You remember last month when we were all saying “45 degrees in December?! We’re gonna have such a mild winter," right? Well — I hope you enjoyed that because this weather is officially un-cute.
A few days ago, the wind chill was -20 and I was praying for death. It’s official: Winter is here. It’s queer. And it wants to fuck up your skin.
To think that I was about to scrap this article entirely! I thought, “do we really need another winter skincare story? Is that really what I want to be putting into the world?” But then the temperatures dropped to subzero levels and I took it as a sign.
I don’t need to tell you that hydrating your skin is important all year round, especially in the winter, this part of winter, because having dry skin is a drag. HOWEVER dry skin means dull skin, which, for me — as someone who would literally sell his soul to Satan (again) for the promise of glowy skin year round — is real bad news. I want my face to be hydrated so that a) I can look better than your man at all times, and b) if spring ever comes, I won’t have to do a total skincare overhaul to repair the damage from cold weather neglect.
Let’s start with a serum.
Serums are a part of my everyday skincare regime, but like moisturizers, eye creams, and men, it’s not always easy to find one that’s perfect for you. Factors such as dry down, finish, and interaction with other products can all be deal breakers. I love this Kate Somerville serum because it’s no nonsense. It glides on and you can forget about it by the time you layer a moisturizer on top of it.
Quench is packed with Vitamin A, which helps accelerate cell turnover giving you brighter, healthier looking skin. Lipids are another key ingredient, as they are essential in maintaining skin’s hydration and resilience. With continued use, my skin looked fuller and more hydrated, with a bit more of a natural glow.
I’ve gone back to this serum, especially during winter, for a couple seasons now. It’s always the one I return to in the coldest of cold, when I want to make sure I’m supplying my skin with long lasting, locked-in hydration. I was using this most frequently when I was treating my skin — my whole body I guess — really badly and no one was any the wiser because my skin looked really healthy. That's the downside of all the benefits of skincare I guess, but that's another article.
SORRY, it's cold and I have cabin fever so things might get weird.
Next up: a face oil.
Hear me when I say this: If you live in a place where the weather gets cold enough to wear a scarf or take an Uber, you need to be wearing a face oil.
Face oils are key in keeping your face moisturized throughout the day and acting as an extra barrier from wind. I live in Madison, which happens to be a serious wind tunnel, so I never skip this. Windburn is real, you guys. I know I told you about this product in that stupid video I made a few months ago, but if I’m gonna tell you guys to use a face oil, I want you to be using the best one, and this is it.
Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate is packed with antioxidants from natural oils including sunflower and ginger root, and plays a huge role in protecting your skin from free radicals during the day. Dudes. I wouldn’t be bringing this up again so soon, or at all, unless it really worked.
I could recommend another face oil, but then it wouldn’t be the best one, and really, what’s the point in that? Two weeks after I started using this, there was a visible change in my skin. It was noticeably brighter and more even, and the change happened fast. Any face oil is better than no face oil, but there isn’t any face oil that’s better than this.
So there are a lot of great eye creams out there, please just promise me you’re using something. The reason I reach for this one from Murad when it’s so cold out is that it’s made with avocado oil and natural butters to help deeply hydrate and condition the sensitive skin below your eyes. Caffeine stimulates bloodflow and pairs with retinol to diminish puffiness while promoting skin renewal. It’s also got SPF 15, to protect from harmful UVA/UVB rays which, yes, still threaten your skin in the winter.
You can change the look of your eye area very quickly just by keeping it hydrated, and this cream includes all of the benefits of an essential eye product with an added dose of hydration and SPF. Get it for winter, use it all year.
On a personal (!!!) note, whenever I travel, I take a Murad eye cream with me. They're high quality, obviously, but they travel well, too, since the jar is plastic! This may not be a big deal for you, but I hate feeling like I have to dumb down my skincare regimen for a week because I'm afraid to carry glass bottles and jars around with me. Murad let's me take a great eye cream with me and keep my face looking fresh, which is great for me because I'm always hammered when I travel.
Normally, I opt for lighter moisturizers (gel formulas, preferably). I like my moisturizers to be hydrating, obviously, but I don’t love the feel and wear of a cream on my face, no matter how nourishing. Also, gels usually dry down without any sheen left behind. I am immediately turned off by creams that leave behind shine of any sort, unless they’re supposed to.
But in this weather? Girl, all bets are off. I know of some gel moisturizers that will hold up to the cold and keep my face protected, but sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and give in to using a cream for a little extra cushion.
Butter Drench is not only one of the most luxurious creams on my sink right now, it’s also very new! It’s part of the bareMinerals Skinsorials collection. I don’t really understand that name either, but they sent me the whole line and it is insane. It’s made up of four cleansers, four moisturizers, and one incredible serum. They even have a gel moisturizer for me!
Butter Drench is the richest of the three moisturizers. Shea butter works to soften while peptides help firm up skin and ceramides lock in moisture by bolstering your skin’s water retention. Skin will look hydrated, brighter, and fine lines and wrinkles will be softened (if you’re worried about that sort of thing). The entire Skinsorials line is really impressive, and while Butter Drench isn’t even my favorite of the bunch it’s the most essential for me this season.
Alright so, I’ve name dropped Balm Dotcom a few times around xo, but I’ve never formally written about it until now. This is one of my GRAIL products, and I need to finally give it the shine it deserves.
If you don’t already know, Balm Dotcom is a universal balm made for anywhere you’ve got dry spots whether they're your knuckles, elbows, lips, all of the above.
Listen close — no matter how tight my pants are, I always have my phone in my right pocket and three things in my left: my card case, my keys, and Balm Dotcom. I don’t go anywhere without it. It’s the only balm I’ve ever used that doesn’t cause the same problems that it promises to solve. There are so many lip balms, both drugstore and luxe, that are great for short term moisturizing, but seem to leave lips more dry and flaky in the long run. This stuff moisturizes, heals cracks, and actually leaves lips healthier than they were before, without going through withdrawals.
I know some of you are all in your feelings about Glossier and say that this is no more than petroleum jelly in a tube, but I rebuke you. The combination of castor seed oil, beeswax, lanolin, capuaucu fruit extracts, rice bran extracts, and rosemary leaf extracts has been keeping my lips on lock ever since it was released. I’ve tried all of the flossy lip balms and none of them have come close to making my lips feel this good.
They even have a summer version! It summer ever comes again.
Coconut Balm Dotcom come back 2 me.
What are your skincare essentials when it’s freezing outside? Tell me, I could always use more. After all, winter is far from over.
Tynan is freezing on Twitter @TynanBuck.