Winter skin and hair care is coming… Our skin and hair have special needs during the winter months, so I've written this winter skin and hair care home survival guide to help get you through them. No matter how frightful the weather outside may be, I always feel warm and cozy knowing that I'm doing everything possible to keep my skin and hair healthy and looking great.
Why Is Winter So Hard on Skin and Hair?If you're looking for winter skin and hair care tips, you've probably felt the awful impact of winter weather before. Your skin can become dry, cracked, itchy, and uncomfortable. Your hair transforms from lush and strong to dry, brittle, and lack luster. Why is that? It's all because of the air. Winter air is dry - very dry. When it comes in contact with your hair and skin, it saps moisture away. Each gust of wind leaves you dryer, and the longer you're exposed, the worse it gets. So just go inside, right? Not so fast. Between bone-dry indoor heating and harsh hot showers and baths, your skin and hair is under constant assault. Can't go outside, can't stay inside… what do you do? Easy - take exceptional care of your skin and hair all winter long. It may take a little extra time, but when your skin stays smooth and moisturized and your hair is long, sleek, and shiny, I don't think you're gonna mind. So what's first on our list of winter skin and hair care tips? It's all about your tools.
My 10 Affordable Tools You'll Love To Master Winter Skin and Hair Care:Here's everything I keep on hand to make sure my hair and skin has everything it needs over the winter.
- Argan Oil: Hands down my favorite winter skin and hair care product. Rich, soothing, and naturally moisturizing, I use it in a dozen different ways to keep skin and hair healthy and moisturized.
- Hydrating Facial Mask: Unless your idea of high fashion is wearing a balaclava everywhere you go, your face probably bears the brunt of winter weather. A high quality hydrating facial mask nourishes and supports your complexion while providing much-needed moisture.
- Natural Moisturizer: You're going to hear me say the word "moisturize" a lot in this guide. It's absolutely crucial to replenish your skin and hair with more moisture than the winter air takes away. It's just as important to find a moisturizer that doesn't contain any toxic or harmful ingredients. Experiment with different products before winter begins so you have something you know you can trust. For a detailed breakdown of what to look for (and avoid) in a natural winter moisturizer, check out this great article from Mother Earth Living.
- Facial Sunscreen: Think you're safe from the sun in winter? Think again. Even when it's cloudy and cold, UV rays are still making their way through the clouds to your skin. When skiing or snowboarding, the reflection of the sun off of the snow can be particularly brutal. Sunscreen for your face is crucial for protecting your already vulnerable skin.
- Sunscreen for your body: Don't forget your body! Even though you may be wearing pants, which can protect your legs from the sun's UV rays, we are often wearing short sleeves underneath our removable layers and can forget to apply sunscreen to our arms and hands, any and any other body parts that may be exposed to the sun.
- Lip Balm: Chapped lips are ridiculously easy to get in winter, and cheap conventional chapsticks only make the problem worse. Use a natural lip balm to keep your smile nourished and protected.
- Cotton gloves: When your hands are dry and cracking, slipping on a pair of cotton gloves after you moisturize will help make sure all the good stuff sinks in.
- Cotton socks: Same as cotton gloves - wear socks after moisturizing to help fight cracked, dry heels.
- Boar Bristle Brush: Using a boar bristle brush every day reduces the frequency with which you have to wash your hair. If hot showers are drying out your scalp and hair, shampooing less will surely help.
- Winter Gear: Hats, gloves, scarves, coats, long pants, boots, and anything else you can put between the elements and yourself will go a long way in reducing the damage winter does to your skin and hair.
How to Care For Your Skin in WinterYou've got your tools for winter skin and hair care. Here's how (and why) to use them.
- Moisturize Moisturize Moisturize: Also, moisturize. Seriously. It's the number one way to make sure winter doesn't completely dry out your skin. First, don't assume that the moisturizer that works for you in June will be just as effective in January. Find an oil-based moisturizer - it will create a protective layer on your skin that keeps more moisture in. Non-clogging oils like argan, jojoba, avocado, and almond are all great choices. Once you find your ideal product… use it! Use it often. Use it every day. Use lots of it. I mean, really slather it on. Use a moisturizing facial mask to give your face some extra love. If you're moisturizing your hands or feet, slip on cotton socks or gloves afterwards. Give your moisturizer every chance to sink in and do its work. Your skin will thank you.
- Give Yourself a Hand: Your hands need a little extra TLC in winter. Because the skin there is so thin, it's harder to keep them from drying out. To avoid cracking and itchiness, make sure they're bundled up before you go outside. Moisturize regularly, and avoid wetness.Continuing to wear wet gloves leads to irritation, so always make sure you have a backup pair on hand if you're planning on spending lots of time outside. Bonus points: apply argan to your cuticles for extra finger-friendly moisture.
