Is your face SAD? Most of us have heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder, the effect that a long, dark winter, lack of sunshine and cold weather has on our moods, but it can also have catastrophic effect on your skin, hair and body too. At HELLO! we call this SAD face, but what can you do about it?
The answer is really easy; exfoliate, hydrate and tint your way to a happier place. It sounds superfluous, but a grey tired face, flyaway dehydrated hair and split ends, and skin that resembles more snake than human will only serve to leave you feeling sad inside and out, so here are our solutions - and they work quickly, because who has the time to wait for results right?
Shed That Skin
Exfoliation really is the key to smoother, fresher and brighter skin. At this time of year this can require more than a muslin cloth and grainy scrub so try the PMD Personal Microderm, £135, visit pmdbeauty.com. It mimics the salon treatment is a suction tube and abrasive tip that sloughs away surface dead cells then sucks them up. It’s great for oily skin, clogged pores and a grey sluggish complexion - but it’s powerful to be proceed with care and caution.
If you want to try a product rather than a gadget then opt for lactic acid and azelaic acid as both dissolve surface skin cells that are dead and grey and making your skin look dull, but are gentle enough to be used at night and left on whilst you sleep. My favourites are The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, £5.50, visit theoridnaries.com and Sunday Riley Good Genes, £85, from Space NK, a lactic acid overnight treatment that hydrates as it exfoliates.
Some beauty aficionados swear by oils for your skin, others say that it encourages long term dryness, what we know is that in an emergency nothing soothes like an oil on dry, cracked and post winter skin. But what to try? Coconut and Argan oils can be very thick and gunky so why not try a lighter, more modern hybrid oil/serum? Leading the way, unsurprisingly for the beauty giant that brought out the first serum ever Advanced Night Repair, is Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Recovery Mask-In-Oil, £55, an overnight sleep in oil/serum hybrid that is perfect for people that don’t like the heaviness of traditional oils. Meanwhile Arden have updated their best selling Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules, £19. The aim is to supply omega oils, natural moisturising factors that already form in the skin but are lost as we age, and skin identical ceramides (the glue that holds skin cells together so that they in turn hold in more water). I also recommend Bareminerals Eternalixir Skin-Volumizing Oil Serum, £38, visit bareminerals.co.uk.
Anything that adds a hint of a tint to your skin can help you to fake your way to spring; tinted skin primers/serums and drops that you mix into your skin care can add just enough colour to make you look like your face has at least seen the sun in the past three months. Some antioxidants give a flattering tint to the skin so can protect at the same time. The drops you mix into your moisturiser, serum or even your foundation in the palm of your hand then apply to your face. And if you are worried these won’t work on darker skin tones, don’t panic that add a healthy glow to all skin shades. Try Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, £36, in a brilliant 20 shades, from Space NK; ZO Skin Health Ossential Daily Powder Defence, £113, visit zo-skinhealth.co.uk, which is not only a powerful antioxidant serum it gives skin a flattering hint of a faux tan glow too; This Works Perfect Look Skin Miracle, £28; and Clarins Super Restorative Tinted Cream, £45.
Flyaway, winter frizzy hair is caused by the dry air. The secret is to put the moisture back into your hair and seal it there. Redken now have a very clever in-salon treatment called HeatCure, that adds much needed moisture to dehydrated and damaged hair and then seals it in with a super lightweight wax and a heated straightener. This means that the treatment lasts for up to ten washes. They also have Redken HeatCure Self Heating Hair Mask, £19.99, visit redken.co.uk, the most clever self-heating hair masks to DIY at home and carry on the treatment. Also look out for keratin rich masks and blow dry creams. I love Joico K-Pak Lustre Lock, £17.45, from lookfantastic.com, which is everything you want from a deep treat conditioner at this time of year and it works in the time it takes to shave your legs and underarms; and L’Oréal Professionnel Pro-Keratin Protective Cream, £15.50, for the smoothest, most frizz free and flyaway free blow dry, but a little goes a long way.
I say shins, but really these creams work on any dry body skin and that includes elbows, arms, and even feet – but it seems that it is your shins that first take on the snake effect at this time of year. Try not to slather on unguent creams and instead opt for an exfoliating lotion or cream that works whilst you sleep. Lactic, Glycolic and Salicylic Acids and Retinols all work on your face so why not use them on your hands, legs and arms? Try Ameliorate Skin Smoothing Body Lotion, £17.50, visit ameliorate-skincare.com, a lactic acid body lotion that is second to none on dry shins and legs post winter; Paula’s Choice Resists 10% AHA Body Lotion, £29.50, visit paulaschoice.co.uk; and Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Body Cream, £9.99, from Boots.
The Gloves are On
Finally in a dry skin emergency try a silicone lined sock or glove – they work in thirty minutes but for best results sleep in them. They contain no active ingredients, they simply seal in the warm moist air so that your skin hydrates from within – they are mini miracle workers for your extremities. For hands try Borghese Spa Mani Gloves, £29.30, from feelunique.com; Bliss Glamour Gloves, £39, which also come in a sock version for smoother toes and for dry cracked heels, I highly recommend Barefeet by Margaret Dabbs Treatment Night Socks, £9.50 from M&S Beauty.
Read more in HELLO! magazine, out now.