Changing Seasons, Changing Skin Needs — Products To Ease The Transition From Winter To Spring
Given the slushy rain, miserable gray skies, and cold temperatures in New York City, it hardly feels like the end of winter. Still, if we abide by the meteorology-based seasonal calendar, we officially ushered in spring this past weekend. This arbitrary date can’t dictate the whims of Mother Nature, but it does soothe our collective conscience by reminding us that, sooner or later, the seasons must change. With a bit of patience and a hefty scoop of luck, we’ll be able to bid adieu to those chunky sweaters, winter coats, and fleece- or sheepskin-lined boots in no time.
It’s tricky to navigate through this period of transition — we never know how light a coat to wear, how many layers to don, whether skirts are even an option… And the confusion isn’t limited to apparel choices. Our skincare regimen, too, has to be slightly tweaked, as temperatures rise, humidity mounts, and our daily exposure to the sun increases.
So how do we know what products to turn to in this puzzling time? Here, we’ve rounded up a few great choices to get your skin on track for spring!
FACIAL MOISTURIZERS, FLORAL WATERS, SERUMS, AND TONERS
Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15, $24.50; and Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Gel-Creme, $34 for 1.7 oz. Available at Clinique.com
Even if you don’t normally grapple with dry skin, the arid, frigid, whipping winter air can leave your complexion looking flakier than a bowl of Special K cereal. With Clinique’s Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief Gel-Cream, you can infuse your skin with moisture as often as necessary. The lightweight, non-greasy gel can be smoothed onto skin as often as necessary, but one application should actually suffice for the entire day but, if you see dry patches or your skin feels itchy and comfortable, feel free to reapply. As we crawl deeper into spring, you’ll want to lessen your dosage (if you will) since your skin will adapt to the rising humidity and will likely produce more moisture naturally.
Now, here’s the kicker: just in time for spring and summer, when so many of us wish to stray away from heavier foundations and powders that will melt under the sun’s rays, Clinique has introduced the Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15, a lightweight cream that will conceal blemishes and dark circles and yield an even, luminous finish without looking cake-y or feeling overly thick. And, of course, it’s packed with aloe barbadenisis leaf water, which infuses skin with moisture immediately upon application. Six shades are available, ranging from a light creme brulée shade to a creamy bisque, a medium tan with caramel tones, a neutral toffee, and more. Not only will the color stay put throughout the day, but your skin will remain hydrated and you’ll benefit from the SPF protection in the formula.
Melvita Rose Floral Water, $19. Available at USA.Melvita.com
French organic skincare and haircare brand Melvita is coming up roses with ts new Eau Florale de Rose, a gentle toner that eliminates surface impurities, refreshes the skin, and balances the skin’s pH level. Made from organically cultivated Rosa Damascena blossoms, the Melvita Rose Floral Water is an excellent follow-up to your morning cleansing routine and its gentle enough for mature, dry, and sensitive skin types. To use, you can spray some of the floral water onto a cotton ball and sweep over the face in gentle upwards motions. To treat stubborn spots (like pimples on the verge of eruption), gently press the cotton ball against the affected area and release. And, of course, if you need a pick-me-up throughout the day, you can simply spritz it onto your face (it’s a rather fine mist, so don’t be scared that a stream of water will emerge), even above makeup, since it won’t make your foundation and powder smear or run. All of the ingredients in the Melvita Rose Floral Water are 100% natural and certified organic by ECOCERT, from the water distilled from fragrant Rosa Damascena petals to the citranellol, geraniol, and eugenol also found in rose petals.
Lierac Paris Hydra-Chrono Intense Cream, $50. Available at CVS and Duane Read pharmacies nationwide and at Skinstore.com
Aimed at soothing dehydrated skin, Lierac’s Hydra-Chrono cream simultaneously accomplishes two feats: first, reactivating the skin’s natural hydration process and, second, reducing visible aging signs. See, dehydrated skin aggravates the aging process, making any fine lines and wrinkles appear deeper and more firmly entrenched, like tiny rivulets (or even trenches) along your visage. By infusing moisture into the skin and stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, you can camouflage these aging signs and emerge with more supple skin. The Hydra-Chrono goes beyond moisturizing at the surface level, instead relying on an Aqua-Pump complex that activates the skin’s natural irrigation process. Using moisturizers excessively can sometimes lead skin cells deep inside the dermis to curb their natural production of hydrating oils, which can then lead to users becoming dependent on these moisturizers and creams rather than using them to complement the skin’s natural hydration process. The Hydra-Chrono balm corrects this problem by relying on red micro-algae, which can increase circulation in the areas of application and help to repair oxidative stress, as well as TMG, a natural amino acid that helps the skin seal moisture. Apricot and safflower oils, meanwhile, instantly make skin appear more radiant, while glycerin immediately boosts hydration.
