How to Transition Your Skincare Routine From Summer to Winter

Because winter is coming

Words by Emma Tiernan
October 29th, 2018

As those in the North would say, “winter is coming”. With the transition of seasons, you not only need to swap out your wardrobe but also your skincare routine. Winter throws some serious hardships at your skin such as ice cold winds, steaming hot showers and central heaters on full blast all of which take their toll on your skin, causing it to become dull, dry and dehydrated.

But what can I do to help my skin retain moisture and have a brighter, more dewy complexion you ask? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate- from both the outside and the inside! Though they may solve a myriad of problems, cosmetics are not miracle workers and can only do so much from the exterior. Just as you would during summer, you need to drink plenty of water during winter to keep your skin in tip-top condition (though it varies person to person, the average to aim for is two litres a day). When you are dehydrated, wrinkles and fine lines appear more prominently which causes your skin to look tired and potentially older than you are, not to mention flaky and dull. Thankfully, drinking plenty of water throughout the cold season can help to combat these issues, leaving behind a brighter, more youthful complexion.

Of course, that doesn’t mean drinking gallons of water a day will solve all your winter skincare woes; the elements will still wreak havoc on your skin. That is why it is important to use products that will help protect your skin from the outside too to keep it looking its best. But what products to use? Unless you live in a climate that has one season year round, it’s likely that the moisturiser and cleanser that got you through the summer months won’t suffice for winter. Surprised? You wouldn’t wear the same clothes you wore during summer in the cold months of November so why should your skin be treated any differently to your wardrobe?


When your skin is exposed to harsh elements you need something gentle to take off your makeup. Don’t use products that contain any harsh chemicals that will end up stripping your skin of its natural oils. Opting for a micellar water to remove your makeup is a great option as it soothes the skin while also giving it an added boost of hydration.

For a second cleanse, a lightweight gel cleanser such as Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser or Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser, which are both pH-balanced and made with gentle cleaning agents, are the optimal choice as they are tough on impurities but gentle on your skin.


It’s the age-old argument: to exfoliate or not to exfoliate? Exfoliation removes the build-up of dead skin cells which can result in dullness, so exfoliating is the key to a brighter complexion. As the cold winter weather can increase dehydration, exfoliating at least twice a week should help keep dry, flaky skin at bay and leave your skin glowing.



Caudalie’s Glycolic Peel is a gentle exfoliant mask that contains glycolic acid which is a member of the AHA family. The acid dissolves the bonds which bind dulling dead cells to skin’s surface to reveal a smooth glowing complexion without stripping the skin which is exactly what you want in winter.



Lixirskin’s Soft Clay Rubber Mask and Exfoliant works both as an exfoliant and, if you have the time, as a mask. The product contains keratolytic enzymes that break down the keratin in dead cells that can block your pores while the clay works to clear congestion and draw out impurities, leaving you with a clearer and bright complexion.


If you have a serum in your skincare routine that works for you and targets your problem areas, by all means, keep using it during the winter. However, you may want to add a hydrating serum to the mix if you don’t already use one to give your skin a much need boost in hydration.

Night Masks and Oils

Using an oil or mask overnight is an awesome way to give your skin some extra TLC. At night your skin is more susceptible to products because blood flow is much higher so these products have a better chance of working their magic overnight than during the day. If you have oily skin perhaps skip this step but if you are suffering from dry and dehydrated skin then a nighttime mask or oil is a lifesaver.



Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is packed full of watermelon extract that floods your skin with restoring vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids. It also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid that gets to work while you sleep, exfoliating and moisturising so you can wake up with gorgeously glowing skin every morning.



Caudalie’s VineActiv Overnight Detox Oil is 100% a natural oil that works while you sleep to repair the damage done to your skin after a day of exposure to the harsh winter elements. It works to eliminate toxins and speed up cell renewal. Banish dullness and tired skin by massaging this into your skin every night and wake up with a brighter complexion.


The light moisturiser(s) that you use during summer just won’t cut it for the winter months. Now is the time to swap to a more hydrating, possibly heavier moisturiser to make sure your skin is getting the moisture that it needs.

One such heavy-duty moisturiser that is perfect for winter is Magic Cream by Charlotte Tilbury which is all you need to bring dull, dehydrated skin back from the brink. The cream contains hyaluronic acid to give you a serious hit of hydration and sodium hyaluronate to retain moisture.

Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Rich is also one to add your winter skincare arsenal. It provides nourishment and hydration as it is rich in ceramides and fatty acids which reinforce the skin’s barrier and locks in moisture over time. It’s formulated with a balanced, non-greasy blend of shea and murumuru butters to melt perfectly into skin for a supremely lavish hydrating experience. Sounds like the perfect winter savour for seriously tired, dull and dehydrated skin.

This doesn’t only go for your face though, it goes for your whole body. When you come out of the shower take that extra five minutes to moisturise from head to toe- your skin will thank you! Your hands especially suffer from the elements so getting a nice hand moisturiser that you can pop into your handbag and use throughout the day will help prevent dry, cracked and irritated hands.