It's officially your skin's least favorite time of year. With winter comes the cold temperatures, biting winds, and dry air that suck the very life out of your poor complexion. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but it can feel that way sometimes. Depending on your skin type and issues, you may experience flaking, chapping, redness, breakouts, or myriad other skin disasters.
Jess is right there with you — her skin type has always skewed towards the dry and irritated type, meaning winter brings its own unique challenges for her. "My skin is incredibly parched all of the time, but in the winter it is dry, flaky, dehydrated, and just plain awful," she says. "It literally hurts from the cold since it is chronically dry, so the winter time chill makes it even worse. It gets super sore from the constant cold blasts and then coming inside to the dry heat, plus sitting in front of a computer working seven days a week in front of blue light probably doesn't help much."
She's spent YEARS testing and trying products to find the routine that keeps her skin under control and, dare we say it, thriving during these tough months. Keep reading to learn her winter skin secrets and the products she turns to when the temperature drops.
How does your winter skin routine differ from your other seasonal routines?
"I am constantly slathering stuff on it to aid in the dryness. And I get regular facials, more so than the rest of the year. They help add hydration since I always make them do extra massage with tons and tons of oils and balms — my skin just drinks them right up. I also apply dozens of layers, from tried and true heroes to new products I'm trying. The winter is when I'm mixing a ridiculous amount of oils and I always seal them in with a cream and, of course, SPF on top. I would rather look like a grease slick that a dry, parched raisin."
Walk us through your routine — what does a normal day look like for you?
"I only use a milk- or oil-based cleanser during this time because my skin needs moisture at every step of my routine. I switch back and forth between Venn Moisture Balance All-in-One Face Cleanser and Irene Forte Almond Cleansing Milk. I typically take my time massaging these into the skin, not only to remove what little makeup I have on, but also because I find that the more I massage my face, (not just rub but actually get in there with a deep massage, like when I get a facial), the cleansers actually get absorbed by my skin. They are so gentle, so they don't strip the little oil that my body actually produces. In the winter, my skin is just so dry and it gets red from the cold, so these help to alleviate the redness while calming and cleansing at the same time.
"I don't usually love toners, but I make an exception for the Tammy Fender Bulgarian Rose Water. It's so gentle and hydrating that I actually use it all day long to keep my skin hydrated and refreshed. I sit in front of a computer all day, and the blue light exposure and dry office air saps even more moisture from my skin — I've found spritzing this on throughout the day helps keep me from drying out. It also helps perk me up in the afternoon when I start falling asleep when I'm answering the millionth email in my inbox.
"Serums is where I go hard this time of year because I find these to be the real workers of my routine. Hydration, obviously is key, so I always use a hyaluronic acid serum. I have three that I switch between —Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, Bynacht Hypercharged Glass Skin Serum, and Venn Age Response Compound K Hyaluronic Booster
I'm in my third month of using MBR Liquid Surgery Serum and I'm hooked. The price point is exorbitant (and I say that as someone who doesn't get the product for free, even as the owner of a store that sells it), but it's made in super-small batches of 500 and unlike other products that mark up on the packaging, this spends all of the money on the formula. It re-oxygenates the skin, which helps immensely with anti-aging and dryness. It not only adds hydration, but it also has colloidal gold, which helps it to penetrate deeper into the skin. You're only supposed to use it three months a year, typically in the fall, winter, and spring. I put it over my hyaluronic serum, which binds moisture into the skin. And don't forget the neck! I feel like most people forget about their necks and wind up with a young looking face and a neck that looks 10 years older. I noticed an incredible difference in my skin after just a few weeks of use, which is unheard of with skin-care products — you usually need to use them for MONTHS in order to see even the smallest change.
"After my MBR, it on to my thicker serums and then my lotions and cream to up the ante on hydration and seal in moisture. This is where I am constantly swapping out and testing new things, but right now I am obsessed with Tammy Fender Quintessential Serum. It's thicker in consistency than I would use any other time of year, but during the winter my skin soaks it up, especially because I go back and do my facial massage with it again. Then, once that has absorbed, I apply the Venn Advanced Multi-Perfecting Red Oil Serum, which, ironically, helps combat the natural redness of my skin tone. It calms it right down and reduces the ruddiness.
"Then I use a cream or two to seal in the serum and oil and leave me with a bit of protection against the cold before stepping outside. Right now it's either the Tammy Fender Celestial Rose Créme or the MBR CEA Twentyfour Hours Extreme, and then sometimes even the Dr. Barbara Sturm Ski Cream — just on my cheeks as it's so thick it's almost like an added layer of protection on that delicate skin. Finally, of course, I top it all off with EltaMD UV Daily SPF 40 because no matter what season, you should always be wearing sunscreen. If you're not protecting your skin from the sun, all of the other skin care you're doing is being negated because the sun is the number one cause of premature aging and it causes damage year round, not just in the summer."
Follow this routine and Jess swears that you'll see an immediate improvement in your skin in the form of a hydrated, healthy, and happy complexion all winter long.