Lately, I’ve noticed that my skin is extremely dry. I thought maybe I wouldn’t have to deal with dry skin this winter because I live in California and it doesn’t get cold here – but I was wrong! The air is still dry and it’s having an effect on my skin!
The past few weeks I started to notice some dry patches and redness on my face as well as an overall tightness. I already have a pretty hydrating skincare routine but I’ve had to add a few more products to give my skin some extra TLC. Thank goodness for same day pickup from Sephora! I was able to order some clean skincare products ASAP and incorporate them into my new Winter Skincare Routine.
Winter Skincare Routine for Dry Skin
As I mentioned above, during the winter months humidity levels drop which means there’s less moisture in the air which in turn leads to dry skin. And if you happen to live in a cold climate, the your skin is exposed to even harsher conditions. It really is important to switch up your skincare routine in the winter – even if you don’t normally suffer from dry skin.
This is my NIGHTLY skincare routine because I wanted to highlight all the products I use. During the day I skip some of the steps and will use a moisturizer with SPF instead. Night time is also when I want to layer on all the products so that my skin can soak it all up during the night.
General Skin Care Tips for Dry Skin
- Avoid hot water. Cleanse your skin with lukewarm or cool water to avoid drying it out.
- Apply skincare products while your skin is damp. Hydrated skin absorbs products better. I apply my products right after each other and I don’t wait for my skin to dry out in between steps.
- Look for hydrating ingredients like Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, aloe vera, glycerin, squalane, lactic acid, omega fatty acids, and Vitamin B3 (niacinamide). (Niacinamide can cause redness and irritation in some people. You might want to avoid using too many products with Vitamin B3. I believe the serum and overnight mask I mention below are the only products that contain Niacinamide so if you notice irritation, switch out those products).
- Drink lots of water!! If you are dehydrated, your skin will be too.
Step 1: A Gentle, Hydrating Cleanser
You’ll want to skip the foaming cleansers which often contain harsher cleansing agents and go for a hydrating gel, cream, or oil cleanser. I’m currently using the Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser. It contains glycerin which helps replenish skin’s hydration levels. A little goes a long way and I apply this cleanser to damp skin and massage it in for at least a minute.
Oil cleansers are also a great option for dry skin. If I’m wearing makeup I’ll double cleanse and use an oil cleanser first and then follow up with the jelly cleanser. The oil cleanser is the best for breaking down dirt, oil, and makeup and is the only type of cleanser that really gets all of my makeup off (and I don’t even wear heavy makeup). I like to follow up with the jelly cleanser to get off any residual oil that might be left behind. Again, I massage the oil cleanser into my skin for about a minute to make sure it has enough time to dissolve the dirt, oil, and makeup.
I’m using the Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser but I also love the lilah b. Cleansing Butter and Biossance Squalane Cleansing Oil.
Step 2: Exfoliate (skip AM)
This is a step that I do maybe once or twice a week. Even in the winter it’s still important to exfoliate to get rid of dead skin cells so that your products can absorb better into your skin. I also prefer to do this step at night because exfoliated skin is more sensitive to UV rays.
I LOVE the Biossance Glycolic Renewal Facial because it’s a physical and chemical exfoliator. Let the glycolic acid chemically exfoliates to remove dead skin cells and then massage the tiny mineral spheres on your face to physically exfoliate. The combination leaves my skin feeling SO SOFT. If you don’t want to use a physical exfoliator, the Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum is a good option. This stays on your skin overnight so the acids have time to exfoliate your skin.
Step 3: Gentle Toner
I feel like toning is a step that most people see as optional but I never skip it! I find that a toner hydrates, and balances my skin. The key is using a toner that doesn’t contain alcohol or “extra” ingredients that you are already using in your routine. You want to keep your toner super simple!! Look for a toner that contains water + humectants (glycerin, hyaluronic acid, aloe, etc. ). For example, some toners contain Alpha Hyroxy Acids (AHA’s) but if you’ve already used the Glycolic Renewel Facial above (that also contains AHA’s) then the toner might be too much for your skin.
I’m actually reworking this step in my skincare routine. I just watched this YouTube video and I think it’s time for a change. I have been using Thayer’s Rose Witch Hazel toner for YEARS because it did a great job of removing any excess dirt and oil that I didn’t get off from cleansing. It also made my skin feel really hydrated. However, I’ve heard that extended use of Witch Hazel can cause sensitivity and since I’ve been using this morning and night for 10 years it might be time to take a break. I’ll be using Biossance Toning Mist instead for a bit to see how that goes. But I think I’ll be replacing it with the Heritage Rose Water Facial Toner because it seems similar to the Thayer’s toner but without the witch hazel and other filler ingredients. Based on the advice from the YouTube video I linked above, I’ll also be using the toning mist after each step of my skincare routine to hydrate my skin and help with product absorption. Ex. Cleanse – Tone – Exfoliate – Tone – Serum – Tone – Moisturize + Oil.
Step 4: Serum
The serum step is where you use a concentrated product to target your main skin concern. And since we are talking about dry skin, the serum I’ll be using is a hydrating serum! I just started using Drunk Elephant’s B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum. It contains ceramides, a humectant, Sodium Hyaluronate, antioxidants, and Squalane. All of those things are AMAZING at keeping skin hydrated.
If you are looking for a hydrating serum without Niacinamide you can try First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum. It has a ton of great hydrating ingredients in it! I also just discovered Devita’s Hyaluronic Intensive Ser-Gel in my skincare drawer and I’m really impressed with the ingredients! It’s an aloe based serum with glycerin and hyaluronic acid. I will actually be alternating the DE Serum with this one.
I also think you can’t go wrong with Paula’s Choice products. They technically aren’t “clean” skincare but all of PC’s ingredients are highly researched and included for their safety and effectiveness. I would try out the Omega+ Complex Serum.
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Step 5: Moisturize
Now’s the time to put away the light gel moisturizes and move on to a heavy cream moisturizer. I’m currently using Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Cream. This moisturizer is a nice thick cream that doesn’t leave me feeling greasy. It has a lot of great moisturizing ingredients like squalane, hyaluronic acid, omega fatty acids, and ceramides.
I also like Drunk Elephants Lala Retro Whipped Cream Moisturizer. The packaging of this DE moisturizer is actually better than the Biossance because it comes in a pump jar instead of an open jar.
During the day I’ll use an SPF moisturizer – even in the winter! SPF is essential to protect your skin.
Step 6: Eye Cream
This is a step that can technically be skipped if you are trying to simplify things but I’m a skincare junkie so I love a good eye cream. I also always use an eye cream at night because I DRY OUT when I’m sleeping. I LOVE Colleen Rothschild’s Eye Cream. I don’t think it’s a clean skincare product but I love it too much to give it up. It really locks in moisture and my under eyes still feel hydrated when I wake up. This eye cream is too thick to use in the AM, in my opinion.
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Step 7: Oil (skip AM)
I seal in all the good skincare products I just used by applying an oil. An oil provides a protective layer over your skin. Oils always go last because they can eventually absorb into your skin no matter what other products you used first. A moisturizer contains water and oil which means if you apply your oil first, the moisturizer won’t be able to break through the oil layer which essential makes it useless.
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Shown Above: Drunk Elephant F-Balm, Hydrating Serum, and Butter Cleanser
Step 7: Overnight Mask (skip AM)
And FINALLY I apply an overnight mask to give my skin an extra boost at night. You don’t have to do this every night – just when your skin is feeling extra dry. I find that I REALLY dry out at night so I need all the help I can get. I just started using Drunk Elephant’s F-Balm Electrolyte Waterfacial Mask and I love it. It’s nice and cooling and it’s not too sticky to wear while sleeping. According to DE’s website, it can be used after you apply your oil as the last step in your skincare routine.
I’d also love to try our Summer Friday’s Jet Lag Mask, Farmacy Honey Potion Mask (although this one is not an overnight mask) and Susanne Kaufmann Moisturizing Mask (not an overnight mask). I’ll be adding them to my cart soon!
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And that’s it! I KNOW it seems like a lot of steps but my nightly skincare routine is very relaxing and feels so good. It really doesn’t take that long, I promise! And the good news is, if you hydrate your skin at night, all you really need in the AM is to lightly cleanse, moisturize and then add some SPF and you should be good to go!
Watch My Winter Skincare Routine
More Clean Skincare Reviews
If you noticed, I’m a big fan of the brands Biossance and Drunk Elephant. I have blog posts featuring more in depth reviews of their products so make sure to check them out!