Whether or not you’re someone who enjoys winter and all the season has to offer, there’s no denying that’s it’s a tough time for our skin. Even here in Austin, TX, we’re starting to move into colder temperatures. This means that moisture levels in the air start to drop and, on top of that, running the heat indoors means the air in your home will be dry as well. This can lead to dry skin through a process called osmosis. What happens is that the surrounding air, which now contains less moisture than your skin, will actually start pulling water out of your skin.
To compensate for this loss of hydration, you may need to switch up some of your usual products or add a few in for some extra TLC. Here’s everything I’m using this winter so my skin stays hydrated, glowy, and smooth—and keep the dryness away.
(BTW, this post is in no way sponsored and I’m not paid to promote any of these products. Just stuff I really love to use!)
I consider my showers a ritual and try to turn them into relaxing me-time whenever possible. One of my favorite ways to do this is with luxurious, minty scents that awaken my senses and make my shower feel like a spa. When the days start to get dark and cold, this is a huge pick-me-up!
As I mentioned, I love minty things in the shower! This body scrub makes my whole shower smell really luxurious, which I love. It uses ginger and eucalyptus to stimulate circulation and also contains glycerin so that it’s nice and hydrating. I love to use a good body scrub a few times a week to polish away dry, dull skin on my arms and legs (this is definitely a bigger issue for me during the winter months). Overall, this scrub leaves my skin feeling really moist, dewy, and refreshed.
I love a long, luxurious shower that feels like a spa experience, and I use this mist to create just that at home. I mist this all over the shower before I hop in and as everything heats up, the aroma of the eucalyptus starts to circulate. It really wakes me up in the mornings and gives me a great boost of energy and happiness. It’s the power of aromatherapy, something I’m a big believer in.
FYI, I also love giving this mist as a gift during the holidays. Anyone I’ve ever given it to absolutely loves it! I also leave on in my guest bath so any visitors can get a cool shower experience.
I switch up my shower gels all the time because I like variety, but this one will definitely be my go-to this winter. The requirements I have for a body cleanser are that it’s sulfate-free so it isn’t drying, it has to lather a decent amount but that it also has a great scent. This one checks all the boxes and feels like a treat to use.
Harsh winter weather can make it hard to keep your skin looking and feeling its best, and this means you’ll likely have to adapt your skincare routine. Here are a few products I’m loving to keep my skin glowing, hydrated, and calm this season.
The best thing about being a skincare formulator is that I get to design products I know I would personally enjoy using! The Mint Renewal Cleanser is definitely one of those products. This is the newest addition to my line and it recently got this rave review from The Cut. I formulated it because I wanted a cleanser that would instantly wake up my skin. This is especially necessary when it’s cold outside and my skin is looking a little dull.
I’m really proud of this cleanser and its unique formulation that addresses multiple causes of dull skin: biodegradable jojoba beads exfoliate away dry, dull skin; peppermint oil stimulates blood flow and increases circulation to bring skin back to life (the scent is also a great pick-me-up when days are short and dreary!); and panthenol binds moisture to the skin, because the last thing you want in winter is to be left feeling tight or dry!
Particularly on nights when it’s really cold, it’s beneficial to apply a skin oil over your moisturizer as the final step in your skincare routine. Because facial oils have larger molecules than your other skincare products, they act as a sealant (kind of like the top coat of your nail polish). This helps the products underneath stay in the skin and also helps prevent moisture evaporation so your skin stays hydrated.
I love this oil because it’s lightweight in texture but a heavy-hitter when it comes to benefits! Rosehip seed and cranberry seed oils offer antioxidant benefits while safflower seed and evening primrose oils provide essential lipids for barrier-repair. Just make sure you’re applying your facial oil the right way.
Since the skin around the eyes is very thin and has few oil glands, it’s extremely susceptible to dryness. In fact, this is often the first area to be affected by dry winter air. The result is that fine lines around the eyes become much more visible, so it’s really important to be diligent about using an eye cream during the winter months.
I formulated this one to not only provide excellent moisturizing capabilities but also to provide peptides that help support the skin’s firming structures to keep skin looking tight and lifted. (Some people are skeptical about if eye creams actually work. Read why I believe they do.)
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, winter body care comes down to one thing: hydration, hydration, hydration. I swear by these products to stave off dry, itchy skin on my body.
I love this body lotion so much that I actually use it year-round! My requirements for a body lotion are that it contains really good moisturizing ingredients without being too rich and that I love the smell. This one definitely ticks all those boxes—it’s lightweight but very hydrating thanks to ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil, and glycerin, and the rose oil adds a heavenly scent!
While I use my Weleda lotion year-round, I like to kick it up a notch in the winter by applying this body oil on top of my body lotion. It’s the same concept as using an oil on your face—when used as the last step, it creates a seal to prevent moisture evaporation. What I like about this particular body oil is that it doesn’t leave the skin feeling greasy. I hate going to bed feeling like I’m greasing up my sheets, and this oil sinks in really well.
For winter, this is my go-to hand cream. I use it every night before I go to bed as the last step in my beauty routine. It uses lanolin, milk, and vitamin E to hydrate and, without fail, leaves my hands feeling hydrated when I wake up in the morning. I wash my hands fairly often (especially these days), so I need something pretty powerful. Otherwise, I develop little cracks on my fingertips. This cream prevents that from happening.
I like to keep my beauty game strong from head to toe, and that means never neglecting my feet! It’s easy for feet to become dry in the winter, so I make an effort to wear socks around the house during the day as much as possible to retain moisture in the skin. At night, I slather my feet in Aquaphor and put on cotton socks while I sleep. This makes a huge difference and keeps my feet soft. I used to have really dry heels that would crack a lot during winter because I never moisturized my feet at all. Once I started practicing this habit, I saw HUGE improvements that I never looked back.
Speaking of Aquaphor, you may have heard of slugging, a trend that involves slathering your face in Vaseline or other petrolatum-based products. Read my thoughts on this popular trend!
Finally, here are some of my favorite ways to update my beauty and makeup routine during winter to accommodate my skin’s needs.
I’m a fan of the no-makeup makeup look, and I really like a lightweight foundation that enhances my skin but doesn’t completely cover it up. As someone who has had oily skin most of my life (less so now, but some habits have stuck with me!), I never like to use a foundation that feels heavy or thick on my skin. At the end of the day, I never want to feel greasy.
I switch to this Giorgio Armani foundation in winter because it has more moisturizing ingredients that I feel protect my skin from dehydration, but the finish is still lightweight, sheer, and beautiful.
A lot of us struggle with dry lips come wintertime, and to combat this I love this agave lip balm. I want something that has staying power and will last, but I also want something with a nice texture that doesn’t feel sticky. This lip balm has all these qualities! I use it year-round but find that I need to apply it more often in winter. Learn more about how to treat and prevent dry winter lips.
So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that it gave you some inspiration for updating your own winter beauty routine. Want to know more about the beauty products I swear by? Check out my head-to-toe beauty routine or read about what I owe looking younger than my age to.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”