by Stacey Camacho

Protect your skin from the harsh winter chill and avoid flaky skin by staying hydrated throughout the season.

The first step is to exfoliate your skin. It’s always helpful to exfoliate, whether you’re using a natural exfoliator that you’ve purchased or one that’s homemade. Removing dead skin cells is very important as this leaves the skin healthier-looking and—well—healthy. This also allows the skin cells to grow to their full capacity.

Want to make your own natural exfoliator at home? Just follow these simple steps, using two basic ingredients from your kitchen’s pantry.

•1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar
•About 4 – 5 drops of honey (for extra moisturization)
•If you only want to use brown sugar, then wet your face with a face cloth and apply brown sugar directly to your skin. Rinse off with warm water and…viola!
•If you want to bump up the moisturization, add approximately four to five drops of honey to the brown sugar until a nice sticky mix forms. Next, apply your homemade exfoliator all over your face in an upward motion. This ensures that the mixture enters the pores to clean them out, while also hydrating the skin. Rinse off with warm water and enjoy your freshly exfoliated skin.

Did you know? Brown sugar is covered in molasses, which contains B vitamins that are ideal for treating brown spots, environmental stress, and anti-aging due to the sun. Plus, the B vitamins help prevent these things from reoccurring in the future. Brown sugar not only exfoliates, it also moisturizes. Honey is known for being an excellent skincare ingredient that nourishes the skin.

Think sunscreen is a just a summer skin care essential? Surprisingly, sunscreen is also vital for winter skin care. Not only does sunscreen protect your skin from the winter sun glare, it also shields your skin from the winter frost, the chill in the air.

Moisturizing is more essential in the winter, simply because of how dry the air is. With the air being so dry, skin dries out much quicker. It doesn’t mean you have dry skin (if you don’t). How can you tell whether your skin is dehydrated or dry? Ask yourself this question. Does my skin only dry out in the winter? If the answer is yes, then you have dehydrated skin. If the answer is no, then you have dry skin that needs to be treated year-round. Moisturizing with your favorite moisturizer is key. The best time to moisturize is when you’ve just stepped out of the shower. Thanks to the steam of the hot shower, your pores are already opened, allowing the moisturizer to enter into the pores.

Drinking water is just as important as moisturizing. The best time to drink water to ensure all of the nutrients are going into the skin is between meals and on an empty stomach. More precisely, the optimal time is as soon as you wake up in the morning. When you drink a bottle of water, make sure to drink the entire thing, simply because water goes straight to your organs before it heads to your largest organ, the skin. So, if you do drink the entire bottle of water, only an inch of that water enters into the pores to hydrate it.
Want to hydrate your skin quicker than drinking water? Try green tea. Known for its powerful antioxidants as well as vitamin C, green tea is an excellent anti-aging tea to drink to attain beautifully hydrated skin.

Almond Oil is infused with vitamins A, B, and E, making this an excellent oil to use during winter to achieve and maintain hydrated skin. One of the best things about almond oil is that it absorbs into the skin in a jiffy without leaving any oily residue on the skin. Plus, it helps maintain the moisture levels of the skin without clogging your pores.

Using almond oil gives you these amazing benefits:
•Improves the complexion and retains skin radiance
•Moisturizes deep into the skin
•Soothes skin irritation and skin inflammation
•Relieves dry and irritated skin
•Nourishes skin, leaving it softer and smoother
•Cures chapped lips, making it an ideal go-to healer throughout winter

Rub almond oil as-is all over your body or use moisturizers, body lotions, and body washes that list it as an active ingredient. The best time to do this is after a warm shower. Almond oil delivers instantaneous results, which makes it an excellent moisturizer. Plus, it defends the mane from free radicals and environmental stressors. Just apply it directly to your face, body, and hands.

It’s important to keep up with facials all year long, especially during these stressful months. All skin, regardless of type—dry, normal, oily, sensitive, or dehydrated (the latter two are really skin conditions)—need to be hydrated with proper care for your skin type. Plus, all skin needs a moisture rich facial mask, along with an exfoliation, as all facials do contain this procedure. So, why not pamper yourself, and make it a spa day?You deserve it. Book an appointment with your esthetician for a hydrating, moisturizing facial. This will leave your complexion radiant.

The best way to prevent chapped lips is to exfoliate them first, and then apply lip balm. Use your new homemade exfoliator to scrub your pout gently. The result? Smooth, kissable, picture-perfect hydrated lips.

Also, it is important to protect your hair in the winter, as this is the time when hair becomes dry or dehydrated, more so than any other month or any other time of the year. Below are suggestions for restoring as well as protecting your hair from the harsh winter months, so you can have healthy and beautiful hair all year long.

Not only does a leave-in conditioner prevent static, it also protects the locks from the cold weather, including the sun and other environmental stressors. Apply leave-in conditioner after you have finished styling your hair and before you head out the door.

If you have dry to very dry hair, book an appointment with your hairdresser/stylist. Seek out a conditioning treatment from your favorite salon to restore moisture to your mane. Or, apply a hydrating mask. Use a hair mask once a week.

Shampoo dries out the hair, so if you can find a shampoo that will not dry yours out, fantastic! Otherwise, wash your hair three to four times a week. In addition, always use a conditioner after shampooing to prevent dry, damaged hair. Over shampooing, along with the chilly air really dries out your locks.

Stepping out with wet hair is a big mistake. Why? The hair freezes, causing moisture to diminish much quicker than if it were styled.

Avoiding hot showers is critical during this cold season for your hair and skin. It’s much better to shower with warm water because hot water strips away moisture from the hair and skin.

Protective heat spray is designed to be applied to your hair prior to using heating tools like blow dryers, flat irons, or curling irons. Separate your hair into small sections. Spray heat protector thoroughly through your locks section by section, as you don’t want any of the strands to be exposed to heat.

Sweet Almond Oil consists of vitamins E and K, along with essential fatty acids. This kind of oil helps nourish and repair your locks, making them soft and easier to manage. Plus, it helps unfrizz your strands.

Tip: Massaging the scalp with almond oil relieves dry and itchy scalp conditions.

How to Apply Almond Oil
•Use about a teaspoon of oil and rub it into your hair.
•Massage your scalp in a circular motion for a couple of minutes.
•Gather your hair under a plastic cap and cover with a towel.
•Allow the oil to absorb for a couple of hours.
•Shampoo and rinse.
•Apply once or twice a week.