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The winter grooming guide

The winter grooming guide

Winter is your skin’s worst enemy, thanks to the twin threats of freezing weather and central heating. Together they chap lips, redden cheeks and parch skin, but with the right tools, you can undo the damage. We’ve rounded up our favourite winter-beating grooming products, ranging from zero-effort to a complete skin overhaul. So whether you’ve only just turned your radiators on, or you’ve just trekked across the Arctic, there’s something to bring you back to your handsome best.

1. A moisturiser with SPF

The sun’s not strong enough to burn you right now, but it can still do a number on your face. UVA and UVB radiation causes around 90 per cent of the visible signs of ageing – think wrinkles and sagging skin – according to the World Health Organisation. And unfortunately, these wily blighters aren’t stopped by clouds, fog or even horizontal rain.

The fix is easy, though – wear sunscreen (look for an SPF above 30 to make sure you’re covered all day). To make things even simpler, US brand Anthony adds its protection to a nourishing moisturiser, which means no excuse for forgetting. Its Day Cream packs a one-two punch that prevents ageing and dryness. “It keeps your skin fully hydrated, while defending against winter UVA and UVB damage,” says grooming expert Steven O’Neill. Win-win.

2. An eye cream to counter long nights

Maybe you hit party season too hard, or perhaps it’s just long shifts as you try to clear your desk before the office closes, but in winter exhaustion shows up around your eyes. The skin there is particularly thin, which means the weather (or a few too many mulled wines) imprints itself quickly as crow’s feet or eye bags.

The solution is a lightweight eye cream with a heavyweight effect, like Baxter’s Under Eye Complex, which uses natural ingredients including aloe vera and gingko to counter puffiness and dark circles. Smear on after a late night to look fresh-faced, even if you don’t feel it. 

3. The fix for rain-ruined hair

Winter’s bad news for your hair, for a few reasons. First, the constant switching between chilly streets and hot buildings dries it out, which can make it feel like straw. Second, styling products either collapse the second it rains, or get matted when you wear a hat. The answer to both is a trip to the beach.

Sea salt spray, as the name suggests, gives your hair that just-out-of-the-sea texture. Downpours can’t ruin it, because as soon as your hair dries out you can just restyle it with your hands. And unlike gels or pastes, it doesn’t need washing out every day, which means you won’t strip away your hair’s moisturising oils with shampoo. Sachajuan’s Ocean Mist will also thicken thinning hair without weighing it down, so it’s perfect if you’re seeing more scalp than you’re used to.

4. An overnight MOT

Arctic winds are no fun for your skin, but in winter, the real damage is caused indoors. Central heating sucks all the water out of the air, which in turn saps all the moisture from your face, making it feel dry and tight. Moisturising in the morning helps, but like your brain, your face recharges best when you’re at rest.

Skin cells regenerate at night, so if you’re in need of heavy-duty moisture, you should add it before bed. The Balancing Facial Oil from all-natural Spanish brand Alex Carro is pricey, but a couple of drops will coat your entire face in ingredients that don’t just repair daytime damage, but also stop the desert-like air in your bedroom leaching water as you sleep. “It’s like plugging your skin in to recharge overnight,” says O’Neill.

5. A dose of self-defence

If all else fails, heal your winter-ravaged face from the inside out. Antioxidants like vitamin C work on a cellular level, repairing DNA that’s been mangled by everything from pollution to booze. They’re often quite unstable, though, which means you can’t just wash your face in orange juice. You need a made-for-purpose product.

Hylamide’s vitamin C booster does two jobs; helps cells regenerate and stimulates collagen, which is the stuff that makes your skin plump and taut. “It quite literally coats the face in a defensive layer of antioxidants to defend against the elements,” says O’Neill. Result? Lines and wrinkles are smoothed out and your skin looks bright, not as dull as cloudy skies.

Words: Tom Banham
Photography: Chris Howlett
Styling: Freddie Kemp