Winter is just around the corner, and whether you love or loathe the chilly weather, one thing is certain--during the cooler months your skin needs a little extra love. Biting winds, indoor heaters, and low humidity are all moisture-stealing culprits that can leave your skin dry and flaky. But here at Ohlolly we’ve banished dull winter skin as a thing of the past. Yep, luminous winter skin is possible, with these bright tips and some amazing Korean skincare products to boost your hydration. Say hello to your best winter glow ever. Dull skin be gone.
TIP 1. CLEANSE & EXFOLIATE: EASY DOES IT
So you love that squeaky clean feeling. I get it, so do I! But over-scrubbing your face can do more damage than good. Cleansing and exfoliating your skin with gentleness is imperative to retain healthy skin, especially during the winter months when your skin is already battling environmental stress. Thankfully there are ways to experience that satisfyingly-clean feeling while treating your skin with gentleness. Introducing Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water.
Micro water is water infused with tiny cleansing oil molecules called micelles. Micelles act like a magnet, absorbing all the dirt and oil on your skin. These cleansing waters have been a beauty staple for French and Korean women for years and are now making waves in the U.S. What makes Dr. Jart’s Micro Water a step above the rest is the added active ingredients, like fermented yeast and rice, plus natural extracts which brighten, soothe and hydrate. Yes, it’s basically miracle water. Just splash a little on a cotton pad and wipe. I’m always shocked by how much gunk and dirt comes off my face. Plus, it doesn’t leave any residue so there is no rinsing required, which makes it perfect if you're dealing with extra dry or sensitive skin.
At night double cleansing is a must, no matter what time of year.
If you haven’t tried double cleansing, now is the perfect time to start. An oil-based cleanser is the most effective way to rid your skin of oil-based impurities like sunscreen and makeup that you had on all day. Plus it’s an extremely gentle and luxurious way to cleanse your skin while adding moisture. My current favorite for the first step is our best-selling Heimish All Clean Balm. This cleanser actually starts as a solid and then transform into an oil cleanser on your skin and then emulsifies (becomes milky) when rinsing. Formulated with nourishing ingredients like shea butter and citrus herb oils, this balm leaves my skin cleansed, but also soft and hydrated. Next, follow up with a water-based cleanser to remove any remaining residue. A great option for ultra-dry winter skin is SU:M 37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick. A low pH cleanser that lathers gently to purify skin, removing makeup and impurities, without stripping skin of moisture.
Here’s another amazing double cleansing duo: The Face Shop Rice Water Bright Light Cleansing Oil and Cosrx Good Morning Low pH Gel Cleanser.
About once a week it’s crucial to exfoliate,
even in the winter when your skin is sensitive and dry. Why? Because your moisturizing treatments are doing little if dead skin cells are blocking your skin’s ability to absorb moisture. So to truly experience the positive effects of your hydrating efforts, exfoliate regularly, with gentleness of course. Right now I’m loving Dr. G Brightening Peeling Gel. It’s formulated to be extra mild for the most sensitive of skin. Just remember to wash your face with lukewarm water, never hot, which can further aggravate dry skin.
TIP 2. DRESS IN LAYERS
Think of dressing your skin each day the same way you dress for winter weather, with layers. During my pre-Ohlolly days, when my winter skin was dry and flaky, I would simply wash, occasionally tone, and then slather on the thickest moisturizer I could find. And while this did offer some initial relief, after a few hours my face would look greasy while still feeling itchy and dry. Yes, a heavier moisturizer can help dry skin, but it’s all the steps before your moisturizer, like exfoliating and layering treatments, that truly create hydrated and healthy skin that lasts.
Essences, ampoules, serums, gels, liquids--Korean treatments have a lot of different names and purposes; it’s easy to forget how to correctly layer your treatments. A tip to help you remember is to start with the lightest consistency and work your way up. And when considering your winter skincare routine, don’t count out your summer skincare essentials. You probably don’t need an entirely different routine. If you have products that work, then continue using them, and simply add products to fill in the gaps. For example, I really needed a product I could use continuously throughout the day when my skin began feeling tight. Benton Honest TT Mist has been the perfect solution. I immediately spray it on my face after cleansing and then keep it with me during the day whenever my skin needs a burst of hydration. This mist also balances your pH level, doubling as a toner. A perfect winter essential.
