The best skincare products to use in the winter months
One of the biggest drawbacks of the winter months that can be frustrating to deal with is the damage that the cold air and indoor heating can do to my skin. With drier air, both inside and outside, our skin is directly impacted, and as a result, can cause cracking, dullness, lack of hydration and inflammation. Lately, skincare has become somewhat of an obsession of mine, and I love learning about it. I’m by no means an expert (so take this advice and these recommendations with a grain of salt), but if Jonathan Van Ness has taught me anything, it’s to love myself enough to look after my skin.
1. Exfoliate (but don’t overdo it)
Using a gentle exfoliator every other day on my face has helped a lot with skin that usually looks flakey and rough.
I’ve also started using a body scrub twice a week, and that’s been a nice little addition to my pampering routine that seems to have a noticeable effect on my overall skin softness.
Don’t do it too much though (and try to avoid using harsh options like the St. Ives Apricot Scrub), or it can do the opposite of what you want and cause over-drying.
I currently like using the Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser and First Aid Beauty’s KP Bump Eraser Body Scrub with 10% AHA.
2. Use a gentle cleanser
I can’t stress this enough: don’t use makeup wipes if you can avoid it. They never get rid of all of the makeup on your face (and the rubbing that you have to do in order to get it off isn’t great, especially for the sensitive skin around your eyes), they’re wasteful, drying and overall not a great investment unless you’re in a pinch and don’t have many other options. Instead, opt for a cleanser that can help break down the makeup and dirt sitting on your skin without being too harsh.
Current favourites are First Aid Beauty’s Pure Skin Face Cleanser and Origins Checks and Balance Frothy Face Wash.
3. Hydrating haircare
My scalp and hair are never wonderful to deal with at the best of times, but the winter months certainly don’t make it any easier. Reducing the number of times I wash my hair each week and letting it air dry 99 per cent of the time has helped a lot with the quality of my hair.
Once a week I use the Living Proof shampoo and conditioner for colour treated hair, the Living Proof Restore Dry Scalp Treatment, and Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil and Moroccanoil Treatment Light.
My lips become so chapped and unsightly from frigid temperatures that it’s pretty much become a requirement that I have to put more effort into keeping them moisturized every day (I also chew them as a nervous habit, so don’t do this if you can avoid it). A few times a week I’ll use a lip mask and a scrub, and I always carry about three different lip balms on me at all times to use when I’m out and about.
I use Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask, the Bubblegum Lip Scrub from Lush and the Vanilla Mint Lip Butter from Buck Naked Soap Company (they often sell this brand at Legacy Greens in DTK or you can order from their website).
5. Face oils and mists
I was initially hesitant to start using face oils for fear that they would make me start breaking out, but I quickly grew to love them. Although they can get pricey, the brand The Ordinary (which you can order online from Sephora) is a very affordable line of skincare that I’ve been enjoying. Different kinds target various skin needs, but I’ve found the ones that I’m using really helpful for dry skin. Hydrating face mists are also nice to use, and they’re great for refreshing makeup and soothing your skin throughout the day.
The products I use are the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber and Green Tea, The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane and The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane (use this one at night).
6. Remember sunscreen
Just because it’s not summer, doesn’t mean you should abandon sunscreen altogether. Your skin is still affected by ultraviolet rays during the winter months, and it’s important to continue using it on top of other skincare products.
I like the Clarins UV 50 Sunscreen Multi-Protection.
7. Drink more water
Making a conscious effort to drink more water has been stressed again and again and there’s a reason for it. I’ve upped the number of glasses I’ve been drinking each day and along with countless health benefits staying hydrating provides, it’s great for the quality and look of your skin.
8. Night creams and moisturizer
I have rigidly been following a bedtime skincare ritual and it seems to be working better than splashing some water on my face and calling it a night. This is the time where I use heavier face creams after I use a lightweight moisturizer in the morning, and it seems to make a big difference for how my skin feels when I wake up in the morning and by the end of the day.
My favourites have been the Origins GinZing Ultra-Hydrating Energy-Boosting Cream in the morning, the Sephora Collection Firming Sleep Cream and Ponds Cold Cream in the evening (and don’t forget to moisturize your neck, the most neglected area of skincare).
9. Body lotion and Hand Cream
I find the best time to put on body lotion is right after a shower when my skin is still damp or before I go to bed. My skin has the tendency to get cracked around my knees and elbows when the air is dry, so putting on lotion or a body butter every day has been incredibly helpful. My hands also suffer when I’m working at a desk all day and constantly washing them and using hand sanitizer during cold and flu season, so keeping a hand cream close by is pretty much essential.
I have been enjoying the Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, The Body Shop’s Almond Milk & Honey Soothing And Restoring Body Butter, Udderly Smooth Body Cream Original Formula (this is super cheap and sold at Walmart and Giant Tiger), The Body Shop’s Almond Hand & Nail Butter and Lush’s Sleepy lotion.
10. Dry Brushing
Dry brushing, a popular physical exfoiliating technique, has been something I do before I shower and it seems to be helping with how my skin feels and looks, so whether or not it delivers all of the supposed benefits that it’s claimed to provide (increased circulation, reducing circulation, etc.) I’ve been liking the results.
I’ve been using The Body Shop’s Exfoliating Body Brush.