Winter weather calls for a change in your skincare routine – here’s how to winter-proof your skin & help protect it from the drying effects of cold weather & central heating

Ready for a seasonal skincare switch-up? As the temperature begins to drop, it’s a good time to consider the swaps to make for your winter skincare routine. After all, it’s not just our wardrobe that requires an update for the new season – our beauty kit can also benefit from a heavy layer or two during the colder months. Here are the winter skincare products to have on your radar and the tips you need for switching up your skincare routine and protecting skin in winter…

Why switch-up your skincare routine in the winter?

"When the temperature drops, skin must work harder to hold onto moisture and stay hydrated," explains Dr Lauren Hamilton, cosmetic doctor and co-founder of Victor & Garth. This is because the drier air, caused by cold weather and low humidity levels, draws moisture away from the skin.

"As a result, skin can become more susceptible to irritation," continues Dr Hamilton who adds that you may notice symptoms of burning, stinging and tightness as well as redness, dryness and peeling. "This is why it’s so important to switch up your skincare routine come autumn."

Does central heating dry your skin?

The short answer is yes, sadly. Much like air-conditioning, central heating zaps moisture from the air, causing skin to become dry, dehydrated and tight. "Cold weather, wind and central heating all lead to increased transepidermal water loss," says Dr Hamilton, "which is why you may find that skin feels dry." Skin can also become itchy, more sensitive and look lacklustre.

How to adapt your skincare routine to winter weather & central heating

Thankfully, there are several ways to step up your skincare regime to counteract the effects of cold weather and central heating to maintain great skin health through winter. First, consider swapping out lightweight products for rich creams and hydrating heroes. "Opt for gentle, nourishing and calming cleansers and moisturisers that contain soothing ingredients, such as jojoba oil, shea butter and squalene," advises Dr Hamilton. Second, keep chapped lips at bay by keeping a moisture-boosting lip balm close to hand and try using a face mist throughout the day to help dry winter skin get its glow back.

The switch in seasons also provides the perfect opportunity to introduce a new active into your skincare routine. Seek out ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin B and retinol, which can help restore glow, as well as hyaluronic acid to boost hydration.

Our favourite winter skincare swaps

From skin-softening cleansers and moisturisers, to savvy serums and hydrating face mists, we’ve curated an edit of some of our best winter skincare products to start incorporating into your routine to help counteract the effects of central heating, cold weather, wind and dry air.

Shop more skincare must-tries in our full range.

Go for gentle cleansers

Replace foaming formulas with gentle cleansers that take off the day without stripping skin of essential moisture. Products that leave your complexion feeling tight or squeaky clean should be avoided during winter.

Try: Byoma Melting Balm Cleanser

• Size: 60g

• Suitable for all skin types

Hydrate and nourish skin with this buttery-soft cleansing balm. It’s packed with key barrier lipids, restorative olive fruit extract and grapeseed oil which work to melt away even the most stubborn make-up, SPF and impurities. The best part? It leaves skin feeling ultra-hydrated without clogging pores, disrupting the skin barrier or leaving an oily residue.

Try: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

• Size: 236ml

• Fragrance-free

• Doesn’t clog pores

• Dermatologically-tested

Perfect for sensitive, dry winter skin, this daily face and body cleanser removes dirt and make-up while preserving the skin's natural moisture barrier. With glycerin, niacinamide and panthenol, its friendly formula helps hydrate and soften skin, leaving it feeling smooth and looking healthy.

Try: REN Clean Skincare Evercalm™ Gentle Cleansing Milk

• Size: 50ml

• Suitable for sensitive skin

• Vegan*

If you’ve got sensitive, stressed or irritated skin, then this soothing cleansing milk could be for you. With a non-drying formula that calms as it cleans, restore hydration and comfort itchy, red and uncomfortable skin with the nourishing blend of blackcurrant seed oil, vitamin E and fennel seed extract.

Shop more top gentle cleansers in our full range

Introduce nourishing day creams

"Skin can become more sensitive in winter," warns Dr Hamilton, "so opt for nourishing creams containing ingredients like ceramides that can help support the skin’s barrier by locking in moisture." If you have delicate skin, you may want to avoid products containing alcohol, fragrance and essential oils as they may trigger skin sensitivity.

Try: No7 Future Renew Day Cream SPF40

• Size: 50ml

• Dermatologist approved

Expertly developed with world-first peptide technology, Pepticology™, along with hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and niacinamide, this richly textured day cream protects against UV with SPF40 and reverses visible signs of skin damage, such as the feeling of dryness and loss of firmness.** 

Try: Sculpted by Aimee Cloud Cream Nourishing Ceramide Moisturiser

• Size: 50ml

• Suitable for all skin types

Ultra-light, comforting and rich in ceramides, massage this silky cream in every morning to lock in moisture and help protect against environmental aggressors. A beautifully soft and supple complexion is yours thanks to hydrating hyaluronic acid and smoothing shea butter.

