For many people in the United States and around the world, winter means cold weather, festivities and time with loved ones. While winter is a time we often look forward to, it is also the driest season of the year, so it’s critically important to take particular care of your skin and hair. Read on to discover five of the top winter beauty blunders that people make—and how to fix them.
Mistake #1: Soaking in a Hot Shower
In winter, humidity levels in the United States can dip as low as 30% in certain states. When the air outside is cold and blustery, it can be tempting to take a long, hot shower or soak in a steamy tub to defrost. Unfortunately, exposing your skin to very hot water for a long period of time can strip away the natural oils and dry out your skin even more. To prevent this problem from occurring, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends taking short, lukewarm showers rather than long, hot ones. AAD also suggests placing a humidifier in the rooms you use the most, such as bedrooms and living rooms.
Mistake #2: Using Products That Dry Out Your Skin
Harsh soaps, cleansers and makeup products can wreak havoc on your skin in winter. In summer, when the humidity is high and your pores are at their largest, it’s appropriate to focus on deep cleansing. However, in winter, your pores are naturally smaller, so it’s essential to avoid products with alcohol, fragrance and foaming agents.
For cleansing your skin gently and effectively in the colder months, we recommend using a neutral, creamy cleaning agent such as a fragrance-free goat’s milk soap or cream cleanser. Opt for tinted moisturizers over powdered makeup foundations, and add a glittery glow with a hydrating illuminator.
Mistake #3: Not Stepping Up Moisturization Regimen
Say goodbye to lotions and oils—now is the time to pull out the thick night creams and deep-moisturizing products. Apply a moisturizing hand and body cream after showering and washing your hands, and use a repairing night cream when you sleep. Cover your hands with a pair of cotton gloves to help hold the moisture in. Once a week, apply a quality cuticle oil on and around your fingernails to prevent the skin from peeling and to help keep your nails strong over the winter.
For healthy lips in winter, choose a viscous lip ointment rather than a wax balm so that the ingredients can work their way into the cracks and prevent chapping. A lip repair ointment is essential if your lips are already showing signs of dryness.
Mistake #4: Foregoing Gloves & Sun Protection
Using a physical barrier between your skin and the elements is one of the easiest ways to prevent damage. A pair of gloves or mittens will go a long way towards keeping the skin on your hands soft and will make your hand cream more effective. As a general rule, wear soft, breathable underlayers on your hands and body (cotton is ideal), with woolen gloves, sweaters and coats on top to avoid irritation.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends wearing 15+ SPF sunscreen throughout the winter as 80% of UV rays still burn through the clouds. Snow is particularly notorious for reflecting the sun’s rays directly onto your skin. Choose a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to enjoy the benefits of sunscreen without the chemicals.
Mistake #5: Neglecting Your Hair
Finally, your hair can become just as dried out and brittle in the winter as your skin—leading to frizzy hair, breakage and dullness. According to Sophia, a representative from Giovanni, a leading hair care company in the natural products industry, ingesting sweet foods and alcohol can further contribute to the break-down of hair fibers.
WebMD recommends a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, fish oil, and flaxseed oil to keep the moisture barrier in your skin and hair strong over winter so that the cells absorb and hold on to more water for greater smoothness and less breakage. Furthermore, a quality hair-care routine for damaged or brittle hair that includes a shampoo, conditioner, leave-in treatments and a styling elixir are essential for keeping your locks silky smooth. As Sophia explains, conditioning your hair “every other day or twice a week” is ideal for keeping your hair soft and bouncy over winter.