How to Look Better in Cold Weather

The frigid days of winter can wreak havoc on your looks, from bright red noses to static-prone hair and chapped lips. If you've got to be out and about in cold temperatures, a little preparation goes a long way—perhaps even weeks or months before the mercury really plummets.

"The best way to manage through the winter is to start protecting before the cold really sets in," asserts Jessica Krant, MD, a New York dermatologist and founder of Art of Dermatology LLC, who recommends beginning your winter beauty routine in the fall. Whether you plan that far ahead or not, try the following tips to look great in the cold:

Keep it moist. Cold air is extremely drying and sucks moisture out of us much faster than we realize, Krant says. "Combine that with overheated, over-dry air inside, and overly long showers to take off the chill, and you've got trouble." She urges a daily application of moisturizer to keep skin supple. "Use a thick, plain body cream with no fragrance to avoid allergens or irritants that can lead to itching." And it doesn't hurt to apply a second application of lotion before getting into bed. For really dry hands and feet, slip on some cotton gloves and socks before you snooze. They'll lessen the evaporation and keep your skin soft.

In addition, a facial moisturizer with SPF 30 is an absolute must. "It protects your face from getting dried out and damaged by cold wind, keeps the skin plumped and less wrinkly, and even helps the outer layer of skin plump up to provide better insulation from the cold," Krant adds.

Don't be a lip smacker. Lips don't have oil glands, so cold temperatures are a recipe for a dry, chapped mouth. Use a lip balm and wrap your scarf up around your mouth when outside on a freezing, windy day. And definitely do not lick your lips, no matter how tempting. They'll dry out quickly, making you want to lick them again, which will cause further drying and chapping.

Combat hair-raising conditions. Low humidity and falling temperatures mean static electricity and frizzy flyaways. Regularly applying conditioner to your hair helps seal moisture into the hair shaft. It also helps fight the infamous winter frizzies and static that's created every time you remove that cute knit cap. In the winter it's also a good idea to shampoo less often since shampooing depletes natural oils.

Know your nose. If you turn into Rudolph at the first hint of winter, there's only so much you can do to turn down the wattage on the redness. "Breathing dry air makes the nose want to rehydrate its delicate lining and makes it create more mucus, which can start running when you least want to deal with it," Krant explains. Blowing your nose can further irritate it. Try sleeping with a humidifier, taking shorter and cooler showers, and keeping your nose extra-moisturized to fight redness. And don't worry. It will all be over soon. In the meantime, think spring!


American Academy of Dermatology. "Lip and Mouth Care," Web. Accessed 19 July 2013.