Ever look out your office window, mid-winter, and feel a sinking sense of blah? Why is it dark enough to be cocktail hour at 2pm? And on that note, why are we not sipping on cocktails at 2pm? A feeling of despair due to winter darkness is a real thing, but Canadians are far from the only ones suffering. Getting through the dreary season is made easier with some products and treatments, and thanks to a few friends from similarly frozen nations around the world, we’ve gathered a few tips and tricks to keep us cushy ’til spring. Click through for winter beauty rituals from around the world, from Russia to Morocco to Japan.
Ksenia Makhaniova, Spa Administrator at the Purovel SPA & Sport at the Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy Moscow
During the winter, I really love a chocolate body wrap. Chocolate can increase your sense of happiness and well-being, which everyone needs a boost of in the cold, dark months. (According to the Medical Wellness Association, “Chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins, natural hormones produced by the brain, that generates feelings of pleasure and promotes a sense of well being.”)
The treatment not only lifts your spirits, but also makes skin really soft, supple and boosts its natural glow thanks to the chocolate’s nourishing properties. It also increases circulation, so you’ll look and feel good enough to eat!
Another popular treatment for wintertime is a paraffin wax manicure. Starting with an exfoliating scrub to get rid of dry, dead skin, we then use a rich mask to soften and condition hands. After that, the paraffin wax treatment is applied. Paraffin wax is extra important in the winter as its thermotherapy increases circulation and helps renew tissue, and deeply moisturizes from the inside out.
Mélissa Sfredda, half-French, half-Luxembourger beauty aficionado
Although Luxembourg doesn’t have extremely cold temperatures in the winter, I still need to switch up my beauty routine and add extra moisturizing products. My hands get especially dry, and Neutrogena’s Original Hand Cream is the absolute best. Rich in super-moisturizing glycerin, this highly concentrated cream instantly soothes and hydrates my hands.
For my lips, I love French favourite Nuxe’s Rêve de Miel Lip Balm. A winter staple, this delicious honey and grapefruit-scented balm is rich and repairs even the driest and most delicate lips.
Another winter must-have for me is Clarins Delectable Self-Tanning Mousse. It’s nice to have a natural-looking glow in the winter, and this makes skin the perfect shade of tan without looking at all fake. The mousse is also really beautiful to apply; it feels really light, smells divine and moisturizes skin, too. You can also use it anywhere, on the face or body, which is another reason why I like it better than other self-tanning products.
Line Schrøder, PR and marketing manager, and Jasmin Jacobsen, a skin therapist at Artesia Spa & Skincare in Olso
During the cold and dry winter in Norway, it’s especially important to re-hydrate skin, so we like to use products and have treatments that focus on moisturizing and protecting the skin from cold weather and snow.
We especially like using rich facial creams, hydrating serums, or even facial oils, paying special attention to skin at night when the skin repairs itself best. The Lagoon series from Carita is one of our favourites, as are the rich facial creams and hydrating serums from Elizabeth Arden PRO.
At the spa, we love our Artesia Facial, which is tailored to each client’s individual needs. Generally, during the winter, we incorporate extra hydrating products, mainly from Murad. And we always stress the importance of an at-home program post-treatment to achieve the best and longest-lasting results.
There’s no point in spending hundreds of dollars (or kroners, as we use here) on treatments if you don’t continue to care for your skin everyday. It would be like going to the gym and running on a treadmill for an hour once a month, and expecting to run a marathon in a few weeks. It doesn’t work like that! A good hydrating boost you can do at home is Carita’s Biological mask. It’s very moisturizing and really makes skin glow; perfect for a Christmas party complexion boost.
Above all, we also remember that the skin is a reflection of your insides, so we make sure to eat healthy and drink lots of water to hydrate from the inside out.
Linda Dong, Designer
While living in Japan, my absolute favorite go-to product for keeping my skin hydrated and soft in the winter was Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion. Its ingredients actually help absorb other lotions you layer on top of it, so on really dry winter days, I would apply this lotion and then put on a Japanese face mask (SK-II’s was one of my favourites) and the lotion would help pull all the extra goodness into my skin.
