A hydrating winter skincare routine for dark skin

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Oh, it’s that time of the year again! Yay! It’s around this time when the shorts get put away and the sweaters come out, all in anticipation of snow.

I’m not a snow person, I can take it or leave it. And I really don’t enjoy being cold. Brrr. I also don’t enjoy how dry and itchy my skin usually feels in the wintertime.

In the wintertime, your skin is constantly being assaulted by the weather.

Whether you’re inside getting blasted with central heating or you’re outside getting a face of cold air, your skin takes a beating.

a hydrating winter skincare routine for dark skin

Extreme temperature changes aren’t good for your skin and unfortunately can lead to premature aging. During the winter your skin experiences constant transepidermal water loss.

This means that during the winter the water in your skin evaporates leaving it dehydrated which is what makes your skin feel especially dry and tight during the winter months.

And because of this, you should be focusing on hydrating your skin.

In the summertime, the focus is primarily on using enough sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.

Well in the winter time sunscreen is still important (yes sunscreen rocks all year round) but hydration is where it’s at.

That means focusing on antioxidants, skin soothers and skin repair.

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Winter skincare routine for dark skin

If you find that your skin gets super dry and irritated during the winter then you can benefit from this full-body skincare routine that’s quick easy and most importantly hydrating!

Cleanser

Okay, every skincare routine starts with a cleanser. And this one is no different.

You want to choose a hydrating cleanser that won’t leave your skin feeling dry and tight. So it shouldn’t strip your skin’s natural protective barrier.

Product recommendations:

  1. Avene extremely gentle cleansing lotion: this is a no-rinse formula that does a great job of washing away makeup, sunscreen, sebum etc. And because it’s no-rinse you simply massage it into your skin wipe it clean and move on to the next step. And it’s incredibly hydrating so it won’t strip your skin in the winter. Check the price on SkinStore.
  2. Rovectin conditioning cleanser: this is a very mild gentle cleanser, if you like to double cleanse this cleanser will work well for the second cleanse. Though it doesn’t work so well if you’re wearing heavy makeup. It’s also sulphate free so if you are somewhere with hard water this would work really well for your skin. Check the price on Amazon or YesStyle.
  3. La Roche Posay lipikar wash: this cleanser is for your face and body which usually I would be skeptical but it works really well. This also has shea butter in it which makes it very hydrating during the winter. It really does a great job replenishing your skin’s moisture barrier. Check the price on Amazon.

Toner

The next step is optional but for added hydration, you can use a toner. Look for one that’s alcohol-free and preferably witch hazel free as well.

A good hydrating toner with humectants and water magnets will penetrate deeply into your skin which will help all the other products you use after to penetrate your skin as well.

You can use this during the morning and at night. But use your toner while your skin is damp, to maximize penetration of all the hydrating and active ingredients and to improve hydration in the top layers of your skin.

Product recommendations:

  1. Sukoyaka Suhada urea moisturizing lotion: this is a great toner! Urea is great for softening dry skin and improving moisture content. It also contains ceramides that help repair and heal the skin barrier. Check the price on Amazon.
  2. Rovectin activating treatment lotion: this essence toner has seven different types of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and licorice. These ingredients help to hydrate, brighten and calm your skin. Within a few days of using this, your skin will feel less dehydrated and look plumper. Check the price on Amazon or YesStyle.

Exfoliator

If you’re exfoliating (which I think you should be) then do this one or two nights a week. And that’s whether you have oily, dry or normal skin.

When it comes to exfoliating it’s always better to choose a chemical exfoliator rather than a physical one. Now you might be wondering “do I need to exfoliate during the winter?”

The answer to that is yes!

Because your skin tends to be dry in the winter time you don’t need to exfoliate often but, exfoliating regularly encourages any dry skin and flakiness away.

Product recommendations:

  1. Cetaphil healthy radiance gentle PHA exfoliating cleanser: this cleanser is super gentle and exfoliates the top layer of your skin even though it’s an exfoliant you can use it daily and it won’t irritate your skin. There are also ingredients in here to help brighten your skin so if you have dark spots or some hyperpigmentation this could help slowly fade it over time. Check the price on Amazon.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are great! And definitely something you should add to your skincare routine.

All day you have free radicals causing havoc on your skin damaging your collagen which can lead to premature aging.

So you use antioxidants to combat that and start the healing process.

Tip: use it during the nighttime, not during the day.

Product recommendations:

  1. The Ordinary pycnogenol serum 5%: this comes in a really hydrating base which makes it perfect for pampering dry winter skin. And it’s an effective concentration.
  2. Paula’s Choice resist antioxidant serum: this serum is formulated with six different antioxidants so your skin will get a really nice blend of benefits, this could be more hydrating but because of the blend of antioxidants, it’s worth it. And because all the other suggested products in this wintertime skincare routine are already so hydrating the fact that this isn’t super hydrating shouldn’t be a problem. Check the price on Amazon.

Moisturizer

During the winter months, your skin will benefit from using a thicker or heavier moisturizing cream.

