“Winter is coming”, so said House Stark. Alas – the impending winter cold can be just as forboding for us mortals outside Westeros. The winter reeks havoc on our skin, roused unaware from its summertime slumber by a dangerous combination of sudden cold weather and harsh central heating. Add to this the hot showers many of us have in the colder months and you’ve created a perfect storm for irritated, sensitive winter skin.
So what beauty products can help combat dry winter skin? The key to maintaining your skin’s condition throughout the cold holiday season are two factors which are equally important; hydration and protection. If if one isn’t done properly, the skin will become unbalanced and suffer. Winter skin must be kept well moisturised to combat dehydration and flakiness, with a richer moisturiser at night, and an oil and face mask added to the weekly routine as well. Skin must be protected during the day with a moisturiser that creates a ‘barrier’ from the raw air and the stripping nature of central heating. Veil like products and protective ingredients become your skin saviours in winter.
SPF also comes into this protective category; sunscreen is equally important in the winter months as it is in summer. Forget what your sunshine loving friend (or mother from the 60s) tells you; it is still not safe to forgo wearing SPF in winter. The sun sits lower in the sky, meaning that its potential for damage is in fact even greater.
Add Face Masks to your winter skin care (if they are not already a part of it) and you have a seasonally appropriate regime which will keep your skin well bundled up until the spring emerges. Remember, harmony and balance are your beacons in winter. Forget stripping your skin with harsh cleansers or make up removers, alcohol based toners or exfoliating acids. Also remember, beauty comes from within, so stay hydrated and up your Vitamin D and Omega 3 intake in the darker months of the year. Below are some skin saviours for winter which will see you through the season. Be Merry and skin happy!
Best Mask for Winter Skin
Rodial 2- in 1 Stem Cell Cleanser – £32.00 (200ml)
Expensive, but this 200ml thick dream mask and cream cleanser will last you many months and also doubles as an indulgent face mask. Massaging a small amount onto dry skin morning and evening, rinse of with warm water or the muslin cloth for an extra, still gentle, exfoliation. Beautifully thick and creamy, it protects the skin with vitamins and fatty acids such as Rose Hip Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Rose Wax and Cocoa Butter and naturally promotes elasticity and firmness. It’s lovely to apply as a thick mask before an event when you are getting ready. After twenty minutes, when most has absorbed, rinse your face with warm water. Skin is left completely rejuvenated.
Best Toner for Winter Skin
Splash your face with cold water after your cleanser. (PRICELESS)
I’m not kidding. Scrap the astringent toners and faddy herbal sprays cum window cleaners, this is the only thing your skin needs and reacts to as a toner. The central part of your Cleansing, Toning and Moisturising Regime is in fact free, and was pioneered by the Romans. Long term, cold water contact after cleansing helps maintain skin firmness and keep those pores tight.
Best Cleanser for Winter Skin
Rose is gentle, brightening and calming on winter skin. This cream cleanser by the affordable skincare range Facialist by Una Brennan totally brightens and moisturises whilst you cleanse, leaving your skin feeling like you’ve had a facial after two minutes. It also smells divine and is a pleasure to use, making your morning and evening cleansing ritual beautiful as opposed to a chore.
Best Rich Night Moisturiser for Winter Skin
Deliciously rich and decadent, it is the perfect moisturiser for stressed out and thirsty winter skin. Go to sleep with it on and wake up with calmed, moisturised and more even skin. The natural ingredients Rosehip Oil, Avocado Oil, Borage Oil, Vitamin E are uplifting fragrances for your senses and feel good to use. Skincare and wellbeing meet in perfect harmony.
Best Facial Oil for Winter
The Ordinary 100% Plant Derived Squalane £9.87 (30ml)
Clients often ask me for an effective, affordable skincare line with potent ingredients in formulations that actually work – I always recommend The Ordinary. Affordable and straightforward to use, you will find many reviews of The Ordinary online which mention the company’s dubious, Instagram happy CEO; concentrate instead on its fantastic prices and range of effective serums.
Skin myth unpacked; most people apply facial oil before moisturiser, whereas it is most effective applied after your water based treatments. Squalane is a saturated and stable hydrocarbon that is found naturally in the skin. It is an exceptional hydrator and can prevent ongoing loss of hydration that impairs your skins suppleness. Use this potent oil a few nights a week or at times when your skin feels extra dry; you’ll wake up with any trace of dryness gone. It is incredibly effective, so you won’t need to use it everyday.
Best Protective Barrier Moisturiser
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA (100ml) £13.90
When I talk about protective barrier skincare for winter, this is it. I don’t mean impractical, sticky and difficult to wear balms which can be irritating due to their high number of natural actives (I’m looking at you – Eight Hour Cream). This is a protective, easy to wear moisturising cream suitable for all skin types; it forms a ‘second skin’ on your face, veiling it in hydration and protecting it from the cold. Offering immediate and lasting hydration, its non-greasy formula delivers a thirst quenching hit of amino acids, fatty acids, hyaluronic acid and other compounds that protect the outer layer of the skin. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Best Facial Sunscreen for Winter
LA ROCHE POSAY Anthelios XL Gel Dry Touch Cream with SPF50 (50 ml) £16.25
This Anti Shine Sunscreen is the opposite of drying, it protects against UVA/UVB and doesn’t leave a white cast. This is a great sunblock for skiing or outdoor activities in the snow, a little goes a long way. Suitable for sensitive, oily and combination skins, it doesn’t irritate or cause spots (non comedogenic, in skin care talk).
Image © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s