"If you've ever so much as been in or around the east coast from the months of November to, say, March, you don't need us to tell you the number the climate can do on your skin." I was reading a cold weather beauty feature on The Coveteur this morning and could already feel the outside temperature numbing me on the inside before I could even crawl out of my bed. The harsh reality is that these temperatures are here to stay and with that, we must do what we can to protect our skin.
In the same manner that we shield ourselves in warm layers as we step out in to these numbing temperatures, we must also adopt new skincare routines and habits to protect our skin during these seasonal shifts. After moving to New York, I noticed changes in my skin that had me hiding under scarves one winter as I battled pesky flare ups that seemed to not want to go away. Was it environmental? Hormonal? Stress? An imbalance? All of the above? Likely, but nevertheless, it was a wake up call which allowed me to start paying much more attention to my skin. After years of trial and error, the adoption of a more holistic skincare (and lifestyle) approach seems to have worked wonders. And I can now use scarves to actually keep me warm as opposed to using them as an accessory to hide beneath.
Granted, I still have those occasional flare-ups and continue to try and pinpoint whatever may be triggering them, however I've finally filled a very large piece of the puzzle. And her name is Andrea DeSimone. In the same way that I'm particular about the person that's putting a pair of scissors to my long locks, I'm careful about who I let in on my skin. I have been working with Andrea for about a year now and it's always her visits that leave me feeling renewed and well educated about my skin and what I should be doing to properly take care of it from one visit to the next. I have made several skincare swaps to more natural products that my skin is really coming to respect.
During these brutally cold winter months ahead, it's time to give our skin the proper attention it deserves and feed it the right products that will nourish, hydrate and clear any impurities that may be latching on. I turned to Andrea for a few key pieces of advice as it pertains to proper skincare habits and I can assure you that she is one to trust when it comes to these kinds of things.
Please briefly explain your personal approach to skincare and what inspired you to turn this into a career.
My personal approach to skincare is a holistic and organic approach practicing simplicity and less is best. I use high quality, single ingredient products like oils, clays, yogurt and crushed seeds and specialize in lymphatic drainage massage (see below). Throughout my life I've struggled with acne, allergies and eczema and the doctor's prescriptions were not the answer for me. I knew there had to be a way of treating the skin in a less imbalancing and aggressive manner...and there is!
What are the benefits of a lymphatic facial and how would you describe it to someone who has never tried it before?
This particular type of massage is a gentle process of kneading, massaging and working with the skin from every angle. In the process, stagnant fluids are drained from the face, neck and shoulders, which may have been contributing to acne. It also increases circulation, reduces puffiness, tightens and firms the skin and feels pretty darn amazing. Fact. It does.
Ideally, how long should we spend on our face/washing our face each day? Is there a difference from morning to night?
I truly believe people could be spending more time washing their face, but it all depends on what cleanser you're using. I prefer a milky cleanser because it is more respectful to sensitive skin and you can manipulate it longer, providing your face with a massage/cleanse.
I cleanse my clients' skin for a half hour and am thrilled with the results of less texture, as oil dissolves oil, treating like-with-like homeopathy. There's also better hydration and overall balance in the skin tone.
The nighttime wash is absolutely crucial to remove the dirt, oil, makeup and stress of the day from your skin. I don't recommend bringing a cleanser to the face in the morning, but you can let water run over it and buff with a cotton washcloth in lieu of a cleanser. The natural oils that produce overnight are very balancing, healing and hydrating.
What are three key products that you feel make all the difference when it comes to an optimal skincare routine?
Cleanser, moisturizer and exfoliant. As long as you are well equipped with these three products and take them with you whenever you travel, then you should be set.
Sidenote: If you can, aim to use a mask at least 2-3 times a week, like this clay-based one that Andrea has me hooked on. She told me to mix in a little 2% yogurt during the colder months and full fat yogurt once we reach the thick of the winter.
Aside from our own skincare routine, what other factors (that we may not even consider) affect our skin?
Stress, topical products, hormones, diet, pollution, lifestyle/habits, happiness and heredity.
Note: after every visit to see Andrea, she always tells me to wipe down my sunglasses with alcohol and change my pillowcases in order to limit my exposure to bacteria. It's also wise to regularly wash your scarves this season, as those tend to attract bacteria that can wreak havoc on your jawline.
How do we best go about winterizing our skincare routine? What should we be doing differently?
You must change your skincare with the seasons! There are different demands on the skin with the shift in weather. As we shift into the colder months, I recommend changing your foaming wash to a milky cleanser. As we lose the humidity, start laying a serum or oil underneath your moisturizer for additional hydration and protection. Also, add a little yogurt to your mask for additional moisture from the saturated fat. Perhaps change your alcohol based toner to one without alcohol.
And as for additional recommendations from yours truly?
Go without makeup on the weekends. Sweat out toxins in a hot yoga class. While you're wearing your clay mask, sip on green tea for the antioxidant boost. Sprinkle some turmeric into soups and stews; it fights inflammation. Drink a lot of water, especially with fresh lemon. Grab for a green juice in the morning or whip up a smoothie and add a tablespoon of coconut oil and a healthy sprinkling of chia seeds. Smile and laugh. A lot.
For more on this...
Learn more about Andrea and her philosophy here.
Read my previous feature on how to save your skin (& your health) to become better educated on harmful ingredients that you may unknowingly be slathering on your skin.
Darling Magazine's Ugly 5: What to Avoid in Skincare.
The Coveteur's Cold Weather Beauty Swaps.
Farm to Face: Banana, Oat Bran & Honey Mask. If Blake Lively approves...
Here's to a winter of better skin and embracing both our inner and outer beauty.