Today I’m back with an interesting post. From the title, you might have guessed that it’s about my winter skincare routine. Some might not find “skincare routines” interesting but I love to read other people’s skincare routines and know the various products they use. Whenever winter approaches, I change my skincare routine to suit the climate.
In general, I buy skincare products after thoroughly analyzing the ingredient lists and doing the groundwork before using them. The products I’ve mentioned in this post are those that have worked for me so well during the winters. Most of them have been repurchased multiple times. Let’s move on to my winter skincare routine.
Table of Contents
My skin type:
Before I start let me tell you my skin type. I have oily to combination skin in the summers. But in winters it leans towards dry combination skin. My skin is prone to acne, so I avoid using acne-causing products. There have been periods where my skin can become very dry and itchy, so you can say it is a little sensitive too. And sometimes if I overdo exfoliation, my skin barrier can be compromised easily.
The Best Winter Skincare Routine
1. Gentle Face Wash
It’s good to use a gentle Hydrating Face wash in the winters. We don’t want to dry out the skin further when the weather can already be stripping the skin off moisture. Be it any skin type. Squeaky clean super dried skin is not an ideal post-cleansing result. You need skin that’s clean yet comfortable – without the taut dry feeling.
I use the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser which is an absolute delight to use. It’s a gentle, non-foaming cleanser. It is a widely Dermatologist’s Recommended Face Wash that can be used by all skin types. It’s particularly beneficial for sensitive skin. The formula is pH balanced. It cleanses my skin while leaving it soft and smooth to touch. Some might not like that it contains SLS. But the formulation is such that it leaves the skin hydrated. And I don’t find any problems using a face wash with sulphates.
I use a face wash both in the morning and nighttime routine. On very dry skin days, I skip using a cleanser in the morning and just do a water rinse and follow it up with the rest of the routine.
Other products I like:
Cleanse Me Cleanser is a great Cetaphil alternative. What makes it different – it is SLS-free and enriched with the goodness of Oatmeal Extract. I equally love this cleanser. It’s soap-free, fragrance-free, and paraben-free as well.
La Roche Posay Tolerine Hydrating Cleanser performs similar to the above two cleansers- being gentle and hydrating. This cleanser has the added benefits of Niacinamide, Ceramides, and Glycerin. If you can spend a bit more, this is a good choice. This again is Soap Free, Fragrance-Free, and Paraben Free.
On days when I need a thorough cleansing of sweat, oil and dirt from any heavy work like gardening or workout, or playing sports, I’d like to use this. It is a foam-type face wash that is pH balanced. It is non-stripping as well but is “more” cleansing than the above-mentioned non-foaming cleansers. This is also great for acne and suits all skin types, be it oily or dry.
2. Hydrating Toner
I love to use floral hydrosols like Rose Water during summers. I particularly like the Kama Ayurveda Rose Water for its instant cooling and refreshing effect. But in winters I stick to hydrating Korean toners. No offense! I do like other toners but I feel Korean toners are totally on another level when it comes to increasing the hydration levels. Korean Toners have a thicker consistency than most traditional toners in India.
I love to use the Klairs Supple Preparation Toner – It is a Hyaluronic Acid-based Alcohol-Free Toner that’s immensely hydrating. It can be used by all skin types. I use it right after cleansing while the skin is still damp. In that way, it locks in moisture better and the skin looks plump and juicy. There is a reason why this is one of the Best Selling Korean Skin Care Products. Everyone loves this and so do I.
Other Products I like:
If you are looking for something with a herbal touch to it, this toner is for you. The toner has 91.3% Milk Vecht Root Extract as its base ingredient. It’s a medicinal plant used in Chinese medicine that has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Its texture is slightly thinner than the Klairs and is great to add to your winter skincare routine for oily skin.
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner is apt for dull, dehydrated, and dry skin types. It’s more hydrating than the above two toners with 50% concentrated Hyaluronic Acid. It delivers instant hydration to give you dewy plump skin. It’s fragrance-free and alcohol-free.
3. Light yet Nourishing Moisturizers:
Since I use a Hyaluronic Acid Based Toner, I use a moisturizer immediately to lock in the moisture. Otherwise, the skin can be dried further. That’s the nature of HA. It draws moisture from the environment.
I have acne-prone skin and so I tend to go for Non-Comedogenic Moisturizers that are light yet moisturizing. I cannot use heavy-duty creams as they clog my pores and cause acne. So I prefer quick-absorbing gel-cream formulations.
