Even when I’m living in a more temperate climate, there’s something about the winter season that makes me feel less glowing, less lush. It starts with my skin (my dry elbows, my tighter facial skin)—and my hair (my split ends, my static strands)—and these outer symptoms seem to seep into the way I feel and make me feel “less glowing” on the inside. Quel dommage!
If this happens to you, some extra winter-battling pampering may be in order. The following are tips to nourish hair and skin (and combat winter beauty woes).
Cleanse: Be mindful about the temperature of water you’re using. Lukewarm or room temp is best. Hot water will dry out and sensitize your skin. Avoid foaming cleansers and opt for a cream cleanser that’s free of chemical surfactants (like the dreaded sodium laurel sulfate!)
Nourish: Seek out serums or toners that contain hyaluronic acid. This compound helps skin retain water and stay plump. After applying toner and/or serum, massage a rich facial oil onto your skin. Spend a few minutes giving yourself a facial massage to help increase the absorption of your products and boost your natural glow.
Eat: The texture of food sometimes mirrors its skin benefits. Almonds, which are rich in vitamin E and skin-loving oils, are great for skin that suffers from dryness. (Think of how naturally creamy almond butter is!) Avocados, too, have skin-loving qualities.
Red, sensitive skin.
Cleanse: Red, sensitive skin often goes hand in hand with dry skin. See cleansing tips for dry skin above.
Nourish: Be especially vigilant about SPF since too much sun exposure can increase inflammation and skin sensitivity. Find a moisturizer or BB cream that offers at least SPF30.
Treat: A mask of equal parts aloe gel and pureed cucumber will calm red and unhappy skin. Leave on for 5-10 minutes. Or, try MyChelle Pure Harmony Mask for Sensitive Skin.
Eat: Cooling foods like cucumber, fresh ginger, and berries can help reduce inflammation. Avoid foods that make your inflammation flare up. This is a little different for everyone, but spicy foods and processed foods are common culprits. Avoid consuming too much alcohol, which makes the body more vulnerable to inflammation.
Cleanse: Since static hair is a common symptom of dry hair (in dry winter weather), it’s best resolved by giving a little more attention to your moisturizing routine. Using a gentle, sulphate-free shampoo is the best place to start. After you’ve stepped out of the shower, wrap—never rub!—your wet hair in a microfiber towel. These tend to absorb moisture more efficiently than standard cotton towels, and they tend to be gentler on strands.
Nourish: A light, spray-on leave-in conditioner will help restore moisture to your strands without weighing them down. My favorite is Evolve Smart Volume Leave-in Conditioner. Lightly mist all of your hair from a distance of 8-10”.
Treat: A weekly hair mask or warm oil treatment (try almond, coconut, or olive oil) will help keep static at bay. Sleep on a satin pillowcase to minimize the roughening up of strands as you toss and turn in the night.
Eat: Eat a well-balanced, whole foods diet to give your budding strands a strong start. Incorporate moisturizing foods, like raw nuts, raw seeds, avocados, and water-rich produce.
Cleanse: Opt for a shampoo that’s designed for damaged or treated hair. As with facial cleanser, avoid anything with sulfates. You may even consider using a non-foaming shampoo—like Shea Terra Organics Mud Poo, a clay-based “no-poo” hair cleanser. If you’re like me and prone to getting build-up on your scalp, try a deep-cleansing shampoo that’s free of harsh surfactants. I like Acure Organics Lemongrass Clarifying Shampoo. Don’t use water that’s hotter than you need.
Nourish: After shampooing, gently massage a rich conditioner onto your ends (not your roots!) You can even use a hair mask as your conditioner. While the conditioner is still in your hair,
Treat: First, step away from the hot tools and hairsprays containing alcohol. Every day, apply a hair oil or leave-in conditioner to your ends. (Pure argan oil is an ideal hair treatment. A few drops will go a long way!) Protect your hair from the elements by wrapping it in a chic scarf or pulling it back in a loose bun.
Eat: See food recommendations for dry skin.
Dry scalp (itchiness and flakes of dead skin).
Cleanse: General dry scalp is a bit different from actual dandruff, which is caused by increased cell turnover and is often oily. For dandruff, try cleansing with a dandruff-specific shampoo made with tea tree oil. For dry, flaky, itchy scalp, follow the shampoo recommendations for split ends or “shampoo” with a light conditioner. If the water in your town is high in chlorine, find a shower head water filter that keeps chlorine from interfering with your glossy locks.
Nourish: When conditioning your hair, leave conditioner around your roots for a few minutes while you shave your legs or exfoliate your bod. After five minutes or so, rinse conditioner from your hair with cool water.
Treat: Skip the blow dryer for a while. Hot air on dry skin is not your friend. If your dry scalp is particularly bad, a nightly scalp massage using an organic carrier oil (argan, olive, jojoba, coconut…) can really help. Sleep on a towel to protect your pillow case. Shampoo in the morning as usual. Repeat this process until your scalp feels happy again.
Eat: See food recommendations for dry skin and red, sensitive skin.
Are you having trouble with winter dry skin and hair? Questions, comments? Let us know!
More winter beauty tips: 5 Beauty Resolutions for the Winter
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Photo: Milada Vigerova via Unsplash