Let's name the things that we hate about winter. I'll go first: Having to bundle up to the point of barely being able to move; having less motivation to shave my legs; not being able to feel my face; and having an excuse to stay inside and watch Netflix. Wait, that last one was actually a plus. But I think you get the point. Adorable Olivia Pope-inspired outerwear aside, there's not a whole lot that winter is good for in terms of fashion and beauty. If you're in any of the states where we actually experience real winter (sorry, southern half of America) with its harsh temperatures and cold winds, then you understand that the cold itself isn't the worst part of the season. The cold air and Colorado lows are actually responsible for drying the air and sucking a whole lot of moisture from it, meaning that the air is sucking moisture out of everything else. Namely your skin and hair. Yeah, thanks a lot Colorado.
Despite having oily skin most of the year, between December and March my skin is totally parched about 75 percent of the time. Besides feeling tight and dry, it also gets flaky, scaly, and so itchy — I'm an absolute prize, I know. This winter, I've been honing my moisture-adding skills and am feeling zero fear about over-moisturizing. Seriously, I'm piling on the oils and pulling out all the stops to make sure that the winter doesn't get the best of my skin. When you live in a place that's colder than the surface of Mars, you gotta have a few tools in your beauty arsenal. Here's how I'm saving my skin and how you can, too:
1. TWO WORDS: FACE. OILS.
Having oily skin, I was nervous to add more oil to it and pictured the acne breakout of 2007 all over again. Well, adding oils can actually help regulate natural oil production so your fears of being shinier than Lady Gaga's Grammy's dress are totally unfounded. Face oils are also rad because they last longer due to being more concentrated and don't contain any alcohol or water in them — common ingredients in moisturizers that totally dry out your skin. Switching from a moisturizer to a face oil is a super easy swap out if you're looking to add more moisture into your routine.
2. COCONUT OIL SCRUB
Citrus Mistress Scrub, $15, Etsy
Perhaps one of my greatest achievements in winter soft skin is using a coconut oil scrub. Sugar or coffee grounds slough off dead, flaky skin and coconut oil adds moisture to your newly exposed skin cells. It's genius. If you do it in a warm(but not hot) shower or bath, you get extra deep moisturizing power. They're super easy to DIY if you're not into buying one — just create a paste of brown sugar or coffee grounds and melted coconut oil and go to town. It's gentle enough to use on your face, too but don't follow it up with facial oil afterwards. Your skin does need to breathe! And no matter how satisfying that scrubby abrasiveness is, don't be tempted into using coarse sea salt — salt's going to do the exact opposite thing you want.
Citrus Mistress Scrub, $15, etsy.com/shop/perknaturals
3. GET STEAMY
Steam is your best friend in the cooler months. Not only is anything warm completely welcome near my body, but steam can add moisture to your skin, open your pores to allow your moisturizer to penetrate more deeply — and steaming with with herbal blends are purported to add moisture, too. So, steam your faces but also steam your homes! You don't need a humidifier to help add moisture to the air and keep that greedy oxygen from stealing your glow. Setting bowls of water (I like to add vanilla and cinnamon or cedar and pine to mine) on radiators or above heaters is a great way to add some environmental moisture. You can also boil water in a kettle or pot until it's evaporated for a quick fix.
4. USE MOISTURIZING PRODUCTS ON YOUR HAIR
See that little pot above? It's my flyaway and frizz secret weapon. While its ultra-moisturizing oil blend is a godsend for my hands, cuticles, elbows, and scaly legs, it's also amazing for smoothing down flyaways and frizzy bits. The wax inside helps to form a protective barrier over your skin, but also means that it works exceptionally well as a styling product. Instead of spritzing your hair with drying chemicals to control your already stressed out strands, add moisture instead. Just a little tiny bit is enough, so this cutely-illustrated pot will last forever.
5. USE A MOISTURIZING FOUNDATION
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Creme Compact, $45, Neiman Marcus
Slathering your face in oil is all well and good as a moisturizing strategy, but if your cosmetics are just going to strip that moisture away, you're pretty much back at square one. Using cosmetics that are formulated to add moisture is your best chance at trapping in whatever moisture you've already added and creating a protective layer. Tinted moisturizer is the obvious choice here, but if you crave more coverage, there are plenty of foundations formulated for this explicit purpose.
Images: Fotolia; Courtesy Brands