One of my favorites is the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. I love that it works well when my skin is both oily and dry. I can use this in any season and it’s perfect for daytime use. It’s a classic non-greasy, hydrating moisturizer. If you have non-problematic skin without any specific skin concern to target, this is a good drugstore option. If you are into luxury skincare, Clinique Moisture Surge is a great find.
Other product recommendations:
Bioderma Atoderm Baume
Bioderma Atoderm Baume is a very thick cream that is intensely nourishing. It’s great for strengthening and repairing the barrier function of the skin. If you are someone who uses exfoliating products and has dry skin, I highly recommend using a ceramide cream like this. If you have oily skin, a good Niacinamide Based Moisturizer will help.
Both Ceramide and Niacinamide are great for barrier function. Ceramide is soothing and repairing, while Niacinamide strengths the barrier and regulates sebum production.
100% Squalane Oil
The Ordinary Plant Derived 100% Squalane or Minimalist 100% Squalane. Both are affordable options depending upon the country you live. Squalane is a skin-identical, lightweight oil that can be used by all skin types including acne-prone skin. You just need 2 to 3 drops for the perfect moisturization. If you want to try a facial oil for the first time to test the waters, I highly recommend getting Squalane Oil.
4. UV protecting Sunscreens
Winters are the time when the UV Index is low. At least in the place, I live. But that’s not the criteria to skip sunscreen. Sunscreen is essential rain or shine. I go for an SPF of at least 30+ PA+++. I like to use a simple Gel-based sunscreen all year round and reserve the high protection, silicone-based, waterproof, sweatproof sunscreens only when I am going to the beach or out in the sun.
Fixderma SPF 30 is my holy grail, everyday sunscreen. It is a Dermatologist Recommended Sunscreen. It’s super comfortable, lightweight, and has the feel and texture of a gel moisturizer. I loved Korean sunscreens before for their lightweight non-sunscreen feel and I’m so happy that I found an alternative in a pharmacy brand.
Yes, I use matte sunscreen in the winter. It doesn’t suck the moisture from my skin as I use hydrating products underneath. I like that this sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, has new generation chemical filters, and is water-resistant. This sunscreen has an initial white cast which settles down in a couple of minutes. So I don’t mind using it for the protection it provides.
These are the basic products that one would need in a winter skincare routine. You don’t always need a ton of products. Consistency is the key. A good cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen will do the job. But if you have specific skin concerns like acne, aging, or pigmentation, feel free to add in products to target those. Following are some of the other products that I use in my winter skincare routine
Powerful First Cleansers
I don’t always use a first cleanser. It’s good to use one. Since I stay in most of the days, I don’t use one. On days when I wear makeup or use my silicone-based sunscreen, I use either a Micellar Water or Cleansing Oil.
I like the Bioderma H2O. It’s an extremely gentle yet efficient micellar water that removes makeup, sunscreen, and impurities without irritating the skin. It’s a clear water-like solution and is fragrance-free and alcohol-free. Bioderma H2O is one of the Best Micellar Waters out there that suits even the most sensitive skin.
When I am on a budget, I’d pick out the Garnier Micellar Water. This is non-sticky, non-oily, fragrance-free, and alcohol-free as well. And does the job of cleansing perfectly. The only con is that the chemical scent from it can be off-putting for some.
DHC Beauty Cleansing Oil
If I plan to use a cleansing oil, I’d go for the DHC Beauty Cleansing Oil. It’s a classic cult favorite Japanese skincare product. It’s an olive oil-based cleanser, so it’s a little bit thick in consistency. But that doesn’t affect its effectiveness. You need just a few drops of it. I massage gently for a few seconds. It breaks down makeup and sunscreen efficiently. The cleansing oil emulsifies well with water and rinses off easily without leaving behind any oily residue. It’s a great cleansing oil, overall.
Concern Targeting Skin Serums & Essences
I know people who use serums and essences religiously all through the year. My skin is more forgiving during the winters as I can use as many products as I want without clogging them. During summers I can never ever overdo it.
I use serums or essences depending on my mood or skin concerns during a particular period. I would say focus on the ingredient you need to target your skin problem and then choose a product.
For example: if you are in your late 20s and targeting aging signs, you could look for a retinol serum. If you want to target overall skin glow, go for a Vitamin C Serum. If you want to keep your pore health in check, go for a Niacinamide Serum. These can be used on an everyday basis. But read the do’s and don’ts while using these serums. (We’ve talked about them in detail already. I’ve linked them with the corresponding titles).
