I'm not a huge fan of 90-degree days, but at the very least, my combination skin has an easier time figuring out how to cope with the heat. The same can't be said for winter, a time when our poor skin is stripped of all moisture and has to be as tough as nails to withstand the peeling, flaking, chapped, blotchy effects of cold winds and bitter temperatures. If you remain loyal to the same skin care products year-round, it says a lot about your true-blue character, but your skin may suffer as a result. As the climate changes, so should the steps we take to protect our skin and keep it healthy and hydrated.
After speaking with experts, including Rachel Jo Silver, social media director at Birchbox, we discovered nine intensely moisturizing and effective cleansers, serums, moisturizers and exfoliants that you can use now to get your skin winter-ready — because it's never too early to prepare.
What could be better (or more gentle) than a cleanser that's yummy enough to eat (but, please, don't actually do this). This moisturizing foaming cleanser is loaded with superfoods like kale, green tea and spinach. "It's gentle and non-drying, but also super effective — it's cold pressed (like the juice!) and 100 percent vegan which I love," Silver says. (Birchbox, $36)
This highly concentrated formula is packed with antioxidants and hyaluronic acid to plump up skin and help diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. "All of Tata Harper's products are completely natural and still smell divine," Silver says. "This serum is actually more like a face oil: It locks in moisture and sets a nice dewy foundation for skin so you can still have a glow even in the winter." (Birchbox, $95)
Number one rule to keep in mind, even when there is frost on your windowpane? Do not neglect to apply sunscreen each day, even when it seems utterly ridiculous — the sun doesn't take a vacation from damaging your skin in the wintertime. Count this SPF 40+ formula as one of the many cool, hip skin care miracles to emerge from Korea — and this cream knows how to multitask. "This is a moisturizer, SPF, makeup base and amazing for acne-prone skin because it minimizes sebum production — plus it's color correcting," Silver says. (Birchbox, $28)
Slough all those dead winter skin cells away to reveal fresher, healthier skin with the help of this gentle exfoliant, which uses jojoba oil, aloe vera and chamomile to prevent irritation. "This is my favorite facial scrub, but really you can't use it every day — it's too strong," Silver says. "It buffs away dead, dry skin and leaves my face super clean and super soft." (Birchbox, $78)
Acne-prone skin doesn't take a rest just because there's a chill in the air. This organic, fruit acid-based serum can be used as soon as you feel a nasty pimple coming on or as a spot treatment for the nasty pimple you already have. It dries out your acne, but spares the rest of your face. (Birchbox, $29)
If the goal when temps drop is to find the most hydrating creams that won't leave your face a sticky mess, this one wins points for containing micro-drops of water that instantly absorb into the skin upon application. Other good-for-you ingredients include natural extracts of black bamboo, sunflower and barley. "This stuff feels like heaven," Silver says. "I put it between my hands and just smooth one heavy layer over my serum. It locks it in so my skin stays super hydrated while the serum treats breakouts overnight." (Birchbox, $50)
Prevention is key when it comes to protecting our delicate hands and lips from the cold. This hand and lip balm, which contains nourishing organic shea butter and organic almond oil, is easily absorbed by the skin and leaves it feeling like silk. Organic lavender, rose geranium and tangerine essential oils create a fresh and floral scent that will promote feelings of peace and serenity... even while you're shoveling snow. (Captain Blankenship, $20)
The killer secret ingredients in this balm are myrrh, vetiver and chamomile, which repair chapped dry skin anywhere on your body, from your hands to your feet. Organic shea butter, organic sesame oil and wild crafted candelilla wax create a creamy consistency that quickly absorbs into the skin, making this an ideal balm to use on dry knees or elbows. (Meow Meow Tweet, $18)
With shea butter, tamanu, borage, rosehips, sea buckthorn and jojoba oils, this is called a "healing" salve because it doesn't simply coat dry skin, it goes deep to repair, nourish, soothe and hydrate it. Keep one at work and one at home to immediately solve dry hand or lip problems before they have a chance to intensify. (Fig + Yarrow, $20)
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