If the news is to be believed, it seems that this winter is going to be pretty brutal weather-wise. Personally I love bitingly cold winter weather, but I come from a family of people with skin that doesn’t react well to it – think heels and knuckles so dry they crack until they bleed. Because of this, I’ve had to pick up a few habits to survive the winter, and I thought it was time to share! Plus, we all know that when it’s dark and cold our mood can suffer. Self care and little indulgent rituals become even more important at this time of the year. So I’ve put together a little guide, starting with the products you need to get you through the winter, followed by a few little hacks and tips for dealing with cold-ravaged skin!
Skincare products for the wintertime
More than one of your favourite lip balm – Keep them everywhere, by your bed, in your bag, your coat pocket, your socks, wherever. Being without your lipbalm is just not worth the pain and suffering. I love Hurraw! Coconut Lip Balm which is raw, vegan, smells nice and melts onto the lips instantly. I cannot stand the chunky, vaseline feeling of mineral oil lipbalms and if you feel the same way, I highly recommend this one!
A good, fast absorbing hand cream – Having a hand cream that absorbs quickly means you will be more inclined to reapply frequently. If you have to sit with sticky hands for ages after applying, you’re much less likely to break out the hand cream throughout the day, which means that your hands are going to get dry and crispy much sooner than if you had a light, pleasant hand cream to use. Caudalie Hand & Nail Cream is the fastest absorbing hand cream I have ever used, it smells amazing and it’s seriously effective too. This is one you won’t be able to stop applying!
An extremely thick balm – Of course, even if you are good at reapplying hand cream, sometimes the cold weather is going to get to your hands, or other parts of your body, and dry them out, especially if you’re outdoorsy or have naturally dry skin. When this happens it’s a good idea to have a gorgeously thick balm on hand to protect, nourish and soothe. Weleda Skin Food is the ultimate multipurpose balm if you ask me. There are other great ones, like Antipodes Saviour Balm, Trilogy Everything Balm and MOA Green Balm, but Skin Food really is the best. Apply to dry hands (and dry anything else too, even your hair and face) before bed and everything will be better by morning. A multipurpose balm also comes in handy when you get a cold or the flu – for soothing a tissue-ravaged nose!
A facial oil – Lots of people will switch to a heavier moisturiser in the winter, but I’m not convinced that’s the best course of action. Your skin type doesn’t actually change with the weather, and for me at least, using a richer cream leads to blocked pores and spots even if it does prevent dry patches and redness initially. I prefer to ward off dryness with ‘treatment’ products rather than permanent replacements so I can use them whenever I need to. A facial oil is perfect for this – they last for a long time if stored right, and they have the added benefit of soothing the skin along with protecting, nourishing and hydrating. I absolutely love Jurlique Balancing Facial Oil (particularly amazing for sensitive skin and smells heavenly), Korres Brightening Facial Oil (really does give you a radiant complexion!) and Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil, (brightens the skin and can even be used by people with spots) which are all aimed at normal to combination skin like mine so aren’t too heavy, but are still super nourishing. If your skin is naturally on the drier side, try Trilogy Rosehip Oil + Antioxidant, or Caudalie Overnight Recovery Oil, both a little rich for me but absolutely beautiful for drier skins! I also like Pure Potions Salvation Oil but I can’t find it to buy anywhere else apart from their website so there might be shipping charges there.
A moisturising mask – Again, like with the face oil, having a moisturising mask on hand for days where your skin feels super rough and tight is a great way to nourish your skin, but also protect and soothe it from the irritation of being dry. A nourishing mask is perfect for this, and I absolutely love Caudalie Moisturising Mask which contains grape seed oil and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and nourish whilst strengthening the skin too. I wouldn’t say you definitely need both – a mask or an oil will suffice, but I wanted to add them both since they do have different qualities. You can also apply a really thin layer of this particular mask when you go outdoors to help protect your skin from chapping.
A gentle cleanser – Over cleansing and stripping your skin of its natural oils becomes a much easier trap to fall into in the winter. If your skin gets dull, dry and rough, don’t be tempted to slough it away with a rough exfoliator or cleanser. Often, the skin can become more sensitive in the winter, so make sure you’re treating it nicely. I love Trilogy Makeup Be Gone Cleansing Balm for removing makeup, and Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser for washing my face.
A gorgeous body oil – Just the same as for the face, except there’s even more of a self-care element to it. After you get out of your bath or shower, apply your body oil all over and snuggle into bed, preferably with some cosy jammies, a hot water bottle and a couple of extra blankets. The act of massaging the oil in, enjoying it’s gorgeous scent, and waking up with silky soft skin is one of my favourite things to do in winter. Just try to make sure you apply it in a warm room! My current favourite body oil is Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Treatment, but you can see a wider variety of my faves here too.
A restorative bath soak – Essential for several reasons! Baths warm the heart and soul and are a perfect way to counteract a chilly day. They lift the mood, calm the mind and relax the muscles. They are also fantastic for the sinuses! I absolutely love a good bath product, I’m not so fussed about bubble baths and prefer oils, salts and soaks; they’re richer in natural plant and herbal extracts because they don’t have a a cleansing base or soap or surfactants like a bubble bath does. I always shower quickly before a bath (yes, you should do this) and wash myself, so I don’t need soap in the bath itself. My absolute favourites at the moment are definitely Olverum Bath Oil, but it is prohibitively expensive so when I run out I will buy from the much more reasonably priced ranges of Weleda and Kneipp Bath Soaks.
Winter skincare tips and tricks
- If you’re pushed for budget, or just don’t want to buy too much, I would suggest that instead of buying a facial oil, mask and balm, just go for Weleda Skin Food instead because not only can you can use it on your face as a night treatment, you can also use it to protect your skin from harsh weather, and it can double up as a mask!
- Always exfoliate before applying your face or body oil, and never exfoliate unless you’re going to apply an oil afterwards. This will ensure you remove the rough patches of skin that can build up in the wintertime without actually making them worse by drying your skin out.
- If you’re spot prone but still get winter dryness and dehydration, use a very small amount of your nourishing balm only on the dry patches (in a similar way to how you might apply an on-the-spot treatment gel for a blemish) to avoid clogging up the rest of your pores. Focus more on the hydration side of skincare too – think hydrating serums, sheet masks, moisturisers…while many people can get away with just protecting their skin with oils, you have to take the more difficult route of perfecting your skin’s hydration instead.
- Avoid using mineral oil based products unless you are specifically looking to apply a thick, protective layer over your skin. Mineral oil does absolutely nothing but create a layer that prevents water and oil loss.
- If your forehead gets irritated by wearing a woollen hat all the time, try soothing it with a calming facial mist instead of scratching it. It might feel weird to spray a traditionally summer-time product in the middle of the winter, but you’ll feel so much relief afterwards that you won’t care! I would recommend Avene Thermal Water or Caudalie Grape Water for this, as they are the two that I personally find the most soothing, and they come in travel sizes. My absolute favourite would be Glossier Soothing Mist but that only comes in a big size!
- If your body skin is getting dry, rough and itchy, try this to help relieve it. Take a square of cotton (muslin is best but you can use anything as long as it isn’t heavily dyed) and pile half a cup of oats into the centre of it. Tie it up with whatever you have, could be string, an elastic band or a hair bobble, then drop it into a warm (not hot) bath. Soak in the milky water and let it calm and soothe your skin. If you have any raw shea or cocoa butter then you can put a a teaspoon or so in the pouch as well, to nourish and hydrate the skin while you bathe.
I hope this helps you and your skin survive the winter! Wrap up warm! x