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There’s nothing like moving across the country to the city of dry heat to make you question everything you knew about your skin care routine. After spending 30-plus winters in the humid tri-state area, I thought I’d finally learned how to coddle my skin through the tricky fall-winter-spring transition. But when I moved to Los Angeles, I found out exactly what the mix of dry air and the dry forced heat in my apartment would do to my skin — and it wasn’t good.
While NYC’s dry season is usually October through March, Los Angeles’s is March through November. But even with a humidifier in every room (I wish I was kidding), it’s quite literally always dry. In fact, I thