My Winter Essentials.

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January Thaw is pretty much over, as evidenced by the ridiculously bitter cold temperatures we’ve hit the past few days. Venturing outside for more than a few minutes at a time has been a challenge, and lately I’ve been timing just how quickly I can sprint from my front door to my car, my car to my office, etc. without my lips turning blue.

Thankfully I’ve been introduced to some products that have made this winter a little more bearable and have given me a leg up with preventing chapped skin, cracked lips, greasy hat hair, and seasonal blues- and I thought I’d share my arsenal!

WinterEssentials2013CliniqueMoistureSurge1. Clinique’s Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief: (1.7 oz., $37.00, clinique.com):  For as long as I can remember, I’ve had oily, sensitive, and often problematic skin. I’m prone to redness, breakouts, and shine- and I had grown to accept the fact that I would forever need oil blotting sheets and the strongest toners and exfoliants imaginable. It was a way of life and I had adapted to it.

So imagine my surprise when my esthetician, Barbara, who has been familiar with my skin since I was a teenager, determined my skin was actually quite dry during a recent routine facial. I had thought my skin was beyond hydrated. I use an oil-free moisturizer, and have never experienced any sort of tightness, save for immediately after I use a scrub on my skin, and I drink what I thought was plenty of water daily.

But the elements of this frigid season had dried my skin out (and I’m sure my coffee addiction doesn’t particularly help, either), and I turned to an old friend, Clinique, for help. Moisture Surge is an oil-free, fragrance-free gel that you apply after your regular moisturizer to give your skin a boost in hydration. It helps smooth out fine lines, flakiness, and tightness- without clogging your pores. I’ve been using it twice a day, every day, for a couple of weeks now and I’ve already seen and felt a dramatic improvement to my skin’s texture and tone. *

DrJartBBCream

2. Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Cream (1.5 oz., $36.00, sephora.com): I’ve worn foundation since I was 19, and I’ve tried so many different brands and types over the years that I’ve lost track- but the product, no matter who makes it, is always difficult to stick with. It either clogs my pores, or slides right off, or changes color on my skin after a while (I’ve turned jaundice yellow a few times), or simply does not give me the coverage I need.

I’ve heard people raving about BB creams over the past couple of months, and had been tempted to try them, but was concerned with not getting the right amount of coverage, or worse, having a reaction and breaking out.

Enter Dr. Jart+ BLDBBC. This balm feels amazing and lightweight on my face, gives great coverage while it evens out my skintone, offers SPF protection and antioxidants to help gradually strengthen my skin over time, and detoxes my skin from impurities caused by free radicals such as pollution or bacteria.

Like Moisture Surge, I’ve been using this product for a couple of weeks, and have not had to apply foundation once. My skin looks radiant, even after I take it off for the day! *

NiveaMilkAndHoneyBalm

3. Nivea’s Pure & Natural Milk and Honey Lip Balm ($2.49, most drug stores): My lips are a mess in the winter. They crack, they peel, they’re red and feel like they’re on fire, and my only solution when I’m not smearing chapstick and Vaseline all over them is to desperately try to cover the damage with a heavy, waxy lipstick.

So, while perusing balms at a drug store recently after I’d forgotten my chapstick at home and needed some quick relief, I came across Nivea’s Pure & Natural collection- and the milk and honey balm caught my attention. It was cheap, and I decided to give it a whirl- and boy, am I glad I did. This lightweight balm smells delicious, and is soothing on contact. It also stays in place, so constant reapplications aren’t necessary. It helped heal my lips in a matter of days, and my pout and pucker has never looked better in the middle of January!

NoDroughtDryShampoo

4. Lush’s “No Drought” Dry Shampoo (1.9 oz., $6.95, lushusa.com): I wear a lot of hats in the winter (1. because it’s cold here, and 2. I love hats), and while they look cute when I’m out and about on the town, my hair underneath is a different story. Overwashing my hair, in any season, dries my scalp out- but spacing out my shampooing causes my curls to tread the fine line between “glossy” and “grimy”. This is a problem I notice especially in the winter, and typically right after I take my hat off. Product build-up in my hair coupled with sweating in a wool cap adds a level of oil to my locks that’s hard to get rid of.

Lush’s “No Drought” Dry Shampoo helps take care of it. Massaging a little bit of this citrus smelling powder into my scalp, and brushing it through to my ends, absorbs excess oil and sweat, but keeps my hair really soft and manageable. I like to keep a bottle of it in my bag for after I wrap up a work-out session at the gym or for touch-ups at work before I meet with clients of co-workers.

“Winter Essentials” not pictured: My deliciously rocker-chic “Simply Vera” Vera Wang snow boots, my $5 CVS brand sunblossom hand cream (the cold and gloves make my hands so dry and itchy. This hand cream is a lifesaver, is easy to carry, and smells wonderful), my brightly colored spa socks, my ever growing collection of fleece blankets, and my red velvet cake flavored instant hot cocoa mix.

What are some of your “Winter Essentials”?

* NOTE: While nearing completion of this entry, it was brought to my attention that some of the companies listed use testing procedures for their products that go against my ethical beliefs. I do not condone, nor would I ever condone, testing cosmetics on animals. I kept the reviews as they were as I wanted to give an unbiased account of the results I experienced from said products. Following this entry, I will be looking elsewhere for similar products to achieve similar results, but from companies that do not test on animals. *

– Ashley

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