How to easily transition to winter skin care routine, what are the products and steps you need to adopt and why it is so damn important…
Lazy sips of hot cocoa during long winter evenings, spicy cream soups and warm sandwiches, logs crackling in the fireplace, frozen fairy tales on the windows, fashionable scarves, the holiday season, snowflakes swirling through the air and softly covering streets and rooftops… There are many reasons to be childishly excited about winter.
Chances are, though, your skin wouldn’t agree. All through the winter, your skin suffers, attacked both indoors and outdoors. Even girls with normal or oily skin type are suddenly dealing with uncomfortable dryness, sensitivity, rough hands and cracked lips.
The minute your boots start squeaking in the fresh snow and a cold wind starts pinching your cheeks, it is time to upgrade your beauty routine and give your skin something to warm it up.
The steps of a proper winter skin care routine sound like small everyday things you usually don’t give a second thought to. But they can have a powerful impact on your skin’s overall condition. They make all the difference between protected, well-nourished skin and a desert-like nightmare in the form of cracked, flaking skin and dull complexion.
So, here are the eight steps to transition to winter skin care routine:
1. Forget About Long Hot Baths
I’m sure you’ve heard this a zillion times before. And it’s still true now just like it was when you heard for it the first time.
During winter, just the thought of a nice, long, warm shower makes your toes tingle. But this seemingly trivial habit can seriously damage your skin and additionally dry it out.
First, hot water damages the lipid barrier on the top of your skin, making it unable to keep moisture locked in your skin. Second, during a shower, your skin actually does get hydration, but the moment you step out of the shower, that water starts to evaporate.
Try to keep your showers to under 10 minutes and use only moderately warm water. Even lukewarm, if you can take it. Forget about soaps; use only gentle, hydrating or oily shower gels.
As for the water evaporating as soon as the shower is over – prevent that by applying an intensive, thick body lotion, body butter or oil in the first 2 – 3 minutes after the shower. Have you checked out this DIY Whipped Body Butter? It is an irreplaceable part of many girls’ winter skin care routine.
2. Winter Skin Care Routine Must Include These Essentials:
Your winter skin care routine should be pretty much the same as at any other time of the year, meaning it should cover things like gentle cleansing, face toner, daily and night moisturizer, and then occasional extra care in the form of scrubs and face masks.
However, the winter skincare products should be more intense and nourishing, to calm the irritated skin and supply it with all it needs to go through the winter intact. And if even that is not enough, consider adding a face serum or a face oil to your nighttime winter skincare regimen.
Make sure your daily moisturizer has SPF. The temperatures may be dropping, but the UV rays are still there, attacking our skin and speeding up the aging process.
Don’t forget to exfoliate your skin 1 – 2 times a week, to remove all the dead skin cells and renew and regenerate the skin. The scrub has to be gentle or it can even further upset already irritated skin.
And is there a better time to warm yourself up and treat your skin with a steam? Steams are a great way to open up your pores, which allows you to deep cleanse your skin and helps other products to penetrate deeper. More than that, steams can relax you, soothe your skin and improve your mood, depending on the fruit and herbs you put in. Try making a facial steam at least twice a month, or even better – treat your face with a full at-home facial.
3. Pay Attention to What Your Cosmetics Contain
Were you perfectly happy during summer with your lightweight, gel-like moisturizer? The chances are it can’t even start fulfilling all the needs your skin has during winter months. Winter skin care routine requires thicker, heavier and more nourishing products.
You better start checking the labels. Avoid alcohol, fragrance, essential oils… basically, all drying ingredients that can irritate your skin.
Instead, opt for things that can hydrate your skin (by attracting water to it) and moisturize it (create protective film on your skin that will help to keep the water in and protect it from harsh weather).
Best hydrating ingredients to look for are: AH acids (which exfoliate the skin, so the products are better absorbed), hyaluronic acid, urea, glycerin, sorbitol…
Try to build your winter skin care routine around these ingredients and all your skin needs should be covered.
4. Winter Skin Care Routine for Your Hands
Your winter skin care routine should also include a solid protection for your hands. We leave our hands exposed to cold and harsh weather far more often than we should. The result is cracked, dry skin, often sensitive and painful and not attractive at all.
Take 5 minutes to thoroughly exfoliate your hands and remove all the dry skin and dead skin cells (check out this simple recipe for coffee hand scrub). Then apply a layer of nice, thick, soothing hand cream (this DIY shea butter hand cream can be a great asset for your winter skin care routine). Every once in a while, treat your hands with DIY Paraffin Hand Treatment.
5. Winter Skin Care Routine for Your Lips
Don’t forget your lips. The skin on the lips is so thin and fragile, the harsh conditions can truly damage it. And we all know how attractive parched lips are. Don’t go anywhere without your lip balm and every now and then exfoliate your lips using a gentle lip scrub.
Want to make things really interesting? Check out these recipes for DIY Lip Scrub and Lip Balm. Must have in your winter skincare kit. Not only are they super fun and easy to make, but they also give you all the control over the quality and freedom regarding the color and scent.
6. Wear Warm Clothes and Enough of It to Truly Protect You
During winter, skin care routine doesn’t revolve only around products you apply. The clothes you wear protects your skin a great deal against low temperatures and freezing wind. Try to protect as much of your skin as you can. Don’t forget to wear gloves, scarves and hats.
I know that cover-everything-you-can doesn’t sound like the sexiest outfit in the world, but it can be very fashionable. Just imagine – your favorite jeans, simple blouse and then a huge blanket scarf wrapping around your neck and shoulders almost like it’s hugging you… Both attractive and cozy combination.
The best part is that this outfit is totally adjustable. Depending on the scarf you choose, this look can be modern, interesting, trendy, chic, very feminine and ladylike or completely funky and unusual.
7. Keep the Air Humidity at an Optimal Level
Come December, it’s not easy to say where your skin suffers more – outside in the freezing air or inside where the air is extremely dry due to heating.
The thing is – the moisturizers work by a) attracting water molecules from the air and b) locking the moisture into the skin.
But if the air is too dry, there is no moisture they can attract from the air and most humectants can even start pulling the water out of your skin! On the other hand, when there is not enough water in the skin, all the moisturizer can do is uselessly sit on the surface of your skin, having nothing to lock in.
One of the most important parts of your winter skin care routine is to make the air moisture level optimal in the rooms you spend a lot of time in. It can be as simple as putting a bowl filled with water near the source of heat. As soon as the water starts to evaporate, the humidity in your room will significantly increase, helping your skin to stay hydrated.
Or invest in a decent humidifier that will increase the moisture in your house. You can even add essential oils to it to create a relaxing atmosphere.
8. The Food Your Skin Loves During Winter
The really annoying thing about drinking enough water is that it can’t hydrate your skin on its own. But, drink less then you should and your skin will showcase it right away. Either way – You. Have. To. Take. Enough. Fluids. Water, tea or lemonade- start sipping and fulfilling your 8 cups a day.
Food also have a huge impact on whether your winter skin care routine will be successful or not. Limit the intake of fast food, fried food and sugar. Those things can really irritate your skin. Instead, try to take enough fresh fruits and vegetables. They are important source of vitamins and minerals your skin (and body) needs during winter.
And especially focus on eating food rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 acids have amazing anti-inflammatory properties and, amongst other things, can calm and soothe irritated skin. So, a lot of fish (especially salmon, tuna and mackerel), avocado and all sorts of nuts and seeds.
At winter, skincare products are only a part (a significant part, but still) of what your skin needs. You need to eat and drink the rest of your winter skincare. It’s as simple as that.