5 new age beauty treatments that will save your winter skin
Let’s be real: winter makes you weird. And when you’re on hour 17 of The Great British Bake-Off and you haven’t seen the sun in weeks, there’s basically nothing you wouldn’t do to remind yourself there’s an actual human body under the sweatpants you’ve been living in for four months.
As we round the corner into February, we scoped out five uncommon winter beauty rituals that may help your skin remember there’s light at the end of the snow tunnel. Julie Clark, holistic aesthetician and founder of Toronto-based brand Province Apothecary, chimed in to share how she takes back her glow.
In theory, an indoor humidifier will counter dry winter air – you know, the rough cold that’s responsible for the skin currently peeling off of your face in strips because you dared to attempt the three-minute walk to the subway. But do they really work?
Yes, says Clark, who recommends a cold mist humidifier for best results. The added moisture tempers the heat that blasts in our indoor spaces all winter long. Try one in your bedroom at night while you sleep, to rehydrate skin while you snooze. The soothing white noise soundtrack can even aid in sleep, and the added moisture also helps with congestion or sinus irritation. Sign us up.
Honeywell Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier ($55, amazon.com)
2. Dry Brushing
Speaking of dry skin, women who are so beautiful it hurts (Miranda Kerr, for example) swear by dry brushing to ready their skin for that unfamiliar thing we call “the sun.” It’s a practice that has been used in many cultures, dating as far back as Ancient Greece. Using a natural, firm-bristled brush, stroke your skin in the direction of your heart. It’s a great pre-shower ritual, and proponents swear it exfoliates, aids in circulation, drains your lymphatic system, and can even help with “skin dimpling” (uh, cellulite).
“I love dry brushing,” says Clark. “It’s all about circulation. You’re getting rid of dead skin cells and toxins; when you dry brush, you’ll notice that your skin will get more colour from blood coming to the surface. Whether you do it daily or even now and then, it’s still powerful.” She recommends starting with a softer bristle: “The thing with dry brushing is that people find it so painful they can’t handle it, but even an exfoliating glove or Turkish towel is a good way to start. We have so many nerves in our skin that it can be painful at times. You don’t need a harsh brush to get the results.”
Body Brush ($30, amazon.ca)
3. Salt Lamp
If an actual beach vacation is beyond your budget, try bringing the salt to you. Himalayan pink salt lamps have been lighting up health stores for years, but what do they actually do? Advocates say the lamps attract negative ions, thereby cleaning the air, reducing allergens, and – bonus – casting your apartment in a moody pink glow that could almost be a Jamaican sunset—if you squint really hard.
Clark swears by hers. “We have one in our bedroom and I turn it on as soon as I get home and close the curtains, so it infuses the room. My husband is more obsessed with it than I am.” Clark promises a deeper, more restful sleep – ideal for chasing away the dull, haggard complexion you’ve been carrying around since November – and better indoor air quality. Fewer allergens in the air means less potential for skin irritation, so plug in and mellow out.
Himalayan Ionic Natural Salt Lamp ($50, homedepot.ca)
4. Salt Cave
Lamp not cutting it? For an even larger dose of halotherapy, visit a salt cave. People have relied on the healing aspects of salt for centuries, and you can now visit an artificial cave in most major cities. In the Salana Saltcave spa in Oakville, 22,000 pounds of Himalayan pink salt line the walls, floor, and ceiling, and visitors are invited to relax in the gently heated room to breathe in the healing properties of the salt, which proponents claim can help heal everything from asthma to insomnia – and, hopefully, the impenetrable, unshakeable black weight of seasonal depression.
“I am a strong believer in living within the seasons,” Clark states. “If we embrace winter, we’re less likely to get sick, and you’ll be warmer, healthier, and less run-down.” So she’s a huge fan of the Danish concept of Hygge, which involves developing an enthusiastic relationship to knitwear, chilling out and loving winter for all its melancholic glory. Hygge loosely translates to “coziness,” and while it may sound like a fancy name for refusing to put on pants, there’s nothing wrong with a brief spell of hibernation. You’ll reduce stress and give your skin a break from the elements, leading to less inflammation and dryness.
“Our bodies do naturally want a rest,” says Clark. She recommends taking a couple of days off, cozying up with warming teas full of ginger and cinnamon to increase circulation and sweat, and even cooking with more plant and fruit oils or ghee, which will help you to hydrate from the inside out.
Bonus tip: Clark loves layering serums and body oils in the winter, and taking advantage of your gym steam room for extra penetration. She also mixes her own hydrating face masks with avocado, banana, and oatmeal for a summer-esque glow.