Let’s face it: some seasons just look better than others. Sun-kissed skin, dewy and fresh—that’s not a winter phenomenon. Even unruly hair air dries best in warmer months, revealing natural, bouncy texture, while winter is infamous for dry, split strands. Tight, lean beach bodies are everywhere in the summer; winter bodies take comfort in pounds (and we’re not talking currency).
But what if seasonal trends served to challenge us rather than confine us to weather-dictated beauty? Last year, a whopping 6.5 million viewers tuned in to catch bronzy, glowing, tight bodied Victoria’s Secret models strut the runway in mid-November, sparking epiphanies everywhere (at least here at Charlotte’s Book)—can we, in fact, look like summer year round?
We checked in with a few CB friends and experts to compile this list of winter-be-damned advice: get glowing!
In the winter, dead skin cells will show up as a flaky, thick buildup on the skin (yum) due to dry skin’s reduced ability to shed as quickly. Buffing the skin can help, but over-exfoliating can do more damage than good by stripping the skin of its own protective layer. Unprotected skin = breakouts.
CB expert aesthetician and national treasure Jordana Mattioli says, “The Clarisonic with the soft ‘sensitive skin’ brush head is safe for everyone, or even a soft muslin cloth. Use the Clarisonic with your cleanser for a few seconds, then rinse off. Also—don’t forget your lips! I also recommend using an exfoliant in the form of an enzyme, or hydroxy acid mask for a much deeper and more even exfoliation—but only twice a week.”
If you’re considering a treatment like dermaplaning, a light peel, or a Clear + Brilliant, be sure to consider your skin type and choose carefully. “Dermaplaning isn’t the best option for everyone. It removes dead skin, but superficially. I only recommend it for skin types that also want to remove the peach fuzz, otherwise I prefer light peels with no downtime,” says Jordana.
Jordana’s recommended in-office winter treatment? A Clear + Brilliant laser session followed by a hydrating facial one week later. “If done once a month over the winter, this combo really helps keep the skin radiant.”
For summer hair year round, we asked Charlotte’s Book subscriber and celebrity hairstylist Shaylee Blatz for her insider tips on how to achieve that Victoria’s Secret model bounce and shine, pre- and post-wash.
“Over washing your hair can add to the dryness, so try adding dry shampoo to your routine and wash every other day,” says Shaylee. “I personally love Unite’s 7 Seconds Refresher.”
Shaylee also recommends getting a shower head with a filter.
“Hard water is very common so it’s important to invest in a good shower head, one with a filter that can remove all the hard water minerals that leave hair dull. Raindrops is my favorite, and can be attached to most shower heads. This will also help with your skin as well!”
In the winter, hair loses moisture— and less moisture means less shine. For moisture that lasts beyond your conditioner, Shaylee recommends masking weekly (she swears by Trader Joe’s coconut oil for a simple DIY home mask), and, a very good serum.
“I highly recommend using Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil by Oribe,” says Shaylee. “It is a light oil that will instantly restore dry hair to its prime, adding incredible shine. It’s like liquid gold!”
It’s also important to dry your hair before leaving the house, because cold weather can freeze and damage the delicate strands—but don’t blow dry your hair! That’ll build static and dryness for extra breakage. How to achieve those beachy waves, then?
“For Gisele Bündchen beach waves mid-winter, use a light curl cream before drying,” says Shaylee, “Build once hair is dry with a good beach spray for a piecey beach look—it’s very simple and less damaging.”
This is perhaps the best advice you’ll get this winter, straight from health coach Holli Thompson: “It’s so simple, but a lot of people forget to drink water in the winter. A few cups of tea isn’t going to do it. Increase your water intake to at least 64 ounces a day, and in three days, look in the mirror. You’ll see a difference. It will immediately plump your skin cells, giving a more beautiful tone to your skin.”
“Add some lemon to your water whenever you can to balance your body’s PH, which makes it more alkaline,” she adds. “A lot of people tend to eat more acidic foods during the winter, so lemon water helps to counteract that.” (Yes, lemon is acidic, but after your body has processed it, it becomes alkalizing. Magic.)
CB expert Dr. Elizabeth Hale says, “I have a lot of soup for lunch in the winter to increase my fluid intake. As always, I recommend an anti-oxidant rich, colorful diet, full of fruits and vegetables, to boost your skin’s natural defenses.”
Did you know that a face cleansing oil will cleanse the dirt off your skin WITHOUT stripping your skin of its natural oils? And since winter skin needs its oils so desperately, we recommend replacing your go-to cleanser with a good cleansing oil like SK-II Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil, Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil, or Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil.
Once skin is clean and partly dry use your favorite moisturizer and then a face oil—not the other way around. The oil will help trap in the moisture and keep it from dissipating. “The reason you shouldn’t use it directly on the skin is because our skin requires both oil AND water,” say CB expert contributor Renée Rouleau.
“All moisturizers are formulated with ingredients that deliver these two ingredients [oil and water] that benefit the skin, whereas skin oils only provide oil. When you use moisturizer over the oil, the beneficial ingredients will not be able to penetrate the skin effectively because the oil will act as a barrier,” she explains.
In addition to colder, drier outside air, indoor air is stripped of all moisture by heating systems. And because we spend most of our winters indoors, our skin, along with our mucous membranes, are most prone to drying out. This means chapped lips, dry noses, and dry throat.
“It’s obvious that going outside into the cold, brisk air can be drying, but even worse for your skin is the dry, overheated indoor environment you sleep and work in,” says CB skincare expert Joanna Vargas.
They can be a nuisance, but humidifiers (even the miniature ones!) will not only alleviate respiratory system ailments but also help revitalize your skin through the night if left on. You’ll wake up with skin that looks supple, and you’ll also notice a big difference on chapped lips and dry hands and soles. Invest in one for every room of the house—we love these tiny travel versions, too.
Why not fake it until you make it to June? If you go the self-tanner route, Sophie Evans, St. Tropez’s celebrity tanning expert, recommends selecting a tanner that will build over time for the face—try CB Expert Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha/Beta Glow Pads. For the body, a mousse or a gel for normal skin (St. Tropez Express Bronzing Mousse), or for dry skin, a lotion or oil (Clarins Self Tanning Milk). In applying self tanners, prep is everything—exfoliate thoroughly. Remember to apply with a glove, and for best results, repeat the procedure weekly.
A great way to add glow and sparkle without the hassle of self-tanners is with a bronzer. After applying makeup and SPF, add a light reflector/highlighter. “Try the one Gisele actually uses! The RMS Beauty Living Luminizer,” says Jordana. “Dab inside corners of eyes, under brow bone, and on top of cheekbones.”