Oh, winter. Now that the holidays are over and the trees are [starting to be] put away, there’s not much to distract us. Instead of noticing twinkling Christmas lights, I’m finding dry skin and patchy redness emblazoned by harsh incandescent overheads. Luckily, there’s hope for me and similar-minded folk, as there are eleven products that will help us all make it through:
1.) Clinique Superbalm ($13.00, Amazon.com)
Besides I love it, I swear by it, I can’t live without it, there’s not much else to say about Clinique Superbalm. Well, I guess until you get into the superb ingredients list, which includes ultra-hydrating linoleic acid, soothing aloe, antioxidant powerhouses vitamins C and E, and even calming lavender extract. My lips used to get chapped regularly until I started putting this on my lips every night, and then it stopped. What’s more, I secretly take a dallop of Clinique Superbalm on the tip of my finger and rub it around my nose whenever I have a cold and the skin has become dry and cracked. It heals it within 2 days, no kidding. (I guess this also is no longer a secret. Oh well.)
Probably the only caveat about this product is that it contains petrolatum, which some of my more green movement-savvy readers do not wish to use because it is a non-renewable ingredient.
Ingredients in Clinique Superbalm: Petrolatum, polybutene, polydecene, bis-diglyceryl polyaclydipate-2, octyldodecanol, microcrystalline wax (cera microcirstallina), tocopheryl acetate, polyglyceryl-2 triissostearate, aloe barbadensis extract, cholersterol/potassium sulfate, cholesterol, chordeum vulgare (barley) extract, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ extract, squalane, linoleic acid, retinyl palmitate, sclareolide, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, lavendula angustifolia (lavender), stearyl glycyrrhetinate, betula alba (birch) extract, citrus grandis (grapefruit california), mentha viridis (spearmint), butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, red 7 lake (ci 15850), yellow 5 (lake (ci 19140) [iln21532]
2.) Clinique 7-Day Scrub.
It may sound counterintuitive to use an exfoliating product in the winter, but there’s almost nothing your skin needs more. According to dermatologist Dr. David E. Bank, author of Beautiful Skin, “[Winter] air seeks moisture, pulling it out from your skin. As a result, you get flaky, scaly skin and a pale, dull complexion.” Clinique 7-Day Scrub contains very small polyethylene beads that gently exfoliate the skin without the irritation associated with some alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) in other scrubs. I’m a huge fan!
Ingredients in Clinique 7 -Day Scrub: water, tridecyl stearate, tridecyl trimellitate, dipentaerythrityl hexacaprylate/hexacaprate, butylene glycol, glyceryl stearate, coconut oil, carylic/capric triglyceride, polyethylene, cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth 20, sorbitol, hexyldecyl stearate, bisabolol, disodium cocoamphodipropionate, oleth-10 phosphate, caprylyl glycol, 1-2 hexanediol, stearyl alcohol, tea-carbomer, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, chlorphenesin
3.) Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense ($40.00, Amazon.com)
In the harsh winter climate, skin isn’t the only victim: the hair also becomes more dry and brittle, and far less shiny and lustrous. Fortunately, there is Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense, a conditioning treatment that is a mix of hydrating alcohols, silicones, oils, and hydrolyzed wheat protein. True story: I actually use mine from my shoulders down when I get on the treadmill, then tie my hair into a knot. When I shower afterwards, my hair gets the effects of having a 30-minute-plus deep conditioning treatment – and it forces me to stay on the treadmill for a full session too! 🙂 It leaves my hair feeling much softer and more moisturized, which is a blessing in the winter months.
