Steps to “Winterizing” Your Skin and Hair

Winter here in Chicagoland means early-onset of whiplash winds and moisture-sucking indoor heating. If we winterize our homes, cars and wardrobes for the colder months, why not winterize the skin and hair that also helps to keep us warm? (Ok, yeah. We’d like to keep it attractive-looking too. Hiding under a hat and scarf until May isn’t exactly an option, especially with holiday parties approaching.) Here’s how to stay one step ahead of winter damage this season: 1. Moisturize your body from the inside-out. Remember that while hot coffee keeps you warm and energized, caffeine is also dehydrating. And just applying extra moisturizer and conditioner is only a temporary, surface-level solution. Drink plenty of water while also stocking up on Vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids found in olive oil, fish, nuts, and avocados (Also a great tactic to avoid catching a cold, the flu, and other diseases.) 2. Limit the hot showers. Much like downing a large coffee, taking an extra-long hot shower is tempting this time of year. Don’t give in! Opt for quick showers with lukewarm water. Hot water will strip the moisture from your skin and hair, especially right after washing, when it’s lost its protective barrier of natural oils. 3. And while you’re in there, consider conditioner-only. One way to cut down on your shower time is to skip the shampoo and opt for a conditioning rinse. While everyone’s body is different, it’s a good bet that you’re not sweating as much this time of year; therefore your scalp and hair won’t get oily and dirty as quickly. Also, consider swapping out your bar soap for a moisturizing body wash, especially for arms and legs. Save the bar soap for more, ahem, odor-prone areas: feet, underarms etc. 4. Adjust your routines accordingly. This is the time of year to break out the moisturizing shampoos, the creamier cleansers and the thicker moisturizers. Double-check your formulas and be on the lookout for words like “purifying,” “buildup-removing” or “deep clean” – these cleansers are typically clear or gel-based, and will have more harsh detergents that you shouldn’t need this time of year, unless you have unusually oil-prone skin. 5. Treat yourself to a mask, but make sure it’s the right one. Now is probably not the best time to try out an at-home facial peel or hair-lightening treatment. Your skin and hair is under enough strain from the elements, and the drastic change between outdoor cold and sudden indoor heat. Remember the olive oil and avocado we mentioned in Tip #1? Look for these and other natural ingredients in your hair masks and conditioning treatments. And it’s hard to go wrong with ultra-moisturizing shea butter this time of year, for both skin and hair. Don’t wait until your skin starts looking scaly or your hair starts looking haggard to adjust your wintertime beauty routines!

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