Dreary winter weather can leave you feeling more than just cold and damp—it can also leave your skin feeling super dry and looking pretty dull. Flaky winter skin probably isn’t exactly the look you’re typically going for when you sit down to do your makeup or start your skincare routine, but that can easily happen if you’re not actively trying to make your skin look dewier.
Below are a few tips and products that will help you get glowing skin, even in the dead of winter.
How Winter Weather Affects Skin
Wondering how cold weather can make your skin feel so much drier and stiff? Here’s what to know, so you can prevent it from happening to you.
- Changing weather is a shock to the system and causes dehydration. When the weather abruptly goes from nice and warm to cold and windy, your skin basically gets shocked. Your skin dislikes this change probably about as much as you do, and has trouble adjusting. As it does, it has to work super hard to maintain the right amount of hydration, which can lead to dry skin, inflammation, and even cracks in the outer layer.
- Cold weather irritates sensitive skin. It’s not just the change in temperature—cold weather just generally bothers skin. It sucks the moisture away, which makes skin more open to irritation and dryness. This is especially not ideal for people with sensitive skin, as this cold weather can easily aggravate conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
- Certain clothing materials bother skin. The weather certainly isn’t the only thing bothering your skin. If you’ve switched up your wardrobe to more scratchy wool and thick sweaters, these materials can sometimes irritate skin and lead to rashes. Smooth fibers like cotton and silk are easier on skin.
- Central heating is super harsh. Central heat is nice for staying warm, but it’s not doing your skin any favors. That hot air sucks humidity from a room, causing flaking and irritation.
- Hot showers aren’t helping either. Your natural inclination is to take a long, hot shower when it’s very cold out. It might feel nice at the moment, but it probably won’t later. Like hot air, hot water dries out your skin (by stripping away natural oils) and leaves it more susceptible to irritation.
Use Facial Oil with Your Moisturizer
The number one tip you want to remember in the winter is this: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. It can’t be overstated how important this is. Every winter skin issue has one thing in common, and that’s a lack of hydration. You’ll need an extra strong moisturizer twice a day (morning and night) that will deliver results. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to add a facial oil to the mix.
Facial oils can be more effective at boosting hydration than your average cream. Because facial oil is an emollient, they seal in the moisturizing effects of your cream, making your skin more likely to hold onto it and preventing water loss. Try Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil, made with oils like red raspberry and primrose seed that enhance luminosity and really leave skin glowing on top of hydrating.
Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C & Turmeric Face Oil, 0.5 Fl Oz
Sunday Riley Glow Vitamin C oil is super hydrating and made with vitamins that leave skin glowing.
Exfoliate Every Week
You can moisturize dry skin all you want, but if the dry, dead skin is hanging around, you won’t notice any huge changes. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin, leaving behind glowing, fresh skin that looks noticeably better.
You’ll want to exfoliate about two or three times a week (doing it every day is too harsh), and your best bet is to use a chemical exfoliator rather than a scrub. A scrub is very harsh and can end up harming your skin, even if it feels nice when you’re using it. Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic is a cult favorite. Made with glycolic acid, which is ideal for dry skin since it removes skin cells and encourages a healthy turnover, and aloe vera, which soothes and leaves skin hydrated, this stuff will transform your skin.
Add an Overnight Moisturizer to Your Routine
During the day, you’ll probably want to apply a more lightweight moisturizer that doesn’t feel too heavy or look too oily. That’s completely fine, but before bed is the time to ramp things up. Opt for an overnight moisturizer, which is made with more intensely hydrating ingredients to plump skin overnight when it’s in restore mode.
Try something like Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Anti-Aging Face Moisturizer, a favorite drugstore option that provides serious hydration without feeling greasy or very heavy. Amino peptides and vitamins B and E correct the look of aging skin and help surface cell regeneration while you’re sleeping. And it’s fragrance-free, so it’s ideal for sensitive skin.
Olay Regenerist Night Recovery, Night Recovery Cream, 1.7 Ounce
This Olay Regenerist Moisturizer provides intense hydration and battles dry skin while you sleep.
Use a Glowing Primer
If you apply makeup each day, you’ll want to use products that encourage glowing skin rather than those that, well, don’t. The first step is a primer, which helps your makeup adhere to your skin, so it lasts longer. Opt for something hydrating and luminizing to prevent skin from looking dull, even as makeup fades.
Becca Backlight Priming Filter is a lightweight option made with three unique filtering luminescent pearls that add a radiance to your skin as soon as it’s applied. It blurs imperfections and leaves behind a very subtle grow. It contains vitamin E to reduce redness. On its own, this primer is beautiful, but it’s also great under more makeup.
BECCA Cosmetics - Backlight Priming Filter 30mL/1Fl.oz
Use Becca Backlight Priming Filter as an extra glow during your makeup routine.
Use a Luminizing Foundation
Many types of foundation are out there. When your goal is glowing skin, you’ll want to use something luminizing rather than something matte. A matte foundation will give your face a more flat look, which isn’t ideal if you’re already dry and dull. A luminizing foundation injects some life into your skin and makes it appear to glow and look more dewey.
Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation is a perfect one to try. It’s pricey, yes, but it’s also one of the best luminizing foundations available. Made with a patented micro-fil technology, it creates seamless blending and layering for a flawless effect. It gives medium coverage without making skin appear cakey (even if it’s dry), and it’s oil-free, so it doesn’t make you look shiny.
Ditch Powders, Use Setting Spray Instead
When you’re trying to make your skin glow, you want to avoid powder makeup. Not only is this typically not dewy looking, it can also make dry skin look more dry because it can accentuate flakiness. That’s why cream or liquid foundation is better than a powder one.
The same goes for setting spray. A setting powder will make skin look more dry, while a setting spray will do the opposite: It doesn’t just make skin look more hydrated, it will actually hydrate skin. Or, at least Too Faced Hangover 3-in-1 Priming and Setting Spray will. Infused with coconut water, this setting spray is moisturizing also genuinely keeps your makeup in place throughout the day (and smells great). Use it when you’re done applying and in the afternoon when you need a quick boost.
Too Faced Hangover Rx 3 in 1 Replenishing Primer & Setting Spray 4 OZ
Too Faced Hangover setting spray plumps skin and hydrates with coconut water and helps makeup last.
Opt for Cream Highlighters
Keep the powder rule in mind for a highlighter, as well. A powder highlighter isn’t a big deal because it’s still shimmery and glowy, but you’re better off with a cream. A favorite among many is Glossier Haloscope, a stick of creamy highlighter that couldn’t be easier to use. You simply swipe it on wherever you want a little extra glow, and it works.
Haloscope is great because it’s subtle without being too shimmery, making it ideal for everyday wear (if you want something more intense, this isn’t the product for you). It feels nice on your skin thanks to the vitamin-rich moisturizer in the middle of the stick, and leaves behind a hydrated look. And it’s portable, which is nice for touch-ups.
Sleep with a Humidifier
So, now you know low-humidity air can make your skin more dry and unhappy in the winter. The best solution? Use a humidifier to get some humidity and moisture back where you need it. Sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom gives a boost of moisture when your skin needs it the most.
Try the Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, which lasts up to 16 hours and has a tank that’s very easy to fill and clean. It’s perfect for bedrooms because it can also be used as a night light.
Pure Enrichment MistAire Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier - Premium Humidifying Unit with Whisper-Quiet Operation, Automatic Shut-Off and Night Light Function - Lasts Up to 16 Hours
This Pure Enrichment MistAire humidifier makes the air less dry and is easy to clean.