Try: Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Skin Barrier Moisturising Cream

• Size: 50ml

Your new dry skin hero? Make it this next-level moisturiser bursting with skin barrier-supporting ceramides. Its buttery-rich texture deeply moisturises and nourishes whilst instantly sinking in, perfect for those speedy morning skincare routines.

Find more top winter moisturisers here

Reach for richer night creams

A hard-working night cream can do wonders for the changing needs of your skin in winter. The last step of your evening routine, it helps lock in valuable moisture so that you can look forward to bouncier, more plumped-up skin come morning. Take your time massaging it in to help end-of-day tension melt away.

Try: Weleda Skin Food Nourishing Night Cream

• Size: 40ml

• Vegan*

Wake up to a radiant-looking and silky-soft complexion after using this nutrient-rich night cream. The impressive collection of botanical extracts, including calendula, chamomile and squalane are here to bring out the luminosity and natural beauty of your skin.

Try: Nip+Fab Ceramide Fix Overnight Cream 12%

• Size: 50ml

• Suitable for all skin types including sensitive

• Cruelty-free

• Fragrance-free

• Vegan*

This powerhouse in a pot is ideal for mature skin in need of some TLC. It’s created with an innovative active 12% complex including a blend of ceramides, biolin and azelaic acid to help restore skin’s natural balance and improve the feel of firmness and elasticity.

Try: Olay Niacinamide 24 + Vitamin E Night Cream

• Size: 50ml

• Fragrance-free

• Non-comedogenic

Enriched with 99% pure niacinamide, shea butter and vitamin E, this night cream is the one to choose for visibly firmer and smoother looking skin. Its rich texture goes deep into the skin, yet still absorbs quickly with a non-greasy feeling.

Shop more brilliant night creams in our full range

Opt for hard-working eye creams

The low humidity levels in autumn and winter can also cause the delicate eye area to become dry and increase the appearance of dark circles, so it’s a good idea to incorporate an eye cream into your daily skincare regime. Just remember, eye cream first – before serums and moisturisers.

Try: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Supercharged Gel Eye Cream

• Size: 15ml

• Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive

• Non-comedogenic

•Dermatologist tested

Make light work of dark circles with this silky gel-crème formula that hydrates with a potent infusion of hyaluronic acid whilst minimising the look of puffiness and crow’s feet. Lightweight and fast-absorbing, it leaves the eye area feeling refreshed, renewed and recharged whilst revealing brighter-looking, more wide-awake eyes.

Try: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Bags

• Size: 15ml

• Suitable for sensitive skin

• Dermatologist tested

• Fragrance-free

• Vegan*

Say “bye-bye” to the look of eye puffiness and under eye bags with this temporary at-home solution to depuff and smooth the look of under eyes. The innovative formula creates a tightening and blurring film that dries clear to reveal lifted-looking skin in just 20 minutes. It’s a true saviour when you’re lacking sleep!

Try: Revolution Skincare x Sali Hughes Ringlight Creamy Illuminating Eye Balm

• Size: 15ml

• Cruelty-free

• Fragrance-free

• Vegan*

• Formulated and made in the UK

Want instant moisture and radiance? Turn your attention to this rich, hydrating and non-greasy eye cream to soften dry lines and instantly illuminate the look of dark circles thanks to glow-giving light reflecting particles. Pat gently around your eye area anytime, day or night, under or over make-up.

Discover more fatigue-fighting eye creams here

Add in a nourishing lip balm

Chapped, cracked and dry lips are commonplace in winter thanks to the colder temperatures and harsh winter winds. To help restore moisture and soften the skin, consider adding a lip balm to your beauty regime, pronto.

Try: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Lip Repair Balm

• Size: 15ml

A beauty staple for your handbag, this intensive balm gives your lips a serious boost of moisture. The long-lasting and luxuriously rich formula immediately soothes and restores hydration to your lip’s delicate moisture barrier.

Try: Lanolips 101 Ointment

• Size: 17.5ml

• Dermatologically tested

Loved by celebrities and beauty experts world over, this super dense balm harnesses the power of pure grade lanolin to seal in moisture on extremely dry lips. Its multi-tasking formula can also be used on dry skin, windburn and cold-chapped cheeks, making it a true winter skincare saviour

Try: Carmex Cherry Moisturising Lip Balm

• Size: 10g

• Contains SPF15

A classic for a reason, apply this cherry scented lip balm liberally whenever you need to soothe and moisturise dry and chapped lips. With SPF15, it also protects your pout from harmful UV rays whilst adding a lovely sheen.

Dry lips? Shop more great lip balms in our full range

Switch-up your serums

"To maintain glow during winter, apply a vitamin C serum daily," says Dr Hamilton. It’s great for adding brightness and restoring radiance in our experience.

