The frigid, dry, windy weather of winter has officially arrived here in nyc. Winter poses particularly dreadful obstacles for us northern urbanites, and perhaps worst of all is the havoc it can wreak on skin from head to toe. Here’s how I keep my skin hydrated and bright during the dreariest of months…
The key to fighting dull winter skin is gentle, daily exfoliation. For the love of your epidermis, PLEASE step away from the St. Ives! Scrubs are the worst thing you can use on your face; they are super abrasive and irritating, which means they will accelerate aging. The best exfoliating product–nay, the best skincare product period–is the Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Skincare System Facial Brush.
This amazing tool works with any facial cleanser, is battery operated, and best of all? It costs just $30, compared to the original Clairasonic, which runs about $200! After removing my makeup in the evening, I dampen the brush head and put a dime size amount of cleanser on it. I wet my face, power up the brush, and minutes later my skin is radiant. The brush head is super soft–it relies on the oscillation and simple physics (two things can’t occupy the same space at the same time) to deflake your face.
Another great way to gently exfoliate is to use a peel-off mask. Every couple of weeks I use either Freeman’s Cucumber Peel Off Mask or Duane Reade’s peel off mask:
In addition to exfoliating, a winter must is choosing a mild, hydrating cleanser. I alternate between drugstore brand Cetaphil and the pricier IS Clinical Cleaning Complex. (If you have combination or acne prone skin, I urge you to spend the extra $$ on the IS Clinical cleanser. I promise it will transform your skin. The consistency is completely unique, it feels almost like egg whites. You only need to use a pea-size amount at a time, so one bottle should last you several months. And if you buy it through Dermstore.com shipping is free and they always throw in a bunch of freebie samples!)
Extreme dryness calls for extreme hydration. The only way to truly seal in moisture is to use a rich, oil based emollient. If you’ve never tried using a skin oil before, now is the time! There are so many great options out there at every price range. Right now I’m using up a free sample of Josie Maran Argan Oil. I pat a very thin layer over my face right after cleansing, but here’s the trick: I do NOT dry my face after rinsing and before putting this on. Doing this literally seals that moisture into your skin. (I follow this with an SPF moisturizer in the morning.)
For super smooth skin all over, I highly recommend using an oil-based body scrub two to three times per week. I prefer sugar based scrubs (as opposed to salt or synthetic), because they are safe to use right after shaving and won’t irritate any cuts (or in my diva-shoe-wearing case, blisters) you might have. My favorite drugstore brand is Burt’s Bees Cranberry and Pomegranate Sugar Scrub, but the smell is sickly sweet. My holy-grail body scrub is the Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish. The texture of the scrub is perfect, the oil is super hydrating, and the smell is feminine but earthy.
Is there anything worse than getting out of a hot shower and standing naked on cold tile floors slopping on lotion? I just can’t do it in the winter. I instead use Olay In-Shower Body Lotion. It’s pretty much the best thing ever. It’s cheap, it smells fantastic (fyi, it’s my boyfriend’s favorite bedtime scent on me), and it allows you to effectively hydrate your body without the teeth chattering.
If you take all of these steps and still can’t sooth your dull, dry winter skin, I would suggest sleeping with a humidifier next to your bed. Or move south.