Winter is synonymous with the holiday season, but it's also a time when our skin takes a harsh beating that results in dryness, flaking, and redness. (Fun!) To fight those conditions, approach your skincare routine just like you do your winter wardrobe: layer up. You may have the basics down (serum before moisturizer; toner before both of those), deciphering which products are true must-haves isn't easy. The good news: There's a bevy of winter skincare products with five-star reviews on Sephora, and that's as good a place as any to start.
In this case, the ones with five stars (or close to it) deserve all of the hype. "Generally speaking, the skincare products that you use in the winter tend to be richer formulations. Many contain natural oils that serve to soften the outer skin layer," Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City says. "In the winter months, make sure to stick to gentle and hydrating cleansers. Many of the foaming cleansers that are used during more humid months can dry out the skin," he explains.
The change goes beyond what's on top of your vanity, too. "To combat [dryness], avoid using excessively hot water in the sink or shower," Dr. Michelle Henry, a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon in New York City, adds. "And always moisturize immediately afterward to lock in hydration and give your skin a healthy glow."
Naturally, moisturizing is top priority around this time of year, and Dr. Henry suggests creams over lotions, as they're more occlusive — which means they can better protect the skin barrier function to lock in moisture.
Just be wary of irritating ingredients in those products, like "retinol and hydroxyacids," Dr. Zeichner warns. "You can use them, but you may want to space them out to every other night and combine with your moisturizer."
Ahead, see the highly-rated products to add in your routine.