…or here, depending on where you’re at.
Our skin changes with the season. And winter, in my opinion, creates the worst condition for our skin. Colder days make our skin feel more dry than any other season, no matter the skin type. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have dry skin in the winter time because my oily skin definitely does not prevent my skin from drying out. That’s also not exactly how the oil in oily skin works. Low temperature means lower humidity level, contributing to lower levels of moisture in the air and making our skin feel dry. So it’s not totally about the oils in our skin that protects us; it’s the level of hydration we can retain and lock in.
Another thing about winter that our skin doesn’t like is the strong, icy wind. Having lived in Chicago my whole life before I moved to Utah, I know the worst kind of winter wind. The whipping wind feels like ice knives cutting across your face and into your bones. Our skin needs a more gentle and loving touch. Being exposed to harsh wind makes our skin feel rough and chapped, which can lead to itchiness and bleeding in some cases.
Think you can escape the cold by staying indoors with the heat turned up?
Having the heater turned up at high temperatures dries up the moisture in the air, causing your skin to — you guessed it — dry out. This isn’t just on our faces, either. It happens all over our body. For me, I find that winter time make my legs more dry and itchy, especially after a hot shower. Not being able to fall asleep at 2am because your legs are too itchy is not what I consider a good reason for not being able to wake up the next morning for work.
So what can we do to help our skin retain and lock in moisture and to stay hydrated? For one, try to avoid taking long, hot showers. For two, restrain yourself from turning up the heat too high. It’s better to wear an extra layer rather than dry up in your apartment. Remind yourself to drink plenty of water throughout the day to replenish internally. All of these are great measures to consider and start with, but what I’ve found most useful was creating a barrier between the dry air and my skin. That extra barrier is what helps lock in moisture while helping your skin stay hydrated. And we can do that with using the right kind of products. Here’s a brief outline of my winter skin care routine and products that I recommend (which, by the way, I do not receive any benefits or compensation for mentioning) for the season:
After using an oil-based cleanser, I use a water-based cleanser to clear out any oil residue that’s left on my skin. It also helps wash away any of the dirt/impurity that the oil-based cleanser has picked up so that your face feels even more clean. One of my top choices for a water-based cleanser to use in the winter time is Skinfood’s Egg White Pore Foam. This cleanser is super gentle and leaves my face feeling clean and soft. The last thing you want in a cleanser during the winter time is the feeling of your own oils being stripped from your face.
Exfoliate (1-2x a week or 2-3x a week depending on skin type):
Exfoliating helps keep your skin clean and clear, so this is important even in the winter time. Exfoliating can feel a tad bit more rough on your skin because exfoliating products are grainy to help scrub away impurities. I recommend exfoliating once or twice a week in the winter. My current favorite is Neogen’s Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling and right now I am using their Green Tea pads. It smells great, is super convenient, and brightens your skin tone after one use. If you use this product, be sure to rinse your face with lukewarm water after use.
Mask (3x a week):
I love masks. I don’t think there’s enough words in my vocabulary to describe my love for masks. And they are great for everyone and every season because there are so many different kinds to target your specific concern. I’m going to go crazy and recommend two different masks that I love for the winter.
First up is Whamisa’s Green Tea Clay Mask. This one is perfect for clarifying your skin and extracting all other dirt/impurity from deep within your pores. For a clay mask, it’s super gentle so it won’t feel too rough on your skin after you wash it off, which is why I recommend this for winter. My face felt clean, soft, and looked glow-y after my first use. Yes, glow-y.
Second is Innisfree’s Canola Honey Mask. This mask seriously feels like a warm hug on your face. Quite literally because you can feel the warmth a few seconds after the mask touches your skin. Honey is packed with amazing ingredients and is super moisturizing, making this the perfect mask for the harsh winter.
After washing off cleanser or mask, dry your face and apply toner. Toner is key in hydrating your skin and to help your skin absorb the next products better. I have used quite a few toners, but I find myself always coming back to Secret Key’s Fresh Nature Toners. I love how hydrated and soft my skin feels after using it. If you have oily/acne prone skin like me, I highly recommend their Witch Hazel Pore Clearing toner. If you have dry or normal skin, I highly recommend their Rose Floral Softening toner.
Once toner is absorbed into your skin, apply a serum, essence, or ampoule to add moisture. These are great also because each type of product has their own added benefit to help target your specific concern. Some of these products target your pores, some to brighten skin tone, others can soften your skin, just to name a few. If you have dry skin, I highly recommend using one of these products because it adds a healthy level of moisture to your skin and can really be a life saver in the winter time.
The one I am currently using is Nature Republic Bulgarian Rose Moisture Essence. It is super gentle and makes my skin feel hydrated the moment I apply it on my face.
The big finale.
Traditionally, moisturizers are considered the main product to moisturize our face. That still holds true except we now have all these other products for added hydration and moisture. Moisturizers are important, still, because they not only moisturize, they also create a barrier to lock in all the products (toner, serum, etc) that we’ve used. This barrier keeps those benefits in and protects us from the coldness and dryness in the air.
My ultimate favorite for the winter time is Drunk Elephant’s Lala Retro Whipped Cream and I recommend it for all skin types. It’s a gentle, scentless, lightweight yet rich and creamy whipped moisturizer. It’s the perfect moisturizer for harsh winters. I was so impressed with it after my first use, I decided to splurge and shell out the $60 for a full sized one.
Bonus: Body lotion
You know how I mentioned my body — especially my legs — feeling dry after a hot shower? I mean, how do we not want a hot shower in the winter time? Here’s how you can get the best of both worlds: use a body lotion after your shower. I have been using Julep’s Bare Body Milk after my showers and my skin immediately feels moisturized.
And there we have it. My full winter routine with recommended products. Winter days are rough enough, but our skin doesn’t have to be.