Sunday, January 25, 2015

How To: Change Up Your Skincare Routine For Winter

How To: Change Up Your Skincare Routine For Winter

Hello, friends! As some of you may know, winter is my least favorite season. It gets dark earlier, snow is inconvenient, and it's cold. In my opinion, winter is completely overrated, and some days I just want to pack up and move to California. However, being that not all of us can live in a warm and sunny part of the country, today I have rounded up my favorite products that help me survive the winter. (I go to school in New England, so I'm pretty much an expert at this point).

These are the tried-and-true tips that I live by to get me through winter, which can feel like 6 months out of the year if you live in Boston. But enough about that--let's get to the good stuff!

You lie awake in bed, contemplating a plan to get out of whatever responsibilities you have that day. You slowly slide off the covers, shivering at the brisk air that hits your skin. You wince as your feet touch the cold floor, and hobble over to the sink. You catch a glance at your face in the mirror and cringe...

The problem: Your skin looks dry and flaky.

Try: Exfoliating!

1) Use a facial scrub: Scrubs are often the easiest thing to get your hands on to exfoliate. Not all scrubs are created equal, so it's also tricky finding one that works for your skin and is gentle enough not to irritate. I like the VASANTI BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator ($34 for 4.23oz) that I got in my July Birchbox. I have better luck with different methods of exfoliation, but everyone has different skin and different preferences.

How To: Change Up Your Skincare Routine For Winter - Vasanti BrightenUp
Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator ($34 for 4.23oz)

2. Get a Clarisonic: If you're going to buy a cleansing brush, just get a Clarisonic. The reason the Clarisonic is so popular is because it uses a different technology than all of the knock-offs. It oscillates, rather than simply rotating or vibrating, which makes a big difference in getting the dirt/dead skin cells/gross stuff out of your pores. When I got my CLARISONIC Mia 2 ($149) [read: full review], my skin changed drastically for the better and became a whole lot clearer and smoother. If a Clarisonic isn't in your budget, I would rather you just use a washcloth or muslin cloth, which will pretty much give the same effect as a knock-off cleansing brush.

How To: Change Up Your Skincare Routine For Winter - Clarisonic
Clarisonic Mia 2 ($149 for a starter kit)

3) Use a chemical exfoliant: I know the words "chemical exfoliation" sound scary and harsh, but it's really not! Using products with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid or lactic acid) or BHAs (salicylic acid) can help take off the layer of dead skin and reveal the fresh, new skin underneath. If your skin is feeling particularly dry, try an AHA, which helps exfoliate the surface of the skin. If you find that you're struggling with blackheads, try a BHA, which will penetrate deep into the pores and get rid of that nasty stuff. I recommend Paula's Choice products for either of these, because Paula Begoun is the queen of chemical exfoliation. Right now I'm using the PAULA'S CHOICE 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($26 for 4oz) [read: October 2014 Favorites], though there are different variations of strengths and different textures depending on your skin type/preference.

How To: Change Up Your Skincare Routine For Winter - Paula's Choice 2% BHA
Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($26 for 4oz)

Note: I don't like to use just one type of exfoliation. I tend to have all three in rotation and choose something depending on what my skin needs that day. Some days (though very few), I won't use any of these. The trick is discovering how often your skin needs to be exfoliated, because some people need to exfoliate once a day, while others once a week, or somewhere in between. 

The problem: Your skin feels dry and tight.

Try: Adding more hydration!

1) Switch to a heavier moisturizer: Often times, the lightweight lotions we use in the summer won't cut it once it gets cold outside. This doesn't necessarily mean you need to use the thickest cream on the market--in fact, for some people, that would only result in clogged pores--but something that provides more hydration than what you're using now. Right now I'm using the ADOVIA Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Cream ($29 for 1.7oz) [read: full reviewand I'm really happy with it. I'm actually almost out!

How To: Change Up Your Skincare Routine For Winter - Adovia Night Cream
Adovia Intensive Anti-Wrinkle Cream ($29 for 1.7oz)

2) Add a drop of oil to your moisturizer: Perhaps heavy cream moisturizers aren't your cup of tea, or you're looking to keep your lightweight moisturizer. One tip I really like is to add 1-2 drops of my favorite face oil to my moisturizer, both day and night. I really like the JOSIE MARAN 100% Pure Argan Oil ($48 for 1.7oz) [read: January 2014 Favorites], because it doesn't have a strong fragrance, so it's less likely to irritate the skin. Another favorite is the TARTE Maracuja Oil ($46 for 1.7oz). If you're on a budget, you can find pure facial oils on Amazon and at Whole Foods by other brands. Though I haven't tried them, they're on my list, because if I can get the same effect for cheaper, you know I will. (Just a hint, if you're looking for Maracuja Oil, you can find it under Passion Fruit Seed Oil).

