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It’s peak Pumpkin Spice Latte season but early forecasts predict Polar Vortex 2: Electric Boogaloo and the time to address seasonal dry skin issues is now, not the middle of December when your car is buried under five feet of snow and your plans for the day are “huddle in a ball and hate everything.” Plus, by the time winter rolls around, you’ll be so sick of winter skincare articles that you’re not going to even want to read them.
Ditch the Harsh Crap
A lot of mass skincare products are way too fucking harsh and brag about their “oil-free” formulas and “deep-cleansing” properties which can irritate and dry out your skin. Your skin should not be squeaky clean that it feels tight. Use a gentle cleanser that removes dirt, oil and makeup without making your skin feel, tight or tingly (that “tingle” you feel is actually your skin being irritated). Some cleansers to try are Boscia’s Tsubaki Cleansing Oil-Gel, CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser and Yes To Blueberries Smoothing Facial Cleanser and Cleansing Facial Wipes. Whether you exfoliate physically (with a facial scrub) or chemically (with BHA or AHA products like St. Ives Gentle Exfoliating Pads with lactic acid), only do so a few times a week as over exfoliating can royally piss off your skin.
Acid With A Side of Nightmare Fuel
Hyaluronic acid is one of my favorite products to increase moisture in fall and winter. This molecule can hold over one thousand times its weight in water and is highly absorbent. I add Hada Labo’s Replenishing Hydrator to my regular moisturizer every morning and night, and I use Dr. Jart’s Water Fuse Hydrogel Mask once a week or so usually late at night when I’m working on Autostraddle articles. Sheet masks have become more popular in recent years and you can find a variety of masks touting different skincare benefits at varying price points. The Dr. Jart one is my favorite because it comes in two pieces, allowing for a more comfortable fit.
One piece goes on your forehead…
The other piece goes over your the rest of your face…
And ta-da! You keep it on your face for 30-45 minutes, which is plenty of time to freak out your pets/roomates/significant others.
After you’re done fueling nightmares, you’re left with soft skin, and a nice glow the morning after.
Fear No Oil
When it gets drier and colder, I’ll switch up my skincare routine and apply my Daily Hydrator first, and then use Natalie Dee’s “mashed potatoes” method to moisturize. Adding a face oil to your moisturizer creates a nice protective barrier between your face and the elements and keeps moisture locked in. If you have sensitive skin be sure to patch test before adding an oil to your routine. Argan, rosehip, and seaberry oils are the most popular and you can find them for a decent price at most health food retailers.
You Still Need To Wear Some Fucking Sunscreen
Days may be shorter but you still need to wear sunscreen every day. No exceptions. By sunscreen, I mean “a topical broad spectrum sunscreen that is at least SPF 30” — NOT “a foundation or BB cream with SPF” and DEFINITELY NOT “a homemade sunscreen made off of a Pinterest recipe.” Recently the US Senate passed the Sunscreen Innovation Act which would essentially give the FDA a quick kick in the pants to fast-track the approval of new sunscreen actives — many of which have been languishing in FDA hell for more than ten years. While I’m excited for the possibility of new sunscreen actives, it’s a sad state of affairs when basic sunscreen regulations can pass through Clowngress more quickly than any legislation involving reproductive justice or protections for the LGBT community.
Switch Up Your Makeup
While matte foundations are a godsend in hot humid weather, they can dry out skin (and look weird) in winter. Use more sheer liquid bases in winter or try mixing in a little moisturizer or illuminator into your foundation. Think “shimmery ice queen” rather than “matte ice vampire.”
And that’s it! Keeping your skin hydrated during winter isn’t that hard once you get settled into a routine that works for you, but don’t tell that to all of the fashion and beauty publications that will be posting multiple dry skin stories from now until Easter. Feel free to post your favorite WINTER IS COMING skincare products and rituals in the comments!