Ironically, it is the cold winter gusts which leave our skin feeling like the Saharan desert. It is, therefore, crucial that your winter skincare is one step ahead of the temperamental British weather. Here is a detailed guide towards keeping your skin pampered, replenished and happy during the cold months!
Cleansing & Exfoliation
Let’s be rebels and start with exfoliation.
I think we are all aware of the importance of exfoliation by now; it removes dead skin cells, helps unclog pores, cleanses your skin in an in-depth way and yields more effective results than a daily face wash.
However, there are several ways of exfoliating the skin: Which one(s) should you implement in your winter skincare routine? Put simply, you can either make use of physical exfoliation or chemical exfoliation. Loofahs, face brushes, exfoliating cloths and scrubs (they are usually gritty in consistency and thus help ‘polish’ the skin) are forms of physical exfoliation whilst chemical ones comprise of substances – usually liquids – which penetrate the pores and dissolve dirt and dead skin cells. They come in the form of AHA’s, BHA’s, lactic acids and glycolic acids.
Ideally, you would use an exfoliant only once or twice a week as the last thing you want is for the product to start breaking the structural integrity of your actual skin instead of dirt and dead skin cells. I honestly believe exfoliation can make a considerable difference in one’s winter skincare and I personally prefer using physical exfoliants on the body and chemical ones on the face.
Don’t bother spending tonnes on physical scrubs. During Christmas, I got covered in an avalanche of goodies from the Sanctuary Spa, Calcot Manor Spa and Soap & Glory and I can assuredly vouch for their wonderfulness. The Calcot Manor De-Stress Body Buff is one of those rare drugstore scrubs that left my skin feeling deeply moisturised. I cannot stress enough how impressed I was when I tested it for the first time on my hand and felt like I was rubbing buttery silk into my skin. Soap & Glory has also distinguished themselves for their wonderfully-scented scrubs and it is no wonder that everybody raves about the brand. A must-try really!
When it comes to chemical exfoliants, I do think it is justifiable to spend the extra dime. After all, chemical exfoliants penetrate your pores, go below the epidermis and interact with your skin in a potent way. However, since discovering The Ordinary company, I don’t really see the point of splurging on chemical exfoliants anymore. Don’t let the name of the brand scare you away. The Ordinary/The Abnormal Beauty Company/ Deciem is formidable and I am in love with their ethics and ingredients: Clean and pure skincare without fillers and at an affordable rate. What more could you ask for? I am, at the moment, using their Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% and thoroughly enjoying it!
When it comes to cleansing your skin, try using moisturising shower gels. I was very impressed with the moisture retention capabilities of the shower products from Sanctuary Spa, Calcot Manor Country Spa Retreat and Soap & Glory. If you have especially dry skin, The Sanctuary 2-Day Shower Moisture Oil is a great affordable shower product to try. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it retains moisture for two days, but it certainly cleanses the skin without stripping or leaving it dry. The spa-like aroma that it releases with the help of steam is just an additional bonus! As you can see from the picture, the Sanctuary Spa Air-Whipped Soufflé is another of my favourites and one that I have been going through at a more than steady pace! It feels like a mousse-ey body butter and leaves the skin soft and fragrant.
Let’s face it! Baths are amazing during winter: A cocoon of warmth enveloping you in steam and languor… but they can also prove to be quite drying! Have you ever gotten out of a bath only to find yourself looking like an old prune? If, like me, you love baths but cannot indulge in them as much as you’d like to because of dry-skin issues, I definitely recommend putting a little pouch of oats in your bath. The oats release moisturising properties that counter the drying effects . I was quite amazed by how emollient, soothing and hydrating it felt on my skin!
The Garnier Oil-Infused Miscellar Water has been a little gem of a makeup remover lately. It removes my makeup easily (including all of my eye makeup) without leaving my skin with the tight and unpleasant feeling that most makeup removers do. Don’t forget to shake it well before use, otherwise, you shall be left with a greasy mess of a face! Not cute!
