Right now, tons of clients are asking me for the best winter skincare tips, because even if you love the change of seasons, it’s likely that your skin does not. Even those of my clients with generally amazing skin will comment that their skin acts out this time of year, as the weather suddenly gets frigid.

So don’t feel alone if you, too, are feeling and seeing the impact of cooler weather, lower humidity, indoor heating, cold wind on your face and would love to figure out how to best deal with it.

For good winter skincare, I always remind my clients to give their faces a little extra TLC and follow three simple tips that can make a big difference in keeping skin healthy and looking fresh all winter long.

Cool Mom Picks is an rstyle affiliate

Top image: Kiehls video on winter moisturizing

Related: The 3 hot lip colors this year that look great on every woman

1) Exfoliate

When the air outside is cold and dry, your skin feels dry too, and often looks flaky or chapped, which is why exfoliating is so important.

Put simply, it’s the removal of dead skin cells on the surface of your face — one of the causes of dull, lackluster, unhealthy skin. Though some might think that exfoliating creates even more dryness, in my expertise, it’s important to exfoliate year round to keep your skin new and fresh.

Balance is key here, so I recommend using a gentle exfoliant a few times a week.

My favorite exfoliants include Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel (which is extremely gentle, despite the name) and Tatcha Classic Rice Enzyme Powder — both enzyme exfoliants, as opposed to scrubs, which are harsher and more abrasive. The enzyme exfoliates won’t scratch the surface of your skin and still work to gently rid of the dead skin cells.

Just be sure to read the instructions on your own product packaging, since each one is different. My two favorite products are gentle enough for everyday use, but not all are; and you definitely don’t want to over-exfoliate and further irritate your skin!

3 essential winter skincare tips from our resident beauty expert, Kristyn of Shimmer & Spice

2) Protect and moisturize

Once those dead skin cells are gone, you’ll have a fresh layer of skin that needs some serious protection against whipping winds and brisk temperatures. The best way to protect a new, fresh layer of skin is to create a barrier on the skin and to lock in moisture, ideally with a cream instead of a lotion.

Did you realize there’s a difference? There is!

Creams are often made with rich oils (such as shea, cocoa, or avocado butter), so they’re thicker and can provide that much-needed barrier from the cold. While lotions are terrific for warmer months of the year, the heavier ingredients in creams are my recommendation for colder weather.

Plus, the moisturizing effect of creams lasts longer than that of lotions.

If you haven’t already switched products for the season, I can recommend Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream, which is one that works best for my own skin. However, if you don’t like the heavier, sometimes greasier feeling of a moisturizing cream I suggest easing your skin into a winter beauty routine by adding a few drops of a serum to your moisturizing lotion.

While it’s pricy, I’m a big fan of the Mario Badescu Hydrating Serum because it has some good nourishing ingredients, and helps protect skin and keep it hydrated.

Related: 7 favorite beauty splurges that are absolutely worthwhile

3) Use sunscreen (yes, in the winter)

I find many clients are surprised by my third winter skincare tip: it’s important to continue using a daily sunscreen in the winter. It not only moisturizes, but also protects your skin from aging, wrinkling, and dangerous UV rays no matter what the season.

You don’t need a specific sunscreen just for winter; just use one you like with an SPF of 30 or higher. But hey, I know that’s another step in your morning routine. So an alternative is to apply makeup, like a BB Cream that has SPF 30 to help cut back on time when you’re rushing to get out the door.


Of course when it comes to skincare, remember that everyone’s skin will react differently to temperature changes and to the products you use. So if your skin seems absolutely fine right now, even when the temperature drops, know that you’re doing what’s right for you! But if it’s acting out? That’s when you should consider changing up your routine.

Really, it’s all about doing what works for you — your skin will let you know if you’re on the right path. Always.

Have a makeup question for Kristyn April? Want to book her for an event or makeup bag intervention? You can visit her at her site, Shimmer and Spice