Winter Skincare Guide — All The Products Seen On Telemundo NY’s “Acceso Total” Winter Skincare Segment
Tending to our skin’s needs during the winter months can feel like an arduous, unpredictable, demanding ordeal that often ends in frustration, with as satisfying an outcome as the one Sisyphus experienced rolling that rock uphill for all eternity. But all is not lost, friends. The key to maintaining a hydrated, smooth, radiant-looking complexion throughout the winter months lies in creating a perfectly choreographed skincare regimen, then tweaking it as needed. On Tuesday morning, I stopped by Telemundo 47’s “Acceso Total” to offer some tips on how to care for skin during these frigid months and to showcase some of my favorite products to get the job done. You can check out the segment video above (or click here) and, for further details on all the items showcased, read on!
USE A GENTLE AND HYDRATING CLEANSER
Whatever your skin type, you should elect a facial cleanser that effectively removes dirt, debris, and makeup, and which doesn’t include comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients like isopropyl isostereate, laureth-4, and lauric acid and which also, on the other end of the spectrum, doesn’t incorporate parabens and sulfates that could strip the complexion of its essential oils, leading to itchy, dehydrated, and irritated skin. Generally speaking, cream cleansers are a superior choice in the winters since they’re enriched with moisturizing ingredients and tend to be more gentle on the skin.
Zo Skin Health Offects Hydrating Cleanser, $39. Available at ZoSkinHealth.com
This indulgently creamy cleanser contains hyaluronic acid, which is capable of attracting and absorbing up to 100 times its weight in moisture, infusing it into the skin for long-lasting hydration. It also includes allantoin, which soothes and calms inflamed skin, and emollients like glycerin and panthenol that soften the complexion. The cleanser also includes peptides that stimulate collagen production, thereby leading to a more youthful countenance.
This gentle cleanser is designed to appease even those with extra sensitive skin. It contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) derived from papaya enzymes and algae extracts that kickstart the skin’s natural exfoliation process, helping to dislodge dead surface skin cells and replace them with newer cells, thereby unveiling a younger-looking, more radiant complexion. It also contains apricot and starflower oils that hydrate the skin but, moreover, fortify its defense mechanisms thanks to their linoleic acid (or gamma-linoleic acid in the latter’s case) content which replenish moisture and hence support the skin’s moisture barrier. Also, it smells amazing!
Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil, $8.99. Available at drugstores and mass market retailers.
When it’s time to remove your makeup, choose a cleansing oil rather than scrubbing your face vigorously with countless amounts of alcohol-packed facial wipes. If you’re going to use wipes, I recommend Simple Skincare’s Cleansing Facial Wipes or Yes To Cucumber’s Facial Towelettes since both are alcohol-free and hypoallergenic, plus they contain skin-soothing botanical extract. That said, cleansing oils tend to remove makeup more thoroughly and efficiently. This affordable Neutrogena cleansing oil contains rosemary oil, which is a gentle antiseptic and disinfectant, along with camellia (green tea) extract, which is loaded with antioxidants and is known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. They key, as with all oil-based cleansers, is to start by dispensing a few drops onto your dry hands, then smoothing the oil onto your dry face, using gentle circular motions. Only then should you add some water to create an emulsion and, after thoroughly cleansing, rinse off the product. Also, I’d recommend trying the double cleansing method, starting with an oil-based cleanser such as this one and following with a cream cleanser like the ones above.
ADD AN ESSENCE
Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Hyaluronic Essence, $25. Available at CVS.
This product belongs to a skincare category that’s only recently been introduced to Western customers en masse: facial essences. These highly concentrated, aqueous solutions have long been employed by Korean women as part of their intricate skincare rituals, which often involve 10 and even 12 steps. Facial essences are designed to be applied after cleansing the skin but prior to applying any serums or lotions. They’re quickly absorbed by the skin, leaving no residue behind, and they prepare the skin for all of the nutrients that will be delivered via some of the more viscous and thicker serums and creams. Think of essences as a way to stimulate your skin’s metabolism so that it can more readily consume the healthy entrees that will follow. This particular essence is designed to both hydrate and brighten thanks to a combination of hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C.
USE A CERAMIDIN-RICH SERUM OR LOTION
Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid, $39. Available at Sephora.com
Caramides are a category of lipids normally found in skin’s intercellular matrix (they account for nearly 40% of this structure), acting as the cement that holds skin cells together, thereby creating a firm barrier that seals in moisture. Sadly, as we age, our bodies produce less ceramides, which leaves our skin more susceptible to dehydration and to damage caused by UV rays and environmental aggressors. Think of a brick wall with very little mortar to bind its blocks together— without that connective paste, this structure wouldn’t be able to withstand strong wind gusts and heavy rainfalls.
This lightweight serum constitutes a way to replenish those lost ceramides, thereby healing the skin while fortifying its defense systems and leaving the complexion looking smooth and taut. The Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid also includes such ingredients as licorice extract, a natural brightening agent that helps to combat redness and boost radiance; soothing aloe extract; and vitamin B5 to soften and condition the skin.
Murad Balancing Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15, $40. Available at Murad.com
If you have combination skin, this moisturizer will feel heaven-sent since it will help to balance the skin’s oil production. Its also a great choice for those periods of time when temperatures seem to be in constant flux. In New York City, it was a perplexing 70 degrees on Christmas Eve but, on January 5th, it was only 11 degrees. How can skin possibly adjust to those sudden temperature plunges and rises? Well, this moisturizer certainly helps! It features lactic acid and amino acids that promote collagen production and stimulate cellular regeneration; vitamins A, C, and E; and Japanese alder flower extract, which unclogs pores and thereby prevents the formation of pesky blackheads. It also offers SPF 15 protection, which is incredibly important no matter what season!
