As the weather turns colder and the evenings turn darker, we make a lot of swaps. Birkenstocks are swapped for winter boots, summer festivals are swapped for evenings drinking in front of the fire and barbeques are swapped for nourishing meals from the slow cooker.
But often we don't swap our skincare and supplements in the same way. Your winter skin is as different from your summer skin as your respective wardrobes and you wouldn't go out in winter wearing those cutoffs and a crop top would you? Same goes for your skincare - light gel moisturisers and foamy sweat-stripping cleansers aren't going to cut it during the cooler months.
Here's our guide to nourishing and supporting that winter skin, from the inside out.
Your skin is your largest organ, meaning what you put into your body is going to be reflected on the outside. That's why in the summer we eat lots of fresh fruits and crisp vegetables, to stay hydrated while we're sweating in Aotearoa's humidity. But what does it mean in winter? Not only should we be ingesting nourishing soups and stews packed full of vitamins, taking some supplements can really help your skin tackle the cold.
Sleep it off:
One of the most important things you can do for your skin is to get a good night's sleep. Layering on all the sleep masks in the world will do nothing if you're tossing and turning all night long. A good supplement can help knock you out - the combination of magnesium and valerian in Me Today's 'Goodnight' supplement has been an absolute miracle worker for me during lockdown. Eight hours of proper rest will do more for you than any moisturiser - apart from, like, La Mer.
The collagen secret:
Winter can play havoc on our skin, hair and nails, stripping away the much-loved moisture and leaving us a teething rusk of our former selves. That's where a collagen supplement comes in. Described by New York dermatologist Dr Whitney Bowe as "the glue that holds the body together", collagen is a necessary part of our body's make-up. But the range of collagens on the market right now is confusing. Hand on heart, Kiwi collagen brand Dose and Co is the best I've ever tried (and I've tried a lot). Within weeks my cold weather/lockdown-induced eczema had cleared up, my hair didn't snap off at the brush and my parched skin suffering from dry days and cold nights had its glow restored. You can mix the collagen creamer into hot coffee for extra points on a cold winter's morning - it tastes like it should be bad for you. If you see me out and about this winter and I don't look like the old witch who hands over the apple in Snow White, I swear it's down to this product.
Now that internal nourishment is sorted, you need to treat the outer layer of your epidermis like it's a dry sponge, ready to soak up moisture. This especially goes for those poor souls down the far south of the country. Put those sweat and oil-ridding products at the back of the cupboard and bring them out in October - you have some replenishing to do.
Clean and clear:
It's likely you'll be perspiring a lot less, especially if you're that perpetually cold person in the office always wanting to turn the heat up. Instead, cleansing will solely be the task of removing makeup and city pollution, so your skincare can absorb more effectively. That's why foams are out while double-cleansing with oils, balms and creams are in. To take off the days' lewk, use an oil cleanser like Go-To Fancy Face, or Drunk Elephant's Slaai Balm and remove with a hot face cloth (the best feeling in the world™). Follow with a gentle cream cleanser - my current favourite is Me Today's Daily Cream Cleanser (plus we love to support a Kiwi company during these uncertain times).
No, we're not talking about a COVID-19 face mask, but one almost as important. A good mask will replenish the moisture lost during the day and deliver a concentrated boost of nutrients and antioxidants. This is not the time to stress your skin with the powerful clay masks of summer. Instead, a hydrating gel or sheet mask will help plump the skin and give you that 'lit from within' vibe. Made by another Kiwi company, the Syrene Aqua Hydrating Masque will leave your skin dewy and bright. My personal favourite for days when my skin has had a little too much cold air is the REN Evercalm Rescue Mask - it calms, soothes and nourishes, and alleviates any of that pesky winter redness.
A good face oil is going to be your winter skin saviour. Slather it on in the evening and wake up with baby-soft skin in the morning - just try not to slide off your pillow in the night. You're going to want to try and find one that's non-comedogenic (doesn't block pores) but still offers heaps of hydration. The Go-To Face Hero is much loved, as is the Sunday Riley UFO. Lately I've been loving a good hemp oil: the Kheils Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil is my current fave.
Last thing: Don't forget an SPF. Just because it's winter doesn't mean you don't need to be wearing sunblock every day. Even if you're inside, pesky UVA and UVB rays still make their way through the window and treat you to ageing, fine lines and wrinkles. You want an SPF of 30, minimum. The Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense has been my go-to during lockdown, but if I'm heading out into the big wide world, Skinnies BB cream is my absolute fave.
Go forth and glow in that freezing cold world!