5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Fall Skincare Ritual
Don’t get left in the cold.
It happens every year: one whiff of cool, crisp air, and suddenly my porch is covered in mini pumpkins and I’m calling the cobwebs around my house an “aesthetic”. Some may call it witchcraft; I just call it Fall.
But while we’re all busy lighting pumpkin-scented candles and trading in our tie-dye sets for chunky sweaters, all of this excitement is distracting us from more urgent matters: specifically, how we’re going to keep our dewy summer skin alive through the long winter months.
We all wish hot girl summer could last forever, but no matter how low the temperature drops, this guide will help you combat even the harshest cold weather snaps. Take the next few moments to stop, read and jot down a few of our favorite Fall hacks for happy, healthy skin moods (warm mugs/blankets/"cottagecore fall" decor sold separately)
#1: Un-parch your skin
Drinking plenty of water and moisturizing often is key to optimal hydration, and these methods only become more necessary as summer rolls into fall.
Even though we know it's coming, we often disregard the importance of the changing skies when considering what's best for our face. After all, there’s plenty of moisture in the summer air for our skin to happily absorb. Why start worrying now?
Well, when cold weather comes knocking, things become a little more complicated; with a lack of moisture in the air, the hydration in your stratum corneum (aka your outermost skin layer) becomes a lifeline for the air's moisture.
Literally pulling the water from your skin, this act of replenishment by the environment leaves your skin extremely dry, cracked, and dull. Harsh winds strip your skin of it's natural oils as well, which causes that annoying, raisin-like sensation after you've been wind-whipped.
Now, I’m sure that thought has some of you rushing to the nearest heater and hibernating there for the rest of winter - but don’t go setting the thermostat to inferno just yet. Hot air actually makes matters worse, causing your skin to work overtime just to adjust to the sudden, extreme heat. Even indulging in a piping-hot shower can hinder your skin's moisture production, so avoid cranking the heat up at any point in your ritual.
Until bright, sunny days return, put away any light moisturizers you have; instead, add a heavier, moisture-rich cream to your arsenal, which is more aptly designed to retain the moisture you lack.
Emollients are skin-softening oils that help rebuild a stripped barrier. By filling the space between flaky skin cells, they create a smoother, more plump complexion - just what the doctor ordered for healthy winter skin. Add a few extra drops of face oil to your moisturizer for an added boost (plus, it feels soooo good on cracked skin).
Occlusives, like petroleum based products, create a outer shield that traps moisture within your skin barrier before any of it escapes. These products also lessen the impact of harsh winds on your skin, allowing your deficient 'dermis more time to heal from the constant flip-flop between icy outside conditions and heater-fueled home time.
Humectants, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, also have the ability to draw moisture from deep within the layers of your skin. This brings water to the surface, and helps to slow the development of dry patches and flakiness.
We all want to be ready for that perfect mistletoe moment, so don’t forget about your lips! Keeping a hydrating lip balm handy guarantees they'll stay kissably soft all winter long.
#2: Use gentle, creamy cleansers
Dry skin does require a touch more maintenance, and even more so when you’ve been cleansing your face like the seasons don’t exist *not judging, just... stating.*
You may have been able to get away with using harsher, alcohol-based astringents and cleansers during the summer, but continuing down this path can spell trouble when your barrier is stripped by a sudden cold front.
If you must, use your toners and astringents every so often, cutting back entirely if your skin is already dried out. Even if it’s just until your skin’s moisture level improves, this will make life a lot easier (and less painful).
Welcome cream-based fragrance free cleansers into your new Fall ritual, aka your new BFF. These are generally more hydrating than their foaming counterparts.
#3: Exfoliate away dead skin
With dry skin comes flakiness, redness and cracking, and once that top layer is damaged, it’s hard to restore what once was. Most of the time, your best bet is to start from scratch by wiping away your skin's dead surface to allow new, healthy skin to grow.
Now, we normally only promote a once a week exfoliation sesh, but this is probably an emergency, so allow yourself a maximum of TWO days a week for exfoliation. Why the change of heart? Since your skin's moisture decreases rapidly during the fall and winter, the likelihood of dead skin to develop on the surface of your skin increases, so it’s ok to scrub a little more often than usual. Just don’t overdo it - stick to twice a week and that's it!
We recommend a rice-based exfoliant for the most gentle approach, but most any exfoliator will do; be sure to moisturize plenty afterwards, too, as your newly developed skin will be more susceptible to damage.
#4: Wear sunscreen (did you see this one coming? Because you should have)
If you’ve been following our posts for awhile, you already know that this is our number one tip for maintaining a healthy complexion, no matter what the situation is.
Even if you don’t feel like you’re being exposed to UV rays during the day, your skin is still extremely vulnerable without some sort of SPF coverage. Dark, grey clouds may block your view of the sun, but dangerous rays can still penetrate even the heaviest cloud coverage and damage your skin barrier.
Ever spent an entire day on the slopes, only to discover a fried face when you go inside? This is what we’re trying to prevent for you! So, once again, listen when we say this: keep. the sunblock. flowing. Or else...
#5: Invest in a humidifier, OR steam at home
Sure, it may sound like an overly luxurious suggestion, but we’re not just recommending a humidifier for the ~vibes~ it provides. Creating more moisture in your home is one way to up your skincare game too, without having to put in a ton of extra effort.
With the addition of a humidifier, the dry air created by cranking up the thermostat begins to decrease in favor of the water emitted from one of these bad boys. And yes, they do make your moments of zen that much more fantastic! But they also help create a healthy environment when you’re working to repair especially dry skin.
For best results, place the device in your bedroom or in/near whichever room you hang in the most. You can also move the humidifier from room to room to increase moisture throughout different areas of your home.
On a tight budget? You'll get a similar effect by steaming your face at home over a bowl of hot water. When your face is exposed to steam, oil production increases and helps promote healthy hydration.
To do this: simply boil 4-6 cups of water, add a few herbs (like cloves or sage), stir until the mixture is fragrant, and pour everything into a bowl.
Once the water cools down a bit, add essential oils (if desired), then hold your face in the steam with a towel draped over your head; we recommend starting far away from the water, then lowering to your comfort level. Stay like this for about 5-10 minutes, lifting the towel at the corners to cool down as needed.
Come for the spa moment, stay for the moisturizing effect!
Winter is coming: get your skin in the game
I know, it’s hard for me to admit as well, but: summer is officially dead. We might as well embrace all of the good things about the new season, then, right?
Go apple picking! Carve a pumpkin! Cast a spell! Buy an illegitimate broomstick off of Etsy! Whatever gets you in the spirit of fall, DO IT.
Even if your complexion is as fickle as the weather forecast, making small adjustments to your ritual early on will keep you and your skin satisfied & smiling, no matter what time of year it is.
Written by Adrianne Neal