Long, drowsy nights spent fireside. Ice stencilled on tree branches. Hearty meals and hibernation. Coloured lights blurred through the rainy window of a cab. There’s plenty to romanticise about cold days as we hunker down. The seasonal shift can also cause changes in the appearance and behaviour of skin, however, which calls for diligent attention through winter. This article explores seasonal skin care with a focus on the chillier months—from the science behind thorough hydration to formulations for specific skin types and concerns.
During winter, skin is vulnerable to dryness and dehydration through a range of factors: nippy winds. Cold conditions. Stuffy, overheated offices and trains. Piping-hot showers and baths (which can strip skin of its natural oils). Soaps or facial cleansers that exacerbate dryness. Heavier layers of clothes. Dry skin can present with visible indicators (such as a fine, patchy or flaky texture or a dull or red appearance), non-visible signs (such as irritation or itchiness), or a combination of the two. Where skin is experiencing dryness during the cooler months, we advocate ample water intake alongside a topical approach involving gentle cleansing, diligent hydration and vitamin-rich nourishment to help maintain the health of your skin.
In skin care, hydrating ingredients are often described as ‘emollient’ or ‘humectant’; many employ a combination of the two. Emollient ingredients—such as fatty acids, waxes, butters, and oils and emollient esters—are known for their softening properties, as well as their ability to help maintain the skin’s protective barrier and promote moisture retention. They do not add moisture; rather, they prevent its loss. Humectant ingredients play a different but similarly important role in hydration: they attract water from the environment, and draw it to the skin. Panthenol and Glycerin are among the humectants commonly used in our formulations.
Other hydration-boosting ingredients often found in our formulations include Saccharide Isomerate (particularly efficacious in binding closely to the skin), and Sodium Carrageenan: both revered for their ability to draw water to the skin, delivering sustained hydration.
Anti-oxidants play a crucial role in the health of the entire body: they provide fortification against free radicals. This damage can compromise the skin’s barrier function, exacerbating moisture loss. Incorporating anti-oxidant ingredients into daily regimen can help to bolster skin. Anti-oxidants are found in a variety of food sources, including blueberries, beans, kale, spinach, dark chocolate and green tea.
These lipids, like anti-oxidants, are important for our wellbeing in general. When it comes to skin, they help to augment barrier function, improving moisture retention. Fatty acid-rich botanical butters and nut oils replenish hydration, leaving skin smooth and supple. Among those often used in our formulations are Linoleic Acid, Grape Seed Oil and Macadamia Nut Oil.
Whether you notice you feel parched when the days start to cool, or you experience dry skin year-round, generous hydration is essential. Those with dry, dehydrated or mature skin may benefit from regular use of a nourishing treatment oil, or layering a vitamin-rich serum beneath their regular moisturiser, to replenish and boost hydration. Cleansing should not be neglected during winter, including by those experiencing dryness: we advocate the use of mild preparations that won’t strip skin of its natural oils or intensify irritation. For those who reach for more active or astringent preparations during the hot, humid months, a milder cleanser and toner may do the trick through winter. Consider it a less sombre version of the ceremonial hauling-out of winter coats from high shelves and storage crates.
Morning and evening, cleanse the face using a non-perturbing formulation that helps to reduce moisture loss. Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk, formulated with skin-softening Panthenol and Grape Seed Oil, has a light, comforting texture, effortlessly removing grime and makeup. For those in urban environments, Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil is an apt choice. Upon contact with water, it yields an exceptionally gentle emulsion that helps to maintain hydration while cleansing. Follow with mild, alcohol-free Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Toner to balance and refresh skin. Parched skin often benefits from rich cream-based moisturisers. Suitable for use in cooler climates on normal to dry skin, Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream delivers fatty acid-rich nourishment via oils of Macadamia Seed, Hazel Seed and Evening Primrose, leaving a dewy finish on skin. For those who prefer a lighter texture, Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Hydrator replenishes moisture and delivers concentrated fortification against the stressors of urban living: ideal for city-dwellers. And in extremely cold conditions (think winter in Moscow, Minneapolis or Malmö, or a week on the slopes), Elemental Facial Barrier Cream delivers intensive hydration with a sustained finish. Formulated with soothing Bisabolol, it is suitable for use on sensitive skin, and helps to protect against biting winds. Sloughing away dead skin cells with regular—but not too frequent—exfoliation can help to reduce flakiness and dullness. Once or twice weekly, massage Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste gently into skin, allowing the Quartz and Lactic Acid to polish and buff skin. And lastly, where dry skin requires extra care, vitamin-rich serums and treatments can help to boost nourishment. Ideal for distressed or very dry skin, Damascan Rose Facial Treatment can be used as a standalone preparation or blended with your preferred moisturising cream as needed.
Cold weather does not, of course, spell dryness for everyone. For many, the dehydrating conditions—such as overheated interiors—cause skin to produce excess sebum, resulting in a shiny complexion or blemishes. This is particularly common across the T-zone, where sebaceous glands are abundant. Those generally prone to troubled skin may also find that cold weather exacerbates blemishes, as dry, chilly air can compromise the skin’s barrier leaving skin aggravated and less resilient to bacteria.
If your skin tends towards oiliness during the winter months, your instinct to eschew a heavy cream-based moisturiser is probably correct, but don’t forgo hydration altogether. A lighter, swiftly absorbed formulation such as a serum or lotion can replenish skin without a weighty after-feel. Lucent Facial Concentrate may be used as a standalone hydrating serum or layered with another formulation; rich in Vitamin C, it balances and conditions skin. For those who prefer the texture of a cream-based moisturiser, Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream offers a lightweight alternative: its citrus-derived botanical oils contain purifying properties, effecting soft, supple skin with a non-greasy texture. It is also suitable for use on combination skin. Where skin appears dull or congested, Fabulous Face Oil may be applied as needed; an ideal before-bed treatment, it balances skin and confers emollient nourishment. (We recommend its use once or twice weekly for those with oilier skin, in lieu of your evening moisturiser.)
Combination skin calls for hydration that replenishes the drier areas of the face without overburdening its oilier parts. In this skin type, oiliness is typically associated with the T-zone (the forehead, nose and chin), while the cheeks may experience flaking, tightness or irritation. Diligent cleansing, followed by a mildly astringent toner—such as B & Tea Balancing Toner—will help to restore equilibrium to skin. In Two Minds Facial Hydrator was developed specifically for the combination skin type. Formulated with softly astringent Witch Hazel and Sandalwood, which is known for its skin-calming properties, it delivers swiftly absorbed hydration with a lightweight lotion texture.
On stepping out of the shower or bath, massage a generous quantity of your preferred Body Balm to slightly-damp skin: it will help to trap moisture. Regular application of Rosehip Seed Lip Cream helps to prevent chapped, split lips. And for hands subject to chilly weather or frequent washing, liberal application of a richly nourishing Hand Balm is recommended to ensure soft, thoroughly hydrated skin. Plentiful water intake and a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids can also aid in replenishing skin from the inside out.
If you’re in search of personalised advice online, we invite you to reserve a one-on-one appointment with one of our trained consultants at a time convenient to you. Kindly reserve your place with our Live Consultation service to receive tailored suggestions from the comfort of your couch.