Our complete guide to skincare and personal grooming to prepare you for the colder days ahead.
Body and tired muscles
At the spa: Choose from a variety of (weekly or monthly) treatments at a reputable spa or health club. Most spas will offer treatments designed to meet specific needs and provide certain results. Make your choice based on your personal preference, the recommendation of the spa therapist and the duration and cost of the treatment. While some therapies will give you immediate relief or visible results, others may need regular or occasional visits.
At home: For the occasional and relaxing (neck, shoulder, foot or body) massage at home, use lighter oils for a morning massage and heavier ones for the late evening. For better absorption, try and leave the oil on for at least a few hours or all night if possible. Remove the excessive oil with a wet hot towel, steam or shower.
Eyes and skin
Internally: Even though you may not feel as thirsty in winter as you do in summer, consume about three to four litres of water a day, as the cold can dehydrate both your body and skin, making the surface look tired, pulled and older. Sufficient water also ensures that the area around the eyes continues to look lighter and the skin a lot healthier.
Externally: Winter is an important season for eye care. Keep the eye area hydrated – wash with cold water at least three times a day or whenever you feel they are looking tired and puffy. Apply eye creams or gels only if you have fine lines and wrinkles, are over 35 or have been asked to do so by a specialist. When going in for other skin treatments like facials, masques and scrubs, stay clear of the area around the eye as it is very sensitive.
Neck and face
AM: As UV rays are harsher in winter, ensure full protection – especially if you have issues with pigmentation, sunspots and dark patches. As you can tan just as much in winter (if not more) as you do in summer, use a moisturising and grease-free sunscreen (on both the face and neck area) before any exposure to direct sunlight.
PM: Wash your face with a chemical-free soap or a mild face wash before you sleep. Generously apply a nourishing moisturiser immediately after and allow it to soak into the skin overnight – not only will you get a smoother shave the next day but this will keep your skin looking fresh and feeling soft and supple too.
Pre: To prevent excessive drying, always moisturise your body a few hours before you start to remove unwanted body hair. Based on your personal preference and what best works for you, you may trim, wax or use a hair removing cream. As stated in previous columns, always take necessary precautions with each procedure.
Post: Ensure to end the process (and follow up the next few days) with a regular rub down of either any water-based moisturiser or a light and absorbent body oil. This will keep your skin feeling softer (for longer) as well as prevent it from feeling dry and itchy thereafter. To prevent any breakouts, avoid using an exfoliating body scrub, soap or shower gel and wear fabrics that are either light or airy or feel soft against your skin.
Hand and foot care
Pamper & Exfoliate: A monthly manicure and pedicure is a must – not just to keep your hands and feet looking good and well maintained, but also to relieve the strain they take on a daily basis. Use scrubs once every fifteen days in winter to exfoliate and remove dead, dry and flaky skin on both the hands and feet – especially around the nail beds.
Refresh & Hydrate: You can keep your feet smelling clean and fresh by wiping them well after a shower, wearing cotton (and not woollen) socks and occasionally dusting them with talcum powder – especially if you tend to sweat down there. Refresh your footwear by placing odour absorbing balls or spraying them with an anti odour spray. At the end of a tired day, soak your feet in some warm water infused with natural bath salts.
Head and scalp
Treatments: The cold tends to make the hair dry and wiry. The solution lies in regular oiling, moisturising and conditioning. Massaging the scalp with any penetrative oil just about once a week is good, as too much oil ultimately clogs the pores and leads to hair fall. Use a light daily-use moisture-based shampoo to keep both the scalp and hair clean. Use a good conditioner to soften and nourish the hair at least three times a week.
Products: Since the scalp and forehead do not sweat in colder weather, you have the freedom to use a variety of hair products to style your hair through winter. These include gels, pomades, wax, creams and sprays. Ideally, your dresser should have about three different products – each to create a different style, texture and look. If you have dry or wiry hair and want to keep it looking less dry and frizzy than it is, use a few drops of hair serum to nourish, control loose strands and add gloss.
Teen and younger skin
Problem: Our younger readers (and by your emails we know they are many) could do with some extra caution, especially if they have oily skin and spend long hours outdoors playing different sports. This is because teen and younger skin tends to get easily chapped and weather beaten due to exposure to dry heat, harsh winds and extreme weather.
Solution: Avoid all oil-based products and substitute them with water based, natural, ayurvedic or herbal products. Follow a regular cleansing regime using an anti-acne cleanser or a mild astringent / cleansing solution, at least thrice weekly. Use non-greasy sunscreens during the day and moisturisers at night.
Hot Tip: To soften and treat dry chapped lips, dab on some lip balm before you sleep – but never in the day, as they could get sun burnt.