Glowing is not a word you would usually associate with the winter, when sunshine and tans are in low supply. The colder, bitter weather can wreak havoc on our skin leading to dryness and flakiness. All in all, the opposite of that ‘good skin glow’.
However, the harsher conditions our skin is exposed to during the colder months demands a more rigorous skincare routine. Just like our wardrobes are interchangeable depending on the seasons, so too is our skincare. What works for you in the warm summer months may be totally different to what your skin needs now. After all, you wouldn’t sport a bikini in the winter would you? Now you get the idea!
A good cleanse should be the foundation of any skincare routine. The cleaner your skin is the more effectively your products will work, as they will be more easily absorbed by your skin. Double cleansing will ensure that your skin is perfectly prepped for the steps which follow, especially when you have been wearing SPF or makeup. So what does double cleansing entail? You will probably assume this just means cleaning your face twice and if that’s your assumption then you’re halfway there. It actually means cleaning your face twice – but with two different products.
The first step of a double cleanse consists of using an oil based cleanser such as a balm. These kind of products are great at breaking down makeup or the residue of any other products which you may have used that day. The first cleanse does the heavy work, so to speak, and then it’s on to step two.
The second cleanse would usually consist of a gel or foam cleanser, such as a product which would lather or cleanse more deeply. This ensures that any debris which was not cleared by the first cleanse will be washed away.
Cleansing Balm: Elemis Pro Collagen Cleansing Balm 100g, £44
Gel Cleanser: Fresh Soy Cleanser 150ml, £30.00
There are two ways in which to exfoliate your skin and it’s important to find which one works best for you. Thankfully there are many minis available to help you try and test products. Exfoliating your skin once a week, or once a fortnight (depending on your skin type) can supercharge your routine by cleansing away dead skin cells and other microscopic debris which sit on the surface layer.
There are physical exfoliants – these are essentially scrubs which are textured and massaged onto the skin to physically remove dead skin cells. Much in the same way that body scrubs work.
The other types are chemical exfoliants, these are said to be more effective but are also much stronger. Therefore, start slow and pay attention to your skins tolerance. The main chemical exfoliants are BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) and AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). Both these ingredients essentially act like peels, exfoliating away the surface layer to reveal smoother skin. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing with these types of active ingredients and moderation is key. If you do decide to incorporate exfoliants into your routine then SPF is a must, as skin will be more sensitive and all the more susceptible to UV damage.
Physical exfoliator: Omorovicza Refining Facial Polisher 30ml, £19
Chemical exfoliator: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant 100ml, £28
The colder weather can dry out even the glowiest of complexions, and for this reason it is important to ensure that you deliver an extra dose of hydration to your skin. Look out for products which contain ingredients which are humectant (meaning that they draw and lock moisture into the skin) such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid and squalene.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% = B% Hydration Support Formula 30ml, £5.95
Your usual hydrating moisturiser may not be enough to quench your skin’s thirst in the winter months. Therefore, consider layering your products. Incorporate a serum to go under your moisturiser. You can also apply a face oil as a final step, a few drops can be lightly patted over your moisturiser to lock everything in.
Add a further step to your routine by incorporating weekly masks. There is a plethora of masks available for every skin type and concern, whether it be congested spot-prone skin or dry lacklustre skin. My favourite masks to indulge in at this time of year tend to be overnight masks, these are usually heavy and deeply moisturising.
It is important to remember that while face masks are effective, they should not be used as a quick-fix and replace a full skincare routine. They work best as an added bonus to a routine which already works for you.
Chapped lips seem to go hand in hand with cooler weather. In order to ensure your lips are kept healthy and hydrated indulge in lip scrubs and balms. Think of it as a mini skincare routine for your lips. Sugar scrubs are effective at cleaning away any flakiness and using a daily balm will aid hydration. There are also a range of lip masks available to keep lips luscious all winter long.
Lip Mask: Patchology Hydrating Lip Gels (5 pack), £14
Many may think this word is out of place in a piece about winter skincare but the truth is that unlike a bikini, SPF is not seasonal. This product should in fact form a part of your skincare routine all year round. Don’t let the gloomy weather fool you, UV rays pierce the clouds and cause damage to your skin just as they would in the summer. Most notably UVA rays, although these do not cause immediate damage such as sun burn, have actually been found to penetrate deeper to damage the skin. I understand that the thought of piling heavy SPF on your face on a daily basis can be off putting, however there is really is no excuse as there are a range of lightweight formulas which work fabulously even under makeup.
Many skincare experts advise that if you are going to commit to just one skincare product it should be SPF, as not incorporating this essential step to protect your skin from sun damage and ageing can make all your other skincare steps quite futile.
Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream 50ml, £18