As soon as the temperatures drop, I notice a difference in my skin, and not in a good way. Cold weather can affect the skin in a lot of different ways which requires a dedicated winter skincare routine. Dryness, irritation, itchiness, the occasional breakout, all the result of cold weather, but totally manageable with the right products. What my skin needs during the winter is totally different from the fall and summer months, and these clean beauty products are my favorites to keep my dry skin clear and hydrated.
Winter Skincare Routine
run a humidifier
The air in the winter, especially indoors, can be really dry and that is not great for your skin. Especially if you have the heat or and/or are running the fireplace, it’s going to suck all the moisture out of the air. Even at sea level, the air is super dry here in the winter. We have three humidifiers running in the house, one on Craig’s nightstand, one on mine and one in the living room during the day and it makes a huge difference (helps our plants too).
EXFOLIATE EVEN IN THE WINTER
Regardless of skin type, you still need to exfoliate in the winter, but it’s important to do it properly so you don’t do more harm than good. As you age, your skin takes longer to shed dead skin cells, which can lead to clogged pores and other skin issues, exfoliating helps get rid of them so your skin can properly absorb the products you’re using. There are two ways to exfoliate chemical and physical. A physical exfoliator is a scrub or brush for example that physically removes dead skin cells, these can do more harm than good so you have to be careful, especially on your face as they can destroy your skin barrier (I have a few I like shared below). The second way to exfoliate is chemical with ingredients like AHAs and BHAs, which are actually gentle (when used properly) and super effective (more on that below).
DON’T SKIP SPF
Yes sun damage definitely still happens in winter and sun protection is really important. Especially if you’re doing outdoor activities like skiing or snowboarding, the sun can be even stronger, so wearing a good SPF is really important.
cool it on the hot water
Love taking hot showers in the winter? Me too, but it can absolutely wreak havoc on your skin. Hot showers can dry out your skin, cause itchiness, rashes and even breakouts because how water stripes your skin of its natural oils and healthy bacteria. Wash your face with lukewarm water and keep it out of the hot water in the shower.
My Go-To Skincare Products For Winter
I have two cleansers I use in the winter (I actually pretty much use these year round). Most days I use the Farmaesthetics herbal cleanser (use code JESSANNKIRBY15 for 15% off). It’s simple, effective, gentle and smells amazing. I also use this with two exfoliants (see more on that below and in this post about how to detox your skin). If my skin is feeling particularly dry, irritated, inflamed or I’m breaking out I use Naturopathica Manuka Honey Cleansing balm (use code JESSANNKIRBY15 for 15% off) which is truly one of my all time favorite skincare products. It helps protect and replenish the skin barrier and has antibacterial properties which is really effective for acne prone skin and breakouts.
I’ve been using the Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner (use code JESSANNKIRBY15 for 15% off) for a long time now and it’s still my favorite (and I’ve tried a lot of toners). It has one of my favorite skincare ingredients hyaluronic acid which helps your skin retain moisture. It’s a gentle and non-drying formula, in the winter I use it at night only after cleansing. I’ve also been using the Caudalie Beauty Elixir which I absolutely LOVE. It smells like a day at the spa and instantly makes my skin feel refreshed. I spray this on in the morning after cleansing and sometimes at night I’ll use it instead of COQ-10. I also like to spray it on after I’ve applied my makeup.
I got this Josh Rosebrook Hydration Boost Concentrate (use code JESSANNKIRBY15 for 15% off) in a gift package from Follain and was pretty skeptical of how two drops of something could do anything for my skin. I was so wrong! This little miracle in a bottle is packed with hyaluronic acid and AHAs to help skin retain moisture and get rid of dead skin cells. I pat two drops all over my face at night after cleansing and toning. I use it in combination with Naturopathica Plan Stem Cell Booster Serum which is an anti-aging serum to fight fine lines and wrinkles with ingredients like Vitamin C, essential fatty acids and echinacea stem cell. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my skin texture since using this. The directions say to use it for 30 days at night and then repeat every 90 days. I’ve used it for longer than 30 days because I figured I’d just use up the bottle but I still have about half left, the problem is it works so well I don’t want to stop using it!