I don’t use any of the serums mentioned above currently. I do use exfoliating serums weekly (more on that coming). So I’d like to keep the Cosrx Snail Mucin Essence handy. The slimy texture may not be everyone’s favorite. But its excellent skin soothing and calming ability is superior.
Deep cleansing Exfoliants
Face scrubs are totally out of the picture for me except for some DIYs for my body and feet. I use a chemical exfoliator for face once a week. I don’t like to overdo it as it can sensitize my skin. There are many chemical exfoliators out there.
AHAs are Glycolic Acid, Mandelic Acid, and Lactic Acid. Typically go for an AHA if you are targeting hyperpigmentation, fine lines, uneven skin tone, and skin rejuvenation.
For clogged pores, blackheads, and acne, go for a Salicylic Acid Serum.
For mild exfoliation with hydration, go for a pHA.
Each skin is different so choose one according to your needs. Exfoliators are available in all forms of toner, serums, gels, and creams. Irrespective of the form, they should never replace your serum or moisturizer. It should be treated as an additional step.
I prefer using a Glycolic Acid Based Exfoliator. After many trials, I find that it suits my skin. Currently, I am using the Isntree 8% AHA Serum which has 4% Lactic Acid and 4% Glycolic Acid. I can see my skin has become more clear, smoother, and softer.
Under Eye Care
I rarely go out of my way to buy an under-eye cream. The general consensus is that – It is ideal to incorporate an eye cream once you are in your late 20s to target any wrinkles, crowfeet, and dark circles.
I do not have any major concerns about my eye area, so I use my regular moisturizer under my eyes. My moisturizer is fragrance-free and free of irritants. So I use it safely in my under-eye area. If you are using one like me, please do check your ingredients list for any irritants. Your under-eye area is very delicate and we don’t want to damage that.
I’ve also experimented with the Clinique Eye Cream. It does take care of my occasional puffiness caused due to sleepless nights.
Weekly Face Mask Indulgence
Sleeping masks are in trend. I do not particularly use one. However, I have tried the popular Laneige Sleeping Mask in place of my moisturizer. And I did love it.
I prefer to use the good old traditional, chemical-free face masks. I have the Innisfree Super Volcanic Clay Mask that I use monthly once as an Indulgence. Sometimes I d like to whip up some soothing face packs using ingredients available at home. I don’t expect much from these face masks. I use them just for the experience. For the deep cleansing, the exfoliators are more than enough for me.
Some people like to use Sheet Masks. I am past over the sheet mask craze, so I don’t use one. It’s practically not affordable. Neither it is environment-friendly. But I totally agree with its relaxing and pampered feel.
Lastly, my winter skincare routine never ends without a lip balm. I have super dry lips that are prone to chapping. And need a lip balm always. I use the Vaseline Lip Therapy Lip Balm in Rosy Lips variant during the day. It gives the perfect rosy and juicy lips. For the nights, I use the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. It’s super nourishing and long-lasting. I wonder when this cute little tub will empty. It’s like digging a well. The product never finishes! (on a good note)
Winter Body Care Routine
Non-drying Body Wash or Soap
I’d like to use a nice smelling body wash like the Neutrogena Rainbath on a chilling weekend. For everyday cleansing, I stick to my boring Dove Soap. Yes, it’s a basic soap, but it serves its purpose perfectly. It cleanses without drying out the skin. It is cheap too. And I can easily pick it up while I do one of my errands.
Addictive Coffee Scrubs
I am a lazy person and a mom of 2 kids. So I rarely get my pampering time. I try to use a body scrub at least once a month. Twice if time permits! I like to use Coffee Body Scrubs as they are uplifting. I’ve tried many store-bought coffee scrubs. I get them wherever they are sold on sale. On some days, I just whip my own body scrub for winter using instant coffee, olive oil, and crystal sugar.
I also use a loofah, if I’m using the shower gel. Does that count as scrubbing?
Deeply Moisturizing Body Lotion
I certainly need a heavy-duty body lotion for winter for my dry skin. I use lotions extensively they get over pretty quickly. I’ve been using the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Body Lotion For Stretch Marks since my pregnancy days (I am 4 months pp now). And I am loving it so far. Its yummy cocoa fragrance is what makes me buy it again and again. Well, the stretch mark claim adds to it. Nevertheless, it is an ultra-nourishing body lotion that takes off my dry skin.
So that’s all about my winter skincare routine. I enjoy using skincare, so I use a lot of products. Some might find it overwhelming. You don’t have to! Do what suits your skin and well-being.
Do you follow a specific skincare routine for winters? Share yours in the comments section below.