There's a collective vexation that those who live in the northern hemisphere feel every winter: a decrease in temperature and daylight affects our overall morale and in turn has a similar depleting affect on our skin. Having a dry, flaky complexion that presents itself in an overall lackluster manner is pretty much a bonding factor for us cold-climate folk. But having endured the same experience year after year, we as beauty editors have crafted a time-tested routine that challenges dehydration and rough patches. Couple that with some newcomer products that up the ante even more, and we're pretty much pros at harnessing supple skin even when it's blustery out. As such, we thought we'd share our success stories with the rest of you in hopes that your cold-weather skin can face similar fates.
Below, we've rounded up the serums, oils, crèmes, and other dew-inducing items we couldn't imagine being without when the mercury drops.
Olivia Hancock, editor
"When it comes to cold weather skincare essentials, a rich moisturizer and hydrating lip product are must-haves. In terms of the former, I reach for Biossance's Squalane and Omega Repair Cream. It cushions my perpetually dry skin in deep comforting moisture thanks to ingredients like squalane, omega fatty acids, ceramides, and plant sterols. To keep chapped lips at bay, I like to use Ami Colé's Lip Treatment Oil. It's formulated with baobab seed oil, camellia oil, and passionfruit seed oil, which work to intensely nourish and hydrate your lips."
Squalane is the hydrogenated form of squalene. It is a lipid that is naturally found in the skin and secreted by the sebaceous glands. It calms inflammation, supports the outer skin barrier, and works well with actives like retinol.
Angela Trakoshis, commerce review editor
"For me, the ultimate 'blanket for my skin' is hyaluronic acid and a skincare sleeping mask to lock in all the moisture. Currently I'm obsessing over the Maelove Hydrator B5 Gel because it's lightweight, has zero added fragrance , and does exactly what it claims to do: give an instant hydrated and dewy look. I top that off with the Dezi Skin Masque On Overnight Moisture Mask. Yes—you're supposed to wear it overnight but my Sahara-desert dry skin just drinks up the très-luronic formula (a triple threat when it comes to hyaluronic acids), so I wear it during the day and no one even knows I'm technically masking."
Jesa Calaor, editor
"To quell my extra-dry skin during the winter, I’ve been relying on moisturizing and barrier-strengthening products: I start my routine with Superegg’s Gentle Elements, which swirls together soothing and line-smoothing moringa oil, moisture-retaining hyaluronic acid, and brightening vitamin C for a cleanser that lightly foams and leaves skin feeling clean, soft, and not-at-all stripped. Then, I massage the QMS Medicosmetics Advanced Collagen Serum in Oil on my face and neck. This stuff is liquid gold—a blend of hyaluronic acid and collagen delivered in an oil that quickly absorbs into skin without feeling sticky or heavy. I cap my lineup with Cetaphil’s Moisturizing Cream, which I slather from my face all the way down to my toes. Sure, my rotation gets some updates throughout the week (after all, I am a beauty editor and I have to test new skincare on the daily), but these three have proven themselves mainstays for how they comfort my complexion in the cold weather.
Hallie Gould, editorial director
"When it comes to serums, I have two winter mainstays: Dr. Barbara Sturm's Calming Serum and Dieux's Deliverance. I've talked about Dr. Barbara Sturm's Calming Serum for years now and, honestly, there's no end in sight. It's a beautiful, milky, serum that is guaranteed to make your skin feel happy. The formula incorporates an active, plant-based complex of Cardiospermum, echium, and sunflower to help rebalance and calm any irritation, redness, and/or burning (which is helpful in the dry, frigid-cold weather of NYC).
As for Deliverance, it's one of those products that you miss once it runs out. Off the bat, it makes my skin look more radiant and supple come morning. Long term, it addresses the appearance of fine lines, skin irritation, and uneven skin tone. The brand's proprietary cannabinoid complex visibly and immediately soothes any irritation (trust me, I've watched as it neutralized redness), while peptides firm and niacinamide evens. It's a perfect formula for the entire year, but I find it comes in hand especially during winter."
On to the holy-grail moisturizer. Skinceuticals's Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 is a must-have staple in my winter skincare routine. That, and it's up there on the list of my absolute favorite skincare products of all time. It blends essential lipids, including natural cholesterol, pure ceramides, and fatty acids meant to restore your skin's elasticity and hydration cycles, as well as vitamin E and essential oils. It's fast-absorbing, full of antioxidants, and really visibly quenches my skin. Plus it's so thick in all the best ways. It feels velvety and moisturizing, and it plumps my skin on contact. It also smells faintly of lavender—which helps chill me out before bedtime.