The heavier your moisturizer, the less water will evaporate from your skin keeping it hydrated longer.

So if you notice that during the cold months you moisturize and within a few minutes (or hours) your skin feels dry or tight then definitely think about using a thicker creamier moisturizer.

During the summer you can get away with using a lightweight moisturizer because there’s a lot of moisture in the air but in the winter time it’s the opposite.

I would also suggest a moisturizer with ceramides because it will also help keep your skin hydrated.

Product recommendations:

  1. La Roche Posay cicaplast baume B5: is a great all-over moisturizer you can use from head to toe. It has vitamin B5 which makes this an excellent moisturizer, it’s also a humectant which means it draws water into your skin. It also contains shea butter which locks moisture into your skin. Check the price on SkinStore.
  2. Skinceuticals triple lipid: this is an excellent wintertime moisturizer, however, it’s not fragrance-free. But, it’s such a small percentage it shouldn’t cause any irritation unless you have skin inflammatory issues then I would avoid it. It has ceramides and is an excellent moisturizer to help repair your skin barrier. Check the price on SkinStore.

Face oil

After your moisturizer, if your skin can tolerate it you can follow up with a non-comedogenic face oil.

Oils create a barrier for your skin and during the winter oils are good for sealing in hydration and preventing transepidermal water loss.

But choose one that works for your skin type and won’t clog your pores.

Moisturizing lip balm

If your lips get dry in the winter ( I know mine does) then it’s a good time to start using a hydrating lip balm. Because not only does your skin take a beating from the elements but so do your lips.

I know that my lips get dry and chapped and sometimes peel when the weather gets really cold. But when I start using my lip balm regularly it really helps.

Again it’s all about limiting transepidermal water loss.

If you can relate I definitely suggest using lip balms. I usually use a lip balm with peppermint because I like the way they smell and the tingling but it’s always better to choose one without fragrance.

Products with fragrances can really irritate dry skin so avoid it in your skincare as much as possible.

Tip: use your lip balm at night right before you go to bed, this is when your skin is healing, and you’ll wake up with soft hydrated lips!

Product recommendations:

  1. Blistex simple and sensitive: great value, super moisturizing, and hygienic because you don’t have to dip your finger into a pot or jar to apply it which is great, and it’s free from fragrance colourants and dyes.
  2. Vaseline lip therapy advanced healing: this is just petroleum jelly (if you have the original in a jar that will work too) but it’s a really good ingredient to reduce trans epidermal water loss. This one also comes in a tube so your fingers don’t have to touch your lips.
  3. Laneige sleeping lip mask: this isn’t really a lip balm but I had to add it to this list because it’s so good! This is a thick nutrient-rich lip mask that you put on your lips before you go to sleep at night and it works its healing magic overnight so you wake up with soft plump lips. Check price on Amazon or YesStyle.

Body moisturizer

The moment the weather starts to change your skin tends to change with it, becoming dry and irritated.

If you’re not using a body oil or body moisturizer now would be a good time to introduce one into your routine. An easy way to do that is immediately after your shower.

Applying moisturizer after your shower when your body is wet and warm will help seal water into your skin and again will keep your skin hydrated longer.

Product recommendations:

  1. Aveeno restorative skin therapy oat cream: this has colloidal oatmeal which can help boost lipid production in your skin, help to reduce redness and aid in repair and healing. This also has a body wash that goes with it, you can try it out as well.
  2. Neutrogena hydro boost overnight hydration cream: this goes on really nicely, sinks into the skin quickly and won’t make your skin feel oily. This claims to hydrate your skin for 24 hrs and it does!
  3. Altruist dry skin repair: this has 10% urea in it which helps your skin retain moisture and helps boost your skin’s natural hydration factor which helps to fortify your skin’s natural protective barrier.

Hands

Right now we’re all hand sanitizing which is excellent but hand sanitizer alone can make your hands look and feel really dry never mind the elements.

To combat that use a hydrating hand moisturizer. Just like the moisturizer you use on your face this one needs to be a heavyweight cream.

A cream moisturizer with oil emollients that will penetrate the skin and keep it hydrated.

Product recommendations:

  1. Eucerin roughness relief cream: this cream has urea which is a humectant that helps to soften dry skin and is very good for really dry cracked rough and bumpy skin. So if your hands or feet need a lot of moisture then consider this relief cream.

Feet

Do you forget about your feet in the winter?

I do!

Most people tend to neglect their feet until summertime when it’s time to show them off again.

But foot care should be all year round.

Once your feet get dry you can get calluses which can be really hard to get rid of. The best thing for that is again hydration.

Scrubbing at them doesn’t tend to work in the long run because your feet are dry and the calluses just grow back.

Applying a hydrating moisturizer and then wearing socks over it can really help your feet stay nice and soft and look their best.

Jennifer G.

Jennifer G.

Jenn is the head writer here @Thezenish. She loves Marvel and is likely rewatching one of the films for the umpteenth time! She loves ice cream, and fashion. Her skincare routine is super minimalistic and so is her makeup!