We at Hampton Sun love winter and all of the joyous things that come along with it: the holidays, skiing, visiting family, going on vacation, getting some much needed rest. What we don't love about winter is how it can make our skin feel and look.
Freezing temperatures and brisk winds call for tight, dry, flaky skin that is reactive and difficult to manage. Simply put, dealing with winter skin can sometimes feel like a never-ending battle that we're bound to lose.
Over several decades of working in the skin care industry, we've tested out hundreds of "winter skin tips" and stand here today with only a select few that have stood test of time and actually make a difference.
Here are our golden rules for achieving and maintaining optimally healthy, glowing skin in the winter:
1. INVEST IN A HUMIDIFIER
This is number one on our list for a reason.
Possibly the biggest reason skin dries out during the winter is because of the drier winter air. A humidifier is a great way to counteract this.
Hampton Sun’s marketing manager, Ellie, says that her winter skin routine is as simple as using a good heavy-duty moisturizer (more on that later) and running a humidifier nightly. She goes on to say that if she skips out on the humidifier for a night, she’ll wake up with tight-feeling, dry skin and more noticeable fine lines.
The only caveat to humidifiers is that they require frequent cleanings. Mold thrives in dark, wet places, making the inner chambers of a humidifier the perfect breeding ground for it. Your best bet for preventing build up: change out the water daily and do a quick rinse. Clean out the chambers more thoroughly every 3 days with a spare toothbrush and white vinegar and/or hydrogen peroxide.
PRO TIP: we recommend a warm mist humidifier - it doesn’t get as germy or make the air feel as clammy as a cool mist humidifier can. We're fans of the Canopy Humidifier because it inhibits mold-growth and is dishwasher safe!
2. MOISTURIZE WELL & AT OPTIMAL TIMES
In the winter, we look for moisturizers that have more weight to them. They need to physically feel creamier and richer than the ones we’re using in the summer. We also look for moisturizers that contain extra hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid. Our long time favorite winter moisturizer: The Ultimate Soothing Cream by Augustinus Bader. This one is definitely pricey, but we've found that a little goes a long way and its skin-saving properties make it worth it.
There are plenty of amazing winter moisturizers out there - just be sure to pay attention to the quality. Don't settle for low quality moisturizers that only give your skin the feeling of being supple and moisturized due to silicones that do nothing but sit on the skin's surface.
We also believe in the power of applying your skincare at the "right" times. The prime time to apply your moisturizer (or serum if you're using that first) is right after showering. It isn't even necessary to wait until your skin is completely dry to begin applying - in fact, it's actually better to apply it when your skin is still a bit damp. This ensures your moisturizer is also locking in the water that's already on your face.
PRO TIP: dispense a dime-sized (or quarter-sized for us in the winter) amount of product onto the outside of your hand and dot it around your face. Gently pat and press the product into your skin rather than rubbing it in. Think of your skin as a sponge. You want all of that goodness and moisture reaching deep into your skin, not just sitting on its surface.
PRO TIP: If you have oily skin and are experiencing dryness, you don't necessarily need to use a very rich moisturizer. Simply apply an occlusive to the areas of your skin that are the driest, or try a light cream in place of your usual gel moisturizer (for example).
3. DON'T SKIMP ON SUNSCREEN
Just because the sun isn't as obvious in the winter as it is in the summer doesn't mean wearing sunscreen everyday isn't necessary. And if you're skiing, it's even more crucial to apply and reapply your SPF throughout the day, as UV exposure is greater at higher altitudes. Looking for a seamless way to protect your skin from harsh UVA/UVB rays while also deeply moisturizing? Our all-new SPF 45 Face Cream is your answer.
We formulated our new face cream with a low molecular weight form of Hyaluronic Acid rather than the more typical form you will commonly find in skincare. A smaller, more lightweight Hyaluronic Acid molecule means it's able to penetrate your skin deeper, resulting in better, longer lasting results. Seriously, we've been wearing it everyday since the end of July and it's the most hydrating (yet lightweight and non-pore clogging) daily facial sunscreen we've ever tried. It also applies beautifully over makeup!
PRO TIP: Don't forget to apply sunscreen to your neck (and decollage if it's going to be exposed). You'd be surprised at how quickly deep-set wrinkles can form in these delicate areas if left unprotected.
PRO TIP: Our SPF 45 Mineral Face Stick is the perfect SPF choice for taking with you while skiing! It's small, so it fits everywhere seamlessly, and it's packed with all-natural Avocado Oil, a major hyperpigmentation fighter.
4. LIMIT HOT SHOWERS
We all know how nice it feels to indulge in a long, hot shower at the end of an especially chilly day, but unfortunately, water—especially hot water—strips skin of its essential oils. The longer you're in the shower, the longer this process is prolonged.
Taking shorter, lukewarm showers is the general rule of thumb for keeping your skin balanced. Additionally, using milder body washes and soaps meant for sensitive skin is always a good idea in our book, winter or not.
PRO TIP: Having hard water makes this situation much worse. It's challenging to fully remove soap from your body when using hard water because it contains excess amounts of calcium and magnesium. When your skin is covered in soap residue, it's deprived of it's moisture, leaving it dry and often irritated. To combat hard water, try using a sink water filter. We love Filterbaby's PROdermis Skincare Water Filter.
5. EXFOLIATE MORE OFTEN, BUT DO SO GENTLY
Exfoliation stuffs away dead skin cells and increases cellular turnover, revealing a smooth, fresh-faced complexion. Exfoliation is very important, yes, but we believe if you're going to use a harsh physical exfoliant rather than a chemical one, you're better off not exfoliating at all. Chemical exfoliation is truly one of the best, if not the very best form of exfoliation, especially for the face, as it avoids causing irritation (when it's used correctly). Physical exfoliants have been noted to cause micro-tears in the skin, which may not be visible to the naked eye at first, but can cause irreparable damage down the line if done persistently enough.
PRO TIP: look for AHAs such as lactic and glycolic acid for gentle chemical exfoliation. We love Sunday Riley's Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment. As this is an overnight leave-on treatment, be sure to give your skin a break every few days, as you would with other forms of exfoliation.
6. GET BETTER SLEEP & DRINK MORE WATER
In our books, this one is of upmost importance all year round. When related to skin, both also tend to be very individual, but for us, the first place to take a hit after a night of subpar sleep or a day of drinking a less than adequate amount of water is our skin.
For sleep, try to aim for 7-8 hours per night. This is generally considered the "safe area." You may personally require more or less than this. Always do what works best for you!
For water intake, health experts generally recommend following the 8x8 rule - eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day (2 liters). With this being said, we've always found that we look and feel our best when drinking slightly more than this recommended amount. Again, everyone requires different amounts, but we personally aim to drink 2.5-3 liters per day!
PRO TIP: living in New York City, it can be difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep with the never-ending noises of the city. We can't get enough of our white noise machines. Everyone on our team has one and agrees that they're very effective at drowning out disruptive noises. A word of caution: it may become difficult to get to sleep without white noise once you get used to it over a prolonged period of time. Our favorite white noise machine: Portable White Noise Machine by Serene Evolution.
We hope our winter skin guide has been helpful for you and your journey to optimally healthy, glowing skin this winter. If you found this information helpful, feel free to pass it along to a friend who may find it useful this winter (we definitely have!)
Note: all products mentioned in this post have been chosen independently by Hampton Sun team members without paid incentives.