L’Occitane Shea Face Soothing Fluid, $49. Available at L’Occitane stores and USA.LOccitane.com
Shea butter is one of the most effective moisturizers thanks to its high concentration of fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins A and E (the former stimulates collagen production while the latter neutralizes free radicals). Rich shea butter creams, then, are often recommended for the body — especially during the cold winter months, when they can envelop the skin in moisture as if giving it a cozy hug. That said, shea butter-based facial creams can be a risky proposition since they’re often a bit too heavy and can lead to breakouts. This new L’Occitane moisturizer, however, has a feather-light texture and it’s readily absorbed by quenched skin, leaving it feeling comforted and soothed — without clogging your pores or leaving a greasy residue behind. The delightful moisturizer combines rose hip and calendula oils with shea butter (at a 5% concentration) and vitamin E-rich sunflower seed oil that, together, hydrate the skin and optimize its barrier function while also providing some relief from external aggressors like the frigid air and harsh wind, alleviating redness, itching, and burning..
PERSONALIZE YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE
Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops, $48 each. Available at Sephora.com
If our skin behaved the exact same way every single day, caring for it would surely be easier, but the truth is our complexions can be quite temperamental — after all, the skin is susceptible to changes dictated by everything from temperature changes to dietary habits, hormonal fluctuations, pollution, UV rays, stress, lack of sleep, humidity, and so forth. Luckily, Cover FX developed a strategy that would allow people to make some slight adjustments to their skincare regiments depending on their needs at any given point in time. Enter the Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops, each of which is designed to address a specific concern (be it dryness, dull skin, fine lines and wrinkles, or redness and inflammation) and to supplement an existing skincare routine. Each of the drops, then, contain essential oils and vitamins that add a super-charged boost to your favorite serum or cream. If, for instance, you have patches of dry, red, irritated skin, you should apply a couple of drops of the Cover FX E+ Chamomile Custom Infusion Drops to your favorite lotion, as the chamomile extract, cucumber extract, rosemary oil, and vitamin E in the formula will help to heal and calm your visage. Similarly, if skin needs a bit more moisture than what your daily cream is delivering, you can give it a boost with a couple of drops of the Cover FX F+ Neroli serum, which combines sodium hyaluronate, squalene, neroli oil, safflower seed oil, avocado oil, and vitamin F to elevate hydration levels, lock moisture in, and improve skin elasticity. The four formulas, then, can be mixed and matched with the other products in your regimen for a truly customized skincare experience.
EXFOLIATE AND BRIGHTEN WITH A GENTLE PEEL
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel, $88. Available at DrDennisGross.com
I would not be overstating matters by suggesting that this daily peel is truly revolutionary and even life-changing. Now, most women cringe when they hear the word “peel,” imagining layers of skin being scraped off with a butcher mask and being forced to live the rest of their lives looking like one of the mutant village people in The Hills Have Eyes. This product, however, is so gentle that even the most trepidatious and squeamish among us will rethink their stance on peels. No, you will not be scraping off bits of skin like you’re The Fly‘s Seth Brundle. What this facial peel does is to remove those outermost layers of skin that are riddled with dead skin cells through a chemical exfoliation process that’s surprisingly non-abrasive. Each daily treatment involves a two-step process as demarcated on each double pouch: first, remove the moist towelette labeled “Step 1” and smooth it onto clean and dry skin, using circular motions and massaging the skin until there’s barely any liquid left on the cloth; then, wait two minutes and repeat the process with the towelette inside the side labeled “Step 2.” That’s it!
How does the two-step process work? Well, the “Step 1” towelette contains lactic acid, which promotes cellular turnover and stimulates collagen and elastin production; mandelic acid, which possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-redness properties; willow bark extract, a natural toner with salicylic acid that promotes exfoliation and unclogs congested pores; lemon extract, which contains vitamin C to brighten skin tone; cucumber extract, a cooling and soothing substance; witch hazel, an antiseptic that heals and tones skin; jasmine extract, which helps to moisturize skin, restore elasticity, and bolster the skin’s immunity; and coconut oil, which hydrates, nourishes, and softens skin. The “Step 2” towelette, meanwhile, contains sodium hyaluronate, camellia leaf extract, and colloidal oatmeal that fend off irritation and redness.
Ideally, you’ll want to use this peel at night, after throughly cleansing your face, and before applying any essences, serums, or creams. Within two week, you’ll notice your skin has a lit-from-within radiance, a youthful spark — even during those harsh winter months. Just remember to use a sunscreen daily since the AHAs in the formula will make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays. But, really, you should be using SPF daily anyway since, by now, we all know sun damage is the quickest way to age skin.
INDULGE SKIN WITH A SLEEPING MASK
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque, $35. Available at Kiehls.com
The skin’s metabolic rate increases at night, so that skin cells renew themselves at a faster rate as we sleep. To work in tandem with the skin’s natural “clock,” try using a moisturizing sleeping mask, one you can apply before hitting the sack and which will work as you snooze so you can awaken to bouncier, more radiant, softer, smoother, younger-looking skin. This rich mask contains squalene, a vegetal lipid which boasts a molecular structure that’s strikingly similar to that of the lipids normally found in the skin. Because of its molecular structure, squalene can penetrate skin rather efficiently and rapidly. Other ingredients include hyaluronic acid and glycerin, both top-notch humectants that bind moisture to the skin and create a reservoir effect to ensure long-lasting hydration; shea butter; and fountain plant, a perennial herb indigenous to China and Japan that improves the skin’s ability to retain water.
MIST YOUR FACE AS NEEDED
Whenever your face starts feeling a little bit tight, reach for a hydrating facial mist (I keep mine by my desk!) like this one from La Roche-Posay, which contains thermal water enriched with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants like selenium, zinc, and calcium that nourish and hydrate the skin.