Winter challenges your skin and makeup more than any other season. Here, what you need to know to give your skin the extra care and attention it needs, plus tips on beauty products for achieving the right winter look. From Riku Campo author of Best in Beauty: An Ultimate Guide to Make Up and Skincare Techniques, Tools, and Products
The change of seasons is always refreshing, but winter challenges the skin and makeup more than any of the other seasons. Cold temperatures, snowy weather, heated rooms, and excessive hot showers to warm you up (which, unfortunately, also dry your skin) all make your skin need extra care and attention.
The biggest problem is dry skin on the face, hands, and knees, and sometimes all over the body. The best advice is to moisturize. And moisturize.
Sometimes the dryness can turn into eczema. In that case you must turn to a dermatologist, who can help you choose the right skin care products. You can also use 0.1% hydracortisone once a week on the areas that are really dry, irritated, and itchy. Eczema is genetic and is most aggressive in winter.
The indoor heat along with the cold outdoor temperature makes your skin drier, no matter what your skin type is.
Dry skin: Use a facial serum or oil under a thicker-formula moisturizer.
Oily Skin: Use an oil-free serum and oil-free moisturizer.
Combination skin: Use oil-free products on the T‑zone and a thicker moisturizer on the cheeks, which get drier in the wintertime.
Sometimes those with oily skin should protect their skin with slightly creamier face products, especially against extremely cold temperatures and wind. Look for oil-based moisturizers (including almond, jojoba, or avocado oil) that don’t clog the pores. Sometimes you might get whiteheads (tiny white cysts containing lamellated keratin that a dermatologist or esthetician can take out with a tiny needle) around your eye area or on your cheeks.
If you have dry skin, you must avoid water as much as you can; take short showers, and wash your face with a cleansing milk. And everyone should drink more water (or hot green tea) in the wintertime.
Many times dry skin gets flakes on the eyelids and cheeks and around the lip area. The best way to get rid of them is to exfoliate the skin right after showering, when the skin is still soft. After that apply a thick layer of a cream-based hydration mask all over your face. Leave it on for five minutes, then press a tissue on your face and let it absorb the mask. Don’t scrub your face; just gently tap it with the tissue so you get all the extra mask off your face.
Do this in the evening, and by morning your skin will be much softer. You can use the same method on superdry lips: exfoliate your lips and the skin around them with an exfoliating cream or lip scrub (many cosmetic manufacturers make lip spa products with scrubs and various kind of balms and sealing creams).
You can also put a damp hand towel in a microwave for three minutes to heat it and then press it on your lips for a minute to soften the skin, then scrub the dead skin off gently with the towel.
Note: Scrubbing the lips with a toothbrush is really hard on them and can actually break the skin.
Slightly richer foundations are better than tinted moisturizers because there is more to cover on your skin in the winter (uneven areas on the nose, cheeks, and eyelids).
You must use SPF/UVA/UVB protection all year round. The sun that reflects from the snow is as strong as the sun that reflects from water. So choose a day cream with at least SPF 15, or a foundation with SPF. Skin is also paler in the winter, so you must use a wintertime base.
Powder is needed all over the face for oily skin. Those with combination and dry skin should use powder on the T‑area only to set the base. If your skin is dry and flaky, don’t use any base product, just a face oil and your protecting SPF 15 face cream (but you can still use mascara and tinted lip balm).
Most cosmetic companies launch autumn/winter collections full of darker shades for eye and lip makeup colors; dark grays, plums, burgundies, deep Spanish reds, and dark chocolate browns. That is because the fall/winter fashion shows give the direction to the makeup world as well. But there are no rules for which colors to use on a seasonal basis. Most of the products are matte and simply look better in winter: more dramatic and deeper hues that go hand in hand with fall/winter fashions. But remember that what works on the runway does not always work in real life.
If you love pastels in winter, go for them. Keep in mind, though, that if your face is pale, pastel colors will create a washed-out look that is not flattering; light pastel eye and lip makeup looks better on tanned skin, which is why pastels are very popular in the summer. For a cool-tone winter look, wear deeper colors on your eyes and give your lips a matte fuchsia tone instead of light icy pink. Or use some color on your eyes and keep your lips pale .
