Cooler temps offer a perfect excuse for a wardrobe update, but it’s time to rethink what we put on before we get dressed too. Winter fashion brims with soft knits and sleek leathers, yet skin is often rough and dry – polar opposites (no pun intended) and not a pretty combo. With a fabulous array of options to exfoliate, moisturize, and soothe winter skin, make room on your vanity for a little cold weather defense. Winter has met its match.
Exfoliating is crucial in fighting dry, flaky skin but you can get too much of a good thing. Use a body scrub no more than 2-3 days a week, making sure to give elbows, knees, hands, and feet extra TLC. Sugar-based (or other fine grain) body scrubs are a better choice for winter months than salt ones, which by nature are more drying and should be used even less often to avoid irritation. Pain is not beauty as far as scrubs are concerned.
The classic Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish ($65) works its magic sloughing dead skin cells away (no one said the road to beauty was pretty, did they?) while moisturizing with evening primrose, sweet almond, apricot kernel, and jojoba oils (they also make a fabulous lip scrub), while the award-winning Bliss Blood Orange and White Pepper Sugar Scrub ($36) is packed with antioxidants, exfoliating while protecting against free radical damage. For a body scrub that’s sugar free yet completely indulgent, try La Mer’s The Body Refiner ($125) made with pure diamond powder and fermented sea mud as well as their signature uber-moisturizing Miracle Broth.
In the mood for a little DIY? You can make a simple body scrub base using this ratio: mix two parts brown or white sugar to one part coconut oil (opt for refined coconut oil if you’d prefer it without the coconut scent). Add a few drops of essential oil like lavender, citrus, or cinnamon, and store in an airtight container in the shower. If you say N-O to DIY, try ULTA’s coconut cream sugar scrub ($12) instead.
Après scrub, bring on the moisturizer. Pat skin dry with a towel (don’t rub – you have an exfoliator to do that job, remember?) and apply while still damp for ultimate hydration. Swapping your light moisturizer for something rich, like Cle De Peau body crème ($150), L’Occitane Ultra Rich Body Cream ($44), or Eucerin Professional Repair ($7), gives skin a much needed layer of defense as you face the elements. Slather from shoulders to toes directly out of the shower.
Keep a tube of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream ($21) or Glossier Balm dotcom ($12) on your nightstand to apply to hands and feet before bed (your cuticles will thank you). And throw an extra tube in your bag while you’re at it. Your hands will get the most exposure this winter, so be sure you’re treating them kindly. All-purpose salves like these are dry skin wonders and also great for taming brows, flyaways, and chapped lips in a pinch.
Body oils are a great alternative to creamy moisturizers, made with concentrated formulas that deeply nourish skin with just a few drops. When it launched less than a decade ago, Rodin Olio Lusso body oil ($130) became an instant classic. Made with a blend of 11 essential oils, it’s beloved by beauty editors around the globe. Neutrogena Body Oil ($10-16), which earned its classic status after becoming a household name in 1966, hydrates with sesame oil and is now available in both original and fragrance-free formulas. Also made with sesame oil, Caudalie Divine Oil ($49) is blended with grapeseed, argan, and hibiscus, and packaged as a dry spray, making it quick and practical. Body oils should be applied while skin is still damp and then allowed several minutes to absorb before getting dressed.
A few extra minutes to banish dry skin? Worth every second when the term cashmere soft can apply to both you and those sweaters you’ve pulled out of storage.