Whether your problem area is a flaky face or reptilian elbows, the good news is that there are loads of products on the beauty market today that can help cure your winter-ravaged skin. The market, though, is so saturated with moisturizers and lotions that many don't really know where to start.
Lotions vs. Creams
Moisturizers work with two basic types of ingredients: Humectants, like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, urea and sorbitol, which work by attracting water molecules to the skin. And emollients, like mineral oil, shea butter, petroleum, which work by softening skin and forming a protective layer on top, sealing in water.
Lightweight lotions (good for normal/oily skin) contain more humectants, while heavier creams (good for dry, flaky skin) have more emollients.
To figure out which is right for you, try this easy skin type test: wash your face as soon as you get up in the morning. Wait half an hour then check for shininess. You can do this by looking for shine in the mirror, feeling your face for oiliness, or pressing a piece of pink tissue paper to your face to see if oil appears. You have dry skin if there is no oil or your skin feels tight. You have oily skin if your entire face is oily after the test. And, of course, "normal" skin is somewhere in between.
Here are some products Evangelista recommends:
Knowing your skin type is vital for figuring out what kind of facial moisturizer to get (cream or lotion). It is important to note that using acids like AHA's (alpha hydroxy acids), retinols or other peeling agents on your face is tabu in winter. Winds and indoor dry heat essentially sap skin of essential moisture; you don't want to use a product that's going to rip away even more moisture. Instead, look for products that contain enriching ingredients or vitamins (like vitamin E, amino acids, hyaluronic acid) that will quench your thirsty skin.
Becoming increasingly popular are ingredients from the sea; the newest, hottest moisturizer on the market is from Cellex-C (Cellex-C Sea Silk Oil Free Moisturizer) and contains ingredients like Omegaplankton (a natural source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids), seasilk (an extract from the sea that gives a sheer layer of moisturizing coverage to the skin), seaweed bio-peptides (which help with skin elasticity and collagen synthesis), seaweed extract (helps against the photoaging damage that can occur over time), and Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE - traditionally found in high concentration in fish is supposed to help boost the antioxidant properties of this cream). At around $45, this cream is flying off the shelves, but if you're willing to spend more for supple skin, La Mer's Creme Regeneration Intense is a beauty editor's favorite and at just around $165 for 2 oz., a real splurge. Finally, Evangelista suggests that all women use an eye cream, especially in the winter.
"Even for 20-year-olds, you're never too young to use an eye cream," he says. "The skin around the eye is the thinnest on the face, and is especially susceptible to the drying effects of the winter cold and outdoor heat. "
Evangelista's picks: Facial Lotions/Creams/Serums/Eye Creams
- Cellex-C Sea Silk Oil Free Moisturizer (around $40 - $50/60 ml)
- Estee Lauder Hydra Complete ($40/1.7 oz)
- Biotherm AquaSource ($30/1.7 oz)
- L'Oreal Hydra Renewal ($6/1.7 oz.)
- Origins Never Say Dry ($29.50/1.7 oz)
- La Mer Creme Regeneration Intense ($165/2 oz)
- Molton Brown Moisture Lock ($42/30 ml)
- Bliss Fully Loaded Moisture Lotion ($40/1.7 oz)
- Laboratoire Remede Complete Treatment ($95/50 ml)
- Estee Lauder ReNutriv Eye Cream
- Avon Hydrafirming Bio6 Eye Cream ($10.50/.05 fl oz)
- Jo Malone Green Tea & Honey Eye Cream
- SkinScience Hydroseal Eye Serum
- Cellex-C Skin Hydrating Complex Serum ($85/1 oz)
It's all about looking for certain ingredients in lip treatments: shea butter, jojoba oil, avocado oil, mango oil, lip balm - the moisturizing lipids and oils that would be far too heavy for your face but work wonders on less sensitive areas like your lips.
Among Evangelista's favorites are:
Benefit Dr. Feelgood Lipscription - a new take on the classic Dr. Feelgood lipbalm. This two-in-one set contains a tube of goodness filled with a lip exfoliant that you use 2 to 3 times a week to slough off dead chapped layers of skin from your lips (and it doesn't hurt).
GloMinerals' Glomoist Lip Treatment is loaded with oils including avocado, sweet almond, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and antioxidant green tea.
Fresh's Sugar Fresh balm has sweet and tart blackcurrant oil that "cushions the lips with plumping fatty acids, antioxidant grape seed poly phenols and vitamins A, C & E that provide extra protection."
Weleda's Evron Lip Balm is made from pure natural ingredients like jojoba oil and shea butter. And for the cost conscious, Blistex's DCT Daily Conditioning Treatment is a good bet (coming in at around $1.99).
