Winter is upon us shortly, so it’s inevitable that we need to update our skincare regimen as we do with our wardrobes — layering is just as applicable in beauty as it is with clothing. Colder temperatures mean more exposure to the epidermis-drying effects of central heating, not to mention harsh skin-chapping winds and oil-clogged pores due to a lack of exfoliation.
From switching up your cleanser to checking in on your pigmentation, Vogue takes you through five ways to refresh your skincare routine for winter (and make sure your skin is protected well into those summer months that seem so far away).
- Switch up your cleanser
It’s no surprise that your cleansers need to be swapped out as the weather becomes drier and more hostile. Your face can easily become dehydrated because of central heating, and foaming cleansers can be a little stripping in terms of your skin’s top layer.
New York-based facialist Cynthia Rivas suggests: “Replace the habit of cleansing morning and night to just a nice splash of water over the face in the morning [and keep the regular cleanser at night]. Of course, this depends on the skin, but if you feel dry, a creamier, milkier cleanser is ideal.”
An oil cleanser works best — the kind that turns into a milky fluid when you add water, as this clears away makeup and debris much better than its gel counterpart. “Oil produced during the day is most effectively removed by oil,” adds Rivas.
- Eve Lom Cleanser: A cult, deeply hydrating aromatherapy oil-based balm
- Éminence Stone Crop Cleansing Oil: A non-greasy cleansing oil, rich with hydrating jojoba
- Don’t skip on exfoliating
People exfoliate more in the summer. It’s hot, we sweat, and the skin has a tendency to get congested, so many people build exfoliation into their daily routine. But in winter, it’s just as needed — so try not to pass over this important step.
“You should reduce the exfoliation a bit in winter, [as] you don’t want to overdo it when the skin is sensitive, so cut it down to once or twice a week,” says Rivas. “This gets rid of the dead skin cells, and means your products actually penetrate the pores.”
One surprising, natural ingredient to look out for in exfoliators is rice. Gentle on the skin, its properties buff away dead cells, leaving it velvety-soft, but not sensitive and raw.
- Tatcha The Rice Polish: A gentle, exfoliating enzyme polish that brightens
- Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant: A rice-based powder that gently buffs the skin
- Protect pigmentation from UVB rays
Yes, UVB rays are stronger during the warmer months (these specific rays vary in strength based on geographical location, time of day and season), but that doesn’t mean they disappear completely in the winter. Continue to use broad-spectrum protection, such as creams with an SPF of at least 30, as the UVB rays can still penetrate the skin’s dermal layers and cause damage. In addition, be sure to wear a foundation that incorporates SPF, such as Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-place Makeup.
However, weaker UVB rays during the colder months mean it’s the perfect time to try certain skin treatments as they can actually work more effectively. “Working on pigmentation is better during autumn and winter [such as micro-needling or peels],” says Rivas.
She adds: “My clients are not only exposed to fewer rays, which they need to avoid post-treatment as [the skin’s] protective layers are removed or compromised during treatment, but [my patients] want the effects of treatment for the [festive] period.”
- SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector: A daily, brightening formula that fades pigmentation patches
- Dr Dennis Gross Clinical Grade IPL Dark Spot Correcting Serum: Uses clinical strength L-ascorbic acid, lactic acid and kojic acid to fade discolouration and spots
- Mask all the time
Skin is thirsty, dehydrated and irritated in the winter because the humidity levels outside drop, so the water in the air (and in your epidermis) evaporate more quickly. This means it’s harder for nutrients to penetrate the skin, making it tight, dry, and flakey — which nobody wants.
“I always encourage a mask after exfoliation,” explains Rivas. “You’re going to get better penetration. Masks with more hyaluronic acid and antioxidants are best. You can’t over-mask.”
Active, natural ingredients can be better for sensitive skin, or if you’re looking to avoid using too many chemicals on your face. Go for masks that contain plant extracts, such as the Comfrey Plant known for soothing and healing skin, or chamomile and aloe vera.
- Joanna Vargas Euphoria Face Mask: A soft, restorative sheetmask that calms and deeply hydrates the skin and contains Allantoin (extracted from the Comfrey Plant)
- SK-II Facial Treatment Mask: A soaked, cotton sheetmask, packed with soothing, hydrating, brightening ingredients to give an instant glow
- Tailor your hydration
Last, but not least: hydration. If there’s one thing you need to change about your routine when going from summer to winter, it’s mixing up your moisturisers and adding some variation based on what your skin is calling out for. Some feel that even the richest of creams don’t give them the moisture they need, while others say their skin can become oily and prone to spots when they use products that are too heavy. The key is to listening to your skin and switching it up.
“[Incorporating] hydrating serums into your morning and evening routine is very effective,” says Rivas. “I especially like hyaluronic acid. It retains water, and the texture is super light. Oily skin types usually just need some serum for hydration.”
- Augustinus Bader The Cream: The ultimate in deep hydration, while containing some active ingredients, such as sunflower seed oil and shea butter, that really make a difference to the skin
- Paula’s Choice Boost Hyaluronic Acid: A pure and effective hyaluronic acid for instant moisture (and gives the added bonus of ‘visible plumpness’)