Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Thinnest Skin: Winter Skincare

Those of you who have kept up with The Thinnest Skin have likely noticed that I'm pretty obsessed with Lush Handmade Cosmetics.  It started many years ago and just. hasn't. stopped.  And I have so many girlfriends to thank for encouraging this obsession and partaking in trips to Lush to feed it.


When I lived in California, I never thought much about how the change of seasons would impact my skincare routine.  In the Bay Area, it never got terribly cold and the dryness always felt about the same to me, regardless of time of year.

Virginia is a completely different beast.  The humidity in summer makes my skin glow and I only need light lotions for face and body.  But the dryness in winter leaves my lips chapped and the skin on my face feeling uncomfortably tight.  And, once it starts snowing (and doesn't stop for a while), I'm going to need a lot of SPF to fight the glare.  Which is not to say that you shouldn't be use SPF all the time anyway.

For those of you fighting the effects of a dry winter, here are my (mostly) Lush recommendations:


First and foremost, you will want to prep your skin so that whatever you use to hydrate will sink in quickly, instead of having to fight past all that dead skin.  This does not have to be a daily activity, but at least twice a week I use the Mint Julips Lip Scrub (a staff favorite at my local Lush) and the Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub.

The lip scrubs can be used pretty frequently, but I only use them when I actually feel like I need them - if my bottom lip already feels smooth, I'm not going to stress it out by trying to remove skin from it.  That said, these are gentle scrubs and they aren't sticky like a lot of the lip scrubs out there.  Made with sugar and essential oils, they are also great to have in your bag for a quick fix for dry lips.  Just take a pinch out of the pot, rub onto dry lips and lick off.  Yes, I'm serious.  They taste great.  If you prefer to rinse off with water, you can do that instead.  Don't forget to moisturize with a lip balm or the like - you have to replace the moisture you lose when you exfoliate!

I know people who use Ocean Salt as their face scrub almost every day, but with my sensitive skin I go for about twice a week.  I also like to apply 9 to 5 Cleansing Lotion underneath, because it just feels so good.  Ocean Salt is one of Lush's bestselling products worldwide.  If you're worried that it's too abrasive for you, just try adding a bit of warm water to it - the fine and coarse sea salt melt into the oils and butters, but you still get a good scrub.  You also don't need to scrub it into your skin - just apply and rinse.  Ocean Salt brightens, softens and tones.  And the seaweed absolute in it is calming for sensitive, easily reddened skin, not to mention packed with nutrients.


When Winter hits, you will want to consider whether your summer face lotion is going to be moisturizing enough to combat the dryness of winter.  Using a slightly denser lotion/cream may be the only thing in your facial routine you need to switch up.  To avoid ending up with a layer of cream just sitting on your face, you only want to go up a step or two away from what you usually use.

For example, someone with oily skin who uses Vanishing Cream Facial Moisturizer might want to switch to Gorgeous Facial Moisturizer for the winter.  Beware: You may get addicted to this one and never be able to switch back - this softening, smoothing, brightening, easily absorbed cream has reached cult status with Lushies.  And don't forget to use a toner to prep your skin for your moisturizer (my longtime favorite is Breath of Fresh Air).

If you are worried that your facial cleanser is drying you out now that winter has hit, consider trying a cleanser that leaves your skin clean and hydrated instead of squeaky-clean and tight.  My go-to facial cleanser is Angels on Bare Skin (also loved by Mary), which leaves my combination-to-oily skin baby-soft without getting greasy by the end of the day.  It is also mildly exfoliating - enough to remove the day, not so much that it irritates my sensitive skin.  When I need to remove stubborn eye makeup, I head straight for the Ultrabland, which will work wonders for any of you girls with dry skin.  But there's no need to take my word for it, just look at Helen's skin in the video below (Helen is a Lush founder, product inventor and has been using this cleanser for over 30 years).

Face serums are another option for adding extra moisture into your routine.  Full of Grace is a preservative-free, solid serum bar with anti-aging properties (thanks to fresh portobello mushrooms, oddly enough) and is an easy add-on to anyone's skincare routine.  It is also fabulous under a fresh face mask like Love Lettuce or Catastrophe Cosmetic (which both work for all skin types).

Speaking of Lush's fresh face masks, if you haven't tried these, you really must.  Mary is a fan of Ayesha, which is for mature but oily skin.  My friend Sarah has long been an admirer of The Sacred Truth, for mature or seriously dry skin.  And I can't survive without BB Seaweed, which both hydrates and calms my sensitive combination skin.


And don't forget to go back and hydrate/protect your lips with a good lip balm.  The lip scrub will prep your lips for accepting that moisture, but also will give you even color with lipsticks or stains.  I always have a pot of Honey Trap Lip Balm on me, but I also like to layer Ultrabalm (which is a great multi-purpose balm to have around anyway) over one of the Emotional Brilliance Lip Colors (like Confident, which I dab on for a plum tint, but you can load on for a bold lip) to give it a bit of sheen while keeping my lips soft and protected.  The entire Emotional Brilliance line is, as of this posting, Buy 1, Get 1 Free.  Just FYI.

Unfortunately, Lush doesn't carry much in the way of SPF right now.  So I wander on over to L'Occitane for the Angelica Glowing (UV) Shield SPF 40.  This is a really light fluid that I can easily mix into my face lotion.  And I love the smell.  I'm weird that way.  Which is why I like Lush so much.

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