It's deep into January, the holiday glow from the extra butter you've consumed has faded and all you're left with is a $25 Christmas gift card to Chili's and skin that feels like a crusty old Fruit Roll-Up. You've come to the right piece of internet! We feel your How is my skin so gross and dry and gritty right now? pain, and we too have sought answers from the Gods of Hydration. They're actually still on vacation in Barbados with Rihanna, but their PR reps replied with a ton of options, and from that cornucopia of humectants we assembled a team that might as well be the Rescue Rangers of the winter skincare game (consider us your personal Gadget). Here we have the top solutions for scaly, clogged, miserable skin, conveniently organized by specific concern...
If You Are An Arctic Explorer (Hey there, Harry) Or Perhaps Live in the Mysterious Frozen Paradise of "Canada"
You, friend, are going to need something to fill your face with water and then seal that shit in tight. Enter Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream, which actually was designed for mountaineers and is impossible to beat for its ability to coat your skin like the people equivalent of floor wax. If you're not quite ready to climb Everest, L'Occitane Shea Protective Face Cream is something you might want to look into. Shea is rich and—as the name implies—buttery, making it a natural barrier cream. L'Occitane's formula also has SPF 20, so you can avoid the dreaded snow-burn.
If You Need To Maintain Vegan Superpowers
Everyone knows vegans get special powers (because why else would you give up cheese?), so we totally understand if you wanna avoid losing your ability to levitate or bend spoons with your mind or whatever. Historically, "green" facial emollient options have been extremely simple (organic coconut oil and jojoba oil, for example, are both easily absorbed emollients if you want no-frills skincare). But sometimes fixing winter awfulness requires something that does more than add moisture. We suggest Lush Gorgeous. It's responsibly sourced, organic wherever possible, packed with every oil from olive to evening primrose, and has a bunch of pore-decongesting fruit acids. Plus it smells like pineapple upside-down cake.
If You Just Want Something To Be Easy For Once, Dammit
So you've annihilated three stress balls in the past two weeks. Which is perfectly understandable, given the time of year (Holidays! Q1 goals! 2014 celebrity death pool betting! Southwestern Eggrolls or Skillet Queso?! AHHH!). That doesn't mean you should let the issue go unchecked, letting your skin pay the price. Caudalie Premiere Cru the Cream is our current preferred one-stop moisturizer for people who have yet to achieve work-life balance. This stuff contains every hydrating and age-fighting ingredient the law will allow, and it's intense but still light enough to absorb quickly.
If your stress manifests in the form of zits, Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Oil is another nice, simple way to bring your skin back from the verge. It's non-comedogenic, smells faintly of Frangelico, and feels like decadent, relaxing facial (if you close your eyes and pretend while you massage it in).
If You Are An Infant
You must be a very clever neonate indeed if you're reading this, so surely you know how important gentle ingredients are with thin, delicate skin. For babies (and sensitive adults), we found a DIY regimen that's inexpensive and all-natural, too. Start by gently patting a thin layer of rose oil over your face, then follow up with avocado oil on dry patches. After that, just dab on zinc oxide, which safeguards skin and also happens to be an excellent sunscreen.
If you prefer lotion to oil, we can't recommend Ren Rescue Cream highly enough. It's rose-based but viscous (this may be the only time you'll ever see "viscous" used positively). The trick to making it work is rubbing it between your palms to melt it before you apply. When your skin recovers from its current freakout, maybe move on to a more mild organic option like Nature's Gate Avocado Night Cream, or a fluffy skin-softening concoction like Mario Badescu Bee Pollen Night Cream, which has honey and wax to kill bacteria and coddle your precious lipids.
Photos by Mathea Millman.