The Ultimate Guide to Winter Skincare
By Sabrina Cooklin
Winter is upon us; the world is colder, snowier, and all we want to do is curl up by a warm fire and sip hot chocolate… but our skin has other plans. For many of us, winter is the time of the year when flaky, dry skin becomes the norm, and glowy, supple summer skin seems like it was here ages ago. But what if we told you that there’s a better way? After all, you deserve happy skin.
Keep reading to learn more about our ultimate skincare routine for the dry winter season.
Choose Cleansers Carefully
Not all cleansers are created equal. As much as we would love to be able to wash our faces with the 8-in-1 body wash your dad uses, it’s not that simple. Whatever your skin type is, there’s a high chance that it’s extra dry over the winter, which is why it’s important to use a cleanser designed to moisturize and cleanse at the same time. Avoid harsh chemicals (pro tip: don’t use it if you can’t pronounce the ingredient list) that can strip your skin of its precious natural oils.
Try out our AHA + Kojic Acid Brightening Cleanser; it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and contains tons of ingredients meant to brighten and gently exfoliate dry skin away. Glowy skin is within reach!
Slough Off Dead Skin
Exfoliation is an essential but often forgotten step in anybody’s skincare routine. Exfoliation will reduce flakiness, hyperpigmentation, and encourage new skin cell growth by removing the old ones from your face even if you have problematic skin. If dead cells are left to build up, that’s when breakouts happen; new skin actually envelops the old, creating a blackhead or whitehead. Pretty gross, right?
Instead of buying an entirely new product, just use Nick Harrigan’s AHA + Kojic Acid Brightening Cleanser. It cleanses and exfoliates simultaneously without the harsh mechanical scrubbing, instead using chemical exfoliation with AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) and gentle sloughing with jojoba beads that won’t cause microtears in your skin.
Mechanical exfoliation is becoming a massive no-no in the skincare world. Super-exfoliating scrubs cause OVER exfoliation and may create bacterial infections, breakouts, or extra dry skin. You will know that you’re over-exfoliating if your skin is tight, shiny, and dry after a scrub. Squeeze bottles are often a bacteria hot-spot, so stick with pumps and droppers instead.
Use a pH Balancing Toner
The role of the skin toner is to balance the natural pH in the skin to one that makes collagen and new skin cell production easier. It also refines pores and acts as a second cleanse by pulling out grime (makeup, pollution, sebum) from your pores that the cleanser might not have gotten. By gently closing the spaces between skin cells to prevent free radicals from entering and causing breakouts, a toner shouldn’t be skimped out on. Fragrances and artificial colors are typical in toners, so be sure to read the ingredient list; fragrance may be listed under the name “parfum.”
Luckily for you, we have a Cucumber + Watermelon Brightening Tonic designed especially for dry and acne-prone skin. This toner will have your skin plump and bright in no time!
Pick a Hydrating Serum
Adding as much moisture to your skin’s microbiome as possible is the most crucial thing when winter skin symptoms show up. While retinol is great for treating dark spots and other skin concerns you may have, we don’t recommend it for dry skin because it can exacerbate the problem and cause more irritation. Instead, pick a serum with hyaluronic acid or another water-preserving active ingredient.
If dark spots, hyperpigmentation, acne, and/or aging skin are some of your biggest concerns on top of the dryness, our Hyaluronic Acid + Kojic Acid Brightening Serum hydrates AND brightens at the same time with a mixture of hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, kojic acid, glycolic acid, and other active ingredients.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
Don’t skimp out on your moisturizer*. Winter skincare focuses on hydrating the skin, so use a non-comedogenic, lightweight cream that won’t aggravate acne or cause blackheads. This can be a process of trial and error, so don’t be frustrated if the first moisturizer you pluck off the shelf isn’t ideal for you. Similar to toners, some skincare companies pack moisturizers with drying fragrances and artificial colors, so be sure to avoid those. Additionally, mineral oil, a carcinogen, is often included in moisturizers. Always, always read the label!
