Happy Friday, lovelies! With Super Ultra Historic Blizzard Jonas (or whatever the Weather Channel has dreamt up these days) bearing down on the East Coast, I’ve been forced to admit that winter has, in fact, arrived. Gone are the days of unseasonable warmth and blue skies: The cold, the wind, and the grey have swept in with a vengeance and settled down for a long, long, winter’s nap. This time of year can be rough on our psyches, and on our skin, and so we have to find new ways to stay both motivated and moisturized, proactive and pampered, engaged and well-groomed. So without further ado, here are a dozen of my winter beauty favorites, the balms, lotions, and other potions that are getting me through January with a (crimson-lipped) smile.
Burt’s Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash: I bought this on a recommendation from the always fabulous Ingrid Nilsen, and it did not disappoint. It has become my go-to cleanser for morning showers. The scent is refreshing but not overpowering; it wakes me up and gets me energized to start my day. My one complaint: It could do with a bit more lather — I often find myself having to squirt out two doses in order to get my whole body scrubbed — but that could just be personal preference.
Burt’s Bees Cleansing Oil: I went to Target with the intention of purchasing the above body wash, but couldn’t resist picking up this guy. It feels like every beauty guru on the internets has been gushing about the wonders of cleansing oils lately. I was, admittedly, very skeptical of the trend, particularly as someone with sensitive skin who generally avoids adding any unnecessary oil to my visage. But for $16, I decided this was worth a go. And dear readers, I write to you converted. I don’t see this replacing my daily cleanser anytime soon, but I do find it a luxurious and moisturizing change of pace, especially for the drying winter months. The coconut and argan oils sooth my skin, leaving it clean and super soft (and not oily!). But the best part? this stuff smells SO FREAKING GOOD, instantly transforming my Brooklyn bathroom into a luxurious garden spa.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer: I mentioned in my last post that one of my resolutions for this year is to remember to moisturize. An odd goal, I’ll admit, but moisturizing is the one main step of a basic skincare routine I haven’t quite managed to master. I could never seem to find the right formula for my face; everything was too thick for everyday use or left my pores clogged and my skin greasy and freaking out. A lot of my favorite beauty mavens are big fans of First Aid Beauty, whose hypoallergenic products are made specifically for sensitive skin, so I decided if anyone could handle my tender dermis, they could. So far, so great! This formula is super light yet nourishing, and so far using it on a daily (and sometimes twice daily) basis has yet to make me break out. Take that, 2016 goals!
L’Occitane en Provence Crème Mains: Now when it comes to moisturizing, it isn’t just your face that needs some extra love in the cold months. My hands in particular tend to take a beating in the winter, and this cream is an old favorite that has seen them through many a brutal January. With 20% shea butter, plus honey, almond extract, and coconut oil, this is the best hand cream I’ve come across. I keep a tube on my dresser, to apply before bed, and in my purse, for all my on-the-go lotion needs.
R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo: Let me be real for a second. Even in the hottest of months, I am usually not a daily hair washer. My hair, frizzy and untameable as it is wont to be, really looks best on day two, or three, and in a particularly good week I’ve been known to stretch it to four. This gets even worse in the winter, when the cold makes me want to spend as little time as possible with wet, shiver-inducing locks. And in these situations, dry shampoo is your best friend. As a pretty dark brunette, my problem with dry shampoos tends to be finding a formula that absorbs oil without making my hair flat and without leaving behind a powdery residue, which basically serves as a giant flashing sign declaring to the world, “Hey, I am a filthy dirt human who did not wash her pelt this morning! Stay back!” My favorite formula of the moment is this one from R+Co, which I got in my January Birchbox. The scent isn’t my favorite, but it does a fantastic job of absorbing grease while giving my hair volume and texture, and absorbing into my strands as if it were never there, allowing me to maintain my well-washed human lady facade.
Benefit “They’re Real!” Tinted Lash Primer: Another Birchbox discovery, and one of which I was initially very skeptical. I am blessed with naturally thick and curly lashes, so I’ll admit I didn’t really see the point of a lash primer, especially one in mink-brown when my mascara tastes run 100% pure black. But I already knew and loved the Benefit “They’re Real!” mascara line, so I decided to give this little guy a go. And I have to admit, I’m a fan. I don’t think it’s necessary for an everyday look, but for a special occasion, when you want to give your eyes a little extra oomph, it delivers. I tested it out for my recent birthday party, and it definitely gave my lashes an extra boost, perfect for an evening out on the town.
Mirenesse Mattfinity Lip Rouge in Paris: You guys know I’m a big fan of lip stains, and this one has been my absolute favorite of late. Of all the stains I’ve tried, this one offers hands-down the most intense and long-lasting color. It’s the only stain I’ve found where I can apply it before heading to work, drink an entire mug of tea, and still have perfectly tinted lips hours later. I’m obsessed with the Paris shade (not just because of the name, although, yes, bonus points): a bright but rich berry shade that tiptoes just close enough to fuschia without being cartoony. a true red shade is next on my wish list.
Bésame Classic Color Lipstick in Cherry Red 1935: Speaking of true red, my friend recently turned me on to Bésame and their classic color lipsticks. These retro shades are inspired by Hollywood starlets of the 20s, 30s, and 40s, with each color matched to a specific year. The color is super pigmented and matte, for that old-fashioned vixen look. My only complaint? The matte finish means that it isn’t the smoothest going on, and since the color is very intense that can make for a messy look, so I recommend using a lip brush to apply, and maybe using a lip scrub beforehand to eliminate any flakes.
Fresh Sugar Lip Polish: Speaking of lip scrubs, my favorite is this little wonder from Fresh. I’ve been a long-time fan of Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatments, and this winter I decided to invest in the polish to match. Lip polishes are the answer to that perennial winter problem of chapped and flaking lips (gross). This stuff gets all that dead skin off without being harsh or abrasive, plus it smells delicious. A+ all around.
Smith’s Rosebud Salve: Now that your lips are exfoliated, it’s time to moisturize! This stuff is one of my long-time beauty favorites (seriously, I’ve been a fan since middle school). I keep a tub on my desk so I can give my lips a little love whenever I think of it. It also comes in tube form, which is easier to throw in your purse or backpack for on-the-go balm-age. And while this classic rose scent is my favorite, I’m also a big fan of the mint and strawberry varieties.
OPI Liquid Sand Nail Lacquer in Honey Ryder: I do love a good eggplant, berry, charcoal, or classic red in the winter months (I’m currently sporting Essie’s Wicked). But with the holidays of late, I wanted something with a little more pizzazz. I discovered this glittery gold wonder when I was home over Thanksgiving, and was so enamored I promptly went home, tracked it down on Amazon, and ordered myself a bottle. Even with the yuletide season still behind us, I still find myself turning to this shade whenever I want something a little fun, a little festive. It has just the right amount of gilded sparkle, and while the textured polish really does require a base and top coat (I like CND’s Stickey and Essie’s Gel Setter), I find it lasts longer than my regular lacquers.
Distillery General Artisanal Small Batch Fragrance in Sea Salt: Last but not least, this perfume, found at Anthropologie, is my new obsession. Sometimes, you want to embrace the winter, with all the cozy notes of cinnamon and woodsmoke it entails. But sometimes, you need a little summer in your life to combat all the hazy grey. This perfume delivers: The label says it contains notes of Italian bergamot, lemon, citrus, and mandarin, but to me it smells straight up like a day at the beach, with sun-kissed skin and an ocean breeze tousling your hair. Just spray on your wrists, and dream of summer nights.