Star Donaldson, senior social media editor
"I love my old apartment building but the radiator heat in the winter can be tough on my skin. Usually, it's not that big of a deal, but this year I'm using a lot of exfoliants in my routine which has made my skin considerably drier. The Honest x Vanity Planet Aira Ionic Facial Steamer is the best way to combat dry skin first thing in the morning. I fill it up with filtered water and the steam comes out like a warm gust of wind that doesn't overpower me. The steam lasts for 15 minutes and after that, I continue with the rest of my skincare routine and I find that my products sink in deeper and my is my hydrated throughout the day. It's a really simple step that really changes the feel of my skin."
Lindsey Metrus, associate general manager
"My lips are the most personally victimized area of my skin come wintertime. The rate at which they dry out and chap is rather alarming, so I always need an army of lip balms at the ready no matter where I am to help revive them. One of my favorite balms at the moment is more of juicy gel that plumps and softens my lips on contact and lasts for hours: PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Lip Plumper. It's a totally non-sticky, cushiony blend that works from the inside out to combat freezing temperatures and dry forced hot air.
"My skin is super finicky, and although it requires extra hydration in the winter, any product that's heavier than a lightweight water-based moisturizer typically breaks me out. As such, I like to pat on a non-comedogenic oil on top of that moisturizer to seal in all the hydrating goodness, and the only one that truly doesn't mess with my skin in a negative way is Biossance's 100% Sugarcane Squalane Oil. It sinks right into my skin so there's no greasy aftermath, and I always wake up feeling like my skin looks more radiant and even-toned thanks to squalane's redness-quelling power."
Aimee Simeon, senior beauty editor
"This isn't very beauty-editor of me to admit, but I kind of hate using body lotion. It's not that I don't like the feeling of soft, nourished skin, but the step is sometimes pretty tedious. I usually veer towards body oils to cut the feeling that I'm spending more time massaging in lotion. I love Keys Soulcare Sacred Body Oil, which melts into my limbs without ruining my clothes and bedsheets. Unlike other oils (which tend to evaporate quickly), this keeps me hydrated for hours. It helps that it also smells luxe, making the application process truly enjoyable.
"My skin gets super dry in the winter, so I try to incorporate creamy, non-stripping cleansers into my routine and follow up with weekly exfoliating treatments. These two products are part of my skincare holy grails. Image Vital C Cleanser is super gentle, and the citrusy scent is also the perfect morning pick-me-up before my first cup of coffee.
Naturopathica Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel is—hands down—one of my favorite products ever. I leave it on for a few minutes, and my skin is instantly brighter, smoother, and plumper. I usually follow up with a calming face oil to lock in my dewy glow, and the rest is *chef's kiss.*"
Karli Bendlin, senior news editor
"During the winter, washing my face at the end of the day suddenly becomes a borderline impossible task. I'm already always freezing, so why would I want to add cold water to the mix? To combat this dread, I've started swapping out my usual oil cleansers with rich cleansing balms that make the process more enjoyable. The sorbet-like Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm is my current favorite. It melts my makeup off with ease and leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated, rather than tight. I follow it up with two of my other new winter favorites: the magical Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, which has made a huge difference in my skin's moisture level, and the classic Aquaphor Lip Repair, which I somehow never tried until recently but cannot put down."
Holly Rhue, senior editor
"My lips, hands, and the corners of my mouth tend to take the brunt of winter weather. I frequently get wind burns that leave me with dry, cracking skin—it can actually get to a point where it's pretty painful. Luckily, I've run the gamut on hand creams, lip balms, and occlusives and have found a few products that really work to heal and protect my skin from colder temperatures. For the cracked corners of my mouth, I layer on Topicals Like Butter Mask right before I step outside. It gives me a nice protective layer between the wind and my skin without breaking me out. For hands, I can't stop using this newer launch from Jergens Cloud Creme for Hands. It's extremely lightweight and absorbs instantly, but miraculously still makes your hands feel like you just used a super emollient cream. Lastly, for lips, Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm is my bread and butter. I put it on every night and wake up with smooth, silky lips—even when they were chapped and flaky when my head hit the pillow. 'Tis the holy trinity if you ask me."
Cristina Cianci, visual editor
"In the winter months, my dermatitis and acne go hand in hand and tend to flare up. It's so important that I keep my skin clean and my skin barrier protected to help combat these and other issues. My cold weather skincare go-to staples are Bliss' In The Honey Mega Moisturizing Acacia Honey & Lavender Oil Face Mask and Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, both for deep and soothing hydration. The results also leave my skin feeling more plump and brighter in appearance—the holy grail for a long winter season."