Despite having just recently moved to Minneapolis from San Francisco, I am no stranger to winter. I spent 27 years living in winter until we moved to California and I swore off cold weather and snow for good. Or so I thought…
Life has a funny way of working out and what I thought would be a dealbreaker (negative degree weather + blizzards) no longer is and so it looks like I’m back to my cold, dry winter skin and winter skincare routine.
My skin LOVED San Francisco weather. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect but the mild temps and marine layer meant my dry, flaky skin was a thing of the past. I didn’t have to change my skincare routine for different seasons. I simply had my routine and stuck to it. But now that we’ve settled in Minneapolis and winter has already reared it’s beautiful head I pretty much immediately had to switch things up. And so I thought I would share my Winter Skincare Routine with you and also share some suggestions for ways to combat dry, dull winter skin.
There are a lot of benefits to switching your skincare routine with the seasons. Winter typically brings low humidity which changes the needs of your skin. With less moisture in the air, your skin can become dry which oftentimes is the culprit behind acne flareups and other skin issues (ezcema is a common one). The opposite is true in the summer where humidity tends to be high and brings more oil. Changing your skincare with the seasons allows you to customize products to suit your skin’s specific needs.
Winter Skincare Tips
Hydration station is the name of the game for winter! Anything that adds hydration to the air, your insides and your outsides will benefit your skin. Here are a few of the things I like to do to prep my skin for winter:
1. Drink More Water!
Skincare isn’t just about what you put on your skin. It’s also about what you put inside your body. Staying hydrated is important year round, but especially in winter. As winter sets in and temperatures begin to drop, the air around us tends to become drier and our bodies receive less moisture as compared to warmer months. Upping your hydration is key so invest in a good water bottle and start chugging. If you’re still feeling super dehydrated I highly recommend adding a humidifier to the rooms you most frequent.
2. Use a Gentle Cleanser
Many gel-based cleansers work great at removing impurities but can be incredibly drying to your skin. I could get away with a gel-based cleanser in SF but not in Minnesota winters. It leaves a hard, dried out feeling on my face that’s simply too stripping for my skin. Switching to something more gentle like an oil cleanser or an aloe-based cleanser will help prevent this from happening and keep your skin happy.
3. Lay on the Oils
I’m a big fan of oil moisturizing year round but it’s especially important in the winter. Cream-based moisturizers may be good at penetrating skin with moisture but it doesn’t help to seal moisture in. Oils on the other hand not only penetrate skin with good, fatty oils (which skin loves!), they also help lock in moisture so all the hydration doesn’t just evaporate. Creams are actually a mixture of oil and water, but in order to get them to bind they’re oftentimes mixed with alcohol to prevent separation. This alcohol in turn can dry out skin, defeating the purpose of the moisturizers. Winter is a really great time to switch to oil moisturizing.
Here are some favorites:
Primally Pure Clarifying Serum [Best for acne-prone skin]
Ann Marie Herbal Facial Oil [Best for normal-dry skin]
Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil [Best for oily skin]
Pure Grapeseed Oil [Best for sensitive skin]
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4. Ditch the Clay
It can be tempted to reach for one of those clay masks and give your skin a little extra TLC, but clay-based products can dry out skin even more. I’m a big fan of clay in masking, but tend to skip it in the winter to prevent dried out + dull skin. You’re better off going for a gentle exfoliating mask like the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel or a hydration-specific mask such as the Lovinah Blue Butterfly Mask.
5. Do not skip SPF!
Many people think that they can skip their daily SPF in the winter. But just because you’re not laying out in the hot sun doesn’t mean you don’t need skin protection. Year round SPF is critical but especially in the winter. While UV rays tend to be less intense in the winter, the rays themselves actually reflect much more intensely off snow so if you live in a snowy place, SPF is essential. Opt for a moisturizing SPF such as the ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint or Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream.
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These are the steps I’ve always taken to help care for my skin in the winter. I’m actually looking forward to tailoring my skincare to the seasons as it really helps me tune into my body’s needs and just take stock of where I’m at. Our skin oftentimes tells us when we need to make changes – it’s really just up to us to listen!
Let me know what changes you make for your skin in the winter.
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