Hands up who loves winter? And what’s not to like, right? Cosy jumpers, crunchy leaves, hot drinks, twinkling fairy lights… it’s the best. Except when it comes to your hair and skin, of course. ‘Cos as much as you yearn for pretty flushed cheeks and smooth silky hair cascading around your knitwear-covered shoulders, the weather has other ideas. Don’t abandon yourself to the frizz just yet though! Here’s how to deal with winter’s most wearisome beauty complaints.
No, you’re not turning into a lizard, honest. A good body moisturiser is your best friend here – definitely upgrade your light body lotion to something a lot richer.
You can also make a few in-shower tweaks, too. Choose a nourishing shower cream and exfoliate lightly every other day to shift old skin cells. And, tempting as it is to crank the temperature up, keep it lukewarm rather than super hot – your skin will thank you for it.
A dry and blotchy face
Constantly dancing between dry, overheated buildings and the cold, wet outdoors can play havoc with your complexion, leaving it flaky, red and feeling uncomfortable. Again, a good moisturiser and regular (gentle) exfoliation will help restore a healthy glow.
You might want to reconsider your whole skincare routine, especially if your skin is usually oily or blemish-prone. Opt for gentle, moisturising products instead of astringent-based ones, and treat yourself to nourishing and softening face masks instead of deep-cleansing ones which can strip away your skin’s delicate surface.
When you’re out in the elements, keep as much skin as possible protected by a hat and scarf, and remember that we don’t feel as thirsty in winter as we do in summer, so keep reaching for the water – it’s your skin’s best weapon in the fight against the dreaded blotch!
Dry, flaky lips
Winter can be hella romantic, so of course your lips start resembling a scaly deep-sea creature. Tempting as it is to pick at them – don’t! Seriously, that just makes everything a hundred times worse. But, annoyingly, so does slapping on layers and layers of lip balm, because that can cause irritation as well. So what to do? Every night before bed, gently exfoliate with a sugar scrub or soft wash cloth, then apply a generous layer of balm. Then re-apply lightly and occasionally throughout the day (invest in a couple of nice balms and put them where you’ll need them – in your bag, next to your bed, on your desk – so there’s always one within reach).
Not only do cracked cuticles totally ruin your fierce manicure, they can be pretty painful too – ugh! Your cuticles are a really small part of your body, but they’re still susceptible to the same wintery damage as the skin everywhere else, so they need TLC too. Either include them in your usual body moisturising regime, or invest in a dedicated hand cream. Better yet – treat them to a specialist cuticle oil to keep them soft and supple. Don’t trim them – that just makes them more fragile in the long run – and wear gloves when you’re out and about to protect them (and your hands overall) from the cold.
There’s only one type of white flaky stuff we want this winter, and that’s snow. But dandruff is another common seasonal beauty complaint and let’s be honest, it can be a bit embarrassing. Luckily, it’s nothing a good old dandruff shampoo won’t fix, although you can’t just use it once and expect the problem to go away. The key is consistency – use it at least twice a week. Try a scalp exfoliator once a week pre-shampoo, too. It might sound a bit odd, but you exfoliate your body, don’t you? Same principal! Again, keep the water temperature lukewarm to avoid aggravating your scalp, and try to avoid styling products that contain alcohol, as these can dry out your scalp even more.
There’s not a lot of hair-friendly moisture in cold air. Couple that with central heating and lots of wool and polyester and POOF – hello, frizz! It’s a sad fact of life for many a long-haired girl, but help is at hand, and it’s mainly in the prep process. Choose a frizz-fighting conditioner for daily use, treat yourself to a deep-conditioning treatment once a week, and after washing, apply a conditioning oil to the lengths.
Ditch the thick cotton towel – it’ll just add friction to your hair. Instead, use an old t-shirt to dry your locks, as the cotton soaks up extra water without being abrasive. Go easy on the heat styling, too – use a slightly cooler setting on your dryer and tools if you can. It might take a little longer to get the look you want, but your hair will thank you for it. And if the frizz has already hit, a small squirt of hair serum can help get things back under control.
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Image: Amber Griffin