When I think of winter, I immediately picture warm, snuggly scarves, a cosy fireplace, copious amounts of hot chocolate, and Saturday mornings spent under the duvet while reading a good book (or catching up on my favourite series). Something else that comes to mind? Dry, tight winter skin.
This year, I came prepared though: I put together an arsenal of super-nourishing, ridiculously hydrating, and incredibly moisturising oils and creams to see me through the winter months – and so far, so good! I’ve been putting the below-mentioned beauties to the test for at least 4 – 6 weeks each, and I’ve been so impressed with the results. My skin feels soft and plumped – and best of all, I haven’t experienced any tightness, dryness, or flakiness. (A quick little note: there were other moisturisers that didn’t make the cut – these five are literally the creams of the crop!)
But first: have you ever stopped to consider why your skin gets dry during the winter months? Although dry skin can affect you year-round, it’s a lot more common during the cooler months; not to mention the fact that it’s often a whole lot more uncomfortable – even painful – to boot!
As much as you can’t bear to tear yourself away from your heater, the dry air as a result of indoor heating (think of all the time spent in your artificially heated car or office) is one of the biggest culprits. Add to this the fact that general humidity levels in the air drop during the winter months, and it’s a recipe for disaster! (Increased humidity during summer provides extra hydration for your skin, while the drop in humidity during winter results in a decrease in hydration for your skin – leading to dryness). The best way to prevent moisture loss? Start upping your moisturising game early on – a thicker, more nourishing cream formula (as opposed to a lightweight lotion) should do the trick.
If your skin is really suffering as a result of dryness, you may need to up the ante by incorporating a facial oil into your skincare routine. I find that Lipidol Overnight Face Oil (R90,95) works wonders on thirsty skin and – like the name suggests – I notice a difference literally overnight. The rich and nourishing oil works together with the skin’s natural night cycle to help repair skin cells. I like that it isn’t overly greasy and that it doesn’t leave an oily residue on my pillow case – it melts into my skin, leaving it feeling instantly quenched. SO good!
Now for two products that I see myself using well into the summer months: the Clarins Hydre-Essentiel range. Oh. My. Goodness! These two beauties are pure luxury in a jar, and they’ve been formulated specifically to help your skin cope with thermic shocks. But what exactly are thermic shocks? These refer to the harsh and sudden environmental changes that your skin experiences on a daily basis (it’s estimated that the average skin experiences up to 17 thermic shocks per day).
Just picture it: you wake up in your warm, cosy bedroom before braving the cold to walk to your car on your way to work. You turn up the heater, and pretty soon, you’re feeling all warm and toasty… but not for long! Once you arrive at work, you’ll be affronted by the chill all over again… and so the cycle continues throughout the day. I’ve never really stopped to think about the damage that these little thermic shocks could be doing to my skin, but since discovering the Clarins Hydre-Essentiel range, I’m feeling a whole lot better knowing that my skin is well protected!
The key ingredient contained in all Hydre-Essential products is Organic Leaf of Life, an incredibly resilient plant from Madagascar that’s known for it’s ability to withstand sudden temperature shifts, as well as pollution and other environmental stressors. Sounds good… but does it actually work? I started off by using the Clarins Hydre-Essentiel Cooling Gel for Normal to Combination Skin (R560) for roughly two weeks, before switching to the Clarins Hydre-Essential Silky Cream for Normal to Dry Skin (R560) for about three weeks. The icy-blue Cooling Gel is incredibly lightweight and soothing on the skin, and I loved using it after I had a chemical peel a few weeks ago. It really helped to calm my skin and left it feeling so incredibly nourished, but I soon switched to the Silky Cream purely because I wanted something a little cosier for the cooler months. (I know I’m going to be reaching for the Cooling Gel again come Spring – it’s so refreshing on the skin, and skin is prone to thermic shocks during the warmer months, too!)
The Silky Cream is an absolutely dream for dry, dehydrated skin – my skin drank it up in a flash, and it left my skin feeling well-hydrated throughout the day. I also found that my skin looked a little brighter (less tired, maybe?) and that my regular foundation lasted a whole lot longer than usual. I know that’s not what you typically look for when shopping for a winter moisturiser, but I’ll take it!
If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you’ll know of my love for locally-produced, natural skincare products that are kind to both the skin and the environment – and Eco Diva Anti-Ageing Face Cream (R315) is my latest find. I love everything about this truly indulgent cream: the luxurious whipped texture, the heavenly scent, and the plumping and hydrating effect it has on my skin. It truly is a pleasure to use! It’s a really rich and nourishing cream for maximum hydration, and it also contains Vitamins A and E to help boost collagen production for a plumping effect. A little goes a long way, so start with a teeny dollop and warm it up between your fingers before massaging into your skin. (Eco Diva has recently undergone a bit of a revamp and all their products have a new look! The packaging featured here is their old packaging – click on over here to see the new look).
Last, but not least: I’ve been using the new Kiehl’s Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream for the longest out of the lot (about 8 weeks now – 4 weeks of consistent, daily use, and another 4 weeks of using it sparingly as and when needed), and I am still as in love with it today as I was when I first tried it at the launch a good few months ago. This pampering moisturiser is said to harness two of nature’s very best ingredients – New Zealand Manuka Honey and Korean Red Ginseng Root – for smoother, nourished and more refined skin in as little as 4 weeks. As I mentioned, I put it to the test for the full 4 weeks and I definitely noticed an improvement in my skin: it felt moisturised and looked more even-toned, with a healthy glow to top it all off.
The Korean Red Ginseng Root is said to increase your skin’s cell turnover rate, while improving it’s overall texture and glow, and this held true for me. My skin is smoother, my pores look less noticeable, and my complexion is definitely brighter and more glowing than before. As for the New Zealand Manuke Honey, I have no doubt that it’s worked wonders on protecting my skin’s natural barrier function as promised – this is the first winter in years that I haven’t battled with dryness!
(I know most of you are interested in the results, but I have to point out that this cream smells absolutely divine, and it makes for a pretty luxurious sensorial experience when applying it to your skin as well! Click here for a quick video on the recommended application technique. Don’t worry – it’s super-quick and easy to do!)
Have you tried any of these incredible moisturisers? Let me know if you liked them as much as I did – and please do leave a comment with any other moisturiser recommendations! I’m always on the look out for new products to try!