Written By Megan d’Ardenne
Winter is hard on the skin. Our complexions inevitably suffer at the hands of cold winds, grey skies and central heating, and the combined effects of cold weather, low humidity, and pollution are hard to control.
Feel like your skin and hair has already taken a toll this year?
Combating these winter weather side effects can be as simple as giving your skin and hair a little extra love. You may need to swap some of your usual beauty products for something more suited to nourish you throughout the chilly months!
A hydrating serum to use before moisturiser
A hydrating base is essential for colder weather and serums are suited to this task because they are made up of small molecules that can penetrate deeply into the skin and deliver a very high concentration of active ingredients. This makes them a great tool for targeting specific skincare concerns, like dry skin caused by harsh winter weather. Try using a serum that contains hyaluronic acid, like The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 which will help with moisture retention on the skin for a plump and smooth complexion with a fresh, dewy feel. Hyaluronic acid can hold 1000 times its weight in water and makes an essential ingredient to step up your winter hydration game.
SPF, even though it seems like the sun is MIA
Sun protection is a key part of our beauty routines in summer, but many of us don’t bother with it as the weather gets colder. Wearing SPF and protecting skin against UV is a year round commitment as incidental sun exposure has a cumulative effect that can result in fine lines and sagging skin. The Body Shop’s Skin Defence has SPF 50+ PA++++ and UVA/UVB protection which will help protect against the appearance of pigmentation and premature ageing. The product is also enriched with red algae extract and vitamin C to help brighten the appearance of skin for a healthy glow which is essential for dull winter skin.
A nourishing body wash, for those of us who are too lazy to moisture twice a day
The effects of harsh fragranced body washes become even more apparent during winter months, especially for those who don’t regularly use body lotion. Sanctuary Spa’s Classic Shower Oil blends pleasure oil with a mix of omega’s 3, 6 & 9 which transforms from nourishing honey-like oil into delicately fragranced foam when used in the shower. The product will leave skin feeling cleansed, super soft, & moisturised for up to 2 days after just one use, making it the perfect way to combat dry skin during winter.
An intensive hair treatment to combat spilt ends
When hair is exposed to the elements, it can become drier and therefore more susceptible to breakage. Dry, brittle hair directly causes a mane that is rough, unmanageable and wild. When you wash your hair, try to avoid using water that is too hot. Not only can hot water strip your hair of its natural oils, but it can also cause damage to the root, which can lead to further breakages. Instead, use warm water to wash your hair and consider finishing your shower with a final shot of cold water, to help restore your hair to its natural shine.
During the winter months, hydration is especially important for dry hair. Using intensely moisturising products can help revitalise dry hair.
The vitamins and essential fatty acids naturally found in coconut oil nourish the scalp and lock in moisture giving hair a gorgeous glow and shine. It is also rich in lauric acid which has a low molecular weight, allowing the oil to actually penetrate the hair shaft, nourishing the hair with vitamins, minerals and the medium-chain fatty acids. Simply apply extra virgin coconut oil directly to dry hair and leave for at least 20 minutes and rinse well to visibly repair hair and prevent split ends.
An emollient lip balm is a sure fire way combat chapped lips
Cold weather can lead to painfully chapped lips, and when that happens, you need a lip balm that actually corrects the damage rather than just applying surface level moisture. Emollient based lip balms work by forming an oily layer on the top of the skin that traps water in the skin, which effectively locks in moisture and protects the lips from cold, dry winter air.
Petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil and dimethicone are common emollients to look out for when choosing a lip balm. Keeping something as simple as Vaseline with you for on the go, but severely chapped and painful lips require something stronger. Nuxe’s Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm is an award-winning must-have product, formulated with conditioning plant extracts, anti-bacterial Honey and nutritive Shea Butter to rehabilitate dry, chapped lips and maintain their optimal hydration levels. Try slathering on the product overnight, to give the natural oils more time to sink in, hydrate your lips and strengthen the fragile tissue that shields them from the elements during the day.
A moisturizing hand cream should always be kept by on hand
Your hands need some TLC too! After all, we use them for almost everything! Since we have to wash our hands more, especially because of cold and flu germs, our hands can get easily chapped in winter months. Neutrogena’s Norwegian Formula Moisturising Hand Cream is formulated with glycerin which provides immediate and lasting relief for dry skin.
90% of our essential vitamin D must come from our skin’s unprotected exposure to the sun, however during the winter months the sun’s ultraviolet rays are not strong enough for the body to synthesise into vitamin D.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the ‘winter blues’, is thought to affect around 2 million people in the UK, and the general consensus is that it is caused by a lack of sunlight, which leads to lower serotonin levels – the hormone that affects mood, appetite and sleep.
Not only will taking a supplement protect bone and muscle health, this simple addition to your regime could also protect you against the effects of SAD. You can get all kinds of vitamins from high street shops and supermarkets – but if in doubt, speak to your pharmacist about what is best for you.