Winter beauty saviours

Recharge your batteries and keep that summer glow with these instant beauty boosters. Sarah Brooks-Wilson reports.

Winter is tough on your face, your hands, your hair and pretty much anywhere that is exposed to chilly winds, indoor heating and all those extra layers. These are my top winter saviours to soften the skin, defy frizzy hair and keep you smooth and cheerful until spring rolls around again.

Swap your cleanser

Foaming and gel cleansers feel great in summer to mop up excess sweat and sebum, but come autumn when things are drier, it’s time to switch to a creamier version or one that contains hydroxy-acids. They will cleanse without sacrificing your skin’s protective barrier, and help to gently remove dry patches that mysteriously appear when the temperature cools. “Hydroxy-acids can sensitise the skin during summer months, so winter is the perfect time to introduce them,” says skin expert Fiona Tuck. Try Elizabeth Arden Pro Gentle Facial Cleanser, $69.

Get into exfoliating

When your skin is dry it isn’t efficient at shedding dead skin cells, making it look dull. “Now is the time to step up your exfoliation to keep dryness at bay, and tackle uneven pigmentation that’s reared its head after summer,” says Tuck. Whether you choose a gritty scrub, cloth, liquid peel or mask, go gently as overdoing it can leave your complexion even drier. Exfoliate after your night time regimen and follow with your usual serum and moisturiser. We love Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant, $85.

Make a splash

No, we don’t mean hit the pool. Thicker than a toner but lighter than a lotion, “essences” are a Korean skincare staple gaining traction in the beauty world. They provide a liquid hit of hydration that readies the skin for serums and creams by increasing its absorbency. Patted on with the hands after cleansing, they’re an extra step, yes, but very quick and so softening. Try Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence, $50.

Add a moisture boost

Humidity levels drop off in the autumn and winter months. “The drier the air, the more moisture it sucks from your skin, so you’re more likely to experience dryness and flakiness during this time more than ever,” Tuck says. Trade your lightweight lotions and gels for a serum and a richer cream. Tuck recommends ones containing barrier-repairing ceramides, fatty acids and hyaluronic acid, which are powerful hydrators good at preventing water loss. Remember: hydration is the key for optimising skin plumpness and glow. Try Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum, $140 for 60 capsules.

Give your skin a workout

Invest in a product that encourages you to flex those fingertips, like a facial oil which you massage into your skin. Look for ones that contain antioxidants like rosehip oil, pomegranate, chia seeds and evening primrose oil, which protect the skin from premature ageing and environmental damage. Apply a few drops after cleansing and before your serum or moisturiser, taking the time to gently massage it into your skin. This action will boost circulation so you’ll get an instant flush like you’ve just run the park. Try Goodness Certified Organic Chia Seed Oil, $19.95.

Do a performance mask

Make time for masks. More than just a bath add-on, the latest formulas promise instant and long-term improvement and deserve a regular slot in your schedule. Go for ones that add moisture, whether it’s in the form of a sheet mask that you lay over your face, a cream formula that you slather on for ten minutes or one you wear overnight. We call it performance pampering that will really give your skin an instant radiant boost. Our favourites include Aromatherapy Associates Overnight Repair Mask, $123, Frank Body Glow Mask, $21.95 and Estee Lauder Double Wear 3 Minute Priming Moisture Mask, $58 for 8.

Illuminate your makeup regimen

Sometimes the only way to get your glow back is to fake it with makeup. Sydney makeup artist Elsa Morgan says it’s an instant way to change the look of your skin, and in winter you can add extra products as you don’t have to worry about it melting off. Morgan’s top products are a hydrating foundation, an illuminating primer and a highlighter. 

“The glow really starts from that first priming step as it adds a dewiness to the skin,” she says. Apply a primer like Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance, $45 and then even out the complexion with a foundation like Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich Foundation SPF15, $72. “Apply with your fingers to give a natural, melted-in look,” says Morgan.

Next, gently contour and highlight to lift the cheekbones and make the structure of the face appear slightly more chiseled. Apply a highlighter like Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight, $42 on the high points of your face like the forehead, bridge of your nose, tops of the cheekbones and even in the inner corners of the eyes and Cupid’s bow to add an amazing luminosity to the skin.

Finish with a sweep of blusher. “It really is the magic product and gives an instant flush to the cheeks,” she adds. Go for one that contains a slight shimmer, “as they reflect the light in such a flattering way”. As for the shade, peachy pink hues tend to give a natural looking glow without too much red which Morgan says “is ideal especially during winter when skin suffers from redness due to harsh weather, overheating indoors or even rosacea.” Try Nars Blush in Orgasm, $44.

Instant glow trick

A fake tan in winter gives a subtle glow and disguises many sins, like mottling caused by temperature changes. Using a gradual tanner like St Tropez Gradual Tan Everyday Body, $33.95 once a week is enough to keep the skin looking healthy and encourages you to pay close attention to your body. To add a bit of sunshine to your face apply a self-tan once a week under your moisturiser like Ella Bache Great Face Tan Without the Sun, $38.

A light dusting of a bronzing powder on the areas of the face where the sun naturally hits (forehead, cheeks, nose and chin) will also add radiance. Try Pur Cosmetics Glow Together Jumbo Bronzer, $47.

Have a bath

Soaking in a hot tub does more than just warm up the body: it’s actually the perfect time to do a little pampering. For an extra moisture boost ditch the bath foam and use bath oil instead. Ones like Aromatherapy Associates Revive Evening Bath & Shower Oil, $92 contain pure essential oils and will ease tired muscles. While you’re soaking, give your body a scrub to get rid of dead skin that’s been hanging around the surface. Either go for a scrub like Sanctuary Spa Spa Essential Hot Sugar Scrub, $19.95 with thermal clay to draw out impurities, or a mitt like Biology N.001 Exfoliating Mitt, $15 with your favourite shower gel to gently buff the skin.

Pile on the extras

It’s not just your face that needs a little extra help in winter — pay attention to those other areas of the body we sometimes forget. Defy flaky arms and shins with a rich body lotion, applying after a bath or shower, as you’ll trap in extra moisture. Slick on a protective lip balm as the lips have no oil glands of their own which is why they chap and crack so badly in the cold. Lavish hands and feet with a softening cream, as it’s all part of not letting the cold weather hide your beauty. Try L’Occitane Almond Delicious Hands, $14, Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm, $18.95 and Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion, $5.25.

Don’t forget the hair!

Dull, dry, lacklustre hair can instantly rob you of your beauty, so give it a little extra TLC in your hair care routine. Switch to moisturising shampoo and conditioner like Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner, $35.95 each. This will nourish dry strands with vitamins A and E and red algae while leaving it shinier and frizz-free. Put on a hair mask once a week to really give it a moisture boost and when it comes to styling, ditch the drying salt sprays and texturisers of summer and use a hair cream, serum or oil instead. These will replenish the hair while giving instant shine and hold. Try L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise UltraRich Precious Oil Mist, $17.95.