SK-II Skin Signature, $205; and SK-II Cellumination Essence, $150 for 1 oz. and $220 for 1.7 oz. Available at Sk-ii.com
Don’t you hate when people refer to women over the age of 30 as over-the-hill? So do we! But while we may be first to hop aboard Jay-Z’s “30 is the new 20” bandwagon, biology is still challenging our modern notions — see, a clinical study which SK-II conducted alongside dermatologist Dr. Shuhei Imayama of Kyushu University and Professor Osamu Kiwazuru of Fukui University revealed that, around age 35, women hit a “skin tipping point” zone, during which aging signs rapidly increase in visibility. In order to keep the scales tipped in your favor, then, SK-II developed a range of products that provide long-lasting moisture, strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, and accelerate the repair process. The SK-II Skin Signature Cream is, of course, vital to this process, since it firms skin and increases elasticity thanks to conditioning Vitamin B3, Pitera, and Oil-Vityl, an ingredient derived from an olive species cultivated in Tuscany. The SK-II Cellumination Essence, meanwhile, works as a potent serum, brightening the skin by diminishing the appearance of age spots and other topical discolorations and boosting light transmission to give skin a natural glow.
Zensation Collagen Rose Facial Toner, $35. Available at ZensationBeaute.com
This mild astringent relies on a mixture of ingredients — chief among them Damask rose water, which has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, helping to calm inflammations and kill acne-causing bacteria, and which can tone and help to restore the skin’s natural moisture balance. Aloe leaf juice, meanwhile, soothes the skin, leaving skin feeling nice and cool after each toner application. And hydrolyzed collagen helps to restore elasticity to the skin. Manufactured in Switzerland, the Zensation Collagen Rose Facial Toner contains no irritants, alcohols, colorants, synthetic fragrances, parabens, or mineral oils, making it a suitable choice for even those with sensitive skin. The one drawback: you might have to get accustomed to the toner’s scent since it doesn’t exactly recall a bed of roses (to be candid, it initially smells like vomit but, in a matter of seconds, the odor softens, becoming more watery and pleasant).
LIP CARE CHOICES
Burt’s Bees Rejuvenating Lip Balm with Açai Berry and Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter, $3 each. Available at BurtsBees.com
Most people know that Burt’s Bees lip balms are, well, the bee’s knees, but these new flavors set the bar even higher. Like all the 100% natural lip balms in the Burt’s Bees line, these softening and hydrating tubes contain sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, castor seed oil, beeswax, soybean oil, and rosemary extract, but they each rely on an additional star ingredient: a powerful tropical fruit with proven skin benefits. The Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter incorporates mango seed butter, a natural emollient and lubricant, softening lips and leaving them smelling like a scoop of mango sorbet.
Aquaphor Lip Repair, $4.49 at Target, Kroger, RiteAid, and Harmons stores, and at Drugstore.com
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a snob when it come to lip balms — mainly because my pout tends to get so dry and cracked in the winter months that only the A-Team of lip moisturizers can rescue me from my distress. That being said, I was shocked at just how effective the new Aquaphor Lip Repair was in delivering some CPR to chapped and flaky lips. Packed with nourishing shea butter, hydrating and conditioning glycerin, protective and moisturizing castor seed oil, anti-oxidant rich vitamins C and E, skin conditioning panthenol, and soothing bisabolol (a chamomile derivative), this fragrance- and preservative-free lip ointment instantly soothes lips while infusing them with moisture and ensuring that the moisture is sealed in for longer-lasting comfort. The Aquaphor Lip Repair has a Vaseline-like texture which makes it easy to glide over lips, and the squeeze tube allows you to apply the balm directly onto your lips with the angled tip or to squeeze onto your fingertips or a lip brush if you want to apply over your lipstick or lip stain. Best of all, unlike so many drugstore brand lip balms (Carmex and Chapstick both come to mind here), this lip ointment doesn’t have an unpleasant, medicinal smell or taste. And at under $5, it’s a hard bargain to beat!
EOS Lip Sphere in Tangerine, $3.29. Available at Rite Aid stores nationwide.
Like the prior lip balms released by EOS (which I’ve oft raved about), the new EOS Tangerine Medicated Anti-Bacterial Lip Balm Smooth Sphere in Tangerine features nourishing shea butter, moisture-retaining jojoba oil, and vitamin E, but this newer version also features honey, a natural humectant with antiseptic properties, soothing green tea extract, and antioxidant-rich vitamins A and C, which protect skin from free radicals. Most importantly, the new 95% natural formula features a higher concentration of phenol (0.5%) so that the lip balm can soothe inflamed lips, prevent cold sores from popping up, and ward against any germs that can lead to unsightly acne around the mouth area. Though the tangerine flavor isn’t quite as delectable as the Summer Fruit and Honeysuckle Honeydew, it’s still a ray of sunshine for dry lips.
