Winter is a tough experience for any skin type. Even if you have oily skin, you may suffer from severe skin dehydration due to prolonged exposure to central air heating, contrasting temperatures, and harsh winds. People with acne can hardly balance the act, torn between the need to calm down those nasty pimples with alcohol-based toners and pimple-drying masks and desperate need to slap on that comfy moisturizer. And those with sensitive skin suffer most of all.

No matter what skin type you have in warmer seasons, winter skincare is all about care. This means putting aside those oil-stripping toners, mattifying gels, face washes with scrubbing particles and face powder. In winter, you have to be mindful and adapt your skincare regimen accordingly.

First, in winter your skin needs moisture to keep it supple and healthy. Humectants (to attract and retain moisture) and emollients (for a smoothing and softening effect) are essential, the more the better. That doesn’t mean you have to slick your face in Vaseline. Fortunately, there are smarter solutions.

Gentle cleansing comes first. Stay away from bar soaps, especially antibacterial ones, which not only dry your skin but in fact help create new forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Now it’s time to try Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser if you haven’t already. With mildest possibly ingredients it can be used either with water or a cotton ball. We loved the way Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser glides on skin, removing even long-lasting mascara. And it washed the sebum clogging our pores (no black dots!), leaving zero residue, so our skin looked calm and flawless, ready to absorb the moisturizer.

Toning is essential in winter. Using a proper toner is more important than most people think. A toner is used to remove the remains of the cleanser. Toners are usually acidic or lower on the pH range. Toner’s also a mild cleanser too, and it can soften your skin and even leave some vitamins. Always tone after cleansing and before moisturizing. For best results, try a toner with fewer chemical additions to it, such as Fresh Rose Marigold Tonic Water or Facial Toner by Dr.Hauschka.

Treat yourself to a moisturizing mask once a week or after a prolonged exposure to frosty winter bites. Honey Comfort Mask by L’Occitane contains pure honey that gently softens and hydrates sensitive skin. Caudalie Revitalizing Moisture Grape-Seed Cream Mask is also a nice option. Fresh’s Sugar Face Polish To Go does double duty polishing the skin with brown sugar and exfoliating with strawberries.

Exfoliate your face skin with gentle non-abrasive exfoliators such as Gel Exfoliant Intensive by G.M. Collin. This particle-free citrusy gel is indeed very gentle to the skin. Gel Exfoliant Intensive uses enzymatic action of grapefruit and lemon peel oils plus lactic acid and juniper to eliminate dead skin cells when dries on the skin and then peeled or rolled by fingertips. Similar (yet less effective) option: Yonka Gommage 305 for Dry or Sensitive Skin.

To dry acne pimples, use tea tree oil and avoid benzoyl peroxide products until spring, they are way too dry. Mix in a drop of essential tea tree oil in a bowl of hot water for a clarifying face steam bath. You may also add a diluted tea tree to your favorite toner or a moisturizer for their extra benefits.

Body skin is also undergoing a serious beating by winter. It is dehydrated from static electricity, air heating, and chilly winds. Plus, clothing also steals moisture from the skin. To beat the flaky itchy skin starts with gentle full body scrubbing with Buffy the Backside Slayer Body Buffer by LUSH. It sloughs dead skin cells and improves the blood circulation with ground almonds, rice, and azuki beans mixed in a bar of moisturizing shea and cocoa butters. Such a treat.

Develop a routine for daily complete body moisturizing with a rich body crème such as Dream Cream by LUSH. We absolutely love the scent and the fact that we actually slather on stuff good enough for a decent eye cream: oats, rose essential water, lavender, chamomile, and olive oil. Little secret: we even put this herbal-scented lotion to our face, which is irritated and red due to recent freezing rain and chilly winds.

So what are you waiting for? Spring (and Valentine’s Day) is just around the corner, so get ready to shed your clothes and reveal the beautiful skin underneath.