Cold comfort

Natural beauty tips for caring for skin during the winter

Give your skin some TLC

“During this long, dark season your skin craves extra TLC,” says Jess Arnaudin in her book Plant-Based Beauty: The Essential Guide to Detoxing Your Beauty Routine, published by Aster. “Look for moisture-binding ingredients that you can whip up to use on your skin, such as avocado, almond milk, cocoa butter and raw honey. Embrace the scents of the season by diffusing essential oils in your home, such as peppermint, cinnamon, clove, grapefruit and ginger. Even though the days are shorter, don’t forget your sunscreen. It’s a common misconception that you don’t need SPF on cold, cloudy winter days, but this extra SPF layer will help to protect you from environmental damage and the cumulative effects of UV exposure.”

Be gentle

“If the air outside is dry, you can bet that your skin will soon get sapped of moisture, too,” says Jess Arnaudin. “In these cases, the tendency is to over exfoliate, thinking that dead skin build-up is what’s causing your skin to feel rough and dry. In fact, skin needs massage manipulations, warm moist towels, hydrating toner and balm. Gentle exfoliation is important in every climate, so don’t leave it out altogether, but do spend extra time massaging skin with an oil cleanser and removing with a warm wet towel. Before the skin has had a chance to dry, liberally mist with a hydrating hydrosol toner and then immediately apply a face oil or balm to seal in the moisture. I also encourage using a humidifier in your room at night, to keep skin soft while you sleep. The same advice goes for arid desert climates that are hot and dry.”

Find the right face oil

“In winter, our skin is exposed to extreme weather conditions such as dry air and cold, harsh winds as well as external influences that increasingly stress the skin,” says Sarah Zimmer, Founder of NAYA (www.nayaglow.com). “In winter, the air contains much less moisture than in summer. In addition, we spend more time in heated areas, which removes moisture from the air. The skin reacts with dry spots. That’s why our skin needs more attention during the winter months. A few drops of a high-quality face oil though can help. Face oils are particularly important to incorporate into your daily skincare routine during winter, since they are very similar to the composition of the lipids on your skin. Thus plant oils can penetrate well into the uppermost skin layers and can work more deeply than a cream. The oils not only moisturise the skin, but also help to retain moisture by strengthening the lipid film and protecting the skin barrier. The right face oil, a beauty all-rounder, can do wonders for your skin during winter.”

Start from within

“Cold, dry weather can bring its own skin problems and affect each of us differently,” says Kathryn Danzey, founder of Rejuvenated (www.rejuvenated.com). “Hydration really does start from within, so start your winter skincare regime from the inside out. Even though it’s cold, you still need to drink plenty of water. Eat foods that are rich in essential fatty acids to hydrate and boost the skin barrier; try adding oily fish, nuts and avocados to your diet. Fish oil capsules are a good way to supplement levels of omega-3 fatty acids too. If you don’t like the fishy after taste, you can now buy algae capsules. These capsules contain oil from the algae that fish feed on to give you an equivalent boost and they’re suitable for vegans too.”

Update your skincare regime

“Think about updating your cleanser to one that cleanses without stripping your skin of moisture and that leaves your lipid barrier intact,” says Denise Rabor, founder of Wow Beauty (wowbeauty.co). “There are lots of choices available of all different types, so whether you like cleansing balms, cleansing oils, or washes there’s the perfect one for your skin type. This is also the perfect time to think about adding a hydrating serum to your skincare regime like Hyaluronic acid which is said to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water and will provide some much needed plumping to your skin. Tip: mix your hyaluronic serum in with your other serums, to save the extra step. Don’t skip the moisturiser … a good moisturiser is key to sealing in the moisture in. Remember that heavy doesn’t necessarily mean effective. Lastly, mists are a great invention and are perfect for keeping in your bag, or on your desk. Many of the newer formulations are more than just water … they deliver antioxidants and humectants.”

Harness the power of herbs

“The key priority in the winter is to keep the skin well moisturised and protected against the elements,” says medical herbalist and Twinings Teas herbal expert Pamela Spence (pamelaspence.co.uk). “Heavier creams including shea butter and cocoa butter will help deliver moisture, while herbs such as marigold (Calendula officinalis) speed up the turnover of new skin cells and reduce redness and irritation. Dried marigold petals can be steeped in organic sunflower oil for up to two weeks and, when drained, the bright yellow oil mixed with a good quality base cream to create a soothing moisturiser for winter use. Remember that skin needs nutrients too, so drinking nettle tea, which is rich in vitamins and minerals will be useful.”

Top Tip

Looking after your gut by taking probiotics and prebiotics can also help the health of your skin. “This synergistic duo help to rebalance the good bacteria in your digestive system,” says Jess Arnaudin. “They nourish your gut on the inside, so that you’ll glow on the outside! Fermented food and drinks, such as kombucha, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut, are rich in probiotics. Onions, leeks, asparagus and garlic are all good sources of prebiotics.”

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