I'm Heading to the Snow—11 Products I'm Bringing to Protect My Skin

The best skin products for cold weather

Photo:

@nitsanraiter

One thing about me is I have super-sensitive skin—with a touch of mild rosacea, it's very easily irritated. I've written about my skin journey countless times on here as I've tested redness-reducing products, various treatments, and sensitive skin–friendly routines. Thankfully, after much trial and error, I've zeroed in on a skincare routine that helps me maintain a calm complexion. However, we're now entering the time of year that throws a wrench in even the most well-rehearsed skincare routines: ski season.

Snowfall, wind, and chilly mountain temperatures wreak havoc on even the most even-keeled complexions, so for sensitive skin, it's basically setting yourself up for disaster. But since I don't plan on hanging up my skis anytime soon, I set out on a mission to figure out a routine that would keep irritation at bay. I tapped my esthetician (and most trusted skin advisor) Vanessa Hernandez for her advice. "My cold-weather must haves are cream cleansers, face oils, nourishing creams, and hydrating masks," Vanessa explained. "It’s all about layering! The way you would layer your clothes under a winter coat is exactly what you would want to do with your skincare—more is better. Cleanser, serum, oil, moisturize, eye cream, SPF, lip balm."

Taking her advice to heart, I focused on a few key products and unlocked the perfect layering routine to keep my skin nourished. This routine is a combination of products I apply before heading out for the day and a few I use afterward to recover from hours in the elements. So as I get ready to head to the snow for my first ski trip of the year, I thought I'd share the products that help save my skin, in case you're a fellow member of the Sensitive Skin Club or could just use some recommendations. Below are the 11 best skin products for cold weather that I would truly be lost without. 

BEFORE SKIING

This is my holy-grail serum—it's full of powerful antioxidants to help treat and heal rosacea, which after a day on the slopes would be in full flare-up mode without it. The olive leaf extract works with the vitamin C to provide maximum antioxidant protection while the zinc reduces inflammation. I know it's pricey, but it's worth every cent in my opinion because of the immediate, visible difference I notice in the redness and inflammation of my skin. I always apply this one before heading out for a day on the mountain. 

To help reduce redness and keep my skin looking and feeling calmer all day, I apply this gel on top of my serums. Powered by hyaluronic acid, cucumber, thyme, and olive leaf extract, this gel hydrates skin while reducing irritation. 

To maximize hydration, I layer my favorite oil under my moisturizer. The Elaluz Beauty Oil is my hero product, with 100% plant-based ingredients that increase hydration, protect the outer layer of skin, and help repair your skin barrier. Plus it gives you the prettiest lit-from-within glow.

After I apply all of my serums, this is my staple moisturizer. The Ultra Repair Cream contains colloidal oatmeal, which helps hydrate and soothe dry, irritated skin and even calms down eczema flare-ups. I just started getting patches of eczema around my nose (which appears when the temperatures drop), and this moisturizer has made the biggest difference for me. 

Of course, SPF is a must for a day on the mountain—the sun reflects off the snow, so it's especially important to use sun protection when skiing. I've been using this one for years because there's no white cast, and it doesn't leave me feeling too oily. 

Finally, an oldie but goodie—Aquaphor simply can't be beat. I always apply a thick layer to my lips before embarking into the cold, and I also like to put a little around my nose or anywhere else the wind might irritate throughout the day. I keep this one in my jacket pocket at all times to reapply throughout the day, and there's just nothing better. 

AFTER SKIING

After a day outside, the first thing I do is wash my face with this cream cleanser. This gel-to-cream cleanser gently removes makeup and impurities but won't strip your skin in the process. It also supports the skin barrier and leaves skin hydrated—which is everything you want from a cleanser in the mountains. 

Next comes one of the best feelings—I apply this soothing green mask and let the botanicals calm my irritated skin instantly. The blend of olive leaf extract, hyaluronic acid, and dipeptides provides immediate relief to sensitive skin, soothes discomfort, and counteracts any redness. Leave it on for 20 minutes, and your skin will thank you. 

For an après-ski pick-me-up, these soothing masks provide a major dose of hydration. Plus they're filled with collagen, which will help plump up your skin after a day on the slopes.

When I need to calm my skin down and provide a boost of hydration, this is my go-to. It contains Centella asiatica, which is a healing antioxidant that helps soothe and nourish sensitive skin, plus vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration. It provides a cooling sensation upon application, which sounds counterintuitive in the snow but helps instantly calm my skin down from any wind irritation after a day on the mountain. I'll use this before and after a day of skiing, and my skin is so grateful.  

It's all in the name. This is my secret weapon for recovery when my skin is feeling extra irritated—the thick balm can be applied anywhere the skin is feeling particularly raw, and it works miracles. I always apply around my nose, chin, and forehead after a day of wind whipping at my face and wake up to happy, soothed skin. I'll sometimes stick this in my ski jacket pocket on harsher days to apply throughout the day to problem areas, and it acts as a shield between the wind and my skin. For my fellow eczema girlies, this also works wonders when you're having a flare-up. 

Shop more skin-nourishing products:

The best skin products for cold weather

Photo:

@claire_most

This super oil is packed with 22 nutrient rich botanicals, vitamins, minerals, omegas, fatty acids and it’s amazing for all skin types. Layer it under your moisturizer for seriously nourished skin. 

This oil is just heavenly—it locks in moisture and leaves your skin feeling like you just left the spa. 

Another facial oil I love is this one from Mara. It's full of clean ingredients, and it locks in moisture without leaving you feeling greasy. 

We all know hyaluronic acid is the key to hydrated skin, and you can't beat the price point of this one from The Ordinary. 

Protect your skin barrier (which helps keep moisture in) with this botanical-packed serum. 

Similar to its Hydra-Cool Serum, this mask from IS Clinical provides a cooling effect that instantly soothes irritated skin. It's packed with hyaluronic acid and rosemary leaf to boost hydration while calming inflammation. 

If you're looking for a sunscreen that doesn't leave you looking shiny, this is for you. The lightweight formula has a silky matte finish so you can wear under makeup with no worries of residue. 

I love this tinted sunscreen from Bluemercury brand M-61. I took this one with me to Europe over the summer, and it provides a bit of light coverage and a non-greasy finish—which is everything you want in an SPF. 

There's a reason this one has a cult following. Apply this lip mask on before bed and wake up to soft, hydrated lips. 

Dry mountain air requires a moisturizer that deeply hydrates and helps barrier function. This one does both, plus the texture is divine. 

This is one of my all-time-favorite moisturizers. It provides rich hydration plus calming benefits thanks to ingredients like vitamin B5, jasmine flower, and edelweiss extract. 

If you're looking for a clean product that provides rich hydration, look no further than this one from Biossance. Formulated with squalane and lipids, it delivers a boost of moisture while protecting the skin barrier.