Two words: Cream cleanser. It definitely bears repeating: Cream cleanser. They come in all different formulas for whatever skin type you have, but if it’s cold out and it’s dry out, don’t even go near a gel cleanser (way too stripping) or especially a bar of soap. You are going to have crocodile skin on your hands faster than you can say it. It is itchy, painful, and not very pretty. But you still have to throughly clean your skin or you can get winter blemishes, very clogged pores (especially since you’re probably wearing more heavy moisturizer than usual), and premature aging, because all day long pollutants and free radical are slyly sticking to your face like glue while you remain unawares. That’s the beauty of the creamy double-cleanse. Cream cleansers are pleasant to use, a great base into your daily mini facial massage to liven up that dead winter complexion, and they really get down deep to get all the gunk out. They are many options out there, and I am always adding and amending my current lineup, but so far this my staple set that always stays at the ready:
For oily skin or oilier days:
Vichy Normaderm: Thick and slightly grainy for a light exfoliation, and the clay based formula cleans the skin of dirt and grime yet somehow doesn’t leave it even a bit dry. Maybe a little harsh for everyday for drier skins, but I (dry-skinned) use it once a week or so if I am using multiple layers of sunscreen because it leaves my pores feeling so much cleaner.
For normal to combination skin:
Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser: A great innovation and one of the first of the clay cleansers I ever tried. It turns your shower into a spa moment, also smells like a spa moment, and does the full cleansing job very well. It is very moisturizing. However, I usually do a light second cleanse with something else after this one or otherwise I do feel light film left on my skin. But this is an amazing way to clean your face.
For dry skin/dry skin days:
SK-II Facial Treatment Cleanser: the uber-standard that all other cream cleansers have to measure up to in my opinion. So moisturizing, so cleansing, and so silky all at the same time. Smells a bit like Dove and foams up effervescently like champagne for the face. Slightly whitening, and the base you are looking for in cold weather to start with moisturized skin, and then layer on top of that. This one gives you a running head start at maintaining moisture all day long. My pre-ski routine almost always includes this or an oil cleanser.
For all skins:
La Roche Posay Toleriane: If your skin is sensitive, or feeling reactive, inflamed, irritated or (God forbid) flaky or cracking, this is the clinical option that will not disturb your skin’s outer layer even the tiniest bit. However, you will get nice and clean as it is very thick but rinses away very nicely (not always the case with thicker cleansers). It has no fragrance, and is a safe and steady choice for protecting skin while getting it softly cleansed no matter what the weather; but it is a five star hit for cold and dry battered faces.
For unrivaled luxury:
NaturaBisse Diamond White Rich Cleanse: This is the cleanser beyond all cleansers. It’s an anti-aging treatment, massage gel and aromatic masterpiece all in one. The texture is incredible and sensual. Finely encrusted with sparkly shimmer as well. Never, never inappropriate.