Putting the ski in skincare: The beauty staples you'll need for a day on the slopes

woman skiing skin
Protect your face so you'll be glowing on and off the slopes. Photo credit: Getty.

With a Euro summer off the table for basically everyone, many Kiwis are turning to various mountains around Aeotroa to get their holiday fix in.

You've probably seen the ski fields of Queenstown, Wanaka and Ruapehu filling your Instagram feeds as New Zealanders take advantage of the winter deals from different airlines. 

But if you are hitting the slopes, you're going to want to be looking and feeling your best. Often a day's skiing can strip and irritate the skin, thanks to the sub-zero temperatures and high wind chill. 

I've put together my top beauty picks for hitting the slopes this ski season, to keep that flushed face ready for an Instagram selfie or twelve. 

While on the mountain: 

Sun protection

Your biggest priority while up on the mountain should be a bloody strong SPF - non-negotiable when you're high up on the slopes, with the sun reflecting off the snow onto your face. For every 900m increase in altitude, UV levels go up by 10-12 percent, according to the World Health Organization. Plus, fresh snow can reflect up to 80 percent of the sun's UV. That all adds up to you needing one heck of an SPF. 

My picks: 

Mecca's 'To Save Face' SPF 50 Superscreen: It's so lightweight it just feels like a moisturiser and therefore can be reapplied to a slightly sweaty helmeted face without feeling like all your pores are being clogged. 

Emma Lewisham's Skin Shield SPF 50: This all-natural Kiwi product is incredibly hydrating thanks to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid, which draws and locks in moisture to your skin, supports elasticity, and boosts collagen production. This product is actually more like beautiful skincare which protects from the sun - a miracle of modern science.


Any skier knows high altitude and cold wind means your face can be left pretty raw by the end of a big day on the slopes, especially down south with sub-zero temperatures. You're going to need a solid layer of moisture to lock in the natural oils of your epidermis - but nothing so greasy you'll be sweating it off in five minutes. 

My picks: 

Weleda Skinfood Light: The lighter version of the cult barrier cream, this product is perfect for ski fields. It soaks in quickly and leaves the skin super smooth. 

Clinique Moisture Surge 72 Hour: This super lightweight but hydrating gel sinks in instantly, feels light as a feather, but provides long-lasting moisture - 72 hours, if the claim on the tub is anything to go by. Handy hint - get the mini-size to keep it in your holiday toilet bag and leave more room for bulky ski gear.


While the main objective of the day is wooshing down the slopes (the technical term), you're of course going to want to get some Instagram content as well - with a backdrop like that, why not? This means you might want a little coverage - not the time for a strong lip and contour, but a little something to brighten and give a glow. And don't worry about eye makeup, you'll be wearing sunnies anyway. 

My picks:

Skinnies Tinted BB cream. Killing two birds with one stone, this sunblock comes with a lovely tanned tint, which evens out skin tone and provides a little coverage across blemishes and redness. It's my 'no makeup' makeup of choice. Plus the more sun protection, the better. 

Bare Minerals Original SPF 15 foundation powder. A mineral powder foundation is a great choice for ski field as it can be buffed into the skin over sunblock in the car on the way up the mountain and it's basically foolproof. This is one of my faves for providing long-lasting coverage with breathability. 


Once down off the mountain, the first thing you're going to want to do is have a nice, hot shower and pour yourself a glass of pinot noir. But between those two things, I'd recommend taking care of your mug so you don't wake up tomorrow morning a flushed, peeling mess. 

Skip the exfoliation

This is not the time to go in with harsh scrubs or AHAs. Even if you're not a sensitive skinned lass or lad, wait until you're back in regular temperatures before attacking your pores. Instead, cleanse with a gentle, hydrating oil or balm and use a hot flannel to gently wipe it off. It will take off the SPF and sweat off the day, but help restore the natural oils that may have been stripped. 

My pick: Tailor oil cleanse. One of the original Kiwi skincare brands to focus on oil cleansing, this is my all-time favourite first cleanser. It's so gentle and hydrating, but thick enough to really massage in and feel like you're giving yourself a mini-facial. 

Rest and restore

Now it's time to slather your face in the thickest, most hydrating moisturiser you have, preferably something with nourishing oils to calm and settle the skin. If you only have a light moisturiser with you, you can add a few drops of rosehip or hemp oil to give it extra weight. 

My picks: 

Emma Lewisham Supernatural Anti-Ageing 72-Hour Hydration Crème. This deeply nourishing and luxe cream contains miracle hydration ingredient pentavitin, which deeply penetrates the skin’s epidermis. It feels like a spa treatment in a tub. 

Go-To Very Useful Face Cream. Doing exactly what it says on the box, this rich formula contains CoQ10 and amla berry, so is full of antioxidants to protect against the tough elements and pollution of the day.  

Now pour a wine, massage those aching muscles and head into Queenstown centre for a big riding the mechanical bull at Cowboys. 

If you're so inclined.