Photo: Corbis Images
Winter’s here — and so are all the beauty challenges it holds. Cold, dry outdoor air and overheated indoor environments make for limp, static-y locks, tight, uncomfortable skin, chapped lips and cracked soles. So not appealing.
The good news? Our beauty tips and tricks will help you repair winter damage fast.
To fight dry hair and split ends, choose products with rich conditioning ingredients, says board-certified New York City dermatologist Whitney Bowe. “Look for products containing wheat protein, which targets and repairs hair’s most damaged parts without a greasy buildup near the scalp.” The other ingredients you want to see in your shampoo and conditioners? Powerful natural hydrators and masks such as oat protein, dimethicone, macadamia nut seed oil, green tea extract, olive oil, algae extract, shea butter, argan oil, glycerin, wild mango butter and sunflower extract. Cetrimonium chloride also has conditioning and anti-static properties.
Scalp itch and dandruff typically worsen in the winter. “Try using dandruff shampoo,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, a board-certified dermatologist in Washington, DC. “If that still isn’t enough, visit your dermatologist for a scalp solution prescription.”
When skin doesn’t produce enough sebum (or oil), it can get rough, irritated, inflamed, sensitive and flaky — and wrinkles are more pronounced, explains celebrity aesthetician Renée Rouleau. Winter’s dry air steals even more moisture from your face.
To avoid damage, don’t use harsh scrubs. Wash your face with lukewarm or cool water and a low-lather, creamy cleanser containing soothing ingredients like green tea, aloe vera extract or chamomile. Apply a hydrating serum with marine extract, vitamins C and A, azulene, hyaluronic acid and lipids; then follow up with a good moisturizer containing flower and nut extracts (rose hips, lavender, geranium, macadamia, grape seed), dimethicone and glycolic acid. At night, adds Rouleau, use a humidifier in your room to rehydrate your skin.
Soft, smooth skin comes from the inside as well. Eat plenty of cold-water fish such as tuna, sardines, cod, mackerel, herring and trout, which have the essential fats your skin needs. And remember to drink plenty of water.
Rule number one: Don’t lick them! Wear lip balm with dimethicone and petroleum, and reapply often.
To relieve dry skin and eczema, Tanzi recommends taking only one bath or shower daily and using a moisturizing body wash with lavender or oatmeal. As soon as you get out of the tub, treat your whole body to a thick lotion or cream with shea or cocoa butter, sesame oil, petroleum and ceramides to lock in hydration.
Elbows and Heels
Exfoliate rough patches with urea-rich healing creams, applied every night. “Then use a pumice stone or washcloth to gently remove the dead skin, and follow up with a ceramide moisturizer in the morning,” says Tanzi.
Try this bedtime foot treatment from Stafford R. Broumand, a board-certified Manhattan plastic surgeon: Apply a thick layer of plain petroleum jelly all over your feet, and cover them with cotton socks. “When you wake up and remove the socks in the morning,” he says, “your feet will be soft and smooth.”
All the soap and sanitizers you use to prevent colds can also dry out your hands and nails. Instead, “use a gentle cleanser to wash,” says Tanzi, “and before bed, smear on petroleum jelly or a thick hand cream [honey and shea butter are excellent ingredients], and cover up with cotton gloves overnight.”
For ragged cuticles, apply cuticle oil before the hand cream; you want one containing vitamin E, shea butter and oils such as jojoba, argan and sweet almond. Then follow Bowe’s example and keep a tube of soothing hand lotion by the bathroom and kitchen sink so you can apply a dollop every time you wash your hands.
Gigi Anders is a features and beauty writer whose work has appeared in Self, Glamour, Allure, Cosmo for Latinas and The Washington Post, among many others. She is also the author of Jubana! and Little Pink Raincoat.