How to Keep Your Skin Glowing All Winter Long

Ahh, another season turns.

The seasons have been changing very quickly this year. Here in Indiana, chilly weather didn’t set in until about 2 weeks ago; last weekend we had our first snow (!) out of the blue.

With the change of seasons comes an inevitable change in skincare.

My skin, for one, has been incredibly dry and flaky with the abrupt change in weather. I’ve had to do a quick 180 on my skincare routine, changing from sunny Phuket to wintery Southern Indiana.

Regardless of whether you’re weathering the weather in Phoenix or Philly, there’s a few simple changes you can make to your routine to keep your skin hydrated and glowing all winter long. Let’s dive in to the best tips:


Tip #1: Don’t Skip The Sunscreen

Skies may be grey, but don’t let that dull your skin’s natural shine.; make sure to continue applying sunscreen. The sun’s rays are still strong during winter months; the reflection of said rays off of snow can leave you with a nasty, unexpected burn.

Make sure to apply sunscreen before your makeup each morning. If your skin is particularly sensitive or breakout prone, make sure to use a physical sunblock like Coola, instead of a chemical one.

Lips, too! Lips need sunscreen and constant hydration during the winter.


Tip #2: Oil Up Before Makeup

Excessively dry skin can cause makeup to get stuck, clumped, or generally applied unevenly. Make sure to prime skin with a facial oil first, before applying makeup.

If you read the dozens of SHINE reviews on our instagram, you’ll see that about 30% of users recommend it as a makeup primer more than anything (crazy, right?). In the winter, SHINE is definitely the best makeup primer for a smooth application. Plus, it’s a UV protectant and glow inducer. Pretty much the perfect winter skincare addition.Make sure to also apply makeup with brushes, not your finger tips, in the winter. You’ll need a professional application to keep skin looking as fresh as during summer months.

Finally, try oil-based highlighters and illuminizers, like the Josie Maran Surreal Skin Argan Finishing Balm for a gentle glow all day.


Tip #3: Go Gentle on the Cleanser

This is going to sound crazy, but I have literally started washing my face with a gentle washcloth and water – nothing else. Skin takes such a beating during the winter months – flipping back and forth between hot, dry indoors and cold, dry outdoors – that it’s more fragile than ever. You don’t want to agitate it too much.

Use a gentle, low pH cleanser like Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser or skip a chemical cleanser altogether and just lightly exfoliate skin with a wet washcloth. Sound crazy? It is a little.


Tip #4: Turn Up the Chemical Exfoliation

Winter dryness means lots of skin flaking. Instead of rubbing off the skin, let a chemical exfoliator gently melt dry, dead skin cells off. Chemical exfoliators like AHA gently “unglue” skin cells from each other, dissolving the bonds. You’ll be left with soft, smooth skin. If you feel any burning above a 1 or 2 on a scale of 10, dial it back; you might be using too strong of an AHA for your skin right now.

My favorite strong and effective – but gentle – AHA is Drunk Elephant’s TLC Framboos. For a little more fun, try the Brightening Clarity Mask by Herbivore.


Tip #5: Layer Hydrators

In the summer months, I typically go light on the moisturizers. Winter, on the contrary, is the perfect time to LAYER your hydrators. Go crazy like Kbeauty: there’s no such thing as too many layers.

Gentle ampoules and serums can be used first, then layer with an anti-inflammatory oil (like REWIND or CALM) and a thicker night crème, like Persimmon Anti-Aging crème. Make sure to let the products sink into skin between applications. Pat gently into skin and wait at least 30 seconds between layers.

I’m currently using the 99% snail mucin and propolis ampoule from CosRx. I alternate between one or the other each night. So far the results have been amazing: bright, smooth, and quickly approaching “glass” skin.

AND HEY, YOU! Don’t forget your NECK! It may not be as exposed to the elements because of your scarf, but your neck should always be included in your full beauty routine. What’s the point of a flawless face with a freckled neck? Treat your face, neck and décolletage like royalty and they’ll treat you back.


For the rest of your body, try turning down the water to a tepid temperature, then slathering on lotion to freshly cleaned, still wet skin. This will fully cover you without leaving too thick of a layer of lotion. Oils – like organic jojoba, argan or squalane – would work well for moisturizing. Dionis’ unscented goat milk hand cream  is also a must for the winter months. Pro Tip: You can pick up the Dionis hand cream at the Lemon Seed Boutique in Bedford, Indiana (just off the square).


Tip #6: Try a Sleeping Mask

Not a literal mask, but a water pack / sleeping mask. Korean brand Laneige makes a thick, hydrating sleeping mask for the face as well as one for lips. Just before bed, apply a thick layer to skin and/or lips (depending on which mask you have). When you wake up, remove any remaining residue by gently wiping skin with a wet washcloth.

I absolutely love the Korean Sleeping Packs. I keep my lip and face mask both on my bedside stand, alongside WINK. I apply all 3 just seconds before going to sleep.



Tip #7: Shoot for Empties

With late sunrises, early sunsets and balmy temperatures, you’ll find yourself with more indoor time on your hands than you know what to do with. I spent some of my extra time each winter going through my skincare collection, aiming for empties! (Empties, in case you don’t know, is a cutesy word for using a product all the way until it’s totally empty).

This winter, I’ll be masking daily until I get through the collection I’ve amassed beauty blogging over the past few years. Unfortunately, some of them are probably not as fresh as they need to be to remain active; between jar packaging and quick expiration dates, masks tend to lose their freshness quickly.

In any case, aiming for empties is always an admirable goal; less waste is always a good thing in my book. So is self care! So kick back in your fuzzy, pink bunny pajamas with me and mask your way through the winter.


Tip #8: Extra Lip Balm and Hand Creme, Always

NOTHING is worse than leaving the house without lip balm in the winter! Might as well stuff a few in your car, purse, backpack, office – wherever you’ll be. They’re easy to lose, but winter life is oh so painful without lip balm. Check out my favs XXBalm and a local brand, Eden’s Hope Farms (pick it up at Bazaar Coffee on the Square in Bedford).

Hand Cream follows the same rules, obviously.


Tip #9: Pass (on) the Sugar + Sweat It Out Instead

The holiday season is is full of amazing goodies: cookies, candies, truffles, petit fours, and loooots of holiday cocktails. As often as you can – without turning into a total sugar apostate – turn down the sugary goodies. Sugar ages you from the inside out.

Instead, get out for a walk, jog, run or any other activity that makes you sweat! Exercise can help keep your body and mind regulated through the high highs and low lows of the holiday season.


Takeaways: Winter Skincare Tips 

Give yourself – your skin, your body, your soul – a little extra TLC this winter. 2017 was a doozy, and we all probably need that extra self care right now (I know I do!).

What’s your best winter skincare trick? Did I miss anything?



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Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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