Seven Ways to Beat Dry Winter Skin

Now that winter has finally hit New York City, I’ve got a Sound of Music-worthy list of corny things things to be excited about: The downy hush of the season’s first snow. Wearing fleecy coats. Foregoing gloves in the name of cupping hot lattes.

Ahhhh, what a magical time to be alive. Until, that is, I look down at the hands clutching my beverage and see red, scaly fingers and, um…ew. Some peeling business around my thumb. Suddenly I’m hyper aware that the last time I moisturized my legs after a shower was, well, I can’t remember, and my lips are feeling wind-whipped and raw.

I’ve got dry skin, and I’ve got it bad.

You, too? It stops here. Below, a dermatologist, a celebrity esthetician, an editorial director, a beauty blogger and a makeup artist have all offered up their no-brainer tips.

1. It all begins with the body.

Process: “You can slather your body with oils, creams and lotions all day long but your efforts to hydrate skin are futile unless you’re exfoliating regularly,” says Violet Grey’s editorial director, Christina Han. “You have to slough away those dead skin cells!”

How? “Gently use a Korean bath mitt to scrub your skin with soap in the shower. For an even deeper scrub, soak in a bath first (to soften pores and loosen up all those dead skin cells), and follow with more rigorous scrubbing. Once you’re covered in little eraser shavings (i.e., old skin), rinse off, pat dry with a towel and follow with an application of body oil.”

Most important product: the mitt (a pack of 8 is less than $8 on Amazon).

Second most important product: the oil. Han likes African Botanics’ Marula Firming Body Oil, which “absorbs instantly into the dermis and not only deeply hydrates, but also works to keep up skin’s elasticity. It makes skin so smooth and soft that you’ll find yourself caressing your own arms.”

2. Now for some face time.

Process: According to esthetician Dayle Breault — aka, the women who helped calm Cara Delevingne’s skin, the best time to hydrate your skin is when it’s already hydrated.“That means applying a moisturizer right after a bath or shower — this will lock in all that water in the cells of your skin. In a pinch, though, you can use a face mist.”

Product: Breault’s Precious Skin Elixir penetrates deep under the skin to hold in moisture without any sticky residue, though she recommends using pure oils, too: jojoba oil, sweet almond oil or sesame oil will do the job.

3. But did you remember to exfoliate first?

Process: This, insists lead NARS makeup artist Jenny Smith, is the key to getting the most from your moisturizer. “Before you put your moisturizer on, you need to remove flakiness on your face and lips so that it can properly absorb.”

Product:NARS Multi-Action Hydrating Toner will remove dry patches. Just put 2-3 pumps on a cotton pad, and rub all over your face in a circular motion, focusing on dry and dead skin areas.”

4. So you’ve got the big stuff covered — now let’s get into specifics. First up, the inside of your nose.

Process: For dryness of the nasal passage, Breault suggests a Neti Pot. “Fill it with a homeopathic solution of warm water, eucalyptol, camphor, wintergreen, pine and cinnamon. This will calmly and gently loosen mucus and the bacteria that collects in dry nasal cavities.”

Product: Alkalol’s ready-made formula does all the work for you and comes recommended by Breault.

5. Let’s talk lips.

Process: It may involve ditching your usual routine. “Long-lasting lipstick and matte lipstick are very drying,” warns New York-based dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, Debra Jaliman. “Try to wear lip gloss instead. If your lips are super chapped then you can line your lip with pencil and top with a balm. The two will blend into a soothing lip gloss.”

Product: “Look for options with wheat germ oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, shea butter, sunflower oil and cottonseed oil. These really moisturize and naturally exfoliate the lips.” Try: Kiehl’s #1 Lip Balm, Smith’s Lip Balm

What to avoid? “Camphor, phenol and menthol — they just dry the lips out. Also be wary of beeswax: It just sits on the surface of skin without penetrating it.”

6. On to the underside of your eyes.

Process: Because the skin around your lids is so thin, it needs more love than the average moisturizer can give. For an extra powerful boost of hydration, celebrity makeup artist and Beauty Is Boring blogger Robin Black suggests dabbing an eye mask on each morning. “I use it as my everyday eye cream. It smoothes, tightens, reduces puffiness and brightens up the dull under eye circles that are the result of cold, dry weather.”

Product: Her go-to is Sisley Paris’ Eye Contour Mask. “I like to pat it along my cheekbones as well for an extra sheen.”

7. Now let’s end this thing where it started: the hands.

Process: Simple, soothing and highly potent is the way to go — think less perfumed lotions and more potent balms. Also important, says Black, is a something that “conditions cuticles and strengthens nails.”

Product: Black swears by Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream. “This anti-aging formula moisturizes even the most chapped winter hands.”

So now that I’ve just filled up your medicine cabinet, it’s time to return the favor! Tell me: What products do you use to stay hydrated in the winter?

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; In photo: Arme De L’Amour cuff and Eddie Borgo ring.


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