Evangelista's lip picks:
- Avon Planet Spa African Shea Butter Lip Balm (available through Avon)
- Benefit Dr. Feelgood Lipscription ($28 for 2 tubes)
- GloMinerals Glomoist Lip Treatment ($15)
- Fresh Lip Repair ($10)
- Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22)
- Weleda Everon Lip Balm ($5)
There are fewer sebaceous glands on the surface of your body than on your face, so skin on your body is naturally drier than facial skin. Since breakouts aren't really a problem for legs and arms, feel free to indulge in the creamiest and heaviest creams and lotions to re-hydrate your drying skin. Look for products with butter both in ingredients and product description, like "body butter."
Now's the time to go for emolient-packed creams and lotions, containing ingredients like shea butter, petrolatum and mineral oil.
Products like get Fresh's Body Butter are full of shea butter, cocoa butter, macadamia nut oil, Brazil nut oil and olive oil.
Origins' A Perfect World Hydrating Cream combines shea butter with mimosa and the super-antioxidant, white tea.
JASON's cocoa butter is thick, hydrating, and smells like a chocolate dream.
Jergens Intense Moisture Therapy is for those on a budget. It is hydrating and economic.
L'Oreal's Nutrifit is filled with palm oil and shea butter.
JASON's Vitamin E Revitalizing Moisture Cream is purely organic and contains moisturizers like wheat germ, avocado and almond oils as well as skin-friendly aloe vera gel. If you're not crazy about creams and lotions, opt for a dry oil like The Thymes Dry Oil, which is lighter but still contains hydrating ingredients like jojoba, apricot kernel, and evening primrose hydrate.
Evangelista's body moisturizer picks are:
- Jergens Intense Moisture Therapy (about $6)
- Eucerin Intensive Repair Cream (around $10)
- JASON cocoa butter (around $6)
- JASON Vitamin E Revitalizing Moisture Cream (around $12)
- The Thymes Dry Oil ($17 for 4.25 oz)
- L'Oreal NutriFit (around $10.99)
- L'Occitane Pure Shea Butter ($35)
- Clean Body Lotion ($59)
- Get Fresh Body Butter (around $30)
- Origins A Perfect World Hydrating Cream ($25/6.7 oz)
When your skin is winter-flaky and scaly, it's a good idea to use an exfoliant between 2 to 3 times-a-week only on your body not on your face.
Exfoliants are really the only products that will get rid of those layers of dry, dead skin from places like elbows, knees and heels for good. Looking for an exfoliant with super-hydrating ingredients is a must.
The Thymes Olive Leaf Exfoliating Body Polish uses the entire olive to exfoliate your body (seeds are ground up and act as the abrasive, olive oil remoisturizes and regenerates skin.
Biotherm Aquathermale uses trace minerals to exfoliate.
Peter Thomas Roth Botanical Buffing Beads have sebum emulsifying jojoba beads and whole leaf aloe vera.
Essential Elements Honey Body Polish incorporates honey, jojoba beads, and lactic and citric acid. If your skin's really sensitive, opt for a sugar-based product like get fresh's Moisturizing Body Sugar. Or, if you're on a budget, check out Yardley's Stone Washed Exfoliating Soaps - the one we have displayed has strawberry and raspberry seeds in it that slough off dead skin.
Evangelista's exfoliant picks:
- The Thymes Olive Leaf Exfoliating Body Polish ($18)
- Origins Never a Dull Moment ($22.50)
- Biotherm Aquathermale ($18)
- Peter Thomas Roth Botanical Buffing Beads ($30)
- Essential Elements Honey Body Polish ($28)
- Moisturizing Body Sugar ($25)
- Bliss Hot Salt Scrub ($36)
- Yardley Stone Washed Exfoliating Soap ($4.99)
Hands & Feet
Hands and feet need special attention and specific products for each; hand skin tends to be thinner than on the rest of your body and is often exposed to more drying agents. Feet concerns are completely opposite; the skin is rough and calloused, so you're looking for an intense hydration product that also exfoliates dead skin off.
For hands, Evangelista recommends products like Cellex-C's Hydra Hand Care, Essential Elements' Therapeutic Hand Treatment, or a hand care kit (complete with gloves to seal in moisture overnight) like Caswell-Masey's Hand Care Kit.
For feet, you're going to need some heavy-duty products. Benefit's Sandal Scandal comes with a set of booties to seal in moisture. If your feet are in really horrid shape, try Blisslabs' Softening Sock Salve and softening socks to get rid of those corns and calluses. Yardley's Lay it on Thick is also a good pick; it's inexpensive and exfoliates with natural products like grapefruit extract. Evangelista's favorite: Lucky Chick's Fab Footsies - a kit that comes with an exfoliating foot scrub and a pumice stone, followed by lucky chick's foot fetish foot and leg cream.
Evangelista's hand/feet products:
- Cellex-C Hydra Hand Cream ($36)
- Avon Anew Hand & Nail Cream ($15)
- EssentialElements Theraputic Hand Treatment ($22)
- Caswell-Masey Hand Care Kit ($35)
- Benefit Sandal Scandal ($34)
- Blisslabs Softening Sock Salve ($26)
- Blisslabs Softening Socks ($48)
- Lucky Chick Fab Footsies ($20)
- Lucky Chick Foot Fetish ($20)