Soothing and softening skin secrets
P rotecting the skin and hair is paramount in colder weather, especially for those of us fond of outdoor activities. When you factor in dry air at home from central heating, harsh wind and cold outside, and air conditioning at work, it’s a 24/7 cycle that sucks hydration from the skin and hair. So how do we battle dry, taut skin and parched, unmanageable hair? Here are three key words to help guide you to the right products.
Balm. Offering great protection from the elements, these are heavier creams designed to block moisture loss from the skin or hair and work as a guard against cold weather, stopping that constant cycle of dehydration. Balms for hands and face creams will most likely contain an SPF — colder weather does not mean less UV damage and bright winter days have plenty of sun, even though you might be shivering. For all outside activities, apply a good balm to your face, another for the hands, and cover your hair.
Hydra. This term means the product in question will rehydrate, replenishing skin or hair with the moisture lost due to the cold weather. Hydrating products are water-based — unlike regular moisturisers, they aren’t going to pack the skin or hair with oils. Because of this they can feel light or gel-like (ideal for those with oilier complexions).
For the skin, there are day creams, serums, night creams and masks at various prices. Choose one or more as part of your routine depending on how dry and compromised your skin is feeling at this time of year. For hair, a hydrating masque once a week should keep it soft and strong.
Ointment. Not everyone will need an ointment in their beauty routine. If you have cracked skin, though, it’s handy to have one to hand. Richer and thicker than a balm, ointments offer reparative qualities on top of blocking moisture loss and giving protection. They may contain shea butter, aloe vera or urea, to repair damaged skin suffering in colder weather. Take care, though: if your skin is weeping or very inflamed, your GP or pharmacist is the first port of call.