6 Cold-Weather Skincare Essentials to Keep Skin Hydrated & Happy All Winter Long

Natural Beauty

The cold, dry winter air can really do a number on your skin! Keep these 6 cold-weather skincare essentials on hand this winter to keep skin hydrated and healthy.

The cold, dry winter air can really do a number on your skin.

True story: my hands used to get so dry in the winter that they would crack and bleed.

And as for my face and body: they were always so tight and itchy — ooh were they itchy! — and the dryness would provoke my breakouts, making me one dry, itchy, pimply mess.

Talk about sucking all the fun out of the holiday season… can you relate!?

But it doesn’t need to to be this way! You can have baby-soft skin even in the dead of winter.

It’s a matter of providing both hydration and moisture.

And nope, they’re not the same thing!

During the wintertime, the air lacks hydration and becomes dry. And as a result, our skin typically becomes dry.

For some of us, incredibly dry — my hands used to get so dry that they’d crack and bleed. All. Winter. Long.

My poor, dry body itched and my parched face looked about about 10 years older from November from April.

This was until I learned about the key difference between skin hydration and skin moisture…

Skin hydration and skin moisture are very different, and we need both to keep skin healthy and smooth, and dryness away!

Hydration comes from water whereas moisture comes from oil.

Let’s repeat because this is important:

  • Skin hydration comes from water
  • Skin moisture comes from oil

In the cold winter months, it’s key to replenish skin hydration and then lock that hydration in with moisture.

It’s a 2-step solution and an absolute game-changer!

6 Cold-Weather Skincare Essentials to Keep Skin Hydrated & Happy

The cold, dry winter air can really do a number on your skin! Keep these 6 cold-weather skincare essentials on hand this winter to keep skin hydrated and healthy.

Vegetable glycerin, a natural humectant that draws and holds water to the skin

Sounds a bit like magic, right? And you really do have to see it to believe it!

Vegetable glycerin is such a simple but insanely effective skincare ingredient. I honestly don’t know what I — or really, my hands — would do without it in the wintertime, and I’ve turned so many of my family members, friends, and clients into devotees too.

(P.S. this little 4 oz bottle is likely all you’ll need all winter long since a little goes a very long way!)

I mostly use vegetable glycerin on my hands at night, though sometimes also apply it to my whole body right after the shower when my skin is still damp.

It is a little bit sticky which is why I only use it in the evenings, and one application a day usually does the trick.

One more thing about vegetable glycerin: you want to apply it to slightly damp skin, or else mix it with a water-based ingredient like witch hazel or rose water (like in that DIY toner I posted just above) so it has that water to hold to the skin. Otherwise, it can actually pull water from the deeper layers of the skin and dehydrate the skin which we of course do NOT want!

A hydrating facial toner with vegetable glycerin, aloe, or hyaluronic acid

These are all fantastic humectants. Again, humectants draw and hold water to the skin.

If you’re into DIY, I’d again suggest this DIY All-Natural Hydrating Face Toner.

But if you’re looking for something a little *extra* to provide great hydration and then some, I’ve been using and loving this Ultra Hyaluronic Beauty Mist from MyChelle Dermaceuticals — besides hydrating hyaluronic acid, it contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) which works wonders for both acne and anti-aging.

A face oil to provide amazing moisture and lock hydration into your skin

Face oils not only deeply moisturize skin, but they also lock in the hydration from water-based products. Oh and also provide a mega-dose of antioxidants, help to balance the skin’s own oil production and so much more!

Yes yes, you know how I feel about face oils… ooh do I love them!

So much so that I recently started bottling up my very best face oil blends — learn all about Body Unburdened Beauty Blends and see which blend is best for your skin here! I’d love to make one especially for you 🙂

A hydrating sheet mask

Sheet masks are meant for dry skin.

Because the base ingredients are usually aloe, vegetable glycerin, and/or hyaluronic acid. Yep, those best sources of hydration we’ve already discussed!

A kick-butt antioxidant serum to fight the increased air pollution

Air pollution is worse in the winter, and a major source of free radical exposure. Free radicals don’t just promote premature aging, but oxidize the skin’s sebum (oil), promotes blemishes and acne.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which is why they’re essential in both anti-aging and anti-acne skincare routines.

If you’re using a high-quality face oil like the Body Unburdened Beauty Blends, your skin is already getting a great dose of antioxidants.

But I’m also a big fan of vitamin C serum (especially this MyChelle Perfect C Serum for those with less sensitive skin who can tolerate l-ascprbic acid, and this Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum for those with more sensitive skin), which has been shown to significantly increase collagen production (bonus!). I apply my serum after toning and before my oil.

A fantastic natural SPF

Sunblock in the winter? Oh absolutely! Sunblock is an essential for your face 365 days a day.

My favorite for everyday wear have a slight tint as well as great SPF coverage: Juice Beauty’s CC cream and Beautycounter’s Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage.


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  1. Kyla- i have been red and blotchy after a shower for years too. unfortunately this year is worse than normal. i found out it’s from histamine intolerance. some people also get really red after a big work out, wine, kurig coffee pods, seafood, chocolate etc. it is better if you take a quick warm not hot shower. histamine problems take many forms. my nutritionist used to get swollen lips from scallops. but she controls her histamine with lifestyle and foods and can have some once in awhile. so her swollen lips were not anaphylactic like people thought! besides my most amazing nutritionist, my BEST resource is Healing Histamine website. hope this helps:)

  2. Hey, Chelsea! Yay I’m so excited for you to get the book and hope it’s helpful – please feel free to email me any questions!

    Always water-based products before oil-based – the toner would come right after washing before applying serums, moisturizers, or oils. It’s SUPER hydrating, so you’ll likely only need it once a day but could use it both morning and night if you’d like.

  3. Hi!! Thank you so much for sharing- I just found your site and ordered your book. So looking forward to using you as an amazing resource as someone that struggles from life long Cystic acne (even now as a 27 year old). I am just wondering, when do you use the hydrating facial toner? In what part of your routine? Morning or night? Before or after toner/oil? Just wondering when it is most effective! Thank you in advance!
    With Joy,

  4. Hey, this is great stuff, thank you!!!
    Nadia, I have so appreciated your site and for the first time ever have bought and been using witch hazel and glycerin on my face. I too, get very dry in the winter.

    Question: anyone else get a very RED & BLOTCHY after showering? It’s been happening for years, especially in the winter, that my face hates showers. It gets red & blotchy and it will last maybe 40 minutes.

    Suggestions? Anyone else have this?