They’ll leave your skin feeling soft & moisturised

As much as we love the fact that winter means party season, we don’t appreciate the effect that it has on our skin. Why? Dryness.
Before you read our ‘skintervention’, here’s what you need to know about dry skin - its causes, how to prevent it and what to look for in your products, as well as what to avoid, to help you get the most out of your routine.

What causes dry skin?

Dry skin tends to just be a skin type that many of us have and is the result of a lack of oil.

However, cold weather can also have an effect, as can overwashing and low moisture in the air. Seasons change, and so can the look and feel of your skin, which is why you may be thinking of making some skincare switch-ups come winter.

What are the best products for dry skin?

“Dry skin is usually associated with redness and inflammation as the skin barrier is damaged allowing many substances to go in the deeper layers of the skin and irritate it,” says Dr Kristina Semkova, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic in London.

“Products for dry skin should ideally be replenishing moisture but also rebuilding the skin barrier and soothing the skin,” she continues. “Key products for dry skin are ceramides which help restore the skin barrier, hyaluronic acid which collects moisture and niacinamide and vitamin B5 which support an even skin tone. Depending on the degree of dryness, a lotion (for minimally dry skin) or an ointment (for very dry skin) may be better than a cream.” You may need to reapply moisturiser several times during the day if skin’s particularly dry and rough.

What products should be avoided if you have dry skin?

“Avoid foaming cleansers as they remove the natural oil barrier,” advises Dr Semkova. “Also avoid salicylic acid as it’s the only fruit acid that dehydrates skin and additives like perfumes or alcohol,” she continues.

If you have reactive skin, check out our guides to the best cleansers and best moisturisers for dry and sensitive skin.

What’s the best morning skincare routine for dry skin?

“The day should start with a gentle hydrating cleanser,” says Dr Semkova. “Then using a moisturising cream or a lotion with ceramides that restore the skin barrier before applying SPF is important.” She adds, “If a foundation is used on top, it should be a liquid or cream product instead of powders as that will dry the skin.”

What’s the best evening skincare routine for dry skin?

“An evening routine should start with a hydrating cleanser to remove all dust, pollution particles, make-up and cream build-up,” says Dr Semkova. Follow with a hyaluronic acid serum to attract moisture into the skin. A word of caution though: “Serum isn’t enough to moisturise dry skin and should be followed by a nourishing cream.”


From cleansers to serums, face oils and more, here are 14 brilliant dry skin saviours available at Boots to help skin stay smooth and soothed throughout the year.

Explore more great facial skincare picks for dry skin here.

The best cleansers for dry skin
Try: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin

• Size: 236ml

• Fragrance-free

• Non-comedogenic

A non-foaming gel formula (which is very important given that foaming cleansers aren’t the best idea for dry skin), this cleanser is boosted with three essential ceramides to help protect the skin barrier.

Try: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

• Size: 236ml

Cleansers don’t get much gentler than this one - it does all a cleanser’s supposed to do without stripping the skin or its natural protective oils, or disturbing its pH balance.

Try: Curél Makeup Cleansing Oil

• Size: 150ml

Dr Barbara Kubicka, an aesthetic doctor with her own clinic in London, recommends “looking out for creamy and oily cleansers that don’t remove the skin’s natural sebum when caring for dry skin.” Specially formulated to remove make-up, this cleansing oil leaves dry skin feeling fresh and looking dewy. A perfect addition to your evening skincare routine.

The best toners for dry skin
Try: Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic

• Size: 200ml

Dr Kubicka stresses the importance of avoiding products containing alcohol when you have dry skin, so it’s good that this toner is alcohol-free. It has aloe vera to hydrate, calendula (and chamomile AND cucumber) to soothe, and vitamin E to help make you look radiant. Along with its lovely blend of essential oils, it’s an instant boost indeed.

Try: Avène Gentle Toner for Sensitive Skin

• Size: 200ml

Enriched with natural silicates that provide a protective film and help shield the skin’s barrier from external aggressors like the cold and wind, this toner perfects whatever great work your cleanser has already done.

The best serums for dry skin
Try: La Roche-Posay HyaluB5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum

• Size: 30ml

“Hyaluronic acid is a gold standard ingredient for dry skin,” says Dr Kubicka. Our favourite way to use it? In a hyaluronic acid serum! We adore this one for making our skin look like we’ve just had years’ worth of rest. “Be sure to layer it under a moisturiser to keep the moisture in,” explains Dr Kubicka.

Try: Boots Ingredients Lactic Acid Serum

• Size: 30ml

• Vegan

“Use an exfoliating serum in your evening routine,” says Dr Kubicka. “Exfoliation is important for allowing the hydrating ingredients in your serums and moisturisers to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin.” But Dr Semkova warns that “harsh exfoliation isn’t good for dry skin, so it’s important to use the right exfoliating ingredient: lactic acid.” This bank balance-friendly product is a beauty bargain.

The best moisturisers for dry skin
Try: Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Cream

• Size: 50ml

We adore this ceramide moisturiser for nourishing and brightening our skin with its ingredients and our mood with its packaging.

Try: Curél Intensive Moisture Facial Cream

• Size: 40g

• pH balanced

• Fragrance-free

• Alcohol-free

It’s unsurprising that dry skin is often sensitive skin, so using a moisturiser that caters to this is a great idea. This facial cream also contains those super ceramides to help give your skin an intensely nourishing amount of moisture.

Try: No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Day Cream

• Size: 50ml

Triple protection from SPF15, unique Double Defence technology and No7 age-defying actives will leave your skin feeling instantly moisturised. Formulated with Ginseng extract to help reduce the visible signs of ageing after just two weeks.

The best face oils for dry skin
Try: StriVectin Multi-Action Super-B Barrier Strengthening Oil

• Size: 30ml

• Vegan

This facial oil contains a patented form of niacin which Dr Semkova refers to as a “key ingredient for dry skin”. It helps support the skin barrier, which, in turn, can also help soothe skin and reduce the appearance of redness.

Try: Clarins Santal Treatment Oil for Dry Skin

• Size: 30ml

Featuring pure plant extracts like sandalwood, cardamom and lavender, applying this facial oil is a treat in itself, but it also helps to restore comfort to irritated skin and stimulate the epidermis to prevent moisture loss. And it smells nice too!

The best face masks for dry skin
Try: Kiehl's Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask

• Size: 100ml

Who cares about avocado on toast? We want avocado (which is known to be one of the most moisturising fruit oils) on our faces in the form of this nourishing and hydrating face mask.

Try: No7 Instant Results Nourishing Hydration Mask

• Size: 100ml

Specially tailored to nourish dry skin, this face mask is hydrating and refreshing. We use it whenever we want a boost of radiance. After all, dry skin is dull skin.

Find even more fabulous face masks here.