Written by Grove Collaborative

Winter Skincare: The Best Products, Tips & Tricks

Last Updated: August 23, 2022

We polled the Grove Collaborative staff to reveal the best winter and cold climate skincare products to add to your routine, plus our tips for handling the change in seasons.

Despite being the largest organ of the body (and the only one you can actually see every day), it’s all too easy to forget about your skin in the winter, when it's bundled under heavy coats and multiple layers. But as anyone who's had to deal with wind-whipped cheeks, stubborn dry-skin flakiness, or reactiveness from extreme temperature changes (we see you, office thermostat) can tell you, the coldest months of the year are oftentimes the ones when you skin needs love the most.

While we could turn to the internet for common winter skincare recommendations (psh, lazy), we decided to instead trust the people who have actually put these products to the test: our Grove staff. And with an office in Portland, Maine, they definitely know cold.

We polled staffers for some of their favorite fixes for common but easy-to-treat cold weather skin conditions, and discovered a few cult favorite products in the mix. Read on for what you should add to your cart the next time temperatures drop.

Winter skincare basics

Why does skin get dry in the winter?

Dry winter air, constant indoor heating, and all that hand washing – no wonder your skin is stressed. Cold, dry air causes the moisture in your skin to evaporate at a faster rate than in warmer weather. All the dry artificial indoor heat can really do a number on your delicate dermis too.

Is it important to change your skincare routine in winter?

Yep. Just like pulling out your cozier winter wear, you should switch up your skin routine with the seasons. But instead of adding stress to your already-busy life, why not look at it as a fun opportunity to find new favorite to build out a winter skincare routine? We’ve assembled some staffer favorites to make the process easy.

Winter skincare tips & tricks

What switches should I make in my winter skincare routine?

The main thing to remember is that because your skin tends to be more parched in winter, it’s also more fragile and prone to irritation. Here are some tips to keep your skin as hydrated as possible without any products.

  • Stay cool: Instead of hot water – which strips your skin of natural oils – choose warm water for showers and face washing.
  • No scrubs: Okay, you can keep exfoliating your face – but cut back from a few times a week to weekly, or less if your skin is sensitive or dry. Your skin's ability to handle exfoliation (whether chemical or physical) will also vary with your skin type and its ability to handle this forced turnover of skin cells.
  • Just add water: Layer on that lotion or cream right out of the bath while your skin is still damp.

What ingredients should I look for in winter skincare?

The best skincare for cold weather is all about hydration. Your lighter, humectant-laden lotion was fine during the warmer months (humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin extract water from the air), but winter skincare essentials are made for battling dryer conditions. For natural winter skincare, grab some of these essentials:

  • Emollients: Oils, creams, and lotions that add a barrier to your skin including argan oil, jojoba oil, and chia seed oil.
  • Occlusives: Thicker than emollients, shea butter and cocoa butter block the water in your skin from escaping. They’re also more likely to trigger outbreaks, so better for your hands, feet, and body.
  • Non-comedogenic: Specially formulated to not block your pores (aka, give you pimples).
  • SPF: Yes, still. You’re not immune to sun damage just because it’s cold. If you’re out in the snow or ice, the UV rays bouncing off those reflective surfaces can give you a bad sunburn.

Quick fixes for common winter skincare problems

From the top of your head to the bottom (of your feet), we asked our Grove team for their favorite winter skincare products that handle tackle common winter woes.

Issue: Itchy, dry scalp

If dandruff is the culprit, we like Tree to Tub’s Restoring Shampoo with refreshing aloe vera juice or Ursa Major’s Go Easy shampoo, which promises to both “go easy” on your scalp and to make your tresses softer and more manageable for you, too.

If dryness is an issue, other faves include Yes To's Naturals Tea Tree & Sage Calming Scalp Relief Shampoo and Tree To Tub's Argan Oil Conditioner for Dry Hair & Scalp with soothing lavender.

Shop these cold-weather essentials at Grove

Issue: Dry, chapped lips

First ditch the dry skin, then get to hydrating!

We’re loving this gentle, mint-and-rosehip oil exfoliation with Rooted Lip Scrub, followed by Rooted Lip Balm with moisturizing chia seed oil and argan oil.

Henne Organics also makes a great lip mask to restore your lips' hydrated condition after a long winter outing. Or give Weleda’s Skin Food Lip Butter a try for a serious moisture boost.

Hydrating lip moisturizers, scrubs, and balms

Issue: Dry, rough skin

Team members are raving about Osea's Undaria Algae Body Oil with gently hydrating citrus and cypress oils.

For a heavier lotion (aka something more occlusive), Weleda's Body Butter locks in moisture with a citrusy scent thanks to Limonene while soothing skin with a mix of shea butter and cocoa seed oil. Or try out Acure's Seriously Soothing 24 Hour Moisture Lotion instead.

If your feet are the dry, cracked ones, try Little Moon Essentials Tea Tree Foot Lotion for some relief.

Moisture-rich lotions and body oils at Grove

Issue: Dry patches on face or hands

Between the colder weather, the piped-in heat, and all that hand washing we’re doing, our skin has taken a beating. Team members rave about gently-scented, fast-absorbing Rooted Beauty Hydrating Hand Cream with shea butter and meadowfoam seed oil.

Another great choice for your face or hands is Weleda's Extra Rich Skin Food with almond oil – it goes on thick while being great for cuticles and hard-core skin repair. Slather it on your hands and feet, then let it sink in overnight for a mani/pedi jump start. Read more about how Skin Food works from one of our Grove writers who tried it.

Some other cult favorites that cure dry patches are Egyptian Magic or the All Good Goop salve.

Nourishing moisturizers for face & hands

Grove Tip

What about winter skincare for my body?

While the skin on your face, neck, and chest needs gentler TLC, feel free to give the rest of your body an invigorating scrub in the winter months. One option is to keep a bar of coffee-and-cinnamon-infused Detox Exfoliating Body Soap in the shower or bath. Or try your hand at making your own DIY scrub and mask: Try a yummy homemade body scrub of almond oil and organic cane sugar with 1:1 ratio, or create a mix of oatmeal, unflavored yogurt, and honey to make a mask that really soothes dry skin.

Find more exfoliating products that Grove members love here.

Read more from Grove

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