I have normal to dry skin, with occasional eczema outbreaks. Winter is not my friend.
To make matters worse, during last fall I developed a common, but annoying pregnancy symptom known as itchy skin. While there are rare cases in which itchy skin can indicate liver complications, for me this was no more than a change in blood flow and hormones (plus a growing baby & stretching skin). Nevertheless, more than any other symptom this one drove me mad, and eventually I was forced to make some changes.
After an in depth look at my skincare routine and some inevitable trial and error, I was able to find a few options to ease those winter blues. Below are some helpful tricks I developed along the way…
H20, but you already knew that... Regardless, during winter, add more– especially if pregnant! Not only does water keep us feeling hydrated, but it also helps on a deeper level aiding in metabolic function, muscle function, appetite, and overall immune health. If you get bored with water (9months will do that), try adding lemon or other natural fruits/veggies.
Check your ingredients:
I was lathering myself in moisturizers to no avail. I’d been using the same products for years, and while I believed them to be clean & safe, eventually I had to swap some out for milder alternatives. At the time I went so far as to switch to organic baby wash and moisturizer, but have since found more mainstream & budget friendly alternatives. Bottom line, the shorter the ingredient list, the better. Also, check EWG’s product ratings or download the ThinkDirty app for quick reference while shopping.
Keep it simple:
While it’s not necessarily convenient, consider coconut oil as a moisturizer. This isn’t your best option if seeking to get out the door quickly, as you’ll have to let the oil soak in for some time. Personally, I like to shower at night, so taking a little extra time to towel dry and wrap myself in loose PJs isn’t a big ask. Full disclosure, I’m not the most patient person, so most days I mix one part coconut oil to one part moisturizer.
I use coconut oil for everything, including makeup-removal– works wonders on mascara. I know some have complained about breaking out while using coconut oil, but that’s never been the case for me, plus it’s a natural anti-microbial, so the clean freak in me can’t think of a better skin remedy. While I use coconut oil on my body almost daily, I only use it on my face a couple times a week (and a little goes a long way). If coconut oil’s not for you, consider adding another face oil. Personally, I’ve had great experiences with Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, and all 3 of Beauty Counter’s Face oils. I prefer adding this step after I shower when pores are clear. Like I said, I tend to shower at night, and I like knowing nothing will be layered over this treatment until morning. In general try to let each of your skincare products settle into your skin before adding another.
For most of my life I washed my face both at night and in morning. There’s no alternative to washing your face at night– ask any esthetician, and they'll confirm you should never fall asleep with all that makeup. That being said,, you can skip the morning wash. Pending you keep clean linens and pillows, there’s really no need to wash up come morning, as doing so will only strip your skin of all those good natural oils it's developed overnight. Think about it, when is your face most dewy & glowing? Hold onto that glow, girl! If wrapping your mind around this one is still a hurdle, consider a moisturizing toner instead of face wash. You’ll still feel refreshed while avoiding a total loss of benefits.
Wear a mask:
This recommendation is as much for your hair as it is for your skin. I try to include a face mask every 1 to 2 weeks – like I said, not the most patient person, but it always leaves my skin feeling tighter and refreshed. I’m better at treating my hair. I have yet to find a natural hair mask I love, but my quick rescue option gets the job done. Try Pantene’s 3 Minute Miracle– you’ll see immediate results. Also, quick gym trick: If your gym has a steam sauna, wash your hair before entering, lather it in conditioner, but skip the rinse (for now). After a relaxing steam, complete your shower. Having allowed for that extended heat conditioning will lock in moisture in a whole new way!
Avoid unnecessary heat:
Fun fact, I don’t even own a hair dryer– probably another reason I like to shower at night. Don’t get me wrong, some days I crave the convenience of a quick blowout, but I’ve also noticed a significant change in the life of my hair since making this change. The difference in split ends alone is mind blowing! I still use a curling iron and flat iron, but again I try not to use it every day. Think style one day, then dry shampoo and updo the next.
Exfoliate thoroughly, but not daily:
This is a tough one for me, because I love a good scrub, but you can overdue it, making skin vulnerable to irritants & infections. Use a scrub to rid yourself of dry skin, but give yourself a break for a day or two after. This applies to both shower and face scrubs. When choosing a face scrub, invest a little more and opt for a fine grain scrub. I recently had an esthetician warn me that rough grain scrubs manipulate your pores making them larger over time. No thanks! As for body scrub, it doesn’t have to be fancy, just amazing, and there’s no better scrub than Frank Coffee Scrub. You can thank me later ;)
Rethink your make-up routine:
If you typically use powders, consider switching to tinted moisturizers or liquid foundations. There are also great cream blushes, highlighters, and lip stains available that will leave your skin feeling much softer throughout the day.
Remember there’s nothing wrong with a quick refresh. I love a good face mist no matter the season! I’ve tried a lot of options in the past, and typically only refresh a couple times a day, but lately my favorites are Beauty Counter’s Brightening Mist & Herbivore's Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Mist. These are great options to carry in your gym bag or purse and can serve as a perfect moment of bliss in an otherwise chaotic day.