Winter skincare fixes
Beauty

Winter Skincare Edit: My Ultimate Skin-Saving Picks

Winter Skincare Details:
Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser / Glossier Solution / SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel / SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier / Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream / Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Eye Mask / REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask / Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial / Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF40 / Dermalogica Age Smart Renewal Lip Complex

Thanks to wild temperature swings, the bomb cyclone, and my crazy radiator, this winter has been brutal to my skin. In fact, for two+ weeks, my face was under siege, plagued with dryness/flakiness, dullness, general irritation/redness, severely chapped lips, a random hormonal breakout (that one really ticked me off – like, seriously?!), the hyperpigmentation that followed said breakout (ugh!), and pretty much any other winter skincare issue out there.

Fortunately, I found some new products (new for me, at least) that have worked miracles, and my skin is finally getting back to its regular ol’ self. As a bonus, these skin savers not only fix seasonal problems but nearly all of them fight signs of aging and boost inner glow too. Happy dance time!

My list is 10 products-long, so throw on a face mask and enjoy a leisurely scroll. (Get it? Scroll instead of stroll?! 🙄 OMG, I clearly need to get out more. But I digress…skincare post. Right.)

Onto my picks!

Cleanser

Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser. If you have read any of my beauty posts, you already know I adore practically everything in Tata Harper’s lineup. This all-natural oil cleanser is no exception. It dissolves dirt, pollution, makeup, and other icky impurities, plus so much more. It leaves skin baby soft, heals chapped lips, and keeps your moisture barrier intact. In summary? It is effective, gentle, and smells divine. I love the packaging too. It is the prettiest bottle and has a handy pump dispenser. For a great double cleanse, start with this (massage it onto dry skin – you can even apply it to your lips and eyelids – and rinse with warm water) and follow up with Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser. This Nourishing Oil Cleanser is a new fave and worthy of my “Cleanser Hall of Fame.” I know I’m a total Tata fangirl, but this stuff is just so good!  For my other go-to cleansers, check out this post.

Toner

Glossier Solution. A solution, indeed! This acid toner preps the skin for serums (like all good acid toners do), but it doesn’t leave your face and decolletage feeling parched or tight. It balances your skin’s pH levels, tightens pores, kills acne, and is surprisingly hydrating. My sensitive, reactive skin loves it. As a bonus, it eradicated a cystic monster that was forming under my skin. (Remember that random, awful hormonal breakout I mentioned? At the tail end of it, a new creeper showed up. Glossier Solution, along with Kate Somerville EradiKate, destroyed it in 2 days!) So, naturally, for that reason alone, I am a fan. Plus, the packaging is super cute, super pink, and has a very hygienic pump dispenser.

The only drawback is the brand’s slight lack of transparency regarding the acid percentages: it has 0.5% BHA (salicylic acid), and 9.5% AHA and PHA combined, so we don’t know the breakdown of AHA and PHA. Also, I have been using this for less than 60 days (my standard minimum review threshold), but I L-O-V-E love it, so wanted to include it here. If my opinion on this one changes though, I will let you know. Plus, it is around $25, which I think provides superb value.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I recently became a Glossier rep, but that has no bearing on my review. (I wouldn’t do that to you!) If you have never purchased Glossier online before, you can buy it through my Glossier page (glossier.com/reps/charliebird) for a 20% discount and free shipping. Or don’t. Either way, this product has been very good to me, and I can’t recommend it enough! If you are interested in my other toner picks, or want more information about why toner is so crucial to your skincare regimen, you can read this toner post from my Radiant Skin Series.

Serums

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel. I adore this product from ultra science-y brand SkinCeuticals. (They make my favorite vitamin C serum, C E Ferulic.) Everything they do is backed by a ton of research, which I love. I’m a total nerd. Whatever. 🙂 This product helps calm inflammation and improves the appearance of discoloration and uneven texture. I purchased this in desperation when my random hormonal breakout/outbreak finally started healing, leaving red marks in its wake. I use this as a spot treatment wherever there is residual redness both morning and night. The serum itself is bright green but absorbs into the skin sans any colorful tint. It layers nicely over my vitamin C serum in the morning and over prescription Retin-A or AHA serum before bed.

SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier. This is a newer product from SkinCeuticals.  It provides a hefty dose of pure hyaluronic acid (HA for short), purple rice extract, licorice root, and Poxylane to preserve your skin’s current HA levels and, over time, actually boosts your skin’s ability to produce more HA on its own. (We produce less HA naturally as we age. Total bummer, right?) Its application feels soothing and luxurious (it glides onto skin like a dream), and it doesn’t leave any tacky residue. (Quick refresher – HA is a humectant that holds 1000x its weight in water and is the key to plump, hydrated skin.)

I layer this over the Phyto Corrective Gel. If you don’t need the gel, layer H.A. Intensifier directly over your vitamin c/antioxidant serum in the morning and retinol before bed. For best results, pay particular attention to areas where lines are developing and gently press more product into those spots. For me, it’s around the mouth and in the “crows feet” region. Give it a try, and you’ll be hooked. Plus, if you are using injectable dermal fillers, this product will extend their life, increasing the time needed between top-ups.

Note on serums: For maximum effectiveness, wait several minutes (more if you can) between layering products so they have time to do their job. I’m guilty of rushing through the layering thing, but it really wastes product. If you are interested in learning more about what serums can do for your skin, plus my other favorite picks, you can read this post. It’s one of my favorite posts ever!

Moisturizer

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream. A fab moisturizer. I usually shy away from thick creams, but this is the exception. While most thick moisturizers feel too rich and heavy for me (I can feel my pores clogging just thinking about it), this moisturizer absorbs quickly and doesn’t feel like it’s suffocating my skin. It is the perfect remedy for extremely dry, irritated, or sensitive skin. So, if you’re wind chapped, your radiator went crazy, or the dry weather had its way with your skin, this is a lifesaver. It layers well with facial oils too. Plus, I love the packaging. It looks a lot like Kate Somerville’s push top dispenser, something I have never seen used for a product this thick. What does that mean for us? No bacterial contamination, unnecessary exposure to air, or product waste. (I’m a real packaging aficionado if you couldn’t tell.)

For the full scoop on moisturizers, you can read this post, which rounds up my other must-have moisturizers and facial oils.

Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Eye Mask. While not technically a moisturizer, I like to think of it as a super-duper, extra-strength, anti-aging moisturizer for your entire eye area. It is so thick that you almost have to let it warm up on your skin so you can easily dab it around the eyes. Otherwise, you may have to tug a bit to get it to spread properly. Use it around your entire eye area, raccoon-style. I smear it under my eyes, in the corners, on my lids, and straight up to my eyebrows.

This is the most moisturizing eye cream I have ever used and has been a real godsend this winter. (The radiator in my bedroom is enormous and wreaks havoc on my skin.) So, if you are looking a bit dry and crepey, this will fix you right up. Plus, it somehow lifts the entire eye area for a more youthful, “awake” look. Don’t ask me how – it just works! I like to use this at night or on days I am makeup-free, so it can really seep in.

It’s travel-friendly too since it has a thick balm consistency so that it won’t count towards your liquids limit. Apply this post-takeoff to prevent dehydration and droopy/sleepy eyes. Upon arrival, you’ll look alert, rested, and hydrated. Thank you, Tata Harper!

For a list of my other favorite eye creams and why you should be using them, check out this post from my Radiant Skin Series.

Masks

REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask. For whatever reason, my skin just freaks out sometimes. So, if you have skin that randomly rebels and turns your face into a sensitive, reactive, inflamed, blotchy, flaky disaster, try this mask. After 5-10 minutes, take a cold, damp cotton round or a soft washcloth to remove the product. Your skin will start calming down after the first use, and after a few days with this mask, your skin will be back to normal. This is a great product to have on hand, especially if you have sensitive skin, use a lot of acids or retinol in your regimen, or are outdoors regularly.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. So, I know I am way late to the game with this one. It received so much hype and press that I assumed it would under-deliver. (Gotta love that logic!) I also thought that a mask with a whopping 25% AHA and 2% BHA might obliterate my temperamental skin. (Remember that episode of Sex & the City when Samantha gets a glycolic peel and has to wear a veil to because it is so terrifying and gross? Exactly.) As it turns out, my fears were 100% unfounded.