Mascara should be waterproof; rain, snow, and going from outdoor to indoor temperatures will make regular mascara run. You don’t always have to use black mascara; try brown, blue, or green. Water-resistant eye pencil is excellent; because it’s made of waxes, it will stay through the rain. Water-resistant liquid eyeliners are good but don’t necessarily stay well because of their flakiness. There are some special eye makeup sealing products that you can apply on top of the eyeliner to make it hold longer. But an umbrella will do a better job in the end. I have also used water-resistant mascara as eyeliner, and sometimes it stays better than most of the real waterproof liners.
Cracked lips are the number one problem in winter. If your lips are superdry, skip the lipstick and use tinted lip balm, which is available in many different colors. The pigmentation is not that high, but you will get smooth, healthy-looking lips with a beautiful sheen. Make sure the balm has SPF and UVA/UVB protection. Exfoliate your lips regularly throughout the cold months. That way you will get rid of the dry flakes on the surface of your lips.
If you want a more dramatic winter look, fair skin looks really good with well-lined red lips, darker skin with well-lined deep brown or deeper cool reds. More moisturizing, richer-formula lip glosses are welcome products in the winter when the temperature drops below 0° Celsius. But on a really cold day, skip the glosses and use tinted lip balms. They protect and moisturize your lips the best.
Blush is a key item to the winter makeup look. It really gives some color to your skin and wakes up your whole face. Use the powder formulas, which sit better than gel or cream blushes. The color of your blush is completely your own choice; again, if you have a cool-tone look, use pink; for a warm tone, it can be peach, warm sand, or terracotta. The only color I would leave out are bronzes. They really don’t look great in winter.
Hands and Nails
Keep your hands moisturized. You can even sleep with cotton gloves on after applying a thick layer of hand cream to your hands. In the morning your hands and cuticles will be soft and moisturized.
Darker nail colors look trendy in the winter. You can buy a lipstick to match with your nail color because cosmetic companies launch the looks that way. It will always give a very sophisticated, mature look.
I have oily skin in the summer, and in the winter it’s dry. How can I make my skin behave in a more balanced manner from season to season?
Ole Henriksen answers: It’s not unusual for an oily/eruption-prone skin to become surface dry in the winter season. Two things cause this: the products used to normalize the oily skin, and the dry indoor heating plus outdoor freezing temperatures. A mistake that many people with oily skin make is to use products with too many drying agents in every product they use.
This is not necessary. It creates a dry surface mantle and potentially more oil flow below the skin surface, which can cause blemishes. Balance is the key here, using a blend of oil-free formulations with humectants such as algae, aloe vera, sorbitol, and glycerin, combined with cell-proliferating and purifying extracts such as sugar maple, sugarcane, lemon peel, and lactic acid, and finally reparative antioxidants such as vitamin C, superoxide dismutase, green tea, and African red tea. In addition, an antiblemish stick containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, bentonite, and kaolin is a must for this skin type. So the answer is to use products that contain the right blend of active ingredients and have a light texture.
Is Vaseline good for my lips in the winter?
Vaseline used on its own isn’t thick enough to stay on the lips for long periods, but if incorporated into a lip balm formulation it works well. For people who may not like the fact that Vaseline is a mineral oil extract, there are other extracts that work just as effectively at keeping lips soft and nourished, such as jojoba seed oil, mango seed butter, carnauba wax, and cranberry seed oil.
Use a humidifier to add moisture to your indoor space if you have to use drying central heating. Put one in your bedroom, and you will notice the difference in your skin in the morning, especially when using face serum and night cream. Your skin will be softer and moister.
If you have very dry skin, use soap-free body wash instead of a soap bar when showering.
You can use a thicker-formula face cream (at least 60% oil) as your night cream. The same cream works as a deep-moisturizing face mask: just apply a thicker layer of the cream all over your face, except in the eye area. Keep it on the face for 10 to 15 minutes, and then press a tissue on the face to absorb the extra oils from the skin. Do this in the evening, and your skin will be moist, especially if you have the humidifier in your bedroom.
If you have sensitive skin, use a protective barrier moisturizer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Riku Campo, author of Best in Beauty: An Ultimate Guide to Make Up and Skincare Techniques, Tools, and Products, lives in Los Angeles, where he has established himself as the makeup go-to guy for some of today’s most celebrated models and entertainers. For more information, visit www.rikucampo.com.
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