Speaking of toners, the reason I barely toned before switching to Korean skincare is because toning always left my face feeling dry and red, not appealing when my skin was already suffering during the winter months. But Korean toners are much gentler than their American counterparts. In Korea toners are often called, “refreshers” or even “skin.” After cleansing, your skin's pH level is off balance. Toning helps to reset your pH balance to optimal level while adding a first layer of moisture so that your following treatments are better absorbed. For a hydrating toner that helps eliminate redness and irritation try Benton Snail Bee High Content Skin.
After toning, then apply your treatments. My all-time favorite treatment is Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. It’s light and yet ultra-hydrating. With the change in weather and extra low humidity, my skin has felt itchy and red recently. So in addition to the Power Essence I’ve added Benton Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel. Made from barbadensis aloe leaf juice and propolis extract, this gel calms and nourishes my upset skin.
If your winter skin tends to be more dry and flaky, then try adding a highly-concentrated daily treatment like Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule. Even though it’s called “Night Repair” this ampoule can be used morning and night. Remember it’s all about finding the right treatments that hyper-target your specific, and potentially multiple, skin concerns.
After your treatments, now it’s time for moisturizer. And because you already have multiple layers of hydration, your moisturizer not only adds another layer but it actually locks in all the treatments so your skin stays hydrated all day long. Right now I’m using Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Cream, which moisturizes while combating acne. (Psst: read my post all about banishing acne here.) For ultra-dry skin try Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb, clinically proven to provide 26 hours of moisture.
And don’t forget your eyes.
My current favorite eye cream: Benton Fermentation Eye Cream. It rejuvenates and absorbs quickly, making it perfect for day and night.
TIP 3. STEP-UP YOUR MASK GAME
If you’ve read anything about Korean beauty, chances are you’ve heard about the glory of sheet masks. Sheet masks deliver a concentrated dose of active ingredients that transform dull skin to glowing skin in a matter of minutes. During the warmer months, I apply a sheet mask once a week, but when the colder weather comes, I use sheet masks two times a week, even more if necessary. Sheet masks provide instant relief and keep my skin ultra-hydrated for days. Inexpensive, effective and luxurious--face masks are a winter must-have. My favorite is Evercos Luxury Bogam Herbal Clinical Sheet Mask--Bishop’s Weed. Bishop weed helps alleviates skin irritation, which is perfect for my itchy winter skin. Another great option: Papa Recipe Bombee Honey Mask for a serious boost of hydration and aromatherapy.
P.S. Give your lips some extra care too. A Korean cult favorite, Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, heals dry and cracked lips overnight.
TIP 4. DON’T SKIP THE SPF
Even if you haven’t seen the sun for days, harmful UVA and UVB rays are still present. The American Academy of Dermatologists indicates that up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds. So just like the summer, SPF is an everyday essential. My go-to favorite is Dr. G Brightening Up Sun. Brightening sunscreen provides 42 SPF broadspectrum protection plus doubles as a primer. Win win.
Some more great options: Missha All-Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk, the SPF 50+ formula not only provides amazing protection, but also adds an extra layer of nourishment and hydration. Or Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream, with SPF 50 and star ingredient, aloe, to soothe red and dry skin.
Prevention is better than a cure.
So to prevent your skin from becoming dry, flaky and irritated this winter, start adding a little extra moisture into your Korean skincare routine today. And remember, consistency is key. On days you’re simply too zonked for an entire routine, at least take off your makeup and slather on a sleeping mask. Use Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water to dissolve even waterproof makeup and Cosrx Ultimate Moisturizing Honey Overnight Mask for night time nourishment. I promise the extra added minutes of effort will pay off. Take the time to properly care for your skin this holiday season and celebrate skin that is happy and bright. And if you ever have any questions, or just want to say hi, shoot us an email at email@example.com.
Written by Kait / Editor & Producer @ Ohlolly.com