How To Beat Dull Winter Skin

Cold weather can wreak havoc on your skin. Here’s how to combat it…

I am obsessed with my skincare routine. Always have been. I started hosting Mary Kay parties at the age of eight and have never looked back. (Thanks, Mom.) But as I was getting ready for work recently, I noticed my ‘fail-proof’ routine was underperforming. My skin was undernourished — dry, chapped and rough. I quickly discovered that my skin was soaking up moisturizer like a sponge; my thirsty skin couldn’t get enough! Humidity levels drop off in the winter months causing drier air, which in turn, sucks more moisture from your skin, your largest organ. (Not good.)

I immediately emailed Free People Beauty Buyer and skincare guru, Jess Richards, in a cry for help. How on earth can I have healthy-looking, radiant skin when the cold weather has other plans? “I always say, when you change your clothes you change your skin care routine. Just as you would put sweaters or coats on to go outside, so should you adjust your skin care routine and make additional changes. Splurge on the heavy serum or oil and definitely go for the thicker cream. Not only will it add extra moisture, it will give a protective layer against the cold wind which can chap your skin.” This piqued my curiosity. My questions went on…

Jess, I am obsessed with natural beauty products — what are the best products to use to nourish the skin?

Great products to use focus on combating the loss of moisture and nourish the skin in winter months. For example, a cream cleanser like the Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. This product cleans your skin and removes makeup, while leaving a layer of moisture rather than stripping it of all the nasties, like you would in the summer months. Sometimes the lack of moisture can cause breakouts because you aren’t turning your cells over, so using a super simple (not rough exfoliant) can be great. The grain and grit is a great choice.

On that path, if you do experience breakouts, not only do you need to turn the cells over, but you still need to add moisture. This is where most people think they are breaking out because of too much oil. That can be true in summer months, but in winter you can experience the opposite effect. For this, I would suggest the Bare Facial Serum by Root and Science. Combining argan, sea buckthorn, baobab and tamanu will hydrate — while purifying — your skin.

A great cream? Youth To The People’s Moisture Cream, which contains hyaluronic acid (this binds moisture to the skin). This product is great as a barrier cream.

If you get chapped skin from the wind, the Free People/Soul Sunday Reflect Face and Body Balm is a great product for cheeks, lips and even dry hands. Plus, if your foundation is seeming a bit cake-y, this will mix well to give you a base and blend.

A-ha, so is it also possible to beat the damaging effects of winter from the inside out? 

Collagen drinks like the Beauty Chef or antioxidant smoothies should be imbibed year-round, not just to combat dry skin periodically. You really notice the effects of products like this when used religiously. This definitely helps to add moisture, but I would say having a topical cream is also key this time of year.

Ok, so let me ask you this: what products do you personally use during the winter months to keep skin feeling fresh?

I absolutely love all the products mentioned, but also add as many moisturizers as you want, and do as many masks as possible… the Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Rapid Radiance Mask is amazing, the Dr. Alkitis masks and the Brazilian Super mask.

So, to reiterate, it’s ok to keep on lathering more moisturizer during winter?

Yes, yes, yes… I think the more you add the better. It’s like adding layers when you’re skiing… the more, the better.

Brilliant. Any last-minute tips, tricks, or skin hacks you want to share?

I would say that if you are averse to putting oil on your skin, give it a try! Give it three weeks and you will thank me. I promise oils are your friend, not your enemy.

Thank you Jess, as always! Jess lives in Brooklyn, where she is also the founder and owner of beauty boutique, Shen. Jessica is renowned in the industry for her considered, relevant curation, and has been featured in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Interview, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar, The Huffington Post and Goop.

+ Your turn! Share your favorite skin care tricks in the comments.

Follow Joanna on Instagram.

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6 years ago

I hope everyone who reads this post takes all of this advice to heart!

I have always had crazy dry skin every winter (like nose flaking, unsmooth texture). The second I started using coconut oil, rose hip oil, and Tarte maracuja oil and my OWN skin has become the skin of my dreams! I haven’t had any dryness, and my breakouts have stopped. Moisture and face oils are your friends people!!!
Full skin care routine is on my beauty blog!


Camille S.
6 years ago

I have a pretty intensive skincare regime. But I always get compliments on how my skin always looks so radiant & healthy, even this time of the year. I use the Juice Milk cleanser, followed by the Pangea Organics toner for normal/combination skin. Then I’ll use a moisturizer (which I just started using a new coconut oil based one from First Aid Beauty. It’s super creamy & pretty thick, so I just apply a thin layer). And then I use the Vitamin C serum/facial oil from Mad Hippie. And whatever makeup I use after all that is also oil based, like the RMS concealer.
It all sounds like a lot but it’s not, and my skin totally thanks me for it!

6 years ago

For me a big chunk of it just really drinking and sleeping enough.

6 years ago

I’ve definitely learned some new tricks for taking care of my dry skin during the winter as it’s been hitting us hard in Vegas lately. My regimen consisted of applying lotion to my hands and moisturizer to my face everyday but I think now I’ll be applying it more throughout the day. I’m glad to see that more is better when it comes to this!

Kayla Peart | Designer
Kaev Designs | Handmade Natural Gemstone Jewelry

6 years ago

I love oils on my skin. Rosehip and Jojoba are my current picks.