Short days, freezing temperatures, harsh winds and the dry heat of indoors can you leave you feeling a bit deflated, low in energy and suffering with dry skin, chapped lips and brittle hair.
What we need on days like this is some TLC, some head to toe winter rescue remedies and a natural holistic boost to get us through to Spring.
Here are my top tips, tricks, DIY products and indulgent ideas to protect your skin, hair and nails this winter.
Dry, itchy skin
The cold winds and harsh, dry heat created from central heating can mean dry skin, especially around the elbows. Here are three simple things you can do to combat dry, itchy skin at this time of year.
Warm showers – while a hot shower might seem like a lovely idea on a cold winter morning, it can cause moisture to leak from your skin as it evaporates and will further irritate your skin, so turn it down a little and take a warm shower instead.
Moisturise damp skin – apply your moisturiser immediately after showering, or washing your hands. The damp skin will help to lock in the moisture, hydrating skin faster.
Humidify – of course you want the heating on in these cold months, but it can create a dry atmosphere in your home. If you can, use a humidifier, especially in the bedroom. Alternatively, put a bowl of water above the radiator in each room which will evaporate and keep the air more agreeable with your skin. You will wake with your skin feeling more hydrated and supple and your lips less chapped and dry.
DIY Winter bath blend
There is no feeling like sinking into a hot bath on a cold night, soothing cold and aching muscles, then crawling into bed and snuggling up under the duvet. You can use this routine to soothe dry skin, by adding the right blend to your bath.
2 cups of Epsom salts
1-2 teaspoons on almond oil
5 drops of lavender essential oil
10 drops of geranium essential oil
10 drops of frankincense essential oil
Mix the all ingredients except the Epsom salts in a mixing bowl, then add the salts to the mixture and blend together well. Add ½ cup to the bath as you fill it with hot water, and soak for around 20 minutes. You can store the remainder of the mixture in a mason jar for up to 6 weeks.
Can’t be bothered to make your own? Try Neal’s Yard Organics Geranium and orange bath oil - sunny orange and revitalising geranium create an aromatherapy blend for lifting the spirits while soya, apricot and wheat germ oils nourish the skin.
More moisture is lost through the lips than any other part of the body, causing them to become tight, or split. Remove this dry feeling with the following tips.
Resist the urge to lick – your lips will feel better for a short while, but feel worse at the end of the day. Licking removes the natural lipids from your skin, leaving them dry and irritated, which makes you want to lick them again! Break the cycle and carry a lip balm with you.
Go fragrance free – if you chose to purchase a lip balm, it should feel good on your lips. If it stings or feels tingly, it can be doing more harm. Look for balm’s that are fragrance, alcohol and flavour free.
Bedtime routine – when you brush your teeth before bed, brush the dead skin off your lips, and apply a layer of balm or moisturiser before you go to sleep. Your body heals best whilst asleep, so you can wake up with nice soft lips (especially if combined with a humidifier mentioned earlier).
DIY Lip balm
1 teaspoon beeswax
½ teaspoon shea butter
½ teaspoon coconut oil
Put the ingredients in a bowel and place over a pan of hot water. Stir until the ingredients have melted, then take the pan off the heat. If you want to, add 1-2 drops of your favourite essential oil (I love peppermint or orange), then transfer to a small pot to cool.
Can’t be bothered to make your own? Try Neal’s yard Organic Lip formula with shea nut and rosehip oil. The base oil is very nourishing and rich in vitamins A and E and the herbal extracts and essential oils are very restorative, healing dry and chapped lips.
Dull, flyaway hair
Winter can be harsh for your hair, with central heating creating static, wind-swept looks, and cold weather leaving hair struggling to retain moisture, making it brittle and prone to breakage. Here are my tips for winter hair care.
Go Natural – reduce the static by using a brush with a natural boar bristle and a wooden handle to reduce that fly away look.
Hat hair – ice, snow and freezing winds means we tend to reach for the beanie but this can mean ‘hat hair’. Putting a silk scarf under your hat will protect your do for those days when you want to feel like you made an effort but still keep your ears warm and cosy.
Avoid alcohol – I don’t mean going tee total but products with alcohol tend to be harsher on your hair, drying it out easily. Look for creams, gels and spray with gentler, organic ingredients.
DIY Strengthening and shine spray
A little spray bottle
½ cup sweet almond oil
¼ cup avocado oil
¼ cup olive oil
10-15 drops of essential oils (try Lavender, Rosemary, Geranium or Sandalwood)
Add all the ingredients to your bottle and shake well. Spray a little onto wet or dry hair to support the hair during winter and bring back shine.
Can’t be bothered to make your own? Try Organic argan oil. This not only nourishes hair, but also skin and nails with extremely high levels of antioxidant vitamin E and essential fatty acids to help lock in moisture. For hair, simply smooth a small amount from root to tips to reduce frizz, replenish and treat your hair.
Most of us want to counteract the effects of cold weather, central heating and lost moisture from our skin and keep our faces looking smooth and youthful. Try these tips.
Wash in lukewarm water – just as hot showers and baths can cause moisture to leak from you body, the same thing will dry out your face too. Use lukewarm water to wash your face and avoid stripping out the skin’s natural oils.
Drink up – we tend to drink less water in the winter as we naturally want warm drinks like tea and hot chocolate, but make sure your skin is hydrated from the inside out. If you don’t fancy cold water, try warm water sweetened with a little honey or lemon.
Exfoliate – moisture can’t get into the skin when dead skins cells are plentiful, so just as you would in the summer, try using an exfoliating face mask once a week, followed immediately by moisturiser to lock in moisture.
DIY Face scrub
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
I tablespoon of coconut oil
1 drop of essential oil (Frankincense, Lavender or Lemon)
Mix together and rub onto your face for approx. 1 minute before rinsing with plenty of warm water. Gently pat skin dry with a clean towel, and follow with your favourite moisturiser.
Can’t be bothered to make your own? Try Neal’s Yard Honey and orange facial scrub – gently cleanses and exfoliates. Rice powder and kaolin remove impurities while honey and orange flower oil tone and balance for softer, smoother skin.
'No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow'