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You woke up this morning and, seemingly out of nowhere, your skin feels dry, looks scaly, and fine lines are more visible than ever.
No, you didn’t age ten years overnight. Winter showed up!
With winter comes a swift decline in humidity, which “steals” moisture from our skin almost instantly. This can change the texture of our skin overnight – and from there, if we don’t have the right strategies in place, it can feel like playing catch-up until spring arrives.
There ARE strategies that can keep your skin supple and moisturized during the winter, however. Here are my secrets that I’ve refined over the years – with some brand-new favorites!
The summary: use oils (& give them superpowers), use an overnight moisture mask, and improve the structure of your skin to help it hold on to moisture all day.
- Use oils – and give them super-powers.
Think creams are enough to moisturize? Think again.
I’ve been ringing this bell for almost a decade now. Oils are a MUST for healthy, moisturized skin!
Oils nourish the lipid layer of our skin, which is largely responsible for our skin’s ability to “hold on” to moisture! Even the thickest cream can’t do the job of a nourishing oil.
In fact, creams work better when an oil is a main part of your skincare routine!
Even the most affordable oils can make a difference – you can find great ones like jojoba, rose hip seed, and borage oils at places like Whole Foods.
And don’t stop there! Give your oils super-powers by adding a potent, pure “active ingredient” to them!
My top active ingredient for dry winter skin is called ceramides. Ceramides are a key oil-soluble component of your skin’s lipid layer and can really help banish dry skin for good. Most products that contain them don’t use enough to make a difference – that’s why you should add them yourself.
Bonus – they’re so affordable when you buy them straight from the distributor!
I use 1/2 gram of ceramides for every ounce of oil (approximately).
Gently heat your oils by pouring them in to a glass dish set in hot (not boiling!) water, then add ceramides and dissolve. When dissolved, pour your oils back in their container (a mini-spatula and mini-funnel help) and use normally!
I use my ceramide oils once a day during the winter.
If using moisturizing creams in addition to your oils, experiment with using oils before or after to see which works best for you.
(Exception: if you’re using the Countermatch line, always use the Serum and Adaptive Moisture Lotion before any other product- see #3.)
The key here is consistency. Using oils will continue to improve your skin each time you use them.
2. Use an overnight moisture mask.
This has been a game-changer for me: the Beautycounter Cleansing Balm, used as an overnight “moisture mask” applied right before bed a few times each week (after my normal skincare routine).
This mask uses ingredients that allow your skin to “breathe” while still sealing in moisture and conditioning your skin.
This treatment provides the fastest results of any product I’ve tried. It’s simply phenomenal, and one of the top investments I’ve made for my skin.
While the product itself is expensive, you need at most a pea-sized amount for your moisture mask. It will easily last the entire winter and beyond.
3. Improve the structure of your skin.
This is a “bonus” step, but one that has truly amazed me.
For a long time, I felt that oils were the one and only “missing piece” for improving the skin’s structure.
When Beautycounter released its Countermatch line, I was intrigued. Their bio-mimic technology uses plants to replicate and “donate” the most important components of the structure of healthy skin – nutrients like squalane from olives and arginine from beet root – to progressively improve your skin’s structure over time.
This technology also maintains optimal levels of hydration on the skin for a full day – unlike most creams, whose moisture properties peak almost immediately.
Since using the Countermatch Intensive Moisture Serum with the Adaptive Moisture Lotion, I’ve seen some of my biggest winter challenges improve: my skin tone is more consistent, no “lizard skin” in sight, and my pores are much smaller.
(The full Countermatch Collection also includes a night cream and eye cream for those interested.)
Need to choose just one? Ask yourself this question: what do I need most?
Do you need an instant intervention? Try the Cleansing Balm.
Are you ready to add a daily step to help your skin hold moisture? Try oils.
Do you think you need deeper help in improving your skin’s structure? Try the Countermatch line.
As with any new skincare product or routine, start slow and spot test!
And one more thing!
The final dry winter skin must-have is a good HUMIDIFIER.
Run it throughout the night to keep your skin from giving up more moisture to the dry air.
The challenge: most humidifiers have bright lights that run all night long – NOT ideal for quality sleep.
I own this humidifier, which has an “off” setting for all lights, but it’s pricey and rarely in stock. If you’ve got a recommendation for a lights-off humidifier, let me know in the comments below!
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