You’ve probably already swapped your light layers for knitwear, invested in a new pair of winter boots, and hauled your coat collection out of storage. But have you thought much about your winter beauty essentials? With cold season officially in full swing, don’t wait for the new year to refine your winter beauty routine.
Thanks to more fluctuations in temperatures, reduced humidity, and increased time spent indoors, the colder months can call for a more hands-on approach to your beauty routine—especially if your skin and hair are already prone to sensitivity and dryness.
Winter skincare (and bodycare, and haircare) is all about ditching the lightweight layers for richer, thicker ones that offer more nourishing hydration, cleansing gently, exfoliating regularly, and leaning into 2023’s biggest beauty buzzword—’the skin barrier’. Your winter beauty routine calls for rich cream, balm, and oil textures, products that keep your skin and hair protected from the elements, and active ingredients that will help you to address concerns like uneven skin tone and texture.
Below, I’ve curated the ultimate list of winter beauty essentials to keep you hydrated and protected from top to toe. Your winter beauty routine just got a whole lot easier.
As an esthetician, I see first hand the dramatic change that happens in my clients’ skin from the start of November. The impact of winter upon skin doesn’t always manifest in the obvious ways—dry and flaky skin. Increased redness, sensitivity, and texture, a feeling of tightness, dull skin, and deeper-looking lines and wrinkles are all signs that skin is suffering from seasonal changes.
“Adding hydrators in the drier winter months to plump skin and lock in moisture, whilst protecting and improving the skin barrier is essential,” says facial aesthetics doctor, Maryam Zamani. If you’re not already clued up on exactly what the skin barrier is, think of it as the wall that protects your skin, keeping moisture in and irritants like bacteria and pollutants out. Layering hydrating toners and serums will help to pack moisture into the skin, but it’s important to use an occlusive such as a thick cream or oil to support the skin barrier and keep them locked in. When choosing winter skincare products, look out for ingredients like ceramides (which strengthen the skin barrier) as well as popular hydrators like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
“Winter is the perfect time to help diminish pigmentation and uneven skin tone, address photo-damage caused from UVA/B rays and shed old skin for a beautiful, wintery glow,” adds Zamani. “This is the time to introduce retinol into the routine to gently peel the skin and eradicate damage caused during the summer.” Many experts advocate this approach of using active ingredients like retinoids and exfoliating acids during the winter. It’s the perfect time of year to focus on exfoliation or to book a chemical peel so you can work on treating conditions like hyperpigmentation, which may have been worsened by sun exposure during the summer.
Specifically formulated to repair the skin’s barrier function via a blend of amino acids and vitamins, this nourishing cream works to calm, soothe, strengthen, and desensitise skin.
This spray-on milky toner doesn’t just refresh and hydrate skin, it also delivers a potent hit of ceramides to help prevent moisture loss.
End your evening skincare routine by applying a facial oil. Not only a relaxing and indulgent experience, but also the best way to seal in moisture and soften skin that’s feeling tight and dry.
Cleansing with an oil is not only an incredibly effective way to break down and remove makeup and SPF, but will leave skin feeling soft and comfortable instead of stripping moisture.
If even the thickest creams and serums aren’t working to nourish and moisturise your dry skin, take a different approach. Swallowing two omega supplements a day means you can help to keep your skin moisturised from within. What’s more, this will help with dry skin all over your body, too.
When regular lip balms aren’t cutting it, only a lip mask will do. Apply this indulgent pudding-like treatment overnight to restore plumpness to parched, chapped lips.
Just as we show TLC to our facial skin during the winter months, it’s important to take the same approach when it comes to winter body care. Whether you’re prone to dryness or oily skin, the skin of our bodies usually follows suit of our facial skin, and as most people experience an increase in dryness during the winter months, now is the time of year to amp up your bodycare routine.
Start in shower, with gentle non-stripping body washes, and with scrubs or acid-based exfoliants that will help to smooth and soften areas of dry, rough skin. Post-shower, focus on moisture—again, look out for ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid, as well as plant oils and squalane to nourish. Whether you opt for a body serum, cream, or oil (or all of the above), pack the moisture on as soon as you’re out of the shower to prevent that uncomfortable feeling of tight skin.
Thanks to its thick gel texture and nourishing formula, this scrub doesn’t feel harsh or too abrasive. It’s perfect for smoothing and softening rough, dry patches.
Body oils have a bad rep for being sticky and greasy, but this one is quite the opposite. The silky, ‘dry’ oil texture provides intensive moisture but absorbs quickly and never leaves unwanted residue. Plus, it smells amazing.
Body creams and lotions may work through the rest of the year, but if your skin is particularly dry, only a body butter will do. This has a rich, creamy texture which feels comforting and indulgent to apply—especially if skin is feeling tight and rough to touch.
This nourishing multipurpose balm can be used to soothe and repair cracked, dry skin anywhere on the body—but it makes for a particularly good overnight hand mask.
Keep on top of dry, rough skin on a daily basis with this glycolic acid-based body wash. The powerful chemical exfoliant works by breaking down and removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface.
Used either on its own as an alternative to thick creams, or layered beneath a body moisturiser, this gel-textured serum feels soothing and calming, and will help to pack moisture into skin.
You might not think that your haircare routine needs changing seasonally, but it does—the changes in temperature and humidity play just as much havoc with our hair and scalp. “if your hair care has stopped working, your hair needs may well have changed,” says hair stylist, Sam McKnight. “In winter, hair needs more moisture and your focus will be on fighting frizz.” Hair that feels dry, coarse, and brittle, and a dry, flaky scalp are all signs that you may need to switch up your haircare routine.
““If hair is fragile or brittle, or you want to prevent frizz, avoid rubbing the hair—when it’s wet, it’s at its most fragile so always towel dry gently,” McKnight advises. “Squeeze hair lightly with a towel, as close to the head as possible, and move down towards the ends. Then, detangle with a wide tooth comb or detangling brush with flexible wide teeth. And finally, bear in mind that changes in clothing – coats, jumpers, scarves and hats – cause friction and can lead to frizz.”
“Hair treatment masks are essential for those whose hair needs extra moisture, repair or strength,” says McKnight. “Apply to just-washed hair, combing it through to distribute evenly, then leave on for at least five minutes. It’s the ultimate moisture shot for strands.”
Used once a week, this scrub will help to remove dry, flaky skin or product residue buildup from the scalp.
Like a green juice for your hair, this intensive treatment is packed with nutrients and proven to make hair 50% stronger in just one use.
Hair feeling dry, thin, and brittle? This leave-in mask works overtime to repair and restore broken bonds, leaving hair stronger and smoother with continued use.
The ultimate indulgent treat for dry, coarse hair, Oribe’s cult oil smooths frizz, softens dry ends, and adds a boost of shine.
If you’re experiencing a dry scalp and suspect your shampoo may be to blame, swap it out for a co-wash instead. This shampoo-conditioner hybrid works to cleanse and moisturise hair in one step, and without stripping or irritating sensitive scalps.