Honey it is cold here in Manila right now.
24 degrees Celsius!
(I know, I know. I’m being dramatic about super cold, but I live in a tropical country. This is cold for me.)
Don’t get me wrong: I for sure prefer this cooler weather. It’s just that my skin tends to act up when the weather is dry, and it can be a real challenge to deal with.
I have eczema, people! It’s hard!
(Again, with the drama.)
My skin did go through a bit of a rough patch in November when the weather started changing. My gel cream moisturizer just wasn’t cutting it, and I had to overhaul my whole skin care routine just to keep up.
So I figured, why not do a “top shelf” post to celebrate all the wonderful products working overtime to stop my face (and body) from cracking in this cold?
Let’s be real, you know I wouldn’t even be talking about this if the weather wasn’t wreaking havoc on my face.
I have eczema, which means that my moisture barrier is damaged from the get go. One teeny-tiny misstep and we are looking at armaggedon.
So I do my best to keep things simple, you know?
I found myself a good dermatologist last year and learned that my skin just isn’t built for the tough stuff. I can’t do Differin, I can’t handle most actives, and I sure as fuck shouldn’t be messing with exfoliants.
The only thing I can do is to up the ante on moisture.
So I start with a very gentle cleanser: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. It’s my only cleanser now that I don’t need a makeup remover (still in quarantine: 10 months and counting), and I use it morning and night.
If my face gets dry in the time it takes me to go from the bathroom to my bedroom, I do a generous spritz of Avene Thermal Spring Water. Otherwise, it’s straight to my tried and true I’m From Mugwort Essence. I have used up like 5 or 6 bottles of this essence since January 2020 and I am an absolute fiend for it.
I should probably do a longer review of it (I love the whole I’m From Mugwort line) but for now, let me just say that is perfect for soothing irritated skin and I cannot live without it. All the bottles I’ve used up and recycled since last year should stand testament to that.
I then follow up with the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II and the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix, which — I know — veers pretty straight into rich bitch territory.
Listen: I only started using the serum and the eye thing in December because my skin was just dry. None of my moisturizers were working and my face was in actual, literal cracking pain. I tried cheaper hydrating serums but my face was constantly screaming for more and it was flipping frustrating.
I don’t know where I saw it (maybe Reddit) but people were like saying they loved ANR even though they thought the ingredients were hokey because it offered instant results and I was like, I need that!
After two months of regular day and night use, I have to say I concur. It just feeds your face. My skin is plump and hydrated ASAP and I don’t think I would have survived December if I didn’t bite the bullet and buy it. (The eye concentrate is a different story; I don’t think it’s groundbreaking, to be honest.)
I still don’t know if I’ll repurchase the ANR after I finish the bottle. I’m not seeing magical anti-aging results, for one, and I might not need it in the warmer months. We’ll see.
In the mornings, I finish with Krave Beauty Beet the Sun. I’m not gonna lie: my sister nagged me into using a sunscreen again. I went a whole year without sunscreen because I’m working from home at the moment and it just seemed like such a chore.
I initially thought I could get away with going straight from serum to sunscreen because Beet the Sun is pretty moisturizing, but I’m realizing now that I still need a teensy bit of moisturizer on my cheeks and chin.
Which brings us to the ultimate cold weather savior: La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5. This is the supreme. It is every superlative I can think of. I use a giant glob of this as my final moisturizing step at night and my skin looks awesome.
I slather it on and every single sign of irritation is gone immediately. I have been known to walk around the house with giant white patches on my cheeks, but who cares? This shit works.
On to the extras: I have cut down significantly on my sheet mask hoarding, so I only have the ones I actually like. I use the I’m From Mugwort Mask (the wash-off one) almost every morning because it’s awesome for combating inflammation and redness. I also like the sheet mask version to stop a breakout in its tracks.
I also like the Minon Amino Moist Essential Mask for extra dry days. It’s fragrance-free, it’s non-irritating, and it plumps your face up in 15 minutes. Absolutely essential.
I think I’ve only worn makeup once since March, so it’s just been balms balms balms since then. I have the Lush Cosmetics Lip Scrub in Candy Cane; it’s pretty meh but real tasty. I follow up with the Mentholatum Medicated Lip Stick — excellent and non-oily. I like lip balms that don’t smear on my pillow. Otherwise it’s just good old Carmex for me.
I am the laziest when it comes to applying body lotion, but sometimes the itching gets too much and I am forced to do something. I like Curel Ultra Healing Body Lotion because it’s not too heavy but it’s still pretty moisturizing.
(I don’t even want to talk about my body wash. I’m still using the gigantic Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap in Peppermint that I bought last summer. It is not the smartest choice for cold weather, I’m telling you. Sometimes I steal some of my sister’s Aveeno Yogurt Body Wash even though I don’t like the scent.)
My dermatologist got me on Skizin last year and it is an absolute game-changer. I used to get really huge, deep, painful cystic acne — the kind that demands cortisone shots. I started with Skizin twice a day and haven’t seen those assholes since. I’m now down to one capsule a day for maintenance and things are still good.
I’ve also started taking Nature’s Way Garlic + C + Horseradish to deal with my never-ending battle with rhinitis. It’s only been two days so the jury is still out on this one, but the results are promising.
What I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older is that I’ve really pared down on my routine. I don’t do a lot of steps, I don’t experiment as much, which does get boring but is a lot more efficient in addressing my skin’s actual needs. I wonder what I’ll be using when summer rolls around. I’ll see you in March.
Image from Wishtrend