I’ve tried so many difference moisturizers and several from Indie Lee, but I haven’t like any as much as Superfruit facial cream. It has Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid hydrates and AHAs to help with texture, tone and hydration. My skin has never been better and I think a lot of it has to do with this moisturizer. I use this in the morning before sunscreen. For SPF I’ve been using Kari Gran SPF 28 (use code JESSANNKIRBY15 for 15% off). I really like it as it blends well into skin, doesn’t make me break out and is really hydrating. At night I’ve been using Caudalie SOS Intense Moisturizing Cream. I typically really don’t like using moisturizers in jars but this stuff is so good. It’s super creamy but feels lightweight and my skin is so hydrated in the morning. That said I think this product is probably better for dry skin.
face oil & Neck Oil
I’ve always struggled to find a good face oil that moisturizes but doesn’t clog my pores and make me break out. I’ve been using this Kahina Giving Beauty serum for two months now and I love it. Despite the fact that it has serum in the name, it’s definitely an oil. It’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants and I think has definitely help keep my skin from getting dry or dull this winter. A little goes a long way, I only use about two drops and pat all over my face. I got this neck oil as a gift from UMA Oils and while I would not have purchased this initially on my own I’m actually blown away by how well it works. I didn’t realize how many fine lines I was already getting on my neck and I’ve seen a drastic reduction since I started using this about a month and a half ago. I also just love the smell and it’s the last thing I do as part of my nighttime skincare routine so it’s very relaxing.
EXFOLIATING, TREATMENTS AND MASKS
I wrote a post here about how to detox your skin which includes my two favorite physical exfoliants, Vassar Rose Polish and Sweet Milk & Lavender Exfoliant (this is one really more of a chemical exfoliant, it has a slight texture but the exfoliation comes mainly from lactic acid). My go-to chemical exfoliant is Farmacy Beauty Honeymoon Glow which uses a combination of AHA and BHA to exfoliate as well as hyaluronic acid to help skin retain moisture. The percentage of BHA is less than 1% so I used this throughout my pregnancy after the first trimester. I use it about 1-2 times a week at night.
In the morning I love Indie Lee’s I-Waken Eye Serum (use code JESSANNKIRBY15 for 15% off). It’s cooling and gentle and instantly makes my eyes look and feel less puffy. It lasts forever too, I still have the first tube I got months ago. At night I use Naturopathica Argan and Peptide Wrinkle Repair Eye cream. I’ve definitely noticed a reduction in the fine lines around my eyes since using this consistently for over a month.
One of the best ways to avoid chapped lips in the winter is to exfoliate. Almost seems counterintuitive but the right scrub will gently rub off dead, dry skin and leave your lips hydrated. I got this French Girl Organics Lip Scrub (use code JESSANNKIRBY15 for 15% off) last winter and it absolutely saved my cracking, dry lips. It’s really gentle and your lips feel instantly hydrated and nourished afterwards. For lip balms I love Kari Gran Peppermint Lip whip (use code JESSANNKIRBY15 for 15% off) and Biossance Rose Vegan Lip Balm.
My already dry skin is even worse in the winter (pregnancy doesn’t help either). I got this Ren AHA Renewal Body Serum after hearing Grace rave about it and I totally get the hype. My skin is so soft and and hydrated thanks to ingredients like lactic acid probiotics. In the summer I’d probably use it alone but in the winter I follow it with Indie Lee Sleep Body Oil (it has the best scent and I love the spray bottle). For stretch marks I’ve been using Lala Earth Belly and Baby Herbal Oil and Soapwalla Pregnant Belly Oil.
For exfoliating products see my post here. For regular body wash I like Necessaire Eucalyptus Body Wash but I am trying to cut out single use plastic so when I run out I’ll stick to bar soap. I like Ursa Major and I just got this which I’m hoping I’ll be able to use as shampoo and soap.
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