I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it's time to face facts: Summer is about to draw to a close. As we get ready for autumn's approach, there's plenty of amazing things to look forward to: the cool, crisp air, pumpkin-flavored everything, and the chance to wear cute jackets and boots again. Unfortunately I'm not looking forward to some not-so-amazing things suddenly appearing on the horizon, such as the colder weather's impact on my skin.
I mean, sure: It will be nice to not have to worry about constantly arming myself with powder and blotting sheets in order to fight an alarmingly shiny face every time I go outside, and to not have my eyeliner and mascara and eye shadow smudging all over because even my eyelids seem to be sweating. Instead, however, I'm going to have to worry about barely even being able to wear makeup because my skin is so dry and irritated from the cold weather and moisture-sucking heaters. Personally, I'd take that effortless summer glow over blotchy, flaking skin any day. Since I don't actually have a choice in the matter, however, I'm preparing my skin for the new season as best as I can.
If you, too, suffer from dry skin in the winter or you just want to update your skincare routine once the summer is over, here's some advice that I can share from my own experience as well as some tips from expert Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection.
1. Add a serum.
In the summer I can get away with using just one moisturizer but in the winter I like to layer as many hydrating products as possible. Layering a serum underneath a heavy night cream is a great idea because it can really target a lot of skin care issues while feeling much lighter than wearing two heavy moisturizing creams at once. I like to switch between H20 Plus Oasis Moisture Boost Serum and First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum for a double dose of soothing hydration.
2. Switch to a heavier night cream.
This is a pretty obvious solution, but remember: Just because a moisturizer is thick and heavy doesn't necessarily mean it's going to deliver lasting hydration to your skin. I love this Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream because it is thick and hydrating but it doesn't feel greasy and it actually works. I can even use it in the morning without worrying about my face feeling oily during the day. It combines antioxidants and a blend of six African oils (plus no artificial fragrance or irritants) for a powerful, soothing moisturizer. I put this on top of my serum and wake up with hydrated skin the next morning. Vargas suggests adding a lotion that contains soothing shea or cocoa butters. "They melt at body temperature so they go right into the skin and stay there all day, so you don't end up feeling dry halfway through the day," she explains.
3. Try facial oils.
I also like to use facial oils when I really need to break out the big guns. I like Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil and Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Facial Oil but you can even just use your favorite organic oil from any health food store or grocery store. Jojoba oil, rosehip oil, and almond oil are all great choices (and you can mix your own blend if you like). Vargas is partial to avocado oil, because it "contains so many amazing vitamins for the skin and lymphatic system, so it will depuff, hydrate and soothe the skin." Use oils on their own or pat them gently on top of your moisturizer before bed.
4. Use a gentle, hydrating cleanser.
Nothing upsets my skin faster than using a harsh cleanser in the winter so it's important to me to always have a gentle, hydrating cleanser on hand. Right now I'm using Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser and am very happy with it; it makes my skin feel clean and soft without making it feel dry or irritated.
5. Stock up on face masks
Another thing that irritates my skin in the winter is hot showers, but I'm certainly not going to start taking cold showers when it's freezing outside. Instead I put on a hydrating, soothing face mask before I get in the shower. This protects my sensitive facial skin from the hot water as well as giving it plenty of hydration, so I don't have to worry about stepping out of the shower with red, dry skin. A few of my favorite brands for sheet masks are Skinfood, TonyMoly, and Sephora.
6. Look for makeup that offers a "dewy" or "glowing" finish.
Oftentimes makeup doesn't look good on my skin in the winter because my skin gets so dry. I counteract that by only wearing creamy makeup that promises "glowing," "dewy," or "luminous" skin. A few of my favorite products are NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter for highlighting, Japonesque Luminous Foundation for full coverage, and Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm for lighter coverage. These all make my skin look bright and luminous even if I forgot to moisturize that day.
7. Use a humidifier.
In addition to switching up your products, Vargas suggests using a humidifier in the bedroom. "It will add just enough moisture to the environment to give your skin the chance to do some real healing." If you're nervous about bacteria buildup in a bigger humidifier, Vargas recommends a mini version that attaches to a water bottle.
8. Try some DIY.
Colder weather generally means more time indoors, which makes fall the perfect opportunity to test out some DIY skin care recipes. Vargas shared a great one: "The best skin care tip I can recommend is something I learned when my son had eczema as a baby. To this day it is my family secret for healing dry, sensitive skin. Boil a large pot of water with one cup of chamomile tea leaves and one cup of rosemary. Cook these for 15 minutes. Then strain and add this water to your bath. Not only will you feel relaxed from your day, this potion will soothe your skin like nothing else. Dry patches and redness will disappear overnight!" I don't know about you, but I suddenly can't wait for it to get colder so I can try that out.
Images: Kelly Dougher (6); Courtesy Brands; Dung Pham Hoang Tuan/Moment/Getty Images