Moisturized & Glowing All Season Long

Winter has never been my season. I was a baby born in summer’s warmth and have always flourished in the hotter months. Still, I’ve come to accept that it’s impossible to evade winter completely. Dry skin follows sunsets at 5 p.m.

However, thanks to the innovations in modern skincare, it’s possible to bat off the worst of winter with some good old fashion self-TLC. With a carefully curated selection of skincare products, and a few spectacular tools to uplevel my routine, my skin can think it’s summer even during the year’s coldest months. Yours can, too. Here’s how:

Cleansing & Exfoliation

Cleansing is good for the soul. I have spent hours massaging magnificent cleaning products into my skin just to wash them off again. Starting at my chest, working up my neck, onward to my chin, and beyond until I reach my forehead, I love working an oil-cleanser or cleansing milk into my dry skin. I sometimes even rub it in with my gua sha for good measure. “Always wash with a pH balanced cleanser and cleanse the skin with warm water. Never too hot or too cold! Temperature extremes exacerbate dry skin, rosacea and rashes,” says Evan Healy, founder of her eponymous label.

Always wash with a pH balanced cleanser and cleanse the skin with warm water.
— Evan Healy, Founder of Evan Healy

Once or twice a week, post-cleanse, I’ll exfoliate to bring on the luster that I know my skin deserves. I’m not a huge fan of abrasive exfoliates, so when I found Marie Veronique’s Probiotic + Exfoliation Mask, I fell in love. I throw it on, do the dishes, rinse it off, and I’m left with the best skin of my life. Of course, a scrub is good in some instances.

Take lips, for example. Crystal Greene, an aesthetician at New York’s West Village jewel box and spa, CAP Beauty, suggests a DIY approach to winter lip care. “Make a gentle lip exfoliator with sugar and jojoba oil to remove dead skin. Be sure to follow with a hydrating lip balm.” If DIY isn’t your thing, Henne has a Lavender Mint Lip Exfoliator that is as delicious as it is effective.

Products I Recommend:

Evan Healy Cleansing Milk, $36.50/4 fl. oz.
Tata Harper Oil Cleanser, $82/4 fl. oz. 
Marie Veronique Oil Cleanser, $40/4 fl. oz.
Retrouvé Cleansing Elixir, $70/1.6 fl. oz.


I do my best to combat [an ancient heating system] with hot drinks and hydrating foods.
— Trinity Wofford, Golde

I vow to become better about taking a 360-degree approach to hydrating this season. “Our skin loses moisture due to low humidity and windy conditions,” says Ozohu Adoh of Epara. “[It] is exasperated by the drying air of indoor heating,” she continues. To combat these treacherous conditions, I lather up day and night with rich oil-based moisturizers and creams, while I’ll opt for serums and balms at night.

But it’s more than what goes on top. Since skin grows up, I imagine that what goes inside counts quite a bit as well. I’ll be monitoring this theory heavily this year. “I do my best to combat [an ancient heating system in my home] with hot drinks and hydrating foods,” says Trinity Wofford of Golde. I typically start my day with fruit and some lemon juice because they’re so hydrating. Wofford does as well, and after seeing her skin, I know I must be onto something.

Products I Recommend:

Epara Hydrating Serum, £180/30 ml
Retrouvé Intensive Replenishing Facial Moisturizer, $445/1 fl. oz.
Nucifera Balm, $37/4 fl. oz.
Evan Healy Facial Serum, $35/.5 fl. oz.
Golde Turmeric Tonic, $29/4.8 oz.


Protecting your skin in winter, no matter what your latitude, is just as important as protecting it in the summer months.
— Evan Healy, Founder of Evan Healy

“Anyone who has spent a winter in the polar regions can tell you about the importance of protecting your skin,” says Healy. “But protecting your skin in winter, no matter what your latitude, is just as important as protecting it in the summer months. The trick is knowing what works with the skin and what works against it.”

I never, I repeat, never, skip SPF. I am even more vigilant with its application in wintertime. It’s easy to remember every day in summer with blistering rays of aging on the forecast day in and day out. But, in winter, skies can look cloudy, and it’s easy to forget that sun rays can’t tell the difference between 32 and 98 degrees. To remember, I use EIR’s Surf Mud. The zinc makes a great under eye concealer, so it’s the perfect two-for-one product. Katonya Breaux of UnSun Cosmetics sums up SPF perfectly. “It’s not SUMMERscreen, it’s sunscreen.”

Products I Recommend:

Unsun Hand Cream (SPF 15), $27/2 fl. oz.
Unsun Tinted Face Sunscreen (SPF 30), $29/1.7 fl. oz.
ILIA Tinted Lip Conditioner (SPF 15), $28/.14 oz.
Raw Elements Tinted Moisturizer (SPF 30), $18/1.8 oz.

Body Care

[Wash hands] with lukewarm water—hot water can have a further deleterious drying effect.
— Jami Morse Heidegger, Retrouvé

After my mug is washed, nourished, and protected from the sun, I begin a 20 to 30-minute routine where I take care of everything else. My dry brush is my best friend. I put on my favorite music, and spend about two songs rubbing the enhanced loofa over my entire body before rinsing off in a cool shower, stepping out, and lathering in my Atman body oil by Jiva-Apoha (although I may be switching it up to 1967 in 2021).

As I’ve started to see age set in, I’ve been thinking about the rest of my body more than ever, and particularly my hands. There are two women who have the hands I aspire to own: Madame Matovu Vintage’s Rosemary Wettenhall and Retrouvé’s Jami Morse Heidegger. “Good hand hygiene can destroy the important defensive barrier that maintains an optimal skin condition,” says Heidegger. “Especially in the colder climes of winter, always wash hands using a fragrance-free (and thus less potentially irritating) cleanser with lukewarm water—hot water can have a further deleterious drying effect,” she continues.

The eternally youthful Heidegger recommends a regular application of oil-based moisturizers, gloves at night and when driving to lock moisture in and protect from UVA and UVB rays respectively, and moisturizer on cuticles!

Products I Recommend:

Pai Hand Therapy Cream, $30/75 ml
Sharper Image Moisturizing Gloves, $70/set
Goop Detox Duo (Dry Brush & Clay Cleanser), $50

How are you updating your skincare routine now that the weather is getting colder? Share in the comments below!


James Francis Kelley is a writer and stylist based in Los Angeles. While he has many interests, he’s most passionate about creating an eco-conscience culture and preparing for a globalized future. If he’s not working, he can be found on Duolingo, biking to electronica music, or browsing Mr. Porter. Find his work on his website, and his musings on Instagram.