I love removing makeup with cleansing oil because it’s so gentle and moisturizing for my face, as opposed to the harsh and drying alcohol cleansers, and Three Balancing Cleansing Oil is my favourite. I liked how Three sources it’s cleansing oil from all-natural organic ingredients found only in Japan. I used this paired with a Japanese Konjac sponge to gently exfoliate my face.
To keep my hair smooth and hydrated during the winter without weighing it down, I used Shiseido’s Tsubaki Damage Care Shampoo and Conditioner. It has Camellia oil, otherwise known as green tea oil, which is a very popular Japanese skincare ingredient and it smells fantastic.
On really cold days, my favourite thing to do was go to an onsen (hot springs) and soak in the hot mineral water for a couple of hours, it was the perfect way to warm up and left my skin really soft and lovely. I try to replicate that now with a long soak in the tub using Japanese bath salts, like Bath Roman Yakusen Japanese Bath Salts.
Neli Korkinova, product junkie
For my naturally curly hair, I like to use MOA Argan+ Hair Treatment, which is extra moisturizing in the dry winter season — it’s formulated with Melaleuca, Omega-3 and Argan Oil for a triple dose of hair nutrition. My hair feels soft, easy to style and maintains a natural look and feel after using it.
Because I have normal to combination skin, I don’t need to go crazy with heavy face creams. Once a week during the winter, I just replace my night cream with coconut oil, which is very popular in Bulgaria at the moment.
For my lips, I love Greenland’s lip balm. It’s a Dutch brand that uses all natural ingredients in their products. This lip balm’s formula is made with cocoa butter, jojoba oil, Shea butter and beeswax to nurture and hydrate lips. They have a lot of yummy flavours; right now I’m using the papaya one.
One thing that does need extra care in the winter for me is my skin. To fight dry skin on my body, I use Cattier Paris Beurre de Karité Honey Fragrance. It’s made with 100 % organic shea butter, and it’s suitable for your face, hair and hands. It keeps my skin soft and elastic, and I also use it as my hand cream.
Marcela Ortega, Head of Tierra Atacama’s Spa
During the winter, the night’s here get pretty cold, and being in the desert means year-round dryness. To combat this during the harshest season, I love a full-body scrub, followed by a yellow clay mud mask, a local thermal mud rich in minerals.
In Chile, we are lucky to have mineral-rich crystal salts that are extracted from mines in the Atacama Desert. 100% natural, they gently scrub away dry, dead skin cells. Exfoliating is especially important in the winter to reveal the softer skin underneath. It also preps skin to better absorb moisture, which is why we use yellow clay right after the salt scrub.
Chilean yellow clay is extremely good at moisturizing skin, as it has hydrating and restorative properties. But it does so much more than that: it’s highly concentrated and nutrient-dense, which allows the clay to improve circulation, tone and tighten skin, relax muscles and alleviate joint pain, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Dry, tired, winter skin is restored and has the ability to retain moisture.
Touria, a sales assistant, and Mbarka, a hammam therapist at the Kasbah Tamadot
Touria: I start my mornings every day by washing my face with warm water, then rinsing with cold water to firm my skin. After washing in the winter, I apply a rose cream all over my clean face and use a little sunscreen, too; the rose cream is extra moisturizing in the colder months, and sunscreen is important in Morocco all year round.
To seal in hydration when it’s cold, I apply sweet almond oil, which is a great source of nurturing Vitamin E, all over and gently massage it in to my skin. Once a week, I apply Argan oil — it’s very rich, so once a week is enough to reap its replenishing and softening benefits. Also done weekly, I apply a homemade mask for my rosacea. I mix some milk powder with cucumber juice and leave it on my skin for 30 minutes. It helps soothe my skin and reduce redness.
Mbarka: I work in the hammam, so I need to moisturize my skin, face often— dryness is exaggerated in the winter when I’m in the hammam all the time. In the morning, I wash my face with a lavender soap, followed by patting on a little Argan oil. I do the same at night, and I apply the oil all over my body and a tiny bit in my hair to help keep my skin and hair nourished in the drying winter.
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