How to Beat the Dry Skin Blues

As the dryness and cold of winter sets in, so we start to experience drier and drier skin. This has happened to me for the past 5 years but I am elated to report that NOT ANYMORE! I have cracked the dry skin code, folks.

First up, I love a hot shower. Dermatologists say that hot showers aren’t good for you because they turn the natural oil in your skin to liquid, which then rinses away, removing that oily/protective layer from your skin. I say they can go suck it. In an ideal world I would have marble EVERYTHING, lots of designer shoes, I would wake up with perfect hair, I would eat whatever I wanted consequence-free and I would have warm showers in winter. But this isn’t the ideal world. So, this is how I have my cake and eat it…

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In the shower

I use L’Occitane’s Almond Shower Oil (R545 for 5ooml) because it isn’t harsh and doesn’t strip skin like some shower gels do. It sounds counter-intuitive to put oil on your skin when you want to clean it, but this oil emulsifies with water and cleans skin gently. I squeeze out one pump, rub it all over one leg, and then go in with my Body Shop Body Polisher (R49) and give myself a scrub. Even though it’s expensive, a little goes a long way. I’ve had my 500ml bottle for over a year now, but I do also use other shower gels because I like variety. I’m also a huge fan of Lush’s Buffy (R125). It’s an exfoliator in bar format and contains ground bits of rice, beans and almonds. I first use a shower oil or shower gel and then go in with Buffy to smooth my skin. Buffy came about when the product designer, whilst on a trip to Brazil, was inspired by the women who rub a mixture of sand and suntan oil on their backsides to improve circulation and reduce cellulite. She came home, mixed together cocoa and shea butters (to soften and moisturize), ground rice, almonds and aduki beans (to polish and smooth) and Buffy was born. Once I’ve scrubbed myself (Buffy is quite rough, which is good for thighs, bums and rough areas – I don’t use it on my torso and anywhere else that’s sensitive), I wash off any remaining bits and then dry myself. It’s like an in-shower moisturiser that exfoliates and conditions too. No need for body lotion. At R125 a bar it is quite pricey, but I only use it once every 2nd/3rd day. After using Buffy, and because I don’t use it everywhere, I like to use a light body cream like Bio Nike’s Defence Body Hydraboost Moisturisation Fluid just in case. It works to top up the moisture and is great for sensitive and intolerant skin. If I’ve showered sans Buffy, I like to either use Avène’s Akérate 10 Body Cream (R250 for 200ml) or Bee Natural’s Luxurious Body Butter (R102 for 200ml) in Rose Absolute. The Avène body cream is quite intense and is a bit sticky initially, but it keeps my skin nice and hydrated. It’s also hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and designed for sensitive and intolerant skins. If I feel like it’s too bland, I’ll just add a few drops of orange or lavender essential oil to it in the palm of my hand. The Bee Natural Body Butter is more luxurious and smells divine. Because of it’s balmy texture, it also keeps skin soft and moisturised.

For the face

I used to use a micellar water followed by a gel cleanser every night. I also used to manually exfoliate my face every other day because the cleaner and shinier and smoother the better, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. A day after scrubbing, my skin was so smooth and lovely. Two days on and it was dry and patchy. Same thing with Retinol. I’ve stopped using it because I found out that it can wreak havoc on dry skin, making it drier. I’ve also learnt, courtesy of the facial wizard that is Caroline Hirons, that I should use gentler products on my skin. I gave up my regular micellar water (which is lovely, just not for my skin) for a cleansing oil, the Body Shop’s Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil (R175 for 200ml), as step 1 before a cleansing cream (one that I already had from the States). During this process of transformation, after a week or so, I noticed a few pimples, and decided that I needed to clean my skin another way. So I tweaked my routine and it works like a charm: if I use a micellar water, which is the new Hydrabio H20 Micelle Solution from Bioderma (R200 for 250ml), especially made for dry skins, I’ll second cleanse with a cleansing cream and a face cloth (The Body Shop’s Pomegranate Softening Cream Cleanser comes recommended by Caroline Hirons). If I use a cleansing oil, I’ll second cleanse with a gel cleanser, typically Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Wash (R395 for 200ml). I’ve also gone cold turkey on all granular exfoliators and only use my beloved REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (R595 for 50ml). Once I’ve cleansed my skin, I use Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion 1 (R380 for 400ml), which is a gently exfoliating and hydrating toner. It will change your skin and your life.

If you’re embarking on a product formula switch, see what works best for you and fine tune your routine.

Next up, during the day I use Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate (R700 for 30ml), followed by Avene’s Tolérance Extrême (R300 for 50ml) and at night I go for either Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate or a hydrating serum (like Hydraluron) followed by any of Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal creams (R420 for 75ml) for maximum hydration. I keep Dermalogica’s Antioxidant Hydramist (R550 for 150ml) in my desk drawer to keep my face moisturised during the day. Mid-morning I just spritz 2-3 sprays on my face and I’m happy.

When it comes to face masks, I absolutely adore Bioderma’s new Hydrabio Masque (R250 for 75ml). I apply a few drops of Nautica Organic Rosehip Oil (R150 for 50ml) underneath, and then let it work it’s magic. I also like Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask and Avène’s Soothing Moisture Mask. On days where I don’t wear any makeup, I stick to a very simple routine. I don’t double cleanse (because why?) and I use Nautica’s Organic Rosehip Oil to moisturise. I think foundation can be quite drying so a makeup-free day once a week is a must.

Internally

I take Best 4 Adults Brain Power Krill Oil capsules daily, and have an app on my phone called Waterlogged that motivates me to drink enough water during the day. Drinking water isn’t fun in winter, but I notice that when I don’t drink enough, it shows on my skin, so I make sure I get the correct amount via loads of green and other herbal teas, as well as water.

Phew! That was a lot of info. I hope it helped, lovelies.

Kell signaturey