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Winter Beauty Hitlist: How To Keep Your Skin Hydrated This Season

Winter can wreak havoc on even the most calm, even skin—but it’s not a lost cause. While it may take a little more work to keep your skin dewy and glowing in the winter, it is possible. The key is to find methods that keep your skin hydrated. 

Exactly What Causes Dry Skin

Dry skin happens when your epidermis (that protective outer layer of skin) fails to hold onto moisture. A lot of things can cause this to happen—age, sun damage, irritating chemicals—but in winter especially, one of the main culprits is low humidity. When temps start to drop, so do humidity levels, zapping your skin of much-needed moisture.

Unfortunately, staying indoors won’t do you much good either. Heat also reduces humidity, so whether you’re sitting around a fire or cranking your furnace, you could be drying out your skin even more. Add strong, bitter-cold winds and UV-reflecting snow and you have a recipe for rough, irritated skin. 

We also don’t do ourselves any favors in the winter. Sure, jumping from your warm bed into a long, hot shower feels good in the moment, but high-temp water can further strip moisture from your skin. Alcohol is another common offender—it can be all too easy to overindulge during the winter months, whether it’s mulled wine while making the holiday party rounds or hot toddies to ward off the February blues. But because alcohol is a diuretic, it causes you to lose water, something you definitely don’t want when your skin is already depleted.

But there are a few things you can do to replenish parched skin, and starting with a smart skincare routine. By layering the right products in the right order (typically from lightest to thickest), you’ll not only restore hydration levels, but also heal your skin’s moisture barrier and protect it long-term. Check out the skincare products that deserve a starring role in your winter arsenal.

A Hyaluronic Acid Serum

While a clean moisturizer is necessary for proper hydration (more on that below), it’s not always enough on its own, especially if your skin is extra parched. Apply a hyaluronic acid serum after cleansing, while your skin is still damp, and you can add a much-needed boost of hydration—and help you get even more out of your moisturizer.

Ghost Democracy's Floodgate Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Ghost Democracy Floodgate Hyaluronic Acid Serum, $34

Famous for its ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that pulls moisture into your skin like a sponge. Floodgate Hyaluronic Acid Serum uses three different weights of HA for maximum penetration and long-lasting hydration. Not only that, but it also contains niacinamide (vitamin B3), which tells your body to produce more ceramides and fatty acids to lock in moisture and strengthen your skin’s natural barrier. Linden flower extract can help soothe winter redness, while white tea leaf protects your vulnerable skin from free radicals and sun damage.


A Clean Moisturizer

A lot of moisturizers contain filler ingredients like silicone, which feels silky and moisturizing, but doesn’t actually do much for your skin long-term. In fact, silicone may do more harm than good, since it can trap oil and dirt, and prevent other products from penetrating the skin (not great for multistep skincare routines).

Ghost Democracy's Clean Lightweight Daily Face Moisturizer

Ghost Democracy Clean Lightweight Daily Face Moisturizer, $28 

Instead, look for a clean moisturizer that contains high concentrations of non-irritating, active ingredients. The aptly named Clean Lightweight Daily Face Moisturizer packs effective, natural components like oat seed extract, which calms itchy skin and strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier, and niacinamide, which also reinforces that protective layer.

But perhaps the coolest thing about the Clean moisturizer is that it contains an unusually high concentration of probiotics. Yep, probiotics: the same way probiotics in fermented foods like kimchi and kombucha improve your gut health, probiotics in your beauty products can help improve your skin’s microbiome. Which means that, unlike creams that deliver temporary relief, the Clean moisturizer can actually improve the overall health of your skin, which, in turn, leads to less dryness and irritation. 

A Hydrating Eye Cream

Unfortunately, a clean moisturizer won’t cut it when it comes to your under-eyes. That area tends to be thinner, more delicate, and more sensitive than the rest of your face, making it especially susceptible to dryness, irritation, and signs of aging. 

Ghost Democracy's Boomerang Firming Eye Concentrate

Ghost Democracy Boomerang Firming Eye Concentrate, $30

Dabbing on a super-hydrating eye cream like Boomerang Firming Eye Concentrate will not only keep dark circles at bay, but also smooth fine lines and reduce puffiness, which tend to show up when your skin is dry and dehydrated (a.k.a. all the time in the winter). What makes this eye cream extra great is that it contains multiple hydrating ingredients (amino acids, mallow flower extract, niacinamide) and bakuchiol, a natural alternative to retinol that won’t further irritate your weather-worn skin. 

A Nutrient-Rich Facial Oil

If your skin is generally pretty balanced, you can probably get away with just a clean moisturizer in the warmer months. But in the winter, pretty much everyone can benefit from a little extra TLC in the form of a nourishing facial oil. 

Ghost Democracy's Softglow Facial Oil

Ghost Democracy Softglow Facial Oil, $38

Many facial oils contain essential oils, which sounds great in theory, but can actually be very irritating, especially if your skin is already unhappy. Softglow Facial Oil, on the other hand, uses a trifecta of hydrating superpowers: cloudberry oil, which is rich in antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; cottonseed oil, which softens and soothes; and meadowfoam oil, which repairs your outer layer to prevent moisture loss.

Next Up: Your Guide To Choosing the Best Vitamin C Serum For Your Skin