The holiday season is a distant memory and spring is still months away, which means we’re knee-deep into the winter season and our skin is feeling the effects. We’re either dry beyond belief or trying to figure out how to re-balance our oily skin without looking greasy. The cold, hard truth is that unless you’ve got a dermatologist on hand, finagling your way into a consistent routine that actually works requires more trial-and-error than we’re willing to admit.
And while expert advice won’t magically solve all of our issues, their winter skin care tips at least bring us a step closer to resolve. Joanna Vargas, Celebrity Facialist and Founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skincare Collection, knows this all too well, as her clientele includes a lot of the celebs we would consider #glowygoals; Jessica Alba and Mandy Moore, to name just a couple. Though we’re sure a facial in her spa would be life-changing, all of her advice doesn’t come with a price tag.
Ahead, she breaks down a winter survival guide that covers the gamut of spa treatments to DIY recipes anyone can make at home. Take your pick and prepare for the ultimate glow-up.
The Air is Sucking Your Skin Dry
The assumption that our skin gets dryer come winter is actually accurate. In fact, Vargas says these months are by far the worst time for everyone’s skin since we’re constantly shifting from cold, natural air to warm, artificial air. Generally speaking, this is what’s causing damage associated with dry skin, including redness and inflammation.
“The cold, brisk air can be drying, but even worse for your skin is the dry, overheated indoor environment you sleep and work in,” she says. “Nighttime is the body’s time to restore and renew itself for a new day. If you are sleeping in a super dry, hot environment, you are probably suffering from further dehydration and your body will have trouble doing any repair at all.”
Humidifiers are Your Best Friend
In the case that, she suggests sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom, adding that “it will add just enough moisture to the environment to give your skin the chance to do some real healing. A humidifier accomplishes this typically with the help of a barely-visible mist pushed into the air by a fan inside the mechanism. With regular use, it can also relieve congestion and other cold weather illnesses.
There are few downsides to having one in the house, except the threat of bacteria and mold, which can show up if you’re not regularly cleaning it with distilled water or vinegar. “For those who are afraid of the bacteria that sometimes can accumulate in a humidifier, you can even get a little one that attaches to a mini water bottle,” says Vargas.
To that same point, adopting a cleaner approach to your routine could also make a different. Vargas personally loves how hydrating jojoba and avocado oil are, which is why both are included in her Daily Hydrating Cream.
“Avocado is great both topically and as a booster to a morning shake! I would encourage you to eat more avocado and other good fats like olive oil and flax in your diet,” she says. “They will make the skin feel hydrated from the inside, out. In the dead of winter when your skin is suffering from the dry heat and the cold outside, healthy fatty acids in the diet will go a long way to making you feel you are hydrated.”
You may also want to up your exfoliating during the wintertime, as it’ll keep your complexion from getting dull. Twice a week is sufficient enough and if you have super sensitive skin, cut that in half. Remember that in addition to the occasional facial or peel (more on this later), you can also hop on the chemical acid bandwagon by placing an AHA, BHA or AHA-BHA blend in between your cleanser and moisturizer.
The Secret to a Great Bath is…
The telltale sign that we’re officially in full-on winter mode is that inexplicable desire to take more and more baths. Sure, they’re a form of self-care for many, but depending on what you place in the water, can also serve as a remedy for dry, sensitive skin.
“Boil a large pot of water with one cup of chamomile tea leaves and one cup of rosemary. Cook these for fifteen minutes,” she says. “Then strain and add this water to your bath. Not only will you feel relaxed from your day; this potion will soothe your skin like nothing else. Dry patches and redness will disappear overnight!”
Stay Away From Hot Showers
Speaking of water, refrain from making one of the biggest winter no-no’s: showering in water that’s simply too hot. While it may feel good, Vargas says extreme temperatures of any kind on the skin can throw off its delicate balance.
“This can lead to dry patches and uncomfortably dehydrated skin,” she adds. “Shower in lukewarm water instead. Your skin will thank you by staying smooth and hydrated all winter long.”
The More Facials, the Better
It should come as no surprise that a facialist is recommending you get a facial before spring arrives (and long after, to be honest). As for what type to choose, Vargas recommends one with a cooling, water-based peel and multi-masking, such as her very own Super Nova Facial. It starts with a hydrating aqua peel, followed by a facial massage, two layers of masks, microcurrents to stimulate lymphatic drainage, cryotherapy and a green tea-, aloe- and vitamin-infused oxygen treatment.
But should you want to contain your efforts to the comfort of home, she also has a more affordable DIY option. “The yogurt is this hydrating mask is an anti-inflammatory with a lactic acid component,” she says. “Avocado is something I recommend for any skin type – avocado has lots of B vitamins and fatty acids, so it’s essential to keep the skin hydrated, even in dry winter weather. The honey also hydrates and will really transform the skin.”
Simply mix 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 of an avocado and 1/4 cup of honey and leave on the skin for 20 minutes.