With the festive season done and dusted, January can feel like the hardest month of the year. To reverse the natural desire to hibernate, we suggest treating weary winter skin to some much needed TLC, and upgrading your bodycare routine to include body brushing, exfoliation and luxurious bathing – you’ll feel all the better for it and so will your skin.
Neck and Deck
If you’re planning on spending the rest of winter swaddled in roll necks and woolly scarves, it’s not an excuse to overlook the skin underneath. Peel back the layers and turn your attention to two of the most neglected areas of our bodies, our neck and décolletage (or upper chest and bust area). As we age, this thin and very delicate skin is often the first to lose its elasticity resulting in fine lines and sagging. Tighten up by incorporating a targeted lifting neck cream, such as Clark’s Botanicals Age Defying Neck & Décolleté Treatment into your daily routine. Using gentle upward motions, apply a thin layer to the neck and décolletage daily in both the morning and the evening. When it comes to ingredients, look out for anti-ageing heroes retinol, niacinamide and vitamin E, which help to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.
If legs have been trapped in tights and trousers since October it’s time to address them and relieve dry flaky skin with a spot of gentle exfoliation. A physical exfoliating scrub such as Legology Exfo-Lite Daily Scrub for Legs – a potent mix of sea salt and diuretic Himalayan pink crystals with Amalfi lemon peel works to slough away dead skin cells and reenergise sluggish, sallow skin. Apply the salts to dry skin, working up from the ankles to knees, massaging in circular movements. Massage the salts around the knees, using your thumbs to rub into your calves and the backs of knees. Continue up towards your thighs, applying more pressure and using circular massage movements. Switch the shower on and continue to massage the salts into the skin before rinsing off or if taking a bath, apply before you sit down and continue to massage while you soak.
Alternatively, a chemical exfoliator such as Ameliorate Smoothing Body Exfoliant containing lactic acid works on the top layer of the skin to break the bonds that allow dull, dead skin to cling onto the surface. Use this twice a week for softer, smoother, and more comfortable skin underneath those 100 deniers.
Body brushing is a quick and easy way to stimulate circulation and encourage your body to naturally eliminate trapped toxins, reduce cellulite and signs of bloating. Ex-beauty editor and founder of cult brand Legology Kate Shapland recommends body brushing for just a couple of minutes every day. “It’s incredibly simple to do and easy to fit into your daily routine”, explains Kate. “Simply turn on your morning shower, grab your brush and do a few quick brisk strokes over your legs and arms while the water heats up.” You can also do it in the shower on wet skin, the main thing to remember is not to scrub your skin with the brush as if you were exfoliating – but to maintain long, swift upward strokes towards the heart from feet to knees, and over thighs, buttocks and hips. The brush can also be used on arms, from hands to shoulders, and gently on the stomach. The results are instant. At first, skin will look slightly pink, this is because fresh, nutrient blood has been brought to the surface of the skin giving it a healthy bloom and tone. Skin also feels warmer and more vital – especially over areas like thighs and buttocks which can feel cold to touch because the circulation tends to be slower here.
The benefits of bathing are endless. Not only will taking the plunge soothe the mind and ease your body of any physical tensions, aches and pains, it’s also a great way to improve circulation in the colder months. Votary co-founder and self-confessed bath junkie Arabella Preston swears by a Sunday soak, “I spend a lot of time outdoors and suffer from bad circulation; my hands and feet are often cold and a hot bath really helps with that.” The heat from a warm bath can help your heart to beat faster, improving bloody flow around the body and to extremities. But, it’s not only the temperature of the water and the act of submerging your body that encourages good health, what we add to the water can also make a huge impact. Infused with 13 therapeutic oils and laced with powdered rose quartz, once dissolved into water Mauli Himalayan Healing Salts absorb into the skin to help balance pH levels and replenish depleted essential minerals. Similarly, REN Atlantic Kelp & Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Bath Oil is rich in sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, which can help to reduce muscle spasms and cramps, often common in winter.
While it’s important to moisturise all year round, you may notice that certain parts of your body need a little extra TLC during the winter months. Elbows, ankles, knees anyone? Try to moisturise straight after showering or bathing when the skin is still slightly damp, so that product is able to hold some of the water still on your body and maximise hydration. During the winter months, thick, comforting creams and luxurious oils are best. We love Susanne Kaufmann’s Body Butter rich in shea butter, olive oil and honey and slathered all over skin for long-lasting hydration or This Works Skin Deep Dry leg Oil for transforming lacklustre limbs in an instant. Its award-winning blend of seven cold-pressed plant oils, including anti-ageing rose, tuberose, sandalwood and evening primrose leaves legs silky soft and irresistibly smooth. Forget the tights and trousers, you’ll be reaching for the ankle socks and skirts in no time.