Winter Essentials – Skincare and Relaxation

Having moved from Wisconsin to California last summer, this winter doesn’t really feel like winter. To me winter has always meant piling on as many layers of clothing as humanly possible; slipping on icy sidewalks (always in front of a crowd of people); and spending as much time as possible inside, under a blanket…preferably next to a fireplace…with some hot cocoa. What can I say? I get high maintenance in the winter.

Here in California, I feel like I can already see a hint of spring peeking around the corner, which is absurd to me. But the winter can still be a little gloomy. Tea, hot cocoa with extra marshmallows, and a bit of pampering are all but necessary. Plus, my already dry skin requires some extra care.

Here are the 3 must-have items that my dry skin can’t be without in the winter, and 3 that I rely on when I’m in need of some relaxation. Read on to see my picks, and let me know your winter must-haves in the comments!

The Skincare

1 heartMy lips are dry all year round, but cold, dry winter weather is especially rough. This year my lips got super sensitive too, so I’ve had to be really picky with my lip products. I look for a chapstick/lip balm with a small number of natural, super moisturizing, non-irritating ingredients. I have two favorites at the moment, both of which, oddly enough, are from small companies in New York.


This unscented Vegan Lip Balm is from Meow Meow Tweet. The Organic Cocoa Lip Balm is from S.W. Basics in Brooklyn. They both focus on using high-quality, natural, organic ingredients. I spent a ridiculous amount of time reading reviews and recommendations, and it was surprisingly difficult to find a great lip balm without any potentially irritating ingredients. These two feel amazing and they’re super affordable (even with shipping!).


2 heartThe hand and body moisturizer I recommend to everyone is totally not sexy, but it works. Vanicream was recommended to me by a doctor years ago because it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin, and it’s super moisturizing without leaving you feeling like an oil slick. I buy it in this giant tub, and I don’t get gross, cracked hands anymore.

Vanicream is my everyday absolute must-have, but when I feel like treating myself, I’ll use something with a luxurious scent. The Soap & Glory body butter is incredibly thick and creamy, and it soaks right into your skin. It leaves you with a pretty floral scent (if you’re sensitive to fragrance, try smelling this one at Ulta before you commit).


3 heartYou know you have dry skin when applying face cream is the best feeling ever. I switch to a thicker, more hydrating moisturizer in the winter, particularly for nighttime. I’ve been enjoying the Origins Night-A-Mins. It has exactly the texture and hydration that I was looking for – it’s ultra rich and creamy. But it does have kind of a strong citrus scent. If you prefer using something fragrance free, I highly recommend the brand Paula’s Choice – they have something for every skin type, too.

The Relaxation

Now that we have the essentials covered, let’s get into some relaxation. The days are shorter, the skies are gray and gloomy, and we can get into a slump after the excitement of the holidays passes. Little acts of self-care make such a big difference for me when I’m feeling down or am just worn out from work.


1 heartI’m in favor of having a mug of hot tea on me at all times in the winter. I kind of agree with Sheldon that getting a hot beverage in your hands should be the first step when you’re upset. 🙂



2 heartNothing sets the mood for a relaxing evening like lighting a favorite candle. I’m still burning my Bath and Body Works candles from their fall collection. I think Marshmallow Fireside is the definition of cozy in a scent. (I’m thinking about getting some more wintery scents. If you know of any good ones, let me know!)



3 heartFor my Wisconsin folks: when you’ve been outside in freezing weather, and you feel cold down to your bones, the only way to warm up is with a hot shower or bath. Try turning it into a pampering experience: add a few drops of essential oil into your bath, treat your hair with a conditioning mask, or light a candle to help you unwind while the feeling returns to your toes.

I hope this post inspires you to indulge in some self-care and make the most of your extra time indoors this winter.


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