POLAR VORTEX SKINCARE! The Products That Saved My Skin During This Ridiculously Cold Weather

I’d take HELL over the Midwest right now, because at least it would be warmer.
Publish date:
January 9, 2014
skincare, dry skin, Kate Somerville, caudalie, Juice Beauty

I’m not going to start this article off by whining about how cold it is outside, because that’s all that anyone has been doing for the last few days. So, thanks for getting that out of the way for me, guys! Hashtag polar vortex!

But I can’t blame you, though. This week, it was -45 degrees outside, which was asinine, and also probably coldest temperatures I have ever experienced in my entire so-called life. People kept warning me that this winter was going to be super harsh, because the “Farmer’s Almanac” said it would be. Like, is that some sort of app? Regardless, I wish I was literally anywhere else. I’d take HELL over the Midwest right now, because at least it would be warmer.

But my skin looks great!

A day or two ago, reader @stalesmcgalesss tweeted me a question:


“Anyone have a suggestion for a (preferably natural/paraben free) winter moisturizer? I have combo skin that's very dry. @TynanBuck HALP PLZ.”

Now, “natural” means different things to different people, and the definition certainly varies by company. I also care less about natural and more about results. But lucky for you, most products by now are paraben free, including all of the ones I’m going to tell you about.

Because I’m trying this new thing called “planning ahead,” I made sure to start getting real serious about everything I’m using on my face to make sure that when the winter weather finally hit, my skin would be ready.

In the shower, I use Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Cleansing Gel, $26.

This brightening cleanser is made with organic fruits and plants to naturally cleanse, hydrate, and reveal a more refined complexion. Apple and lemon help brighten your skin with their natural malic and citric acids, raw cane sugar helps exfoliate, and algae, sage, and dandelion help hydrate and purify.

I like Juice products because they’re packed with organic ingredients that really benefit your skin, and they do so gently. I’m working my way through their collection right now and I’m really loving it. Plus, their products smell like the produce section of a grocery store.

When I’m out of the shower, the first thing I reach for is eye cream. I’m using Dr. Brandt’s Flaws Now More r3p Eye Cream, $80.

I’ve been working my way through a large collection of eye creams all year (well, all of last year, I guess) and I am LOVING this one. It’s packed with Vitamins A, C, and E to diminish lines and my perpetual, unavoidable dark circles. It also contains caffeine, which stimulates bloodflow to reduce puffiness. Plus, it’s thick as hell, so a little bit goes a long way. Really, I don’t even scoop any eye cream out of the little pot, I just wave my finger in a circular motion on top of the cream, like I’m casting a spell or something, and that picks up just enough for my little under-eyes. And honestly, I can FEEL it working. If you’re looking for a new eye cream, stop, and buy this one.

Now for what I feel is the most important step in keeping your face together in the tundra (sorry, I know “tundra” is lame but you guys, it’s -45 degrees out. Help me.)

My skin, and your skin, too, looks its best when it’s hydrated. But this insane weather wants to rob your skin of all of it’s moisture, that’s why I’m using Kate Somerville’s Quench Oil-Free Hydrating Face Serum, $65.

It moisturizes deep down and locks in moisture while balancing your skin’s natural oil production. Peptides help improve skin’s firmness while decreasing lines. It is thin, but for a serum, its got more body than normal, which I appreciate because I can make sure I get it right where I want it without wasting any. After all, wasting any beauty product is a bummer.

The Quench Hydrating Serum dries down quickly and leaves no shine or residue, so it feels great alone, and layers well under other products and moisturizers.

And speaking of moisturizers…

Kate Somerville Nourish Daily Moisturizer, $65.

Kate Somerville’s Nourish Daily Moisturizer is filled with Vitamin A to help smooth and soften while Lavender, Orange and Green Tea calm your stressed out winter skin. As far as moisturizers go, this one is a little on the thin side and almost applies like a serum, which isn’t a bad thing.

Like the serum I mentioned before, it dries down quickly and matte, leaving your skin looking healthy but without any shine, even at the end of the day. If the day has been a very cold, like it has this entire past week, I’ll apply another thin layer to any extra-dry patches of skin before bed. Can’t hurt, right?

Something you might want to think about in these frigid winter months, or really anytime for more all around glowing and healthy looking skin, is to use a face oil. In these harsh conditions, it’s a good idea to apply a face oil before leaving your apartment as it serves as another barrier between your skin and the harsh wind.

Otherwise, I (try to remember to) apply before bed and let the oil work its magic during the night. Oils are packed with antioxidants, they help manage your oil production, lock in moisture, and are the simplest way to instantly look more RADIANT.

Oh wait, one more. I started using this product because I thought it was a skin oil but then I realized it wasn’t. It’s actually a concentrate. Whatever. You should use it too, and I will tell you what it is.

Caudalíe Vinosource Nourishing Concentrate, $44.

This 100% plant-based intensive hydrating treatment is nourishing, hydrating, and regenerative. It’s a concentrated cocktail of grape-seed, jojoba, and sesame oils, along with rosewood essential oil that hydrates and promotes radiance almost instantly. Because it’s so strong, you just need a tiny bit. The box indicates five drops, I rarely even use that much.

I usually throw it on before I hop in bed, but during these 40 below temperatures, I’ve been wearing it in the morning. You can wear it alone, or under your favorite serum or moisturizer. It actually makes a really great base for your other skincare products, like a primer for your makeup. I noticed I got a little bit more mileage out of my moisturizer and was able to use a little less the first time I wore the concentrate under it. You really can't be too kind to your skin during this time of year.

HOW WAS YOUR WEEK? Were (are) you freezing? I'm good with the cold, but this was just too much. I have never taken so many cabs in my life, I swear. How are you protecting your skin in these conditions? What are you using? Let's chat in the comments, snow bunnies.

Tynan is a snowman on Twitter @TynanBuck.