Dry, ashy skin doesn’t stand a chance.
The feeling of dry, scaly skin gives me a physical sensation comparable to hearing nails on a chalkboard—I find it hard to endure. I’ve always taken my body-care routine very seriously—it's a habit my mother instilled in me at a young age—but when the mercury on the thermometer drops and fierce, cold winds begin to whip against my skin, I ramp things up. To help you and your skin get through winter unscathed, I’m sharing my body-care arsenal. Below, you’ll find a lineup of gentle exfoliators, ultra-moisturizing lotions, and luxe body washes to help create a soft skin plan that’ll last you through the frigid days to come.
Transform Your Bathroom
If you haven’t done so already, you want to make sure your bathroom is a space you actually want to spend time in. It’s a sanctuary; the one place where no one can or should bother you.
Anyway, nothing will ruin the mood quicker than a depressing ambiance: dim, harsh lighting, a dirty bath mat, products strewn across the counter. I see my body-care routine as a ritual which means that my bathroom needs to make me happy when I’m in there. Switch out any fluorescent lights for warm-white light bulbs, switch out your plain, gray shower curtain for a printed one, and toss out your bath mat; you can either replace it with a fun, colorful one or opt for a wooden one. I prefer the latter, but you do you!
When it comes to products, if you live in a city, chances are you’re dealing with a small space which, honestly, makes organization even more important. Get some clear storage containers for under your sink or stack them onto your counter. You could also get a slim, narrow cart to slide into a nook for additional storage.
Don’t forget the actual shower itself—switch out your shower filter. They remove mineral buildup and the gunk coming out of your pipes; I noticed softer skin and shinier hair (and better water pressure) after replacing my old showerhead with the T3 Source one. Hang some lavender in the shower, light a candle or turn on an oil diffuser, and you’re good to go.
I love a rich, sudsy lather, so I use a loofah rather than a rag or a towel to cleanse from head to toe. This one from EcoTools has never done me wrong, so it’s a long-time staple in my routine.
When it comes to body cleanser, scent is extremely important to me—my fragrance routine starts in the shower. It can be hard to strike that perfect balance—not too much, not too little. Right now, I’ve been alternating between two: Nécessaire The Body Wash in Eucalyptus and Dove Body Wash with Renewing Peony & Rose Oil. You can’t go wrong with either; they won’t strip you dry or leave behind a hard-to-scrub-off residue.
Pumice Stone Time
I do exfoliate in the shower (more on that later) but my feet deserve a special kind of attention. That’s where the pumice stone comes in; I go ham on my heels and the rest of my feet for about 30 seconds. I ran track and played tennis in high school, so it goes without saying that my feet can look a bit worse for wear if I don’t take care of them regularly. It’s all about maintenance when it comes to foot care. 30 seconds daily in the shower can prevent you from going into a spiral one day and clicking “buy” on three orders of Baby Foot and doing the peel on back-to-back days (speaking from experience here).
Pull Out Your Razor
If you shave, this is the step where that happens. If you don’t, ignore this section. Razor-wise, I’m really into Flamingo and Oui the People right now. As a notoriously clumsy person who's easily distracted, I’ve never nicked myself once. And as a very hairy human, both of these tools get the job done without leaving patches of missed spots scattered across your legs. You can use a shaving cream (again, I’m a fan of Flamingo) or you can just lather up with your favorite body wash.
Exfoliate Your Body
Once I’m clean, I’ll go in with a physical exfoliator. Yes, the rumors and Chris Black’s opinions are true: the Soft Services Body Buffer is that good. The first time I used it, I gasped; it smoothed everything out into dolphin-skin shape.
The skin on your body is tougher than your face, so you don’t have to be too worried about over-exfoliating. I use the buffing bar about twice a week, but you can create a schedule that works best for your skin’s needs. Just gently massage it onto your skin, focusing on your knees, elbows, and other rough patches that could use some love.
Sometimes, if my skin is feeling extra, extra dry I’ll work a chemical exfoliator into the mix, so that newborn-baby soft layer of skin can rise to the surface. Try Paula’s Choice BHA Body Treatment or Ren Clean Skincare AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum for plush skin and a subtle glow.
Hydrate and Moisturize
I hoard body lotion. I have tons of jars and bottles and tubes sitting in random hiding spots in my apartment. I can’t bear to give them away because I’m actually obsessed with body lotion—it’s my favorite part of the entire routine. Finding the right lotion/oil combo will have you smooth, hydrated, and glistening like Dua Lipa in St. Barths on New Year’s Eve.
I typically begin with a layer of Nécessaire The Body Serum. Feel free to skip the serum, but every time I get a tattoo, I always receive a compliment from the artist on how plump and soft my skin is, so do with that information what you will.
Next, it’s lotion time. For the moisture-sucking months, my go-to is a thick, whipped, and scented cream that’s rich in butters without leaving my skin greasy. Right now, that means Susanne Kaufmann Body Butter and Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Glow Body Lotion. They’re both absolutely incredible.
Then, I seal in all that moisture with One Love Organics Botanical C Body Oil. It smells divine, it sinks in almost immediately, and the consistency is less drippy, more syrupy, so you won’t end up with a mess on the bathroom floor. Plus, it leaves behind a soft sheen, acting as a super-subtle body highlight.
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