Winter-Proof Your Beauty Routine
Winter beauty woes
Not only is the weather outside frightful, as the holiday song goes, but it can also make you look frightful. Between the icy dry air and wind outdoors and the hot dry air indoors, you may be contending with flaky skin, chapped lips, parched locks, raw hands, and more. Send those winter beauty woes packing with these head-to-toe pro tips and product picks.
1. SPEED-SHOWER It's counterintuitive, but getting soaked in water sucks the moisture out of skin. Stick to a five-minute shower to help prevent dryness. "Get in, get out," advises Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a dermatologist in Boston.
2. DON'T DRY OFF COMPLETELY "The emollient in lotion seals in skin's own moisture," explains Dr. Hirsch, "so slather it on slightly damp skin. For an extra boost, look for a lotion with a humectant like glycerin, which simultaneously attracts moisture to skin." Try Nivea Express Hydration Daily Lotion with Hydra IQ ($9, drugstores).
3. SOOTHE WITH OATMEAL It's an anti-inflammatory that's gentle on skin, and no, you don't need a thick, breakfast-like paste to reap the benefit. Try the elegant Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash ($6, drugstores).
4. SKIP SCENTS If your skin is sensitive, look for products without scents, which can be irritating. But buyer beware: "Unscented" products can include a masking scent to neutralize the odor of the product itself; that, too, can cause skin to react. Instead, look for "fragrance free" on the label — as on the Liquid Neutrogena facial cleanser ($7.50, drugstores).
5. GET YOUR H2O A humidifier is a surefire way to combat dry indoor heat, but in a pinch, try Dr. Hirsch's trick: Put a small bowl of water in every room that has radiant heat. It'll evaporate into the air and counteract some of the aridness.
Healthy hands & nails
1. GIVE NAILS TLC In the dry months, nails can become more brittle and break or peel. "Hydrate them with a hefty shea butter balm," says Jin Soon Choi, owner of Jin Soon Natural spas in New York City. Keep a mini L'Occitane 100% Pure Shea Butter ($10, loccitane.com) handy in your purse and rub it directly on nails.
2. HIT "PAUSE" ON POLISH It prevents lotions and balms from hydrating nails. To get nails healthy, keep them bare, and moisturize them every time you slather your hands. Once your breaking and peeling days are behind you, return to polish.
3. CATER TO CUTICLES Dry — and bleeding — cuticles need extra care, but applying balm or cuticle oil regularly throughout the day is more messy than practical. Instead, use a cuticle pen such as Sephora Original Nourishing Cuticle Oil ($12, sephora.com), so you can paint on a bit of oil when you need it.
4. MAKE YOUR OWN TREATMENT Steal this technique from one of our beauty editors: Slather on Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment ($5.50 to $17, drugstores), and put a pair of warm-from-the-dryer cotton socks on your hands for 30 minutes. By opening pores, heat helps the hydrator penetrate.
5. TRY A SEALANT New moms and other frequent hand-washers may benefit from Gloves In A Bottle ($16, glovesinabottle.com), with protective dimethicone. "It creates a clear barrier, so your hands are less compromised by constant washing," says Dr. Hirsch. Start by rubbing it on twice a day.
1. MAXIMIZE MOISTURE "Foundation can stick to dry patches of skin and accentuate them — not pretty," says New York City makeup artist Emily Kate Warren. To help parched skin, mix equal parts moisturizer and foundation, then apply.
2. BRIGHTEN UP Fight wintertime drabness with a bolder-than-usual blush or eye shadow. A bonus to experimenting in the cold weather: "Makeup won't be subject to humidity and sweat, so it's likelier to stay put," says Warren.
3. TROUBLESHOOT REDNESS Camouflage allover redness with a green-tinted moisturizer, like Physicians Formula Redness Correcting Moisturizer ($17, walmart.com). For an on-the-go fix (best for smaller areas like the nose), take Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Adjust Foundation Primer ($38, sephora.com) with you, and pat it over trouble spots.
4. BE CAREFREE WITH LINER In the A.M., prep for tearing eyes by roughly lining your upper lashline and then smearing the liner up to the crease. "It'll look like a veil of color. If you touch it or mess it up during the day, it'll blend right in," says Warren. Try Almay Intense i-Color Eyeliner ($7.50, drugstores).
5. TREAT LIPS A lip color with built-in moisturizers helps keep chapping at bay. Two to try: CoverGirl NatureLuxe Gloss Balm ($6.50, drugstores) and Fresh Sugar Passion Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15 ($22.50, sephora.com). Both have SPF 15 to boot.
1. HYDRATE YOUR SCALP Fight wintertime flakiness with this easy treatment: "Massage in five to 10 drops of jojoba oil, and sleep with it in overnight — it'll balance the pH of your scalp. Wash it out in the morning," says Laura Boton, owner of Sine Qua Non Salon in Chicago. Try Desert Essence 100% Pure Jojoba Oil ($12.50, wholefoodsmarket.com). No worries: It won't leave your pillow greasy.
2. SKIP A SHAMPOO — OR SULFATES Detergents can contribute to dryness, especially if you have fine hair. Shampooing less often is really the best option in winter — or, use a shampoo without sulfates, says Boton. Try Ouidad Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo ($18, sephora.com).
3. DON'T GO OUT WITH WET HAIR It may not lead to a cold, but it can cause split ends, says stylist Nicholas Penna Jr., owner of SalonCapri in Newton and Dedham, MA. "When temps drop into the 30s, strands can freeze and fissure more easily," Penna says.
4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT HAT FABRIC Wool can create tangles, and nylon can cause static, says Rodney Cutler, founder of Cutler/Redken Salons: "Stick to hats with silk liners, which keep hair smooth." And choose a loose fit so as not to put a dent in your hairstyle.
5. STAY SMOOTH Tote a purse-size hairspray in case you do have static; its alcohol will neutralize the charge. Or try Bumble and Bumble Shine On Finishing Spray ($25, salons), which both enhances shine and tames flyaways. If you prefer an alcohol-free option, try a pinch of grooming cream.