch; they are sheer and generally made of nylon, with a denier (a measure of thickness or weight in tights) of 8 to 30. You’ll usually find them footed, so that they fit over one’s feet and stretch up to one’s waistline.

Tights are generally thicker than pantyhose, with a denier of 40 to 100; they can range from almost-see-through to totally opaque. Unlike pantyhose, they can come in a range of fabrics, patterns, and styles, though they are usually footed and worn under some item of skirt- or dress-type clothing. “Tights” is also the term for the stretchy leg-wear worn by dancers and acrobats, sported under a leotard or tutu or any other type of costume. 

Stockings, in some cases, can be synonymous with tights; they’re another footed, tight-fitting garment that comes in a range of fabrics, styles, and weights. However, the term can also refer garments that stretch only to the upper thigh (rather than the waistline) and then secured with suspenders and a garter belt. And unlike tights or pantyhose, one might find “stockings”—like compression stockings—in the medical sphere, where the word is used to describe tight bandages or coverings for the legs used in certain types of treatments.

Lastly, we have leggings, the one item of clothing on this list opaque enough to be worn freely in place of actual pants (the Oxford English Dictionary even defines them as “tight-fitting trousers made of a stretch fabric,” in case you’re like me and take your fashion advice from historical dictionaries). Leggings are un-footed—they stretch from the ankle or lower calf to the waistline—and can be found in a variety of fabrics, colors, patterns, and styles. And unlike the yoga pant—leggings’ looser, bell-bottomed cousin—leggings are tight-fitting, making them wonderful for both athletic use and, to put it bluntly, the days you don’t feel like wearing pants. Happy autumn!

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What's the Difference Between Denim and Chambray?

To understand the differences between denim and chambray, we first must ask the question: What, exactly, is a fabric? A fabric is a collection of fibres and/or yarns that, in the case of a “woven fabric,” are interlaced at 90-degree angles to each other. The fibres going up and down are called the “warp,” and the fibres that run in the opposite direction—at the right angle to the warp—are called the “weft.”

Got it? Let’s move on. Both denim and chambray are made from cotton fibres, and they both are typically blue. And where does that blue come from? In both fabrics, the yarns used in the warp—the up-and-down fibres—are dyed indigo, and the yarns used in the weft—the fibres in the opposite direction—are white.

Now, let’s explore their differences. In chambray, the fibres are woven in a simple criss-cross fashion, with the warp running vertical and the weft running horizontal. In this case, the dyed warp and the white weft are equally present, giving chambray a sometimes-lighter-than-denim hue. (Think of the top of a lattice pie—it’s the same weave as chambray.)


With denim, things get a little more complicated. Denim is woven in a twill fashion, which means that instead of the warp going over one thread in the weft (like in chambray), the warp goes over two threads. This creates a diagonal weave, as seen here:


This diagonal weave will usually result in a heavier material, though both denim and chambray can come in heavier and lighter styles.

Another way of telling the difference: you know how the outward-facing side of your jeans is darker than the inside-facing side of your jeans? That’s because the outward side is exposed to two times more of the dyed warp yarns, and the inside is exposed to two times more of the white weft yarns. With chambray, the inside and the outside will look pretty much the same.

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