Winter conjures up such serene images: Snow-covered fields, big sweaters, steaming cups of hot chocolate, and warm, delicious bowls of soup.
But then there’s also reality - dry, cracked skin that feels like sandpaper and looks like it’s never seen the light of day. Skin that feels so tight, it actually hurts.
That’s why it’s so important to switch up your winter skin care routine so your skin can not only look, but feel, its best in the winter months!
Although we always recommend daily cleansing twice a day (along with the usual toner, moisturizer, etc.), we have a few tweaks to make sure your winter skin care routine is keeping your skin healthy!
Tips for the Best Winter Skin Care Routine
A winter skin care routine goes far beyond just your products. How you prep and treat your skin will help it feel and look great when the weather gets cold. Here are a few tips re: how to best take care of your skin beyond your usual routine.
1. Lip balm is your friend
It takes mere seconds for lips to dry out in the winter so make sure you’ve always got a lip balm on hand. And if your cuticles are ridiculous – lip balm works wonders in keeping them soft and protected.
2. Use a humidifier
Nothing will dry out the skin like a really dry room, especially when the heat is cranked up! Keep a humidifier by your bed and you’ll likely find your skin feels a lot better in the morning. If you don’t have a humidifier, or don’t want to invest in one, keep pots of water on the radiators (or near heating vents) for a DIY version!
3. Make sure you’re moisturizing the skin on your body
Nothing is more uncomfortable than dry, cracked winter skin. Make sure you’ve got a good hand and body moisturizer and start using it before skin gets over-dry or cracked - so you’re not irritating already irritated skin. Try More Than Just a...Body Cream for a "face-worthy" moisturizer for your body. The cupuacu butter in it is a skin savior!
4. Don’t dry off completely
Instead, when you get out of the shower, pat dry and then immediately apply moisturizer, locking in the damp goodness. We know! Nobody likes to be cold when they jump out of the shower – but this little step makes a huge difference in your skin health and comfort. (Again, try More Than Just a...Body Cream for truly hydrated, soft skin.)
5. Limit physical exfoliation
Since physical exfoliation involves rubbing the skin with a tool like a brush or a pouf, it’s always a good idea to limit how often you physically exfoliate in any kind of extreme weather. If you do exfoliate, be gentle and immediately moisturize.
6. Lower indoor temperature
Nothing is more fun than cranking up the thermostat when you feel that first chill in the air, but heat can REALLY dry out your skin. A better option—on a couple of levels—is to throw on a few extra sweaters and get under some blankets.
7. Limit shower time and/or take cooler showers
It sounds counterintuitive to take cooler showers in the winter, but hot water can really exacerbate dry, cracked skin. If you can, try to keep your shower temps warm, but not excessively so. Sorry! (I love a hot shower, too!)
8. Use a moisture-boosting toner
A good toner that locks in moisture is key in the winter months. Avoid toners with alcohol, which is extremely drying. Instead, use one with aloe vera, glycerin and other skin calming / skin-loving ingredients (rose water, calendula, honey, etc).
9. Use an extra layer of moisturizer
Prevention is key, so be sure to put on a little extra moisturizer before you go out in the cold to prevent skin from becoming cracked and dry to begin with. Same goes if your indoor environment is dry. To seal in your moisturizer, apply a drop or two of a quality facial oil - you will be AMAZED at how your skin improves!
10. Watch your alcohol intake
You probably want to stay away from anything that dries out your skin in the winter months so if you can (caffeinated coffee and tea, alcohol), choose water over wine when the temperature gets colder. (Don’t blame the messenger – we’re looking out for your skin health, not your social life. 😂)
11. Wear sunscreen
We know what you’re thinking: why would I wear sunscreen in the winter? Believe it or not, the sun’s rays can still be incredibly strong—and damaging—in the winter, especially if they’re reflecting off snow or ice. A layer of sunscreen is a good idea for anyone spending a lot of time outside, no matter what the season. (We have absolutely no affiliation with Supergoop, but their sunscreens are awesome. I particularly like Unseen Sunscreen – it functions as a sunscreen and a primer in one. Bonus!)
Ingredients to Incorporate into Your Winter Skin Care Routine
Changing your winter skin care routine really doesn’t have to be all that elaborate. One easy way to accomplish that is to have a quick look at your skin care products and make sure they’re full of natural ingredients that really hydrate and moisturize the skin.
Here are some you should think about incorporating into your winter skin care routine:
- Hyaluronic acid - Hyaluronic acid helps moisturize your skin a couple of different ways. First, by drawing moisture to the skin and then, by locking it in there. It’s kind of a double whammy as far as helping keep skin nice and moisturized.
- Beet Sugar extract is the single most effective ingredient to adding moisture and hydration back to the skin to combat dry, lack-luster skin – and that’s why we include it in our Clean B Moisturizer and More Than Just a...Body Cream.
- Calendula herbal oil or extract - Calendula’s skin-soothing benefits can likely be attributed to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to limit trans-epidermal water loss, which in turn strengthens the skin’s defenses against potential irritants. It has been shown to reduce both the visible symptoms and feel of skin irritation and discomfort. We love Calendula! You'll find it in Clean B Toner and Moisturizer, Tattoo Balm and Ten+ Nourishing Oil.
- Glycerin - They say sometimes you just don’t know your own strength, and this is especially true of glycerin. Glycerin essentially takes the moisture you already have in your skin and brings it to the surface to help keep skin hydrated. We include glycerin in almost every product we create because of it's proven skin benefits.
- Aloe vera - It’s amazing how uncomfortable skin can feel in the winter, which is why a soothing ingredient like aloe vera feels so good on dry, cracked winter skin. Again, look for aloe vera as the base for almost every product we product we make - why use water (which is what most mast market products use) when you can use aloe vera?
- Lactic acid - We know what you’re thinking and yes, lactic acid is an exfoliant, but it’s an extraordinarily gentle one, making it a perfect exfoliant for the winter.
- Coconut oil - Not only is coconut oil a great moisturizer, it’s an antioxidant that helps protect skin from environmental stressors.
- Chamomile - If there’s one thing winter skin needs it’s something soothing and nothing soothes like chamomile. Not only that, but it’s full of antioxidants to help fight environmental stressors. We use German Chamomile oil in our Color Me Blue Algae Mask - which we release every winter for a reason!
- Jojoba oil - Nature has produced few ingredients as reliable as jojoba oil when it comes to moisturizing the skin. Incorporate it into your winter skin care routine and you’ll probably find your skin feels a lot better! Jojoba oil is found in Hello Sunshine, Pretty in Pink, Ten+ Nourishing Oil, Beard & Skin Tamer, and Peppermint Bliss Lip Gloss.
Winter Skin Care Routines for Different Skin Types
Anytime the weather changes, chances are, your skin is going to change as well. In the winter, most people find their skin gets drier (even those with oily skin). We have a few suggestions to keep your skin happy and looking great in the winter no matter what your skin type!
Winter skin care for dry skin
Having dry skin in the winter is like being allergic to dogs and going to a dog show. It’s just months of discomfort, itchiness, dryness, and all-around frustration. The best way to combat this is by keeping your skin as moisturized and as hydrated as you possibly can. Use a really good moisturizer that will not only add moisture, but help lock it into your skin. And don’t worry about overdoing it. As long as you’re putting it on clean skin, a few extra applications won’t hurt – if fact, it will more than likely help.
Tip: Use a drop or two of oil on top of your moisturizer. Rub the oil between your hands and press into your skin – it will absorb like a dream. Good oils to try are jojoba, rosehip seed oil, prickly pear seed oil, and argan oil (3 of the 4 listed oils are found in Ten+ Nourishing Oil).
Winter skin care for oily skin
Even oily skin might experience some dryness in the winter, so don’t worry about adding some extra moisturizer to your skin. Just make sure you’re using one that’s made for all skin types. And remember, if your skin is acting like it’s really combination skin, you can treat it as such and just add extra moisturizer (or a hydrating serum) in the spots that are extra dry.
Winter skin care for combination skin
Chances are, in the winter your skin probably acts more like dry skin so make sure you’re hydrating as much as possible with both moisturizer and eye serum. If you’re like most combination skins, you probably don’t use as much moisturizer on your nose and forehead ordinarily, but if you feel like you need it in the winter, go ahead.
Winter skin care for your 20s and 30s
We’d love to tell you that due to your youth, your skin will easily make it through the winter with no problems or discomfort whatsoever, but that would be a big lie. The truth is, you’re just as susceptible as anyone else to dry, uncomfortable skin in the winter. Not only should you make sure you’re using a good moisturizer, you should make sure you’re using an eye serum as well to make sure the skin around your eyes stays hydrated.
Winter skin care for mature skin
Lack of humidity and dry skin feels like someone is literally sucking the moisture out of your skin, which can not only make skin feel older but look older. A good idea is to take some toner and press it right into those places like in the corner of the eyes, the jowls, and the lips where wrinkles and lines tend to form easily. This will add a little extra moisture to the skin.
It’s also not a terrible idea to apply an extra layer of moisturizer at night (or a good quality facial oil on top of your moisturizer) and just let it absorb while you sleep (avoid applying it right before your head hits the pillow – give it time to fully absorb). And as long as you’re not wearing make-up, feel free to apply more regularly (three times a day is absolutely fine).
Winter skin care for sensitive skin
Strangely enough, sensitive skin acts in very similar ways during both summer and winter in that it usually become even more sensitive. If you have sensitive skin, make sure you don’t do anything to make it worse like physical exfoliation (which literally involves rubbing the skin) or introducing products with harsh chemicals.
Also, like those with dry skin, people with sensitive skin should really watch their shower temperature to make sure they’re not drying out their skin more than necessary. You may also want to think about using a detox mask or other exfoliant just a little less in the winter—if you use one four times a week, think about using it two times a week (but try not to cut it out entirely because exfoliation helps moisturizer really get in the skin).
Winter skin care for dull skin
Unfortunately, skin tends to get dull in the winter. To give it back its glow, be sure to exfoliate with a gentle, chemical exfoliant. If your skin is dry, once a week in the winter is plenty (just be sure you’re following up with a moisturizer).
You’ll also want to make sure you’re using a product with vitamin C, which will really help brighten the skin and keep it looking alive!
So whether you’re hitting the slopes or enjoying a brisk outdoor walk, these suggestions about how to adjust skin care routine to the season should keep your skin looking, well, as fresh as new-fallen snow (not that dirty, week-old stuff)!