As soon as it’s cold enough to dig your hat and gloves out of storage and for the ancient heater in your apartment to sputter back to life, it’s time to rethink the way you care for your skin.
You know that thing that happens in mid-November when it’s dark pretty much from 4pm to 9am and you can no longer fight against the fact that it’s time to store your warm-weather clothes in the back of the closet and all you want to eat is soup and mulled wine and your skin starts to dry out and flake off because it’s freezing out and you forgot to update your skincare routine alongside your wardrobe swap?
I can’t help you with the sunset thing…or the clothing swap thing…or the soup diet thing…but I CAN help you with the flakey skin thing. Obvious as it may seem considering you have to start living a cold-weather lifestyle in all other aspects, many people forget to change up their skincare routine when the temperatures drop. But as soon as it’s cold enough to dig your hat and gloves out of storage and for the ancient heater in your apartment to sputter back to life, it’s time to rethink the way you care for your skin.
So, here are a few simple swaps you can make to keep your face happy and healthy until spring (if it ever comes…).
If you’re currently using…face mists
Consider switching to…multi-tasking balms
If you like to spritz a mist over your face throughout the day for quick hydration and a skin pick-me-up, consider incorporating a multitasking balm into the habit as well. While a face mist will keep doing its thing, the moisture will leave your skin faster than ever in the dryness of an artificially heated space, so you’ll want to add some extra oomph in the form of a balm. And the beauty of a multitasking balm is that you can use it pretty much anywhere you need it: lips, dry patches of skin, stubborn split end flyaways, fraying cuticles…you name it, a balm can handle it.
If you’re currently using…body lotion
Consider switching to…body oil
Your skin is likely to be seriously moisture-deprived this time of year, even if you religiously apply lotion head to toe every day. Why? Because as fantastic as lotion is, it doesn’t always have the staying power you want during the winter. On the other hand, a great body oil will quench even the most parched skin because they protect the skin’s lipid barrier and literally trap moisture into the skin, preventing it from evaporating.
If you’re currently using…foaming cleanser
Consider switching to…milky cleanser
For all the good they can do, foaming cleansers often leave your skin too raw to face the cold. While all that foam can certainly help remove dirt and excess oil, it may also go a step too far and get rid of too much oil, stripping your skin and leaving it dry, irritated and sensitive. When that happens, you rely solely on whatever product comes next in your skincare routine (cream, balm, serum, etc.) and that’s a lot to ask of one product. So instead, give your subsequent products a leg up and swap out that foaming cleanser for a milky one that’s designed to gently cleanse and also keep your face hydrated.
If you’re currently using…makeup-removing wipes.
Consider switching to…cleansing oil.
Makeup wipes are great in a pinch (like after a workout or when you’re too tired to do a full nighttime skincare routine but know you can’t go to sleep with makeup on), but winter skin usually needs a gentler way to remove a day’s worth of grime. Not only will a cleansing oil be extra-gentle on wind-whipped skin as it removes stubborn potentially-frozen on makeup, it’s also super-hydrating. Even though you do end up wiping it off with a warm cloth, it leaves behind an extra layer of hydration that’s hard to discount.
If you’re currently using…a vitamin serum
Or use both! But if you don’t already have a hyaluronic acid serum in your arsenal, winter is the perfect time to add one. Since cold weather and overly-heated interiors will try their hardest to strip your skin of moisture and leave it dry, raw and red, you want to make sure your moisture barrier is functioning at full capacity. Since hyaluronic acid can absorb up to 1,000 times its weight in water, it’ll make sure whatever moisture you apply to your face stays put. No more losing the battle to the radiator!
If you’re currently using…exfoliator
Consider switching to…a gentler exfoliator
Listen, your skin is already getting pretty beat up thanks to the potent combination of dry air, cold wind and fake heat—there’s no need to add fuel to the fire with a harsh exfoliator. Instead, opt for one that can remove dead skin cells and winter flakiness but that’s gentle enough to no strip skin of much-needed moisture.
If you’re currently using…sheet masks
Consider switching to…sleep masks
Your skin (and body) does the bulk of its repairing while you sleep, so it makes sense to leave a restorative mask on overnight rather than wash it off after 20 minutes. Look for a mask that absorbs quickly and has soothing, skin-plumping ingredients and you’ll wake up the next day with super-moisturized, super-soft skin. (Just make sure you’re using something that’s designed to be worn overnight—some masks are too intense to wear for that long.)
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