It’s Winter, Have You Switched Out Your Skincare?

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The Winter Skin Switch-Up

I used to hate winter until I realized that out of all the seasons, I probably dress the best in winter…lol. I mean, all you need is a dope coat, cool warm boots, and stylish accessories—you can wear the same jeans and sweater underneath all the time and most people wouldn’t even know. See, we know that we need to switch our wardrobes when the weather starts to dip, but some of us don’t realize that the products in our skincare routine may also need to be switched out. In today’s post we’re going to talk about transitioning your routine for winter and keeping that skin on fleek even when the temps are bleak. (haha—that rhymed)

Why you need to switch:

blush for dark skin

No, this isn’t a ploy to get you to spend more money on skincare. I’m sure you’ve noticed that your skin feels different: it might be drier, might feel a bit rougher, and in some cases it can be very oily (this is typical of dehydrated oily skin—the skin goes crazy wondering why you’re not properly hydrating it and overproduces oil as a defense). Think about the things that change when winter comes: the temperatures start to drop, the air might be drier, wind-chill factor might make it feel even colder and then when you go inside, you try to stay warm with heat that can be very drying on the skin. If you’re still using your warm weather skincare products, you’re likely not giving your skin the proper moisture it needs. And when skin isn’t hydrated properly, short term it might look dull, lead to dry patches and maybe even breakouts. Long term, we’re talking uneven skin texture, premature wrinkles, and the type of stuff that might require a lunch time trip to the derm.

How to switch:


Good news! Switching might be relatively easy. Most skincare brands have different lines for different skin types. For instance, Murad has a Oil Free Mattifying Lotion that I like to use generally in the summer (sometimes we get summer temps when it’s not summer…lol) and then when it’s spring and fall (or spring and fall-like temps) I’ll switch to the Murad Anti-Aging Moisturizer which is slightly more hydrating than the Mattifier. I can use the Murad Anti-Aging Moisturizer (among others—I have a number of moisturizers I like and test out) for a good part of the winter—usually when it’s at least above 32 degrees, but when it gets below freezing, I have to switch to something even more hydrating.

(I have oily skin for the record. Even if you have oily skin, depending on the climate where you are, you still likely need a more hydrating moisturizer in your routine when the temperatures drop. See also If You Have Oily or Very Oily Skin, Here’s Some Things to Make Sure You’re NOT Doing…)

Also while we’re here, perfect time to remind you an eye cream should ALWAYS be in your routine. Read more in A Refresher on Eye Cream.

I’ve already talked about sunscreen usage needing to be year-round INCLUDING WINTER in this post, but another gentle reminder that your winter skincare routine needs to also include SPF during the day. If your moisturizer doesn’t have SPF in it, there are a number of products out there that come in serum, primer, and powder form that you can put on over your moisturizer. Shop a few of them in the widget below. Use the arrows to see more items as there is more than just the first page.

When it comes to cleansers, if you’re using a gentle one you might not have to switch it out. But sometimes we may use cleansers that aid in brightening, acne control, etc. that can be drying in the colder months. You may want to lessen the amount of usage with those kind of cleansers if you notice a change in your skin when it gets cold. So for example, you might do something like use your acne cleaners twice a week and a gentle one on the other days—see how your skin reacts and adjust accordingly.

When it comes to other treatment products (i.e. acne treatments, certain peels, etc.) you might want to look into decreasing usage if you notice a change in your skin. It’s also a good idea to check the label on your products for any usage warnings and to inquire with the brand if it’s a good product to use during the weather or if they suggest you adding something to your routine. It’s a VERY GREAT AMAZING idea to see a skincare professional like a dermatologist as well not only when you have an issue, but routinely.

In some cases you might be able to just add to your favorite products to make them useful year-round. Products like Cover FX Custom Infusion Drops can add hydration or other skin-loving elements to your favorite products. Check them out in the widget below:

P.S. Also check out How to Get Your Foundation to Do the Most which is a helpful post as it relates to adjusting your makeup when it gets colder out.


hanes cotton robe

My body skin can be more sensitive than my facial skin in the winter so I’m very careful with how I treat it. I try to lessen the amount of indoor heat I use because it’s so drying. Instead I layer up or use an electric blanket. IF I put the heat on (it’s because it’s super cold and I can’t take it any longer…lol) I put it on for like 20 minutes tops just to take the briskness out of the air. I also recommend using a humidifier—I have one from Dyson that I talked about in this post.

It’s also a good idea to lessen the frequency and length of your showers in the winter especially if you have issues with very dry skin or eczema. You also want to turn the temperature down because hot water can really dry out your skin.

Winter is also a good time to switch to thicker creams and butters when it comes to your body moisturizer. I would also switch to more hydrating and more gentle body washes as well. After I shower, I pat my skin with a towel and while it’s still damp, I’ll apply my moisturizer—this is the best time to apply moisturizer.

Hair & Scalp:

moisturizing 4c hair

Your hair and scalp can suffer from the same types of dryness that your skin does in the warmer weather. Plus since we’re so bundled up, some of those fabrics can cause friction on the hair and/or zap the moisture out—that can lead to breakage and give you the false sense that your hair isn’t growing (your hair IS growing, it’s just that it’s not retaining the growth if it’s constantly breaking off). To protect your hair, try to keep it away from fabrics like cotton and wool which our hats and scarves are typically made out of—you can use satin or silk as a barrier to protect yourself. Regular deep conditioning is also a great idea as is frequent moisturizing as needed. I wrote a post on how I keep my 4C hair moisturized, check it out here.

The Head & Shoulders team sent over some tips from one of their hair and scalp experts, Head & Shoulders global dermatologist Dr. Ilyse Lefkowicz. “Avoid taking a super-hot shower as it can strip the natural oils from your scalp, making it dry and sensitive,” recommends Dr. Lefkowicz. “Following the shower, opt for air drying. If you must use a blow drier, make sure it’s on low heat to avoid scalp irritation.” And if you’re thinking about heading out with a still wet wash-and-go or not-even-close-to-being-dry twists or braids, Dr. Lefowicz warns, “hats, especially when worn with wet hair, can create a warm, moist environment for the fungus that causes dandruff.” She suggests using Head & Shoulders products to protect against flaking, itchiness and dryness, and of course to give hair plenty of time to air-dry.

More info:

Don’t forget to check out my skincare archives—I’ve been writing about skincare for over a decade. You can either go through this category to keep up, search by topic via the menu bar, or check out this post which contains *some* posts you should read. Also check out the video version of this post below which contains some tips not mentioned here and check out my skincare video playlist. And make sure you subscribe to my Youtube channel!

P.S. If you’re looking for the products in the first image, check them out in the widget below:

Which products are in YOUR winter skincare routine? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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About Danielle

A former finance girl, Danielle is a New York City based freelance writer and fashion and beauty expert. She's a Hofstra University and Fashion Institute of Technology grad with an obsession with fashion and beauty which she loves to tell you all about every weekday on her award-winning blog. Think of her as your style and beauty entourage all wrapped up into one bubbly brown package. Danielle's work and expertise can be found in print and across the web in Cosmopolitan for Latinas,, and more! She's also appeared as an on-air style and beauty expert on The Real, CBS New York's "The Couch" and WPIX11's Savvy Shopper segment.

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