If you have extremely sensitive skin and everything seems to make you break out, you’ll definitely want to stay away from rich, heavy, cold creams.
- While Nick Harrigan doesn’t have a moisturizer in our product line, the need for a moisturizer is erased when all of our products are used together. Our hydrating, non-drying products introduce enough moisture to the skin that a heavy cream may cause more harm than good.
Don’t Forget Eye Care
There’s a false notion that only older adults need eye creams. And while eye treatments definitely help regardless of when you start them, they work best if you use them BEFORE signs of aging appear. Many dermatologists recommend that people in their early 20’s start using eye creams; prevention is the best cure! The purpose of this specialized cream is to tighten loose skin that causes crows’ feet and other wrinkles, lighten dark under eyes, reduce puffiness, and provide a refreshing, cooling feeling.
You guessed it; we have an excellent eye cream in our brightening product line. The Probiotic + Pomegranate Brightening Eye Cream contains clean caffeine that helps stimulate collagen production and reduce tired eyes. Your morning coffee can’t do that! pH balancing probiotics help to increase water retention and give your under eyes a boost; no more sunken, skull-like eyes. Horseradish (yeah, the stuff you put on your hotdog) extracts suppress excess melanin production in the undereye area, preventing and treating dark eye bags.
If you choose another brand’s eye cream, be sure to scan the ingredient list for retinols/retinoids. These active skincare ingredients often provide significant benefits to the skin but aren’t supposed to be used around the eyes as they can block specialized glands that infuse your tears with oils meant to prevent irritation of the eyes. Even if you aren’t a big crier, tears are constantly being produced and are used to wet your eyes. If those soothing oils aren’t made, you’ll be left with dry, red, irritated eyes.
Protect Those Kissers
Your lips have some of the thinnest skin on your entire body, making it very easy for water to escape. Dry, cracked, flaky lips aren’t only unsightly, but they hurt, too. You don’t know true pain until you smile and there’s a huge crack right down the middle of your lips.
Pick a lip balm with Vitamin E and natural ingredients. Vaseline is great for locking moisture in, but some research indicates that components of petroleum jelly might be carcinogenic.
Add a Humidifier to Your Home
We recommend purchasing a humidity detector so you can check the level of humidity in your home. 45% humidity is often comfortable and prevents large levels of water evaporation from your skin. Additionally, low humidity can cause nosebleeds, dry lips, and an overall uncomfortable feeling.
Humidifiers release water vapor into the air that helps increase humidity and make your home more comfortable to live in, leaving you with refreshed, hydrated skin. Additionally, you can put a few drops of your favorite essential oil into the diffuser to make your space smell great. Lavender is our favorite… so relaxing!
Hot Showers? Yikes.
While it might feel nice to take a nice, hot shower when it’s below freezing outside, the truth is that the heat from your shower is causing your skin harm. Hot showers cause the water in your skin, not just your face, your body, too, to evaporate. While that might not seem to make a lot of sense (you’re in… water… shouldn’t that be moisturizing?), the water in your skin is being pulled out by other water molecules.
If you just can’t stand a cold shower, make sure to moisturize thoroughly after a hot shower to add back some of the hydration you lost while kicking it back in the tub. That means body lotion AND our moisturizing serum.
SPF is Still Needed
It’s winter. The sun? Never heard of her.
While the sun might not be as visible as in the summer months, those UV rays still peek out through the clouds and can cause sun damage. Make sure you use sunscreen formulated for the facial skin to avoid breakouts with at least SPF 30.
Why You Should Pick Us
If the above didn’t convince you to make the switch to Nick Harrigan, here are some more reasons:
We believe that nature and science work hand-in-hand; that’s why we pick clean, vegan, and organic ingredients for our formulas. Additionally, we will never test on animals, and our packaging uses sustainable materials; we believe in a plastic-free world!
If you want to learn more about us, read Our Story; we’re excited to watch your skin transform!
Instead of buying everything individually, check out our Brightening Collection with everything you need to survive the winter. You’ll get a great discount, too!