Plumping & Nourishment
Your winter skincare regimen should aim to replenish your skin with all the key ingredients that it is deprived of during the winter. It does not stop at mere moisturisation although it does comprise of it. As a rule of thumb, your winter moisturiser should be thicker and more hydrating. The Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream is, without a shadow of a doubt, a wonderful cream for dry skin. However, it retails at £70/50 ml. A bit of an extravagant moisturiser if you ask me. Since buying it, I have found a way of quenching my skin’s thirst just as well without leaving my bank account parched. My alternative, the Nivea Soft cream, retails at £2.50 and leaves a similar effect of softness and plumpness as the Magic Cream. Whilst I do consider the finish of Nivea Soft a dupe for the Magic Cream, I will also be the first to admit that the Nivea cream does not contain half of the peptides and anti-ageing ingredients that Charlotte Tilbury’s alleged Magic Cream does.
However, I have found a way of countering this by making my own customised anti-ageing moisturiser. By mixing in my own collection of peptides and antioxidants that I obtained from The Ordinary, I can focus on the problems of my personal skin, thus making my skincare yield faster and better results. For instance, I’ll add a few drops of Alpha Arbutin or Hyaluronic Acid in my moisturiser to combat hyperpigmentation marks and plump up the skin. Sometimes, I’ll add a few drops of Rosehip oil or Marula Oil depending on my fancy.
If you suffer from extremely dry skin or conditions such as eczema, I definitely recommend to apply an additional layer of moisturiser on top of your usual skincare. This will act as a seal to the ingredients that you have applied to your face. Sealing in the moisture will improve the efficacy of the ingredients in your skincare regime. Because of the greasy residue, you might find it a more attractive technique to use during the night!
Here is a list of great nourishing ingredients that you might want to include in your moisturiser to give your skin a new sparkle:
Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic Acid is an incredible ingredient with the capacity of holding up to 10 times its amount in moisture. Say hello to plumped up and gorgeously hydrated skin!
Vitamin C: A natural combatant of free radicals, Vitamin C helps keep the epidermis younger and stronger. It is a must-have in your daily skincare routine, especially during winter!
Kakadu Plum Extract: The latest in-trend skincare ingredient which, purportedly, contains more Vitamin C than most fruits.
Rosehip Oil: Rosehip Oil is potent in essential fatty acids and Omega-3
Marula Oil: Rich in Omega 6 and 9, Marula Oil heals, rejuvenates and hydrates.
Moroccan Oil: Moroccan Oil has been raved over and over again as being the queen of hair products but it can also do wonders when implemented in your skincare!
Jojoba Oil: Jojoba is a beautiful oil which moisturises without clogging the pores.
Niacinamide: Also known as Vitamin B3, with Niacinamide, you can say goodbye to enlarged pores, fine lines and redness issues.
If you lean on the oily side of the skin spectrum, perhaps tread on the oil path carefully. I still believe that it is a path worth adventuring on as some oils or brands can grease-free and sink very quickly into the skin such as The Ordinary’s Rosehip Oil.
You might think that implementing an SPF in your winter skincare regime is superfluous. After all, we can barely ever see the tip of the sun’s nose during winter, right? Fact is, an SPF should be used everyday no matter what the sky is saying as UVA and UVB rays are always present during the day and can still penetrate and damage the epidermis. You can perhaps use a less powerful SPF during winter (min. 30) but if you are using Retinol or Retin-As, it is highly advisable that you stick to a 50+. Better be safe than sorry! The one I use is from Boots own brand and it does the job fairly. However, if you hate that greasy feeling that most sunscreens leave on the skin, try out the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock Lotion Spf 55. It does the job effectively without the greasy residue!
Vitamin A is a great ingredient which thickens the surface of the skin with time (thus making it stronger and more impermeable to damage) and is found in Retinols and Retin-As. Whilst I do realise that one of the side-effects of Retin-A and Retinol use is dryness and flakiness (you are probably having a whole lot of that already in winter), the sun is at its minimum in the winter and makes for the perfect time to go on a Retinol treatment since your skin is at the peak of fragility when on Retinol. That said, it is of utmost importance that you still use a high SPF. It is also crucial that before going on a Retinol or Retin-A treatment that you do your research! Sart on a low dosage and, then, gradually work up the retinol ladder. Jumping straight away onto a high retinol dosage will only shock and damage your skin!
You can also protect your skin from free radicals during winter (and all year round) with antioxidants and peptides which are found naturally in Vitamin A, C and E. Eating fruits and veggies then is the first step towards a well-rounded skincare routine!
Plumping & Nourishing