By: Cass Lane
Editor’s note: This month we’re delighted to bring you our first guest post by wellness editor Cass Lane. You’ll find more details about Cass and how to connect with her at the end of this post, but in the meantime find yourself a cosy spot, grab a cup of hot chocolate or fragrant chai, make yourself comfortable and enjoy her tips on how to stay beautiful this winter. Over to you, Cass:
Okay, winter, we know you’re a tough cookie. And yep, you’re the fiercest season of them all; don’t let that magic mirror tell you otherwise. But … do you really have to prove yourself so dramatically? I mean, dry skin is one thing, but the Sahara Desert situation we are dealing with all over our bodies is another. And as for the chapped lips, brittle hair and flaky nails – well, that’s just overkill don’t you think?
And yet, every winter it’s the same. Mother Nature dominates and our skin, hair and nails suffer because of it. But like any good wellness warrior, you can work in sync with Mother Nature to embrace the beauty of winter and come out even more gorgeous than when the season started. Here’s how:
Munch your way to inner + outer beauty
Embracing a healthy, balanced diet that includes foods rich in essential fatty acids (found in food such as walnuts, olive oil, salmon and flaxseed) can go a long way to supporting your body and your cells in retaining moisture and staying hydrated.
For best results, steer clear of refined sugar and junk food, both of which are class A skin and bodycare jerks.
And while drinking a decent amount of water (around eight glasses a day) won’t instantly ease your dry skin, as part of a holistic wellness strategy adequate water intake is crucial. It keeps your digestion running smoothly and your beautiful brain firing away happily. So keep sipping, lovelies! And for a detoxing and alkalizing dose of goodness, add a splash of lemon juice to your water.
Replenish lost moisture
Okay, the truth is that moisture loss is almost a fact in winter, so rather than fighting the inevitable your focus should be on replenishing lost moisture where possible. You can do this by changing the way you approach moisturising. A simple trick is to apply loving amounts of moisturiser immediately after you’ve gently cleansed your face and body to trap in as much moisture as possible by.
I’m a huge fan of the Mettā Skincare Face Balm obviously (it healed my dry, itchy skin in just a day! Check out my review on the Happiness + Wellbeing Magazine blog for more info), but if you’d like some other options I recommend checking out organic, natural + eco-friendly skincare brands and staying away from anything with alcohol or chemicals as they can cause excessive dryness.
For a simple home remedy, try facemasks with honey + oatmeal and natural moisturisers like organic, cold-pressed coconut oil. You can soothe stricken winter locks by massaging coconut oil onto your scalp and then taking it through to the ends of your hair. Leave the oil on overnight and then shampoo + condition in the morning. Voila – Rapunzel’s got nothing on you, babe!
Turn down the heat
And while we’re on the topic of lathering + rinsing, it might be instinctive to savor blissfully steamy hot showers and baths when the temperature drops, but while this definitely feels divine it could actually harm your skin in the long run.
Hot water strips the natural oils from your skin and when you’re already experiencing dry, itchy winter skin this is like adding gasoline to a fire.
This doesn’t mean you have to shiver through freezing cold showers each day, but just tone down the temperature from searing hot to luke warm and spend a little less time than usual singing and daydreaming in the shower. Keep it short, sweet and as warm as luke.
It’s also a good idea to avoid toweling off completely after your shower during the winter months. You don’t need to be soaking wet, but you can help your body to suck in some extra water by leaving your skin slightly damp.
Pro tip? Apply your moisturiser when your skin is still a little damp for super powered moisture. And once you’ve got your moisture on, make sure you protect your skin from the elements with warm, comfortable clothes. Speaking of which …
Dress to impress
It’s no secret to my friends and family that winter fashion is my absolute favourite to work with. Between the beautiful scarves, sassy boots, luxurious jackets and cozy sweaters, it’s a veritable heaven for a quintessential ‘layer-up’ girl like me. But while dressing stylishly in winter isn’t a difficult task, you should also take into consideration another element: your skin.
Wearing itchy fabrics like wool can irritate dry, sensitive skin and counteract the good you are doing with your other skincare rituals. Instead, embrace soft fabrics and materials like cotton and go organic (better for you and the environment!) where you can.
And if dancing in the rain is your idea of a good time, make sure you change into soft, dry clothes as soon as possible after your dance fest. Dry clothes can irritate your skin and the less irritation you cause your skin in winter the better.
Ditch summer skincare routines
And just like we switch up our wardrobe in winter, we should change our skincare routines and rituals to adapt to the seasons too. In summer we can embrace lighter moisturisers, deeper cleansers and more exfoliation. But in winter, these skincare rituals can exacerbate irritation, itchiness, dryness and redness.
Instead, approach your skincare with a gently, gently approach. In stark contrast to summer, this will take the form of the following guidelines:
– Don’t over exfoliate your skin. While you might be tempted to scrub that dry, flaky skin away, this will cause more harm than good. Your skin needs time to repair and heal and excessively exfoliating will only add to its healing load.
– Use gentle cleansers free from alcohol, chemicals and other nasties. You can even cleanse with oils such as coconut oil (it’s a brilliant little multi-tasker!) if your skin is particularly sensitive.
– Embrace richer, thicker balms, creams and lotions to soothe your skin.
– Pay particular attention to the delicate area around your eyes and around your lips when you’re moisturising.
– Sleep on a silk pillowcase to help prevent the appearance of aging and to give a little love to your locks too.
It’s getting hot in here …
And now that you’re eating to support your winter beauty, embracing nourishing skincare rituals and successfully adapting to the chilly season, it’s time to take care of your home environment too.
We all deserve to step into a toasty warm home at the end of a long day, but did you know that your indoor heating systems might actually be contributing to your dry, winter skin?
Heaters and split-systems (as wonderful as they are) actually sap moisture from the air. This process then dries up your skin’s natural oils and promotes moisture loss.
To combat this effect, pick up a humidifier to replace the moisture lost from your indoor heating systems. This will support your skin’s moisture levels and also ease any sinus problems you might be having. Double whammy!
And finally, listen to your body. Pay attention to the signs it gives you and make an effort to nourish it daily with delicious and healthy foods, decadent beauty rituals and soothing self-care tactics like meditation and yoga.
This gorgeous little vessel is the only body we have and it deserves as much love and attention as the rest of our wellbeing.
Happy snowball throwing season, beautiful!
Cass Lane is the owner and copywriter at Wild Spirit Co., a creative copywriting agency devoted to helping soulful small businesses, entrepreneurs and bloggers find their voice and communicate their brand with confidence.
She’s also the happy Editor-in-Chief of Happiness + Wellbeing Magazine, a monthly digital mag available on the Apple App Store and via the H+W online store.
You can connect with her on social media at @WildSpiritCo and @HappyWellMag.