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Winter is more than just a change of season and a time for holiday festivities. It’s a time when our skin needs extra care and attention. Just like swapping out our home decor and digging out our cozy sweaters, adjusting our skincare routine is essential during winter.
Revamping your routine may seem daunting, but going back to the basics is the key to conquering the colder days ahead. While the foundation of your skincare routine should remain the same – cleanse, hydrate, and protect from the sun – a few product swaps will prepare your skin for the winter challenges.
If you need help determining where to start in tailoring your routine to the winter season, I’m here to help. I’ve broken down my winter skincare routine, suitable for various skin goals. You’ll discover some familiar products from my fall skincare routine, and I’ve also added a few new additions that become necessary when the weather gets cold and dry.
So, let’s dive in. Keep reading to learn more about my winter skincare routine, including:
- My 2024 Winter Skincare Goals
- My Current Winter Skincare Routine (Step-by-Step)
- The Extra Treatments in my Winter Skincare Routine
My Winter Skincare Goals for 2024
Here’s a quick overview of what I’m targeting in my winter skincare routine this year:
- Extra hydration
- Skin barrier maintenance
- Skin texture improvement
- Anti-aging benefits
It’s important to consider your skincare goals as you adjust your routine. Make sure you’re incorporating products that will help you achieve those goals.
Now, let me share some background on my skin. I’m in my early 40’s and I have eczema-prone skin, which tends to become dehydrated and dry, especially during winter. I also live in New York, where the cold, windy, and dry winter weather adds further challenges to my skin. Remember, your skincare routine should reflect your environment, age, lifestyle, and specific skin goals.
If you’re new to skincare, it’s best to start with the basics: cleanser(s), moisturizer, and SPF. Check out my post on How To Build A Skincare Routine for more guidance on creating a solid basic routine.
Now, let’s explore my step-by-step winter skincare routine for both mornings and evenings.
My Morning Winter Skincare Routine: Step-by-Step
PURPOSE: In the morning, the purpose of my skincare routine is to prep and protect my skin for the day. I consider it as important as showering and moisturizing before getting dressed.
Step 1: Use a Hydrating/Nourishing Cleanser
Cleansing forms the foundation of any skincare routine. And choosing the right cleanser is critical, especially during winter when our skin tends to be drier, dehydrated, and more prone to irritation. Look for cleansers with hydrating and soothing properties, preferably creamy formulas. Gel or foam cleansers may be too drying for the winter weather.
Current Cleansers in my Winter Skincare Routine:
Step 2: Continue Using Your Antioxidant Serums
Incorporating an antioxidant serum into your routine is essential year-round. These serums protect the skin from environmental stressors and can improve discoloration and brightness. In the morning, I rely on a vitamin C serum as my go-to antioxidant. Vitamin C boosts collagen production, smoothes skin texture, reduces fine lines, and fades those pesky dark marks (otherwise known as hyperpigmentation).
Most vitamin C serums, especially ones with L-ascorbic acid, have a shelf life between 3-6 months. So, I like to use an entire bottle before opening another one. I just finished a bottle of Skinceuticals CE Ferulic and opened a bottle of Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster.
Current Vitamin C Serums in my Winter Skincare Routine:
Step 3: Layer on the Hydration
Hydration plays a crucial role in keeping our skin resilient to environmental stressors and irritants. I start layering hydration with face mists and essences, providing immediate moisture and easily layering with other serums. I then apply a hydrating serum on damp skin to enhance its absorption.
Current Face Mists, Essences, and Hydrating Serums in my Winter Skincare Routine:
Step 4: Apply A Nourishing Moisturizer
During winter, it’s essential to pay attention to the formulation of your moisturizer. A good moisturizer will lock in all the hydration and nourishing ingredients you’ve applied before. It also helps prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Master esthetician and owner of Skin Beauty Bar DC, Meka Mathis, recommends that even those with oily skin wear a moisturizer.
While water-based gels or lotions may be enough to hydrate your skin in the summer and fall, the winter calls for more emollient moisturizers and nourishing creams that replenish lost moisture and maintain the skin’s barrier.
Current Moisturizers in my Winter Skincare Routine:
Step 5: Finish with a Sunscreen
Sunscreen is a non-negotiable step year-round. Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate, exposing our skin to harmful UV radiation. Besides preventing skin cancer and aging, wearing sunscreen in winter keeps our skin hydrated and calm. I look for easily applicable and blendable sunscreens to make the process effortless.
Current Sunscreens in my Winter Skincare Routine:
Step 6: Use an Emollient for Your Lips
The cold air, indoor heating, and hot beverages can leave our lips dry and chapped. Protect your lips with an emollient lip balm, and consider using lip masks and scrubs to keep them soft and smooth.
Current Lip Products in my Winter Skincare Routine:
My Nighttime Winter Skincare Routine: Step-by-Step
PURPOSE: In the evening, my skincare routine focuses on repairing and correcting my skin.
Step 1: Double Cleanse
You all know how I feel about double cleansing. It remains a vital step for me. I start with an oil or balm cleanser to remove makeup, sunscreen, and any oil-based impurities. This prepares the skin for better absorption of the rest of the skincare products.
After the oil or balm cleanse, I follow up with a hydrating water-based cleanser to remove dirt and debris.
Current Cleansing Balms and Oils in my Winter Skincare Routine:
Step 2: Apply your Serums & Treatments
After cleansing, I apply a targeted serum or treatment to address specific skincare concerns. This could include peptide serums, chemical exfoliants, or retinol. Peptide serums boost collagen production, improving firmness, dullness, wrinkles, and discoloration. Retinoids increase cell turnover, improving skin tone, wrinkles, and fine lines. Chemical exfoliants remove dead skin cells, revealing brighter and renewed skin. As my skin is sensitive, I generally apply only ONE potent active per routine to avoid irritation.
I recommend referring to my blog post on how to layer your skincare for more details on applying your treatments. As my skin is sensitive, I generally apply only ONE potent active per routine to avoid irritation.
Current Serums & Treatments in my Winter Skincare Routine:
Step 3: Layer the Hydration
Refer back to my morning routine for product details on layering hydration.
Step 4: Moisturize with a Nourishing Formula
Refer back to my morning routine for product details. I also have a great post on how to pick a moisturizer here.
Step 5: Consider Adding a Face Oil
In winter, face oils become a consistent part of my nighttime routine. I also love using face oils during facial massages. Check out my blog post on an at-home facial for more on this.
Current Face Oils in my Winter Skincare Routine:
The Extra Treatments in my Winter Skincare Routine
Clean Skin Club Clean Towels
I can’t go on without talking about the fantastic Clean Towels from Clean Skin Club. These towels have transformed my skincare routine and I’ve been using them faithfully for five years now!
Regular washcloths may seem clean, but they can hold onto a lot of dirt, makeup, oil, and dead skin cells that are invisible to the naked eye. But with these disposable, biodegradable towels, I can prevent breakouts caused by bacteria on traditional washcloths. You can read my full review of these game-changing towels on my blog here.
Enjoy 20% off your purchase of Clean Skin Club products by using my exclusive code BEAUTYINCOLORBLOG at checkout.
Master esthetician and owner of Skin Beauty Bar DC, Meka Mathis, says that one of the easiest ways to combat the dryness and irritation of winter is by using a humidifier. It helps counteract the dry air and keeps our environment from sucking the moisture out of our skin. Hydration is key for our skin to function properly.
I have to admit, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to face masks. I prefer either sleeping masks that don’t require rinsing or sheet masks. Both options are fantastic for soothing the skin and sealing in the benefits of treatments and serums.
LED Light Therapy Facial Masks are fantastic for addressing a wide range of skincare concerns, making them perfect for every season. Specifically for winter, LED light therapy helps combat dehydration, reduce dullness, and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles that tend to be more noticeable when the skin is dry. These masks are especially helpful during the winter months to counteract any skincare changes from summer.
Using LED light therapy consistently helps maintain a healthy complexion and strengthens the skin against environmental stressors. When your skin is in good condition, it can better withstand harsh winter conditions.
While in-office microcurrent treatments are the gold standard, at-home devices can also stimulate your muscles and boost collagen for overall improved skin appearance. During the winter months, in-office procedures are great, and these devices can complement them to enhance and maintain the results.
Lastly, Don’t Forget About Holistic Skincare
Your winter skincare routine goes beyond just the products you use. It’s important to take a holistic approach and care for your skin in other ways during the winter. For tips on how to do this, check out this blog post.
Have you incorporated any new products into your winter skincare routine?
Have you tried any of the products I mentioned?