After my crazy breakout healed and my skin’s hydration levels started to return to normal, my skin was dull, uneven, lackluster, and in need of some serious TLC. (Which coincidentally ties in with the name of this product. It’s all coming together now!) Since my skin had been through two weeks of battle already, I figured it couldn’t get any worse and finally decided to try this mask. Plus, it was freezing outside and I was bored.

I left it on for the full recommended 20 minutes, enjoying the tingling/almost burning sensation.  I rinsed it off and was happy to see the outer layer of skin was still intact. While I thought my skin looked a bit better, I wasn’t overly wowed and secretly congratulated myself for ignoring the hype. I went to bed (lathered up in DE Luxury Virgin Marula Oil per the instructions), and that is when the magic happened.

When I woke up, I was completely BLOWN AWAY by the transformation. As I slept, my skin did a total 180º. I was glowing. Radiant. <Basically, just any insert superlative here.> My formerly dull, uneven, blotchy, war-torn complexion looked freaking phenomenal. I’m babbling, but the change was so incredible, so unbelievable, that I get excited thinking about it. I have kept up with this mask once a week or so (I forget to do it sometimes) and my skin just keeps getting better.

If you are a holdout like I was, give in. You have to try this. The hype is well-deserved. If it can transform my skin post face-apocalypse, imagine what it can do when you start this product with your baseline skin. There are so many reviews out there, and I have already written about 1,500 words more than I expected to on this post, so I will leave it at that. Words can’t do it justice anyway. In case you are wondering, yes – this is Hall of Fame material.

Want some more mask recommendations? I rounded up my favorites here and here!

Sunscreen

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF40. No skincare post would be complete without a note on sunscreen, and guys – I love this one! I received this as a complimentary gift from Supergoop! to test out and am thrilled to find a high-SPF primer that doesn’t leave any white cast (it’s actually clear!) and doesn’t pill under makeup or over moisturizer. I don’t use foundation or BB cream on a regular basis but didn’t have much of a choice during my weeks-long skin freakout. This product worked beautifully with both. The only downside I found was that it didn’t play well with face oils. Plus, there is no gross sunscreen scent – it is totally odorless. Talk about a dream come true! Bottomline: This has already become a new staple in my morning routine. It has me thinking of those long summer days ahead!

Supergoop! also has a great makeup setting mist with SPF50 (Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF50). I gave it a test spin during an outdoor brunch, surrounded by snow, in front of a massive fire, and right under a heat lamp. I expected a total makeup meltdown. But hours later, my face was virtually the same (except for a bit of jam on my chin). There was no pilling or caking either. Plus, it smells minty, which is really refreshing. This cute 1-ounce spritz bottle is perfect for your handbag so you can easily reapply SPF throughout the day over your powder or foundation/BB cream. No more excuses!

Lips

Dermalogica Age Smart Renewal Lip Complex. When my lips get chapped, they get painfully chapped. Like thick-red-ring-around-the-mouth (up to the nose, down to the chin) chapped. The situation became dire while using the delicious smelling, slightly shiny Fresh Sugar Lip Caramel Hydrating Balm. While the caramel smell is seriously addictive and it leaves the perfect hint of sheen on your lips, it is not up to the task of healing angry chapped lips. (Nor is it supposed to. I still love the stuff to prevent chapped lips, but not to treat them. Does that make sense?)

Anyway, by this point, my lips were too far-gone for even my regular options. So, at the recommendation of a friend, I gave Dermalogica’s Renewal Lip Complex a try. I am now in the midst of a major love affair with it. This stuff seriously rocks my world. It healed the worst chapped lips I’ve had since I was 12 years old in no time. Plus, a little dab in the morning and before bed keeps my lips hydrated, soft, and happy.

The packaging is pretty clever too. The tube resembles a rocket ship, with a plastic, lipstick-shaped applicator dotted with tiny holes. Twist the bottom and a teensy bit of product is pushed through the holes in the applicator. So clean, so hygienic, so genius. (I can’t believe I just waxed poetic for this long on “chapstick”, but it really is that good!)

Just remember – you only need a teensy bit at a time. I made the mistake of using too much product with my first tube and ran out within a couple of weeks.

 

Shop the Post!

Details:
Tata Harper Nourishing Oil Cleanser / Glossier Solution / SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel / SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier / Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream / Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Eye Mask / REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask / Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial / Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF40 / Dermalogica Age Smart Renewal Lip Complex

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