BODY BUTTERS, LOTIONS, SHOWER CREAMS, AND MORE
Arcona Green Tea Lotion, $18. Available at Arcona.com
Arcona rarely does wrong, and its Green Tea Lotion is proof positive of this fact. This pale mint green moisturizer is formulated with Paraguay tea infused with extracts of green tea to soften skin, as well as borage, macadamia, sesame, and kukui nut oils to deliver moisture. The lotion is as refreshing as a splash of green tea, but don’t let the lightweight consistency fool you — a few “sips” of this moisturizer are all your skin needs to regain its vitality.
Cetaphil Restoraderm Skin Restoring Moisturizer, $14.99. Available at major retail and drugstores nationwide.
Though this hypoallergenic moisturizer was designed to reduce the itching and discomfort associated with eczema, it works wonders on chronically dry and sensitive skin. The moisturizer relies on Flaggrin technology, infusing the skin with Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid (PCA), which structurally mimics skin ceramides and hence helps to restructure the skin; Arginine, an amino acid that accelerates the process of repairing damaged tissue; Pseudo Ceramide 5, which replenishes the lipids that help to create a healthy skin barrier, allowing the epidermis to retain moisture; and softening panthenol and allantoin.
St. Ives Triple Butters Intensely Hydrating Body Wash in Creamy Coconut, $4.89 for 24 fl. oz. and $2.99 for 13.5 fl. oz. Available at mass drugstores and grocery stores nationwide.
If these brutal winter months have left your skin ashier than Charlie Sheen’s ashtray, you may need to consider a more aggressive moisturizing tactical approach. In addition to the body lotion you apply after showering, choose a paraben- and phtalate-free cleanser with hydrating ingredients. Right now, we’re loving the St. Ives Triple Butters line of cream cleansers — which, as their name implies, feature three moisturizing butters: shea butter (which is rich in fatty acids and vitamins A, E, and F), jojoba butter (a humectant and smoothing agent), and cocoa butter (packed in essential minerals and antioxidant-rich vitamins A, C, and E, which brighten the skin and protect it from free radicals). The body wash feels silky smooth on the skin and, while it doesn’t lather as dramatically as other soaps, remember that this is, in fact, a positive sign since the ingredients responsible for creating this lather tend to strip the skin of its natural oils (and they don’t help the cleansing process by any means). The St. Ives Triple Butters Intensely Hydrating Body Wash is available in several scents including Creamy Vanilla, but we’re most fond of the Creamy Coconut scent since it reminds us of the sunny months ahead and all the piña coladas we intent to drink!
Collective Wellbeing Dry Skin Relief Body Butter, $13. Available at CollectiveWellbeing.com
Since launching in 2004, Collective Wellbeing has stressed the use of natural ingredients and paraben-free formulations, but it’s gone beyond commonly used botanicals like lavender and chamomile, experimenting with everything from crushed bamboo powder and crushed fennel seeds (used in some of its exfoliants) to pure cardamom and activated charcoal. It even earned bragging rights by becoming the first company to offer an all-natural, water-based, propylene glycol-free personal lubricant (oddly enough, this was the first product I tried in the whole Collective Wellbeing range, but it was so amazing that I had to learn more about the brand). Not only does Collective Wellbeing stress the use of natural ingredients and recycled packaging, but it has vowed to be a “zero emission” company, subjecting itself to annual carbon footprint audits and subsequently looking for alternative energy providers (like wind warms and solar energy plants) to continuously lessen its carbon emission until it reaches zero.
The Dry Skin Relief Body Butter, available in both scented and unscented varieties, targets uncomfortably dry skin with its combination of fair trade llipe nut butter, which moisturizes and fortifies the skin natural barrier, certified organic aloe vera to soothe any inflammations, and jojoba oil to retain the moisture infused into the skin. It’s a rather rich product so you’ll want to use more sparingly when the weather warms up and perhaps focus more on rougher surface areas like elbows, knees, and heels of feet.
Pomega5 Daily Revitalizing Concentrate, $48. Available at Pomega5.com
When I first twisted off the cap of the Pomega5 Daily Revitalizing Concentrate, I felt the urge to pop one in my mouth as I would do with a Vitamin E or Vitamin D capsule. Thankfully, I knew to thoroughly read the instructions before ingesting anything. As it turns out, these Pomega5 ampoules are meant to be applied topically to skin — all you have to do is twist off the small handle of the maraca-shaped capsules, rub the oil inside the pearl’s clear film in between palms, and then smooth onto your face, hands, or cuticles. Omega 5, a powerful antioxidant and essential fatty acid commonly found in pomegranate extract, constitutes 60% of the make-up of these ampoules, while hydrating jojoba oil, brightening calendula oil, toning rosehip oil, balancing grapefruit oil, and repairing verbena oil account for the remaining 40% of ingredients. My favorite use: applying it to dry and flaky cuticles. Your manicure will look so much better!