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The 8 Products I Use to Save My Skin From Drying Out in the Winter

The author staying in and masking on a Friday night. Photo: Rio Viera-Newton

If your skin hasn’t been looking its best lately, you’re not alone. Every year, like clockwork, New York’s aggressively chilly winter weather causes my skin to lash out— dry, red, flaky patches sprout across my cheeks, and the windy, cold air makes me overproduce oil (which leads to more-frequent breakouts around my chin). The silver lining to New York’s depressing, dark, face-ruinous winters is that I stop feeling at all guilty about staying home and treating myself to a lengthy, overindulgent skin-care routine (in sweatpants, in front of the TV), instead of going out and socializing. Below, the products that help heal, replenish, and hydrate my windswept skin.

A cleanser I’ve used and loved for years. When my skin is extra-dry, this is the first product I turn to at the end of the day to ensure all makeup and dirt are removed without any stripping. The cleanser is formulated with hydrating marine peptides and soothing chamomile, so it will never leave your skin feeling parched — just supple, bouncy, and clean.

I wouldn’t say an at-home steamer is utterly necessary, but I do find it to be a fabulous luxury. It’s a great way to give your skin some extra moisture while simultaneously opening your pores so your skin can absorb especially well every product you put on afterward. I bought this one, from Dr. Dennis Gross, two Sephora Rouge Sales ago and am really happy with it. I use it only once in a while (over-steaming can cause skin irritation), when my skin is extra-dry. My routine is to cleanse, steam, tone, and sheet-mask (with all the products below), and I feel like I’ve done a mini at-home facial. You can buy cheaper ones on Amazon, but they tend to spurt water at you instead of omitting a fine, very effective pore-opening steam.

This incredibly hydrating toner, one of my favorite products of 2019, has completely saved my skin this winter. It gives skin just a touch of exfoliation (to buff away any pore-clogging dead skin cells) while ensuring maximum hydration (it contains antioxidant-rich birch-tree sap and the world’s best ingredient for avoiding dryness: squalane).

If you want to get a really straightforward boost of hydration, this hyaluronic-acid mask from Neogen is a must. It’s really fun to use, too: You crack open a little capsule at the top, and an ampoule trickles down into the mask. Not only does it feel fun and DIY, this mask works better than any hyaluronic-acid mask I’ve ever used in my life. After I put it on, my skin looks and feels plump and intensely dewy, and the effect lasts for days.

I’m From’s wash-off Mugwort Mask is a treatment I’ve long adored for calming any redness from eczema or inflammation from acne. Recently, the brand made this sheet-mask version, and I am completely obsessed: It has similar soothing and healing effects to the OG, but since it’s a sheet mask, you don’t have to wash it off (this just means the ingredients sink deeply into your skin). After I use this mask, my skin always feels intensely replenished — bouncy, dewy, and soft — and any redness from spots, windchill, or eczema is noticeably calmed down.

This ultrarich, thick moisturizer from Cosrx is one of the best budget-friendly, winter-friendly moisturizers out there. It is on the heavy side, but in the winter, I actually find myself reaching for it in the morning and evening. It quenches my skin completely.

Per the advice of Fifty Shades of Snail, I’ve been using this face cream as an eye cream in the winter months, and it has worked wonders. I suffer from crusty under-eyes, and this product manages to completely eradicate those flaky bits almost immediately. (Bonus: Concealer goes on so nicely after I use this.)

Finish your routine with this intensely rich, very nourishing lip treatment from Bite Beauty that I use religiously. Nothing has helped retain the moisture in my naturally flaky lips quite like this product. It truly puts all other lip balms to shame. Plus, it tastes amazing.

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The 8 Things I Use to Save My Skin From Drying Out in Winter