Winter. Some of us love it, while some of us don’t, but one thing we might all agree on is that winter will dry the heck out of your skin. It can be tricky to figure out how to keep skin hydrated and happy through the cold, harsh winter months — adding an oil to your routine might be intimidating. Or you might add a heavier moisturizer but still feel dry.
We know it can be a challenge, so we’ve put together this winter routine just for you. Of course, each skin type needs different tweaks, but these guidelines can be applied to all skin types.
1. Keep cleansing super gentle.
Winter tends to weaken skin, so we like to keep our cleansing super gentle. We recommend a gentle micellar water or cleansing oil to remove makeup and grime gently, then following that with a hydrating cleanser with a low pH level. It’s really important to stick to something super gentle when removing makeup — we always recommend the double cleanse (using an oil-based cleanser first, then following that with a water-balanced cleanser) no matter the season, but we stress it particularly for these dry winter months.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. And, then, hydrate!
Here’s a thing about skin: it’s all about equilibrium. Your skin interacts with the environment, and it acts in a way where it wants to balance with the air. That means that, if you’re in a super dry climate, your skin will evaporate moisture to achieve equilibrium with its surroundings. It seems counterintuitive, and maybe it is, but that’s a weird thing skin does.
That’s why you need to pack your skin with hydration and get that hydration deep in all your layers of skin. Part of that comes from looking for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or aloe vera, but another part is making sure you’re layering on your products. The steps in the Korean skincare routine are arranged the way they are to maximize the level of hydration in your skin, and each step is preparing your skin for the next step. It’s especially important not to leave out any steps in the winter; your toner helps balance the pH level in your skin and introduces that first layer of hydration, then your essence floods your skin with hydration and makes it like a sponge, ready to soak up everything in your ampoules, serums, and moisturizers. The steps matter!
3. Supplement with oils and serums.
Winter tends to wreak havoc on skin, which can often lead to sensitized skin, no matter your skin type. Sensitized skin can easily become irritated skin, and irritated skin can increase things like acne and/or hyperpigmentation. Use serums that focus on calming and soothing skin; look for ingredients like centella asiatica extract or niacinamide.
We also recommend that you add a facial oil to your winter skin routine. Oils not only hydrate skin, but they also help lock that hydration in, so your skin isn’t evaporating all its vital moisture into the air. You might be thinking that makes sense for dry, flaky skin types but that it sounds counterintuitive for oily or acne-prone skin.
However, facial oils are good for all skin types, even oily types! The thing is that even oily skin can get dehydrated, and, when skin gets dehydrated, it increases sebum (oil) production, which leads to more oily skin and to more breakouts. That’s why, if you have an oily skin type, your skin might actually feel even more oily during the dry winter months, because it’s compensating for how dehydrated it really is. Using a facial oil actually helps regulate sebum production, so your skin can lock in hydration.
4. Switch to a moisturizer that’s intense and hydrating.
A moisturizer acts not only to, well, moisturize skin but, more importantly, to seal in all the hydration you’ve layered on with your toner, essence, serums, oils. Moisturizers include occlusives that create a barrier on top your skin, so all the goodness you’ve applied will actually stay in your skin instead of seeping out. It’s important to remember that your moisturizer should be another layer in your skincare routine, not the only or principle source of moisture — a moisturizer will hydrate, yes, but it is most effective when it’s layered on top a hydrating toner, essence, serum, and/or oil, especially in these dry, winter months.
5. Take advantage of the regenerative power of sleep.
As you sleep, your body goes to work, helping to repair any damage sustained during the day and heal and restore. When it comes to skin, we like supporting that process along by using a sleeping pack, which is often a thicker cream you apply to your face as the last step in your skincare routine instead of a moisturizer and wash off in the morning. While you sleep, the hydrating, rich ingredients in these sleeping packs will seep into your skin, giving your body’s automatic regenerative power a boost.
And don’t forget about those lips! We recommend exfoliating lips with a sugar scrub 2 or 3 times a week and using a lip mask overnight!
And, as always, never forget your sunscreen! Even though the sun might not be as bright or strong as it is in the summer, the sun is still there, emitting UV rays that can harm your skin, so make sure you’re applying your favorite sunscreen every morning and reapplying throughout the day!