And just like that, spring is here and with it, this common scenario: Winter has made your skin crazy dry, so you’re drawn to rich, nourishing creams and serums. Still, your complexion doesn’t "light up" like it does in the spring and summer. Add the extreme levels of hibernation we experienced this past year—and lack of manicures, spray tans and skin-smoothing treatments—and some serious self-pampering is in order.
Refresh and revive with 10 time-saving, multitasking and fast-acting picks. They’re all personal favorites of Byrdie’s GM, Leah Wyar, who will be popping over to QVC Studios on March 30 for a live chat. Tune into QVC’s Facebook Page or QVC2 at 8 p.m. ET on March 30 for helpful demos, plus Leah’s favorite tips and tricks that will have you saying, “What winter?”
Reveal a Radiant Surface
The drier your skin, the likelier you are to have a dull layer that lacks light reflection. Experts agree it’s best to alternate between two types of exfoliation—manual versions (such as textured scrubs made of micro-beads or granules, or microdermabrasion) and the chemical kind (acid-based masks and serums)—to get your glow back. While the precise frequency depends on what your complexion can handle, aim to exfoliate twice a week and add on as needed. Two of our favorites:
This easy-to-use DIY device (complete with a diamond-encrusted tip to help loosen dead skin cells, plus gentle vacuum suctioning to sweep away debris) is inspired by professional microdermabrasion. Move it back and forth over dry, clean skin for smoother-looking, baby-soft skin in minutes.
We are crazy about this creamy peel-and-scrub combo, which offers both forms of exfoliation. Eight different acids (including ferulic, azelaic, and lactic) help remove dead skin cells from the surface of skin. Let them work their magic for five minutes, and then get ready for round two: Work the peel into your skin with a little water, allowing the lightly textured bamboo powder to lift and remove buildup.
Nail the New Neutral
Intentionally keeping your mani appointments to a minimum means going bare or defaulting to DIY jobs that can get messy. Make sure either version looks polished and purposeful with two smart, simple tools.
This multitasker comes with four interchangeable colored discs, all of which have a different purpose: Shape then smooth edges with the blue (followed by the green), remove cuticles with the gray, and buff tips to a high-gloss shine with the white. The rechargeable device leaves zero room for mistakes, and the gentle oscillating motion (back and forth instead of a full 360) won’t damage nails.
Can’t live without gels? This at-home kit includes all you need to polish like a pro. Sure there’s a buffing stick, gel-removing wraps and two gel polishes (Honey Ginger, a perfect bubblegum pink, looks great on all skin tones). But the hero is the mini rose gold LED light (slightly larger than an Echo Dot) that helps you achieve a smudge-proof look.
Add a Touch of Bronze
Self-tanner can be a love-hate situation. Love to safeguard your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays; hate to deal with the splotches, stains, and parched surface that can come with it. Let’s resolve that, shall we?
Calling all self-tanning newbies: Consider this a luxe body lotion with benefits. Not only does it have tons of skin goodies like green tea, red algae extract, and elderberry seed oil, but it also has a touch of DHA, the active ingredient in sunless tanning formulas. Apply it daily to dry, recently exfoliated skin (just like you would body cream), and your skin will become slightly more sunkissed by the day.
If you prefer a deep finish and quick result, this airy bronzing mousse is for you. It’s super hydrating, thanks to hyaluronic acid, which attracts and holds water to skin, plus the foam consistency is easy to spread. Slip your hand into that little black foam-like applicator mitt (monogrammed with Mrs. Graham’s signature) to minimize streaks and keep hands stain-free.
Make Masks Mandatory
When it comes to your beauty routine, a mask (the skincare kind) is the definition of self-care. Not only does it feel great to take five, but it can also truly deliver quick, noticeable results. Add these to your cart:
Skincare doesn’t get much easier: Apply a layer of this then go to sleep (no rinsing required). Mega hydrators such as rose hip oil (rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids) and argan oil work overtime, absorbing into skin as you snooze. It’s formulated to feel like a lush face cream rather than a goopy mask so you can wake up with a softer surface (and clean sheets too).
If your face falls on the dry side and you love a science experiment, this one is a win-win. It's laced with a laundry list of hydrators (jojoba oil, shea butter, squalene, ceramides, grape seed oil), but the real game changer is the iron powder that can be removed with the magnetic tool. Just swipe it across your skin until the mask disappears.
Focus on Your Body
Raise your hand if you’re all about a multistep face routine but can’t remember the last time you applied body lotion... yep, we see you. But the skin on your body is six times thicker than that on your face and ignoring it can escalate dead-cell buildup, especially on rough-prone areas like your elbows, knees, and heels. We’ve got two solutions for your driest zones:
Superfine sugar granules feel like soft sand. Scoop up the fluffy mixture and massage it into wet skin in the shower, and then rinse. It’ll leave behind a silky-soft layer of avocado, coconut, and aloe vera oils that will morph skin into a baby-soft version of itself. Choose from seven dreamy fragrances (Cashmere Milk, a blend of vanilla, coconut creme, and caramel, has our vote.)
Ready for the new darling of your pandemic pedicure? After showering (which makes heels softer and more likely to absorb the peel’s formula), place your feet in the glycolic- and lactic acid–lined booties for about an hour to kick-start snake-like shedding for the next week. It’s equal parts startling yet satisfying.