Your 24-Hour Winter Skincare Guide

Like summer, winter brings with it some unique challenges for skin and hair. Biting winds, freezing temperatures and sweltering central heating can lead to hair becoming brittle and skin becoming dry, chapped and uncomfortable.

What you need is an action plan to fight the elements. Luckily, we’ve got one that’ll see you from breakfast until bedtime.

7.30am – Take A (Quick) Shower

Nothing beats a long, hot shower on a cold winter morning but while it might make you feel good, it’s not a great start to the day for skin.

“Hot water strips the skin of its natural, protective oils which can cause it to dry out,” warns dermatologist David Orentreich, who suggests turning down the heat and reducing the time you spend in the shower to give skin a fighting chance when temperatures plummet outside.

To help prevent skin from drying out, use a moisturising body wash like Dove Men+Care Clean Comfort Micro Moisture Body and Face Wash or L’Occitane’s Almond Shower Oil. If you suffer from dry skin to begin with, use a product like Eucerin Dry Skin Shower Therapy, which is formulated with natural oils to keep skin supple and hydrated.

  • Dove Men+care Clean Comfort Body Wash 250ml
  • Loccitane Almond Shower Oil 250ml
  • Eucerin Dry Skin Bath And Shower Therapy 200ml
7.55am – Give Hair Some Help

According to Harley Street Trichologist Sara Allison, biting winds and central heating both affect keratin – a key structural protein found in skin and hair – by sucking out all the moisture, making hair look dull and lifeless and more prone to damage.

As well as turning down the heat if you use a hairdryer, she suggests taking an Omega 3 food supplement to bolster your hair’s wintertime defences.

  • Myprotein Super Omega 3
  • The Protein Works Liquid Omega 3 Oil
  • Super Strength Omega 3 Softgels 1000mg
8am – Moisturise

There’s a very simple reason your face ends up feeling dry and tight in the winter: “Quite simply, your skin doesn’t like the cold because it makes keratin stiffer and less flexible,” says Dr. John Gray, author of The World of Skincare. Which explains why keeping it hydrated is so important.

Not everyone will need to increase moisturisation in the winter but if you do notice your skin is becoming particularly dry and flaky, either switch to an intensive balm for dry skin like ClarinsMen Super Moisture Balm, or up how many times you moisturise during the day to ensure skin never begins to feel dry and tight. Or, for a truly 24-hour solution, try Lab Series’ new Age Rescue Water-Charged Gel Cream.

And don’t think that just because it’s winter that you don’t need to use a sunscreen either. While your skin might not burn in December it’s still prone to the sun’s ageing UVA rays at this time of year, so to keep the crow’s feet at bay, use a moisturiser containing a sunscreen like Polaar Hydraprotect Moisturiser UV+, Jack Black’s Double-Duty Moisturiser SPF20 or Dermalogica’s Daily Defense SPF15.

If you’re worried about a pale winter complexion, now’s the time to apply a little Tom Ford Bronzing Gel, which gives skin some instant but subtle colour.

  • Clarinsmen Super Moisture Balm
  • Lab Series Age Rescue + Water Charged Gel Cream 50ml
  • Polaar – Hydraprotect Moisturizer Uv 50ml
  • Jack Black Double Duty Face Moisturiser Spf20 97ml
  • Dermalogica Daily Defense Block Spf 15
  • Tom Ford Bronzing Gel
10am – Improve Your Environment

Since collagen and skin proteins function best in a moist environment, it’s worth adding a little extra humidity to your surroundings in the winter, too, especially as heating tends to suck the moisture out of air.

Do this by using a humidifier, placing a bowl of water by your desk or introducing house plants to your workspace.

1pm – Eat Your Way To Better Skin

Dry skin can often be exacerbated by a lack of vitamin A and vitamins from the B group, so to support skin from the inside during winter, increase your intake of vitamin-rich red and yellow vegetables such as beetroot, yellow peppers and sweetcorn, along with whole grains and leafy greens.

And yes, that includes those festive Brussels sprouts!

2pm – Pucker Up

Lips need extra protection in the winter because, unlike the rest of our skin, they don’t produce any natural oils, making them much more susceptible to water loss and chapping.

Contrary to popular belief, using balms doesn’t cause lips to dry out but repeatedly licking the lips will, so opt for unflavoured lip balms like Lab Series PRO LS Lip Tech Lip Balm and Kiehl’s Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturising Lip Balm, which both boast the added benefit of no-shine formulas.

Remember to apply little and often.

2.30pm – Protect Your Hands

Keeping hands moisturised is especially important in the winter if you have a manual job, are a keen gardener or play a lot of outdoor sport.

The last thing you want is greasy palms, though, so opt for something like Polaar ExtremeCare Intensive Hand Cream which keeps hands supple and hydrated but has a man-friendly, non-sticky formula:

3pm – Feed Your Face

If you moisturised after your morning wash-and-brush-up, by this time of the day its beneficial effects will have begun to wear off and your skin cells will be starting to lose moisture and shrink again, making them feel tight.

To nip this process in the bud, keep a tube of moisturiser in your office drawer and re-apply as required.

4.30pm – Snack On Water-Rich Fruit

Skin needs as much water in winter as it does during the rest of the year.

In fact, during the winter, skin tends to call on moisture reserves from its lower levels to protect against winter winds, so you need to make sure those reserves are always there, especially as we tend to drink more dehydrating drinks – such as tea and coffee – throughout the colder months.

Fruit and veg are good sources of slow-release moisture, as well as essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

6pm – Take Cold Comfort

Cold and flu are bad news for skin, particularly around the nose where constant wiping can cause chapping. To reduce the inflammation, use tissues with added moisturisers and speed up the healing process with the aid of skin-repairing vitamin E.

You don’t need to invest in expensive creams – just break open an ordinary vitamin E capsule and dab the oil directly onto your skin with a cotton bud.

11pm – Moisturise, Again

Moisturising last thing before bed is always a good idea because your skin tends to absorb creams better at night when it switches to repair mode.

To maximise the effect of your moisturiser or night cream, exfoliate skin with a gentle face scrub before applying. Oh, and don’t forget to moisturise under your beard if you have facial hair – it’ll help prevent the dreaded beard dandruff!

  • Baxter Of California Night Cream Aha
  • Lab Series Night Recovery Lotion 50ml
  • Murad Age Reform Perfecting Night Cream 50ml
  • Ole Henriksen Pure Perfection Nourishing Night Creme 50g
  • Elemis Hydra-nourish Night Cream 50ml
  • Burts Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream
Final Word

Do you have a favourite winter skincare product or cold-weather grooming tip you want to share?

Let us know using the comments box below…