Unless you live in an area that’s warm year-round (lucky you!), there’s no escaping the realities of winter: There will be at least one debilitating snow or ice storm; you’ll catch at least one cold; and your skin is going to be dry. While we can’t stop Mother Nature and there’s still no cure for the common cold, there is help for the last problem. We asked beauty experts for their best tips for staving off winter skin and hair damage; here’s what they had to say.
1. Avoid beauty products that contain hidden dehydrating ingredients. Surprisingly, your favorite anti-aging moisturizer may be drying out your complexion. “Skin-drying ingredients lurk in a number of beauty products,” says Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a Cambridge, Mass., dermatologist who cites creams and serums loaded with “active” ingredients — like vitamin A derivatives and alpha-hydroxy acids — as common dehydrating culprits. Perfumes and heavily fragranced body lotions are also problematic, as they often contain alcohol. Try cutting back your use of these products, and instead stick with those that are fragrance-free and contain as few ingredients as possible.
2. Keep lips soft by exfoliating before you balm. Chapped lips are as common as the winter sniffles. Prep lips so they’re able to absorb as much moisture as possible by sloughing away peeling skin with a damp washcloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush before coating them with lip balm. New York City dermatologist Dr. Macrene Aleixades recommends balms that contain humectant ingredients — like petrolatum and wax — which attract water to the skin and help lock it in.
3. Get shiny, sleek hair with a leave-in conditioner. Constantly moving from warm indoor air to the cold outdoors causes hair to lose its luster. “To maintain shine in the winter months, the hair needs to be coated with conditioner,” says stylist Umberto Savone, creator of the Umberto Beverly Hills haircare line. He suggests switching to a leave-in product like his Umberto Beverly Hills Controller. Just don’t apply it at the roots or your hair will look flat.