- Don't Forget Sunscreen: You thought you were going to get out of wearing sunscreen every day once summer was over, didn't you? Think again. Even if it's hiding behind snow clouds, the sun's still there, and its rays are gonna getcha if you don't watch out. Thankfully, moisturizing body and facial sunscreens are just as handy in winter as they are in summer. Apply a generous amount to your face, neck, chest, forearms, hands, and anywhere else that could conceivably receive sun exposure. You'll get a little extra moisture, reduce your risk of premature aging, and avoid that baffling winter sunburn.
- Hydrate: When winter is sapping away your moisture, one way to get it back is from the inside out. Unfortunately, many of us drink less when it's cold. If that sounds like you, keep a water bottle nearby and sip throughout the day. I also love brewing up a cup of tea or two. Hydrating and cozy - nothing better.
- Love Your Lips: I hate chapped lips. I used to get them all the time, until I realized the chapstick I was using included ingredients that actually dried lips out. What? Switching to a natural, beeswax based lip balm was the best choice I've ever made for my smile. Lips are probably more prone to damage from winter weather than any other part of our body. Protect them by using a natural lip balm every day. Be careful about drinking fluids too - wet lips chap easily. Sometimes I'll even get out a straw to drink with when the air is feeling particularly dry so I can stay hydrated without getting my lips wet.
- Turn Down the Heat: I'm not saying that shivering helps your skin, but avoiding scorching hot showers and baths will. I know, it feels awesome to step into a steaming hot shower on a cold day, but trust me, the good feelings are short lived. Hot showers and baths can actually break down lipid barriers on your skin. The result? More moisture loss. Shorter, lukewarm showers are the way to go if you want to avoid that prickly, itchy, dried-out feeling.
- Get Cozy: So I didn't really consider this until a friend mentioned it, but a good pair of PJs can make a big difference in how your skin feels during the winter. If you're feeling dry and sensitive, blended and synthetic fabrics can actually make you feel worse. You'll end up scratching, which won't help your irritated skin at all. The solution? Get cozy. Look for soft natural fabrics like cotton or flannel to stay warm and comfy without irritating your skin.
- Keep the Elements Out: The more you can put between your skin and the elements, the better. I'm talking, socks, boots, long pants, gloves, jackets, scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, earmuffs, and anything else you can think of. The less your skin is exposed to winter air, the happier and healthier it will be and a very important step of winter skin and hair care.
Taking Care of Your Hair in WinterHere's what to do to keep your hair looking its best all winter long.
- Keep the Elements Out: So I'm repeating myself here, but it's still true. Keeping your hair covered up is one of the best ways to protect it from winter weather. Worried about hat hair? Try wrapping your locks up in a silk scarf before putting your hat on to keep them from getting tangled.
- Deep Condition: A once a week deep conditioning treatment can do wonders to keep your hair looking and feeling its best over the winter. Both cold winter air and dry home heating can easily sap moisture from your hair, making it look lifeless and dull. Deep conditioning puts that moisture right back.
- Argan oil is my go-to deep conditioning buddy. I massage a generous amount into my hair and scalp about an hour before I take a shower. If I'm really feeling fancy, I'll wrap it up in a warm towel, put on a little of my hydrating facial mask, and enjoy an at-home spa treatment. The oil both hydrates my hair and keeps my scalp from feeling dry and itchy - I can't get enough of it.
- Shampoo Dry Whenever You Can: Remember how hot showers can be tough on your skin? They're rough on your hair too. If you can get into a routine of showering every other day, your entire body will thank you. Shampooing less is easy when you have a boar bristle brush. Use it every day to distribute your hair's natural oils. Not only does this work like a dry shampoo treatment, it also helps moisturize your hair. Just what you need this time of year.
Dry Right: When you do shampoo your hair, it'll be dripping wet when you step out of the shower. What do you do? Go for the hair dryer and you'll be blasting more harsh, dry air on the locks you've worked so hard to care for. What are your options? Going out with wet hair is an absolute no-no. Your hair can freeze and actually break off - not good. Instead, gently towel dry to remove as much moisture as possible. Avoid wrapping your hair up in a towel on top of your head - it can cause breakage near your scalp. Work in a conditioning treatment (like our good friend Argan oil) from scalp to tip to seal in extra moisture. Then, if time or other factors keep air drying from being an option, use your hair dryer on low to dry completely.