Winter is harsh — and so are the beauty rules that go with it. While it’s good to amp up your routine to protect your skin from icky weather, some of the wisdom that’s been passed down throughout the years might not be so wise after all. In fact, there are plenty of winter beauty rules you can say sayonara to sans guilt:
1. “Use heavy creams.”
It’s assumed heavier creams equal more protection in the winter, but may actually be counterproductive — especially if your skin is oily or combination. “The presence of sebum, oil and lipids that often accompany these skin types forms a protective barrier that’s strong enough to resist environmental factors,” says Dr. Roshini Raj, celebrity doctor and founder of TULA Skincare. The heavier the product, the more likely your pores will clog, leaving your skin susceptible to breakouts.
2. “Don’t use cream, oil, or gel-based cleansers.”
Alcohol-based are actually what you should avoid in the winter so your skin isn’t stripped of its natural protective oils, says Raj, who recommends TULA’s Purifying Cleanser instead: “It thoroughly removes makeup but it’s not too harsh on the skin.”
3. “You can go on a pedicure vacay.”
Sure, your feet are going to be on lockdown until about April, but it’s a good idea to continue your pedi routine to constantly exfoliate dead skin — and in the winter, prevent cracked heels. “That being said, it’s always a good idea to give your nails a break from polish, so feel free to skip the lacquer,” says Alexis Wolfer, beauty expert and author of The Recipe for Radiance.
4. “You don’t need as much sunscreen in the winter.”
I used to fall for this one back in the day, but wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 all year-round is a must. “The sun breaks down collagen and elastin in skin, leading to discoloration, lines and wrinkles,” says Raj. “Even if you don’t burn in the sun, your skin is still exposed to its damaging effects.” What’s worse, snow reflects UV rays, particularly the UVA rays responsible for aging skin. (Did I just hear “Psycho Strings?”)
5. “Bronzer is only for the summer.”
Au contraire! In the winter, bronzer is a great way to look like you still have a body temperature! The trick is to use a shimmery bronzer and to use it sparingly for a more natural look. Use a large, fluffy brush for the lightest application possible, and buff it across the areas that the sun naturally hits you: The bridge of your nose, cheekbones, decolletage — and don’t forget the tops of your ears and the backs of your hands.
6. “Exfoliating will make your skin drier.”
“During winter, your skin’s natural protective barrier may be compromised as temperature extremes deprive the skin of moisture,” says Raj. If your skin is flaky, dull and dry, amp up your hydration — but exfoliating is just as crucial. Raj recommends gently exfoliating once a week to speed up the shedding of dead skin cells and keep your skin glowing.
7. “Slather on lip balm.”
Chapped lips are uber-annoying, and while it’s important to keep your lips hydrated in the winter, using a Chapstick that contains menthol is counterproductive and will dry your lips again in a matter of minutes. Stick to lip butters and organic formulas that focus on sealing in moisture — and you know, not lighting your lips on fire.
8. “Ixnay the hot showers.”
One of the best worst things about winter is taking a hot shower. They’re the best because they feel sooo good when you’re freezing your tuchus off, but they’re the worst because they rob your skin of what little moisture it has left. Everything in moderation: Just make sure your shower’s no longer than 10 minutes — any longer and you stand the chance of damaging your skin’s protective layer. And always moisturize after the fact.
9. “Ditch waterproof makeup.”
Waterproof formulas sound like they’re a summer-only thing, but if you live in a particularly snow-globey part of the universe, waterproof makeup is the cheese to your macaroni. On super-windy days when your eyes well up, you’ll be able to strut into work like you just came off a catwalk. Bam. Another super-handy trick: If you find your makeup’s rubbing off on your coat collar or scarf, set it with a dash of translucent pressed powder.
10. “Go dark with your makeup.”
Dark and stormy makeup colors aren’t mandatory just because the temperature has dropped. Personally, I love wearing brighter shades to offset the dreary weather — it becomes a breath of fresh air in more ways than one. Choose lipstick shades in a sheer formula for that extra oomph.