Note: I'm not a fan of using facial oils by themselves as moisturizers, even if you find they're hydrating enough, since you're only getting the benefits that one individual oil provides. If you use a well-made moisturizer and just add in oil, you're more likely to get the antioxidants and vitamins that your skin needs to be healthy.

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil ($48 for 1.7oz)

3) Use hydrating makeup: Your skin can always use an extra barrier from the wind!

Primer: Even if you're not a believer in primers, the SMASHBOX Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer ($42 for 1oz) [read: October 2013 Favorites] is great for adding an extra layer of moisture to dry skin. This isn't a silicone primer, so you won't get the smoothing effects you would with other primers, but instead has a cool, gel-like consistency that makes it really comfortable to wear. It feels just like applying another lightweight moisturizer, and will make it easier to apply makeup over skin that typically has a rough texture and/or dry patches.

How To: Change Up Your Skincare Routine For Winter - Smashbox Hydrating Primer
Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer ($42 for 1oz)

Tinted Moisturizer or BB Cream: If you're not looking for a lot of coverage, I highly recommend using a tinted moisturizer or BB cream (the terms are basically interchangeable to me). Something lightweight that will add hydration to your face is ideal. If you have a hydrating foundation that you like, go for it, but anything that promises "no shine" or a "matte finish" is your enemy here. I'm personally a fan of the MAYBELLINE Dream-Fresh 8-in-1 Beauty Balm ($7 for 1oz) [read: 2013 Makeup Favorites]. It adds light, natural coverage that evens your skintone out a bit, while adding some much-needed hydration, making it skincare and makeup in one.

How To: Change Up Your Skincare Routine For Winter - Maybelline BB Cream
Maybelline Dream Fresh 8-in-1 Beauty Balm ($7 for 1oz)

Note: If you're not looking to buy a new foundation, take a tip from above and add a drop of facial oil to your (full-coverage or matte) foundation

The problem: You wake up feeling dry.

Try: A humidifer!

In the winter, sometimes you might feel like you have to choose between being warm and being hydrated. When you turn the heat on, that can draw moisture out of the air. When you keep the heat off, you freeze (and so do your pipes). A humidifer's job is to keep a certain moisture level in the air, meaning you can have the heat on and feel comfortable, too. I generally like to keep my humidifer on when I'm asleep, somewhere around 45%-50%. I have one by Air Innovations that my mother got from one of the home shopping channels. It also has helped my breathing, and prevents me from getting nosebleeds, so it's an all-around good thing to have.

Note: Target has TWO humidifiers in the shape of a penguin, in case you were wondering.

Problem: You followed all these steps and your skin still feels dry!

Try: Taking a look at the ingredients list! (you knew it was coming, folks!)

1) Eliminate bad alcohols from your skincare regimen! 

Often times you'll see toners, masks, and peels with drying alcohols in them. Sometimes, it's the only way another ingredient can stay stable, but sometimes it's just plain stupid. If you're struggling to retain moisture in your skin, and you realize one of your regular products contains denatured alcohol (alcohol denat), ethanol, isopropyl, methanol, or ethyl alcohol, try giving it a rest for little awhile. You might realize that was your problem all along.

Note: Keep in mind that not all alcohols are bad! Fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol (sometimes derived from coconuts) and stearyl alcohol can actually be helpful to dry skin, often acting as emolients or thickeners in creams and such.

2) Eliminate sulfates from your skincare regiment! 

Not to say that sulfates are "omg worst thing ever," but they can be quite drying to the skin. You'll often find them in cleansers, though I've seen them stupidly placed in moisturizers for no reason I can identify. Sulfates are cleansing agents, kind of like soap. Like a bar of soap, they can be drying to the skin, and don't do much to replace that moisture. Try switching to a sulfate-free cleanser for awhile and see how that works for you. I recommend SKINN COSMETICS Olive & Enzyme Rich Cleanser ($24 for 4oz) [read: 2013 Skincare Favorites] or PHILOSOPHY Purity Made Simple Cleanser ($24 for 8oz) [read: 2014 Skincare Favorites]. If you're looking for a cleansing balm, try LIZ EARLE Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser ($33 for 3.3oz) [read: October 2013 Birchbox]. All three of these are very creamy in texture, so they don't leave your skin feeling stripped. Plus, they're all amazing at getting off makeup!

How To: Change Up Your Skincare Routine For Winter - Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish
Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser ($33 for 3.3oz)

That's all for today, folks. I actually had to cut this post in half, since it was getting way too long. Let me know if you'd be interested in a part two!

What are your secrets to keeping your skin healthy in the cold winter weather?

Want to see more posts on skincare? Click here!

Click here to see me whine about ingredients some more!

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Disclaimer: I purchased all of these with my own money. Not sponsored. I did not invent winter.