Winter is coming, which means it’s time to amp up your arsenal of skin smoothers and softeners. “There is less moisture in the air,” explains Sejal Shah, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology. “This reduced humidity combined with other environmental factors, like heaters and hot showers, causes the skin's hydration levels to decrease resulting in dryness.” So while it’s sad to bid adieu to the tinted moisturizer and lightweight lotion that had your back through summer vacations, it’s in your skin’s best interest to reach for richer, more moisturizing products as the temperature dips.
But updating your skin care regimen for sweater weather doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you want to swap out one or two products or give your medicine cabinet a complete overhaul, there are a ton of drugstore products that will keep your skin soft, supple, and irritation-free. The best part? They’re all are under $30, so you can save the rest of your money for that soon-to-be-needed tropical escape.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel ($9; ulta.com)
When it comes to washing your face, the last thing you want to do is strip skin of its natural oils, so look for a soap-free cleanser or an oil. Not only does this cleansing gel by Neutrogena remove makeup and grime, but it’s also packed with hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture after you rinse.
Garnier SkinActive Hydrating 3-in-1 Face Moisturizer With Aloe ($13; walgreens.com)
Swap out lighter lotions for cream formulations, suggests Dr. Shah. Creams are more hydrating, which is why we recommend this Garnier formula. It can be used as your daytime and nighttime moisturizer, and it works as a leave-on mask (simply apply a thick layer for ten minutes, then tissue it off skin). It’s also infused with aloe juice that’s known for its skin-protecting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Simple Water Boost Micellar Cleansing Water ($9; target.com)
The eye area is the most delicate part of your face, so no matter how much waterproof makeup you have on, be gentle during removal. “Choose a formula that won’t dry out the skin around the eyes, such as micellar water,” says Dr. Shah. Simple’s latest has minerals and plant extracts specifically designed to soothe dehydrated or sensitive skin.
Olay Eyes Deep Hydrating Eye Gel ($30, ulta.com)
After removing makeup, give eyes extra TLC with a hyper-hydrating eye cream like this one. With hyaluronic acid and soothing witch hazel and cucumber extract, it plumps up the look of fine lines and deeply hydrates. Also, keep eyelashes conditioned by using a treatment like No7 Fanomenal Lash Serum ($10; us.boots.com).
ChapStick Total Hydration Conditioning Lip Scrub ($5; target.com)
Chapped and cracked lips may be one of the most annoying winter skin issues. Aside from a quality lip balm, begin incorporating a scrub into your daily routine. “Exfoliate gently and then use an ointment based product to hydrate them,” advises Dr. Shah. This ChapStick scrub smells like the holidays thanks to cooling peppermint and is filled with nourishing ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, vitamin E, and more.
St. Ives Apricot Oil Scrub ($7; target.com)
Just like your pout, a body exfoliator is crucial to keeping rough, flaky skin at bay. If you love St. Ive’s classic apricot facial scrub, try the brand’s oil-infused scrub. It sloughs off dead skin while moisturizing the fresh layers underneath. Or, for a DIY way to spot treat particularly parched patches of skin, try milk and yogurt: “They both have hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties. They also contain lactic acid, which gently exfoliates the skin. You can try a milk compress or apply yogurt directly to areas and wash off after ten minutes,” explains Dr. Shah.
In-Shower Skin Saver
Curel Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer ($11; target.com)
Even though it’s tempting to escape the cold by taking a long, hot shower, try to limit the time you spend under the water. It can be ultra-dehydrating for skin. A good way to lock in moisture is by applying a cream when your body is still damp. That’s why Curel’s in-shower treatment is so innovative: It’s meant to be used on freshly washed skin to help absorb and trap water before you towel off.
Aquaphor Ointment Body Spray ($10; walmart.com)
“For hands and feet you might need a thicker cream or even an ointment type of moisturizer, such as Aquaphor,” says Dr. Shah. “It can also be helpful to put on cotton gloves or socks at night after applying moisturizer to help increase penetration into the skin and efficacy.” This innovative spray ointment lets you target hard-to-reach dry spots like behind the thighs and the back.