by Susie Kuse
Winter brings some nice things - Christmas carols, snow skiing, hot cocoa. But it also brings lower humidity and drier air that can make our skin look and feel dull and lifeless.
Who loves cracked, bleeding hands, a flaking face and chapped lips? No one, but we all know what that feels like!
That’s because your products that work well in summer just don’t cut it for the much drier winter months.
We need to bring out the heavy guns. And your extra-sensitive winter skin needs clean ingredients even more now.
So don’t just grab any old moisturizer. Chances are there are lots of nasty ingredients in it. They’ll irritate your poor skin even more than the weather.
Then how do you change up your skincare for winter?
Layer by layer is what I’ve found works best.
When I was a kid we went skiing every winter weekend. My mom always told us to dress in layers. Boy, did we!
Underwear, long underwear, socks, turtleneck, ski sweater, ski pants, jacket, hat, glove liners, gloves. And when it was really cold, a scarf or neck warmer to cover our faces!
That saved us many a day of frostbitten fingers.
It worked though. We all made it through the coldest days. And we each kept all our fingers and toes.
Just like layering your winter wardrobe, you need to layer your winter skincare.
Today I’d like to share with you how to layer your skincare routine for winter, using the best winter ingredients, so you’ll positively glow this season.
And layer by layer is how I want you to do it. Don’t change everything at once.
You’ll notice that all these steps have to do with hydration and moisturization. That’s not an accident.
Loss of moisture is the number one issue to deal with during winter. Your skin has to work extra hard to protect you without it. So let’s help it out by adding moisture to each layer.
Start with one step for a few days, then add another for a few days. Soon you’ll have a great winter regimen that will keep your skin - and YOU! - happy and comfortable til spring.
Step 1: Change to a Hydrating Cleanser
Cleansing your face twice a day is especially important in winter. The rest of your routine just won’t work if you’re applying it over dirty skin. But don’t over-cleanse in winter, either. Twice a day is plenty.
This is the perfect time to switch to a creamy or oil-based cleanser. Even if you have oily skin, an oil-based cleanser will work wonders. Like dissolves like, oil absorbs oil. Using clean, nourishing oils will help to lift excess sebum and clean out clogged pores.
Step 2: Add a Hydrating Serum
Winter is a great time to add a hydrating serum to your routine. Loss of hydration can lead to cracks in the outer layers. They invite bacteria and cause inflammation and irritation.
Layering on a lightweight but hydrating serum will help keep those cracks at bay. You’ll have younger, healthier looking skin.
Step 3: Look For a Hydrating Moisturizer With These Ingredients
There are literally dozens and dozens of great ingredients for your skin that can go in a moisturizer. We like to look for groups of ingredients, like these:
Antioxidants - we usually think about antioxidants in terms of anti-aging serums. But sun exposure has a destructive effect on the skin’s ability to retain moisture. So having antioxidants in your moisturizer pumps up the protection. Some easy ones to remember are Vitamins C and E, resveratrol, and green tea.
Skin-replenishing ingredients - these ingredients help your skin look and feel soft, smooth and supple. They drench it with hydrating ingredients and keep them there. Hyaluronic acid is a favorite. You can also look for glycerin, ceramides, salicylic and alpha hydroxy acids. These ingredients put moisturizers into the ahhhmaaaaazing category.
Emollients - these are the traditional moisturizer ingredients. They are softening, smoothing, and protect against water loss. Shea, cocoa, and mango seed butter, sunflower and coconut oils, fatty acids, and linoleic and oleic acid all fall into this category.
Step 4: Exfoliate - in the Winter?
It’s definitely important to exfoliate in winter. Getting rid of those dead skin cells will allow the rest of your products to work better.
But you have to be gentle. Over-exfoliation will dry your skin and create more problems for you. Once or twice a week is fine - face, body and don’t forget lips!
Step 5: Add Hydration With a Moisturizing Mask - or an Overnight Mask
This step will take a little time. Your mask will need to sit for a few blissful minutes. I use the relaxation time to read a novel or listen to music. I don’t get to do these often enough in my normal routine. So, bonus!
I love being pampered, even if I’m pampering myself. And I know that my mask is accomplishing some great things for my skin that my normal routine just doesn't do. Like detoxifying, deep pore cleansing, and getting super-smooth skin. A mask also helps your other products work better.
No time? Try an overnight mask. You use this mask in place of your evening moisturizer. Just wash it off in the morning. Great for when you are overworked and over-tired but don’t have time for a regular mask. You’ll wake up looking like new!
Step 6: Keeping Your Hands Happy All Winter
Do you have rough, dry winter hands? I like to keep a little bowl of sugar scrub and a hand lotion next to every sink in my house. Then when I wash my hands (a million times a day) I have the lotion right there. Every couple days I’ll use the sugar scrub too. It keeps my hands, and especially my cuticles, much more comfortable in winter.
So try incorporating these steps into your routine layer by layer. Every few days, add another one. You don’t have to try them in order. You just want to be able to figure out if one of them isn’t working for you. Healthy, happy skin is a process. A couple minutes, twice a day will go a long way toward healthy, beautiful skin.