While we are just recovering from all the festivities —the year-end parties, holidays and get togethers with friends, the cold temperatures continue to create havoc. The dry and frigid air outside and the super heating indoors, doesn’t agree well with our skin, leaving it parched, ripping it of its protective layers and making it incapable of repairing itself.
Wondering how to tackle the Hong Kong winters and take care of your skin?
Keep calm! All you need are a few changes in your skin care routine. With that ticked, radiant skin, glistening under the winter sun, will no longer be a distant dream. Here’s a tally of most common winter woes and practical and easy solutions to tackle them.
Dry and flaky skin
If you have dry skin, avoid using soap in winters. Choose a moisturising body bath instead. Hop over to Park ‘n’ Shop and buy Dove Gentle Exfoliating Bath (HK$ 38.90 for 750 ml) or splurge on L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil (HK$ 330 for 500 ml, L’Occitane stores)
Alternately, you can apply a combination of lemon and turmeric before taking a shower. It locks the moisture in, while turmeric also soothes dehydrated skin.
Remember to apply a body lotion while the skin is still damp. They say you get only 3-5 minutes window to seal the natural moisture. Try The Body Shop’s Honeymania ™ Body Butter, (HK$ 199 for 200 ml, The Body Shop stores ). or Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion Skin Conditioner, (HK$ 28 for 400 ml, on discount at Sa Sa stores)
Don’t forget to exfoliate your skin. While exfoliation is an important part of our skin care regime, it’s particularly crucial in winters. You don’t want a layer of dead skin to eat up the moisturising goodness that you are providing your skin. Homemade exfoliator prepared with honey and sugar (it can be preserved in a jar) does the job for all skin types.
Lastly, wear sunscreen. Don’t we love soaking in the winter sun (whenever we get some that is)! Make sure to apply sunscreen 15 minutes before stepping out for those sunbaths. While it’s a regular ritual that we follow in summers, we somehow give it a miss during the cold months. It’s definitely not a wise idea.
Opt for Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 50 PA +++ (HK$97.40 for 88 ml, on discount at Sa Sa) in the value segment or try beauty brands such as Bobbi Brown SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer Oil-Free, (HK$341.13, Bobbi Brown stores) and Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protector Extra Mild (HK$ 320 for 50 ml, Shiseido).
Itchy & Dry Scalp
It’s a common problem during winter. And a common culprit is the hot water head shower that we find so hard to resist, particularly on a chilly morning. Yes, they are tempting but the scalding temperatures dry out and remove the natural oils from our scalp. Flex that willpower muscle and dial down the temperature to lukewarm, especially for the head showers. It will not only prevent your scalp from getting dry and irritated, but will also restore your hair’s natural moisture and sheen.
In addition, a coconut oil head massage, once a week followed by a hot towel wrap or steam, is also an effective way to pump up your moisture levels.
While coconut oil has been a traditional favourite, Argan Oil, obtained from nuts of Morocco’s argon tree continues to gain popularity. Use Moroccanoil® Treatment (HK$ 400 for 100 ml, professional salons citywide) to lock in the shine.
Low temperatures, dry air, and even improper foot care are some of the reasons behind cracked heels, a regular winter woe. A little foot care plan will quickly fix it. For starters, good old ‘Vaseline Petroleum Jelly’ (HK$27.90 for 1000 ml, Park N’ Shop) works wonders. Apply that gooey substance on your heels at bedtime, put on comfortable cotton socks (make sure they aren’t fitted or tight) and go to sleep. Follow this routine for a week, and you are sure to see a massive improvement in those cracked heels. If you want to step up the game, soak your feet in warm water for 15 minutes before going to bed. Scrub them with a pumice stone, and then apply Vaseline or any apricot cream for great results.
A good pedicure also goes a long way. Visit Bastien Gonzalez’ Pedi:Mani Cure Studio at The Oriental Spa, Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong— Try Bastien Pedicure and get your feet pampered by their podiatrist (HK$ 1090/ 60 mins).
Brush your lips with a toothbrush to get rid of that excess skin. The good old vaseline works very well for the lips too. Keep a chapstick in your bag at all times and reapply as and when needed. Kiehl’s Lip Balm (HK$90 for 17gm, Kiehl’s stores) is highly dependable.
To soften your hand, use a homemade ‘sugar and lemon juice’ scrub (recipe: mix olive oil, sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of lemon zest together). Another ‘must-do’ for your hand-care regime is moisturizing—use a moisturizing hand cream after a bath and before sleeping at night. Massaging your hands with a mixture of glycerine, rose water and castor oil before bed also preserves their natural softness.
It’s the perfect time to give your skin some tender loving care. Take a trip to some of the city’s finest spas for a pampering and rejuvenation break!
Check out the Plateau Spa, at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. Their ‘Winter Warmer treatment’ (HK$ 1500/ 90 minutes) includes warm ginger and brown sugar exfoliation scrub to pump up the circulation followed by a heated aroma massage to relax your body.