Shorter days mean less daylight which makes winter a good time to start retinol, too. "It can help to improve the appearance of your skin tone and help promote skin cell turnover and collagen production," adds Dr Hamilton. Hydrating serums with hyaluronic acid are also ideal for autumn as they can help counteract skin’s moisture loss caused by the cooler temperatures. Apply when skin is damp for best results.

Try: Soap & Glory Glow With It 10% Vitamin C Serum

• Size: 25ml

• Suitable for all skin types

• Dermatologically tested

• Vegan*

A real glow-giver, choose this lightweight silky serum to transform a dull complexion and bring on dramatically brighter looking and re-energised skin. It’s powered by 10% vitamin C for that lit-from-within glow, whilst also visibly improving the look of texture, fine lines and wrinkles.

Try: Versed Moisture Maker Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum

• Size: 30ml

Smoother, softer, bouncier skin starts with a great serum like this lightweight, non-sticky option from Versed. Enriched with hyaluronic acid, peptides and polyglutamic acid, it immediately quenches skin above and below the surface, drenching it in soothing, plumping hydration that lasts all day.

Try: OLE HENRIKSEN Banana Bright™ Vitamin C Serum

• Size: 30ml

With vitamin C, exfoliating acids, hyaluronic acid and banana powder-inspired pigments, hydrate and plump the look of skin with this next-gen serum for serious glow. It instantly brightens the appearance of skin and helps defend against pollution, while delivering a sensorial experience as you massage it in.

Explore more brilliant face serums here

Don’t forget a multitasking SPF

As the British Skin Foundation points out, the sun emits harmful UV rays all year round and a significant amount can penetrate clouds, highlighting how important it can be to wear sunscreen every day – even during winter. Sensitive skin? "When dealing with winter skin that can be more prone to sensitivity, the key ingredient to look out for is zinc oxide, which can be tolerated by most skin types" says Dr Hamilton.

Zinc oxide is a type of mineral sunscreen along with titanium dioxide and, while both are great options, they can leave a white cast on skin. Formulas have come leaps and bounds in recent years though. Dr Hamilton recommends trialling different formulations first to see how well they blend in.

Try: The Inkey List™ Polyglutamic Acid Dewy Sunscreen SPF30

• Size: 50ml

• Suitable for all skin types

• Sweat-proof

Lightweight, non-greasy and easily layered under make-up, this daily sunscreen is formulated with broad spectrum SPF30 for sheer protection with no white cast. Plus, it’s enriched with a hydrating trio of polyglutamic acid, glycerin and squalane to help lock in moisture for a smooth, dewy finish. What more could you need in an SPF?

Try: e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Face Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

• Size: 50g

• Vegan*

This moisturiser meets SPF contains a cocktail of skin-savvy ingredients including hyaluronic acid and peptides to promote a plumped and moisturised complexion, along with SPF30 for daily UV protection. Apply a generous amount onto clean skin as the last step in your skincare routine. It’s great to use alone or to prep and prime skin before make-up.

Try: Boots SPF+ Niacinamide Moisturising Lotion SPF50

• Size: 50ml

• Suitable for sensitive skin

• Fragrance-free

• Not tested on animals

• Vegan*

• Recycle with the tube on

Formulated to leave an invisible finish, this daily moisturising lotion combines protective SPF50 with niacinamide to support the skin’s barrier and vitamin E to soothe and protect against environmental damage. It’s a great all-in-one pick for your morning skincare routine.

Check out our guide to 7 of the best sunscreens for darker skin tones and shop more great SPFs in our full range.

Hydrating face mists

Face mists are the ultimate staple for freshening up your complexion and delivering a hefty dose of hydration to winter skin. Seek out ingredients like moisture-attracting hyaluronic acid and soothing botanicals to amp up that glow.

Try: ELEMIS Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist

• Size: 100ml

Feed your skin a boost of hydration with this nourishing mist that leaves skin looking fresh and dewy with every spritz. The soothing formula is brimming with coconut water, rooibos tea and vegan* kefir ferment and can be used to tone and prime skin as well as setting make-up and refreshing skin throughout the day.

Try: Botanics Revive & Protect Postbiotic Facial Mist – With Black Tea & Kombucha

• Size: 100ml

• Suitable for all skin types

• Cruelty-free

• Vegan*

Powered by black tea kombucha, spritz on this lightweight facial mist to revive dull skin and protect it from the drying effects of the environment. Not only does it leave skin feeling calm and balanced for a healthier-looking, glowing complexion, but it’s also lightly fragranced with an uplifting essential oil blend of orange and ginger to help you feel energised. A treat for the skin and the senses!

Try: BYBI Mega Mist Facial Mist

• Size: 70ml

• Suitable for all skin types

Ideal for skin that feels dry and dehydrated in the winter months, this ultra-refreshing mist and toner in one delivers a dewy boost of hydration and a soft, glowy finish thanks to hyaluronic acid, soothing aloe vera and comforting pomegranate extract.

*Vegan formulas do not contain any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.
**Consumer study. Users saw a reversal in appearance of dryness and uneven texture and the feel of lost firmness.