Though we will always have a strong affection for winter fashion (hello, knit sweaters), there is nothing more exhilarating than the process of updating our bathroom counters with a fresh supply of winter skincare. In attempt to get ahead of the season, we spoke to skincare expert, Melanie Grant, about one of the most confusing winter skincare topics: cleansing.

As we transition into colder weather, “the drop in humidity and cold temperatures combined with heating and hot showers can lead to drier skin. Our skin also produces less oil in winter, contributing to dryness and dehydration. Your skin becomes more sensitive in winter due to the decrease in it’s oil production”, Melanie Grant, skin-whisperer of the stars, says.

Rehabilitating angry, wind-blown skin no longer has to feel like a losing battle…

Melanie assures us there are simple steps we can all take towards preventing dry and flakey skin. Her first piece of advice: “Always adjust your regime according to the season. For the cooler months swap your gel cleanser for a more nourishing oil or milk cleanser. Trade lightweight gels and lotions for richer more occlusive creams to seal the skin and lock the moisture in.” We recommend leaving your skin radiant and moisturised with the cleansers from Chanel’s new Cleansing Collection. It’s not only about having the right products, it’s how you use them. “Layer hydrating serums and nourishing face oils under your moisturiser and decrease the strength of your actives such as aha’s and retinoids.”

“What we eat makes such an impact on our skin…

Increase your intake of essential fatty acids by eating more oily fish, avocado, activated nuts and seeds, and try swapping coffee and red wine for water and herbal tea.” Another winter skincare commandment? Be aware of your environment. “Excessive exposure to air-conditioning and heating will deplete your skin of it’s natural oils and moisture. Counteract this by placing a humidifier in your home office, this will inject moisture back into the air and never sleep with your aircon or heater running at night. Avoid really long, hot showers, and replace body wash and soap for a cleansing shower and bath oil, and moisturise your body as soon as you get out.”

Choosing the correct cleanser for your skin is essential…

But how do we know which cleanser is best for our skin? “A gel cleanser cuts through surface oil and deep cleans without leaving residue on the skin. A cream cleanser is a non-foaming, cream based cleanser usually made up of occlusive ingredients such as bees wax or mineral oil.” Similarly, an oil cleanser “works on the basis of like attracts like, an oil cleanser is attracted to other oils such as your own sebum or the oil in your makeup helping to draw these impurities out of the skin.” For winter, “a nourishing oil, cream or milk cleanser is generally best as they emulsify dirt, oil, pollution and debris, giving a deep cleanse without stripping the skin or impairing it’s barrier.”

“I recommend a gentle cleanse in the morning with a micellar water or milk cleanser…

For the evening a pre cleanse with an oil cleanser to remove makeup, sunscreen and dirt followed by a second cleanse with a cleanser suited to your skin type.” Also note, the frequency of how often you wash your face will be different for everyone. If you have a toner that has become a counter staple, go ahead and keep using it – if not, don’t stress too much about adding this extra step. “I think most cleansers perform well enough these days negating the need for a toner. I do like balancing lotions such as P50 by Biologique Recherche that balance the PH of the skin as well as chemically exfoliate, brighten and hydrate.”


Stronger is not always better when it comes to fighting acne…

If you haven’t experienced the dreaded, dry skin breakout – consider yourself lucky. When faced with an uncomfortably painful pimple, “try using a BHA serum or spot treatment to deep clean and decongest the skin without causing dryness or irritation. It’s important not to use harsh or drying products as the skin will respond by producing more oil to compensate. Efficient, regular cleansing and gentle exfoliation combined with a diet rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin B and zinc with also help.”

Her other winter skincare guidelines?

How often you use scrubs will depend on your skin type, you may like to reduce the frequency of use to once a week. Choose hydrating serums and oils over retinol or AHA serums. Avoid foaming cleansers in winter, as they can dry your skin out. Lastly, decrease the strength or frequency of acids use to avoid irritation or sensitivity.

Story by Molly Gay. Photography by Daniel Hilburn. Interview with Melanie Grant.

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