Saturday, January 7, 2012

What I Have Learned About Winter Skincare

I've been asked this question a few times in the last few weeks. Do I need to change my foundation this winter?

It's easy to jump in with, sure, use a cream or switch to a moisturizing liquid. But not everyone wants to use a cream (hear, hear!) and it's really hard to generalize. I think that winter skin requires a regimen and not necessarily a foundation switch. Sure, I like Chanel foundations. I also love my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer and I even use Shiseido The Makeup Powdery Foundation SPF 15. Yes, a powder, in the winter. Although it seems logical to switch to a creamier formulation for winter use, I am simply not a fan of cream foundation. I think that especially when the weather is cold, what you need to look at is the real foundation of your face, your skin.

My skin is generally dry to begin with. I get oily patches in the T-zone (center of the forehead, nose and chin) but I moisturize those areas too because while my nose can get shiny, the sides of the nose can get ridiculously dry. I'm in my mid-30s so I incorporate anti-aging treatments and/or repair products to improve the general condition of my skin. Clinique's infamous yellow moisturizer and a L'Oreal cleanser was nice in my 20s but doesn't cut it anymore.

My current routine consists of the following products:

1. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
2. Chanel Hydramax + Active Serum
3. Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Lifting Firming Day Cream SPF 15
4. Clarisonic Mia
5. Chanel Mousse Douceur Rinse-Off Foaming Mousse Cleanser
6. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum
7. Chanel Hydramax + Active Nourishing Cream for Dry Skin
8. Clarins Advanced Extra-Firming Neck Cream

Number 3 and number 7 are new to me this winter. The rest are items I've used for awhile and have repurchased. I settled on those items after testing a large number of different products and brands. If I don't mention as a specific product (such as eye cream or lip balm), it means that I use whatever is on hand and it is not a specific brand as far as the current regimen goes.

Start with cleansing. Winter cleansing means I can bring out the oil-based cleansers. I still have an ample supply of Laura Mercier's Purifying Cleansing Oil but as winter has been somewhat iffy these days, I actually end up using Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser on my face on most mornings. My daughter, who has severe eczema, bathes with this stuff, so we buy the 20 oz. pumps at Costco. It's gentle, non-stripping, and perfect to get your day started.

Almost empty Chanel Hydramax + Active Serum

To moisturize, I go two-fold. I usually start with the Chanel Hydramax + Active Serum for a moisture boost and then follow with the Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Lifting Firming Day Cream SPF 15 for treatment and sun protection. It's very low sun protection, I know. If I am aware that I'll be getting more exposure, I would use a product with higher SPF or supplement with a heavy duty sunscreen. I like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sun Protection SPF 55.

Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Lifting Firming Day Cream SPF 15

I'm ready for makeup and I always use a primer. There are different kinds of primer. If you have oily skin, you might want to try oil-free formulations. Laura Mercier has a new one that adds a glow to your skin. I've been using it intermittently and I'll be reviewing it soon. For the most part though, I like the Hydrating Primer from the line. I think that my foundation lasts longer and looks better when I have it on.

Foundation time! Again, it's a matter of preference. What are your coverage needs? Even Tinted Moisturizer qualifies as a form of foundation in my book. There are some great formulas out there that should work great in the winter.

Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover

Let's go to the night-time regimen. As I typically wear makeup, I try to remove all my makeup the minute I get home. If I wait until bedtime, it becomes a chore so I bust out the eye makeup remover and a cleansing wipe and I remove it immediately. Sometimes there's some eye makeup left which I try to clean up with a Q-tip dipped in the remover later on. You don't want to leave a trace.

Clarisonic Tangerine Mia

Personally, I like my Clarisonic for night time cleansing, especially if I've worn makeup during the day. I use Chanel's Mousse Douceur Rinse-Off Foaming Mousse Cleanser with it. I skip the Clarisonic on days when I didn't wear any makeup or if I'm feeling some sensitivity. If I skip the Clarisonic, I use Cetaphil.

For treatment, I use the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum. Then I follow with Chanel's Hydramax + Active Nourishing Cream for Dry Skin. The serum I use year-round but this moisturizer is new to me. It does the job but I'm not sure I'd like to recommend it. I'm still scouring drugstore shelves for the most hydrating non-SPF moisturizer for evening use. Some days, I feel like just using Neutrogena.

Chanel Hydramax + Active Nourishing Cream for Dry Skin

At night, I also use Clarins Advanced Extra-Firming Neck Cream. However, I only do so because I seem to have copious amounts of this cream in my stocks. It can't hurt, right? During the daytime, I use my facial moisturizer on my neck. I also use eye cream and lip balm.

Clarins Advanced Extra-Firming Neck Cream

I've shared my current product list and it seems extensive written down like this but what you use depends entirely on how your skin behaves. Start with a good cleanser and moisturizer. If you've got that covered, I bet you can wear any foundation successfully. You can even go without! If you like your cream-based foundation, this is definitely the time to use it. Otherwise, I think liquid works rather well, as do tinted moisturizers, for the full face. Bring out your creamy concealer too.

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream

There are products for every budget and every skin concern. If you can't consult with a dermatologist, implore the help of a skincare specialist at your favorite pharmacy or department store. If you prefer browsing by yourself, read labels to make sure you know what the products are supposed to do for you. Then pick out the combination that you think will work. Here's to fabulous winter skin in 2012!

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