We love winter for all the memorable moments we spend snowshoeing or sitting around a fire, steaming cup of tea or hot cocoa in hand. But the chilly season is also paired with months of chapped skin, frizzy hair and peeling nails. “Thanks to warm indoor heat and cold outdoor air, the winter usually prompts a lack of beneficial, moisturizing humidity,” says Stephanie Tourles, a licensed holistic aesthetician in Orland, Maine, and author of the new book Hands-On Healing Remedies (Storey Publishing). Cold air also strips protective oils from hair, skin and nails. We asked experts to share their best tips on how to make this the winter you glow.
1 EAT AND DRINK RIGHT—AND SLEEP TIGHT. To keep nails strong, hair shiny and skin looking radiant, replenish your healthy fats by eating plenty of oily nuts, flax seed, olive oil and cold-water fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring. And stay hydrated. Aim to drink six to eight glasses of water every day.Since winter is a time to regenerate, try to also add an extra hour of beauty sleep every night and “you’ll emerge more beautiful and radiant for spring and summer,” says Elizabeth Trattner, an acupuncturist based in Miami, Florida.
2 TEND TO ROUGH SPOTS. Take care of elbows, knuckles and knees before the roughness worsens. If your hands are chapped, massage them with olive or coconut oil and cover them with a pair of cotton gloves or socks before you go to bed. When you wake up, remove the gloves and use a rich hand cream or balm to keep your hands protected all day, suggests Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt & Company). Try: Waxelene, a natural petroleum jelly alternative, $15.99, waxelene.com.; Ren Mayday Mayday Rescue Balm, $40, renskincare.com.
3 SAVE FACE. Consider facial oils a key part of your skincare regimen this winter. And, to save a step, add a few drops into your favorite day or night cream. “You’ll give your skin a much-needed boost,” says Terri Bly, owner of The Nature of Beauty, an organic spa and retail shop in Minneapolis, “and protection from the harsh environment, especially during this time of year.” In addition, apply a moisture mask and leave it on for 20 minutes. Try: Jiva Apoha Sundara Face Oil, $105, jivaapoha.com; Indie Lee 100% Squalane Facial Oil, $32, IndieLee.com; Odacite Deep Hydration Masque, $50, thenatureofbeauty.com; Surya Brasil Facial Mask with Clay, $29.99, shopsuryabrasil.com.
4 PICK THE RIGHT HAIRBRUSH. Protect dry, delicate hair with a brush that doesn’t prompt breakage. If the bristles of your old brush have become worn or harsh, it may be time to invest in a new one. Try: The Widu, a made-in-Italy long-bristled brush designed with sustainable rubber and wood that resists heat, critical for this time of year when blow-drying is at its peak, $75, spiritbeautylounge.com.
5 SHED DRY SKIN. Pick a cream-based product to exfoliate the face. For the body, opt for a sugar scrub (salt scrubs can be dehydrating) that exfoliates and moisturizes, too. DIY Tip: Make your own by mixing equal parts raw sugar and almond or canola oil, Cox recommends. Gently massage into damp skin in the shower using a cotton washcloth or loofah. Rinse well. Try: For Face: Logona Sensitive Skin Exfoliating Cream, $16, thenatureofbeauty.com. For Body: Nature Girl Organic Sugar Scrub, $45, nature-girl.com.
6 STAY SUN-SAVVY. No matter what the mercury says, keep your skin protected as wind and cold can be ultra-drying. In addition, sun protection is just as important in the winter since you still can burn easily at this time of year. “Always slather on sunscreen before you go outdoors,” Cox recommends. Try: Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Sheer Coverage SPF 20, $50; mvorganics.com.
7 SKIP THE LIP-LICKING. In the wintertime, our lips seem most vulnerable to chapping. Keep licking them and they’ll get rough and painful—fast. To protect them, look for a lip balm that contains argan oil, beeswax or shea butter. Try: Acure Organics Dark Chocolate + Mint Lip Balm, $3.99, acureorganics.com
8 FIGHT THE URGE TO OVER-CONDITION. It becomes a vicious cycle—your hair feels lackluster so you condition it and then it feels weighed down. Instead, comb hair oil or serum through dry hair 15 minutes before washing, Bly suggests. Or, coat your ends with argan oil or a botanical treatment to protect it after shampooing. Try: Badger Argan, Jojoba & Baobob Botanical Hair Oil, $18.99, badgerbalm.com.
9 ADD ESSENTIAL OILS TO YOUR AT-HOME MANI/PEDI. For Jenna Hipp, the Green Celebrity Nail Stylist, this means using an essential oil that matches her mood. “If I feel jet-lagged or sluggish, I apply H. Gillerman’s Travel Remedy to the bottoms of my feet to boost circulation,” she says. “If I’m tense or tired, I massage Tension Remedy and Jaw Clenching Remedy into the palms of my hand to refresh my entire being.” Keep cuticles from drying and cracking by rubbing in sweet almond oil or shea butter nightly. Try: H. Gillerman Organics Essential Oil Remedies, $48, hgillermanorganics.com; J.R. Watkins Lavender Hand & Cuticle Salve; $8.99, jrwatkins.com.
10 AVOID “HAT HEAD.” Avoid wool, felt or knit fabrics that flatten your hair and create static. And before you head out, use just enough hairspray to control flyaway hair, suggests Nicholas Penna, Jr., owner and lead stylist at SalonCapri in Boston. “The goal is to reduce the friction between your hair and the hat.” Try: Yarok Feed Your Hold Style Sustaining Hair Spray, $23, spiritbeautylounge.com; Rahua Voluminous Hairspray, $28; rahua.com.