4.) Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair ($82.99, Amazon.com)
If Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair was a man, it would be my one true love: No matter how far away from it I stray, I always come running back. And true to form, it’s always there for me and never lets me down. The reason? Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair is extremely hydrating, soothing, and contains fair amounts of antioxidants and even a fair amount of sunscreen as a non-quantified bonus (in the form of octyl methoxycinnamate). For you science buffs out there, the hydrating ingredients include glycoprotein/polysaccharides (found naturally in the stabilizing intracellular matrix of the skin), dimethicone, pantethine (also called panthothenic acid or vitamin B5), sodium hyaluronate (an excellent natural moisturizing factor), lecithin, and squalane. The soothing ingredients include chamomile, which is disguised on the ingredients list in its proper name, matricaria (anthemis nobilis); bisabolol (derived from chamomile), and allantoin (an anti-irritant derived from uric acid). Antioxidants include vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate) and retinyl palmitate (a derivative of vitamin A which must be converted to retinaldehyde and then all-trans retinoic acid within the skin in order to be effective. However, when present in sufficiently high concentrations, retinyl palmitate displays anti-aging and antioxidant benefits similar to that of retinol.) And while I do not think of Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair primarily as an anti-aging treatment, the ingredients list lends me to believe that it may stave off signs of aging somewhat as well. A definite must-buy.
5.) Olay Quench ($17.29 for two bottles, Amazon.com)
Whenever I write a “best” list of products, whether it be for value or quality, Olay Quench always seems to make the cut. The reason? Not only is it extremely hydrating, but it also contains (what I estimate to be) a whopping 4% niacinamide, or vitamin B3. In case you’re not familiar, niacinamide is a miracle ingredient, proven to do everything from stimulating collagen production and increasing elasticity to reducing fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, and yellowing, according to a review in Dermatologic Surgery (amongst numerous other sources in dermatology). Its effects are slow-acting but cumulative, and within 4-6 weeks of daily use, you will notice a difference. Bonus points for hydration if you apply Olay Quench to slightly moistened skin fresh out of the shower!
6.) Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream ($17.00, Amazon.com)
Does your skin hang low, does it wobble to and fro? Can you tie it in a knot, can you tie it in a bow? Well, now I’m just getting a bit silly. (See reference here.) But truth be told, Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream is designed for the driest of poorly conditioned skins, with a whopping 56.8% of the occlusive (water-binding) agent petrolatum. Other hydrating ingredients include lanolin, vitamin E, mineral oil, castor oil, and corn oil. Apply it to your dry, cracked feet under a pair of 100% cotton socks, or all over after a shower to still-moistened skin, and your skin will have significantly more moisture. I promise. My only reservation for using Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream as a hand cream is that it does not contain sunscreen. Yet if you are going to be indoors in the harsh winter months anyway, it is amongst the best treatments on the market for dry skin today – it truly is incredible for turning dry skin around.
7.) Clinique Deep Comfort Body Wash ($21.00, Amazon.com)
I know the economy’s down, so I shouldn’t be recommending a product that doesn’t exactly deliver the biggest bang for your buck. Yet hear me out: Do you remember going out in the snow, coming in and having your mom hand you a cup of steaming hot chocolate? Or even now, having a long day at work, and then drawing a warm bubble bath and soaking for hours? Clinique Deep Comfort Body Wash is an indulgence like that: a creamy, luxurious body wash that soothes and yes – even comforts – you from the outside in. I say it doesn’t deliver as dramatic of results as the other ten products on the page because, quite frankly, it doesn’t. Shea butter, glycerin, vitamin E and aloe are all hydrating, but in the form of a body wash, they simply don’t deliver the same results. Still, if you’ve still got some holiday cash to spare, Clinique Deep Comfort Body Wash is one indulgence that just feels so good. (And, to be fair, it doesn’t dry the skin like sulfate-based body washes or most soaps).
Ingredients in Clinique Deep Comfort Body Wash: Purified water, butylene glycol, octyldodecyl myristate, polydecene, glycerin, tricaprylin, isocetyl stearate, behenyl alcohol, ptfe, peg-100 stearate, hydrogenated lecithin, aloe barbadensis gel, shea butter (butyrospermum parkii), tocopheryl acetate, sodium hyaluronate, dimethicone, glyceryl stearate, methyldihydrojasmonate, acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, linalool, coriander (coriandrum sativum), petrolatum, xanathan gum, tea-citrate, disodium edta, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, yellow #5 and yellow #6.
8.) Jergens Natural Glow Self-Tanning Lotion ($6.00, Amazon.com)
I’ll be completely honest with you: I’m pale and I love it. Yet I also understand that a tan is believed to be attractive by most women and some men (I’m talking to you, George Hamilton).
With that said, I’ve patch-tested Jergens Natural Glow Self-Tanning Lotion, and for the winter months, it’s a go. It’s a gradually-building formula with a fairly high concentration of dihydroxyacetone, the active ingredient found in most self-tanning lotions, tied in with a slew of other mildly hydrating ingredients like glycerin and octyldodecyl stearate. I like the fact that you can control your level of tan according to the frequency of your applications. My only warning is that it does not smell very pleasant, to say the least. My recommendation is to apply it an hour before you take a shower to let the color develop but to eliminate the scent entirely before you go out!
9.) Yves St Laurent Touche de Eclat Concealer ($40.00, Amazon.com)
Since around the year 2000, the internet isn’t the only major revolution: Concealers and foundations have also been evolving, with more line-filling silicones, less ingredients that look like spackle upon drying, and a new array of light-reflecting particles. Of the new generation, Yves St Laurent Touche de Eclat is the best I’ve found, with a thick formula that blends well, glides on the skin like a cream, and feels luxurious on the skin. Best of all, it has tiny light reflective particles that make you look flawless. It’s perfect for the winter months when it seems new cracks are present on everyone’s skin – this is your best bet for concealing each and every one of ’em!
10.) Eucerin Daily Body Wash with Cleansing Oil ($18.69, Amazon.com)
What I love about Eucerin Daily Body Wash with Cleansing Oil most is that soybean oil is the main ingredient. Soy is one of those amazing ingredients that we simply don’t hear enough about. First of all, soy contains many nutrients that are beneficial for the skin, including essential fatty acids, isoflavones, lecithins, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, saponins, phytosterols, phytic acid, vitamins and minerals. Second, soy contains the potent isoflavone genistein, which has been shown in independent research studies to exhibit both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and to stimulate the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in human fibroblasts cultured in vitro, which together increase the firmness, elasticity, and suppleness of skin. Lastly, it has been reported in this 2000 study in the journal Dermatology that human trials demonstrated lightening of hyperpigmentation after use of soybean extract for two weeks.
Yet why I love Eucerin Daily Body Wash with Cleansing Oil is that it is soothing, non-drying, and hydrating to the skin. It’s a great treatment for many patients with eczema. The only problem for some is the smell, which isn’t too bad, but it’s not exactly Bath and Body Works either. I recommend giving it a try at a location with a great return policy, like Rite Aid.
Ingredients: Glycine Soja (Soybean Oil), MIPA-Laureth Sulfate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Laureth-4, Cocamide DEA, Poloxamer 101, Laureth-9, Lanolin Alcohol, Water, Citric Acid, Diammonium Citrate, Propyl Gallate, BHT.
11.) Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Body Scrub ($35.00, Amazon.com)
Winter may be a harsh for the skin, but the forced skin cover-up also makes it a prime time for eradicating farmer’s tans and patchy dry skin. Enter Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Body Scrub, with not one but two alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid and lactic acid), plus exfoliating crystals. After just one use, skin feels smoother; after daily use for 6-8 weeks, your skin looks significantly younger, softer, and smoother. It’s truly transformative, and I highly recommend it. Bonus points if you apply any of the body lotions listed above to slightly moistened skin after your shower!
Winter can be naturally harsh for the skin, there’s no doubt about that. Thankfully, however, there are an array of very hydrating, soothing, exfoliating and concealing products to help you not only make it through these difficult months, but actually look better come springtime.
What are your favorite winter products? Tell me all about it in Comments below!