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If someone asked you what you enjoy about winter, who remembers saying “brisk walks on a cold winter’s day”? Well, we’re in the middle of a cold snap during the longest month ever, and many of us are trying to make the most of the lack of rain (for now) by getting outside and going for walks. With the cold weather can come dry, sore, tight skin, but don’t worry, even though it’s absolutely Baltic at the moment, I have my army of winter skincare essentials that help my skin stay hydrated, nourished and protected during the winter. And as this is my biggest skin concern at this time of the year, I focus on it every morning and evening.
With a combination of a drop in temperatures, the central heating being on longer than usual, and the air being dryer, these factors can all affect the skin, sucking the moisture out of it and damaging the skin’s barrier. As someone with sensitive skin and prone to bouts of rosacea, this is where I really have to amp up my skincare and here are the winter skincare products that I rate. I’m currently trialling out some new skincare products that I’ll share soon, and I know already that I’ll be adding two of them to this list, but as I’m still testing them out, I want to focus on the products I’ve used for years.
At the end of autumn, I usually switch up my cleansers anyway, opting for slightly richer cream cleansers instead of gel or foaming ones. When cleansing during the winter, we mustn’t strip or dry out our skin when removing makeup, dirt or grime.
When removing my makeup, I love oil cleansers like the Trilogy Rosehip Transforming Cleansing Oil (€26.95), which I use on my face and eyes, and it transforms into a milk when you add water to it. It nourishes and cleanses the skin with rosehip, sweet almond and grapeseed oils, leaving my skin feeling clean and soft.
My already sensitive skin can go into overdrive in the colder weather. A cleanser that has been a staple all year round for me is the Avene Tolerance Extremely Gentle Cleanser (€16.50). I love this because I don’t have to use water with it, and sometimes, when my skin is irritated and uncomfortable, using something as gentle as this is just what it needs. I apply it to dry skin, working it into it for 60 seconds (that’s how long I use all of my cleansers) before removing it with a cotton pad or cloth. The Tolerance range is the business for anyone with sensitive skin.
Another cleanser that I use every winter is the Trilogy Rosehip Cream Cleanser (€26.95). I can use it morning and evening, and again, I like that I can remove it with a cotton pad or with warm water and a cloth. Thanks to rosehip seed and sweet almond oil, it gives my skin a great cleanse without stripping it. It leaves my skin feeling soft, nourished, hydrated and ready for the rest of my skincare routine.
I keep things simple when it comes to my serums, opting for ones that will hydrate, repair and protect my skin’s barrier. These are the ones I recommend as part of your winter skincare routine and you’ll see why they’re winter skincare essentials for me.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m never without a bottle of the Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Serum (€43.00) because it helps keep my skin hydrated beautifully. As with all of my serums, I apply it to damp skin and lock it into place with either a moisturiser or facial oil. Because this has different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, it hydrates on the surface level and at a deeper level.
Another effective hydrating serum that works well on my skin is the Vichy Mineral 89 (€27.50/50ml). It has a lightweight gel consistency, which absorbs into my skin quickly, and what makes this unique is that it contains Vichy’s Mineralizing Thermal Water, which is clinically proven to strengthen the skin’s barrier function, and that’s what we need during the winter!
For my skin to stand a chance against the harsh winter weather and central heating, having my skin barrier nice and healthy is a must. It means my skin can retain moisture better and is less prone to irritation. Sasta Microbiome Booster Serum (€45.00) is a beautiful serum that contains prebiotics and postbiotics to repair the skin’s barrier by helping to reduce redness and inflammation (which my skin is prone to after a winter walk), boosting hydration and diminishing pigmentation. Pigmentation isn’t my main concern at the moment. Still, the fact that this serum tackles that, along with reducing the signs of premature ageing and balancing the skin’s natural pH level, means that this is an excellent multifunctional serum with many skin benefits.
It’s vital to lock in our serums with a moisturiser, and in the winter months, I tend to reach for thicker, richer creams in the morning and evening. When it comes to winter skincare essentials, using an effective moisturiser is a sure fire way to look after your skin.
L’Occitane’s Shea Light Comforting Face Cream (€35.00) is like giving a hug to my skin, and this version is for normal to combination skin. There’s an ultra-rich version for those with dry skin, and I’ll be honest: I’ve used and loved both of them. With 5% shea butter, the Light Comforting Face Cream leaves my skin feeling soft, supple, soothed and hydrated, and it doesn’t feel heavy on my skin. The Ultra Rich Face Cream has a whopping 25% shea butter in the formula, and I love using it at night to let it help reduce any dryness or tightness my skin might be feeling.
YonKa Nutri Defense Crème (€58.00) is a product I turn to every winter because of its nourishing and repairing properties. Because it’s one of my richer moisturisers, I tend to use it at night and allow the organic Sacha Inchi, Shea Butter and Avocado Oil to repair and nourish my skin. I feel the benefits of this cream instantly, and if there are nights when I need some serious TLC, I’ll add a drop or two of the Nutri+ Booster from Yon-Ka, which nourishes and revitalises the skin. I can’t be without a bottle of this, either!
As the name suggests, the Avene Les Essentiels Rich Revitalizing Nourishing Cream (€33.00) is rich, but it absorbs into my skin quickly. I need to warm the cream up between my fingers before applying it because of the thick texture. Still, it’s worth it because it nourishes and moisturises my skin beautifully with ingredients including red fruit extracts to strengthen the skin barrier, a nourishing complex to comfort the skin, Shea Butter to nourish, and Avene Thermal Spring water to soothe it.
The Avene Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream (€26.50) has saved my skin so many times this year after I’ve had reactions to products. But it also works beautifully in the winter because it contains D-Sensinose, a post-biotic ingredient that calms the skin, helping to relieve heat, tightness and discomfort with the skin. There’s a balm version for those with dry skin, but this is for sensitive skin. I find that in the colder months, especially when I’ve been outside, my skin can become red, hot and uncomfortable, and this helps to settle that quickly.
While the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 (€11.00) has many uses, I love it for helping to soothe and repair my skin after being outside in the cold weather and wind. Not only that, but it helps to speed up the skin’s repair process, too. I love applying a thick layer onto my skin when it’s in a bad way, letting it absorb in quickly. I’ve also used it as a lip treatment, and if your hands are dry and chapped and you don’t have a hand cream, apply this and let it get to work.
Speaking of lips, mine are dry at the best of times during the year but come winter; I need to amp them up big time! So while these are a winter skincare essential, they’re pretty much on rotation all year round.
Along with the Cicaplast, I always use Image Skincare Ormedic Lip Enhancement Complex (€37.00). It’s expensive, but to me, it’s worth it because it takes care of dry skin on my lips quickly and if my lips are sore, it soothes them instantly. And a quick tip with this: if you feel like there’s nothing left in your tube, cut the top off, and you’ll find lots more in there. We can’t afford to waste a drop of this good stuff!
The Eucerin Acute Lip Balm (€7.99) is one of the best affordable lip balms I’ve tried, and it actually softens and nourishes the lips. I’ve found with some of the cheaper lip balms I’ve tried, the formula sits on top of the lips, but I can feel this working right away. It helps regenerate the lip’s protective barrier with evening primrose oil, while panthenol and glycerol help promote healing and moisturise the lips.
Finally, my Nuxe Reve De Miel Lip Balm (€14.95)! I treat this as a lip mask, thanks to its thick texture, and when I apply it, I lash on a generous layer and let it get to work. It repairs and nourishes the lips and contains Beeswax and Shea Butter. Honey helps repair the lips, while rosehip oil helps nourish dry lips, and propolis soothes, nourishes, and repairs the lips. Because it doesn’t have a greasy texture, if I’ve any leftover on my finger after applying it to my lips, I’ll work it into my cuticles and let it soften them.
Let’s try to enjoy the winter without our skin suffering in the cold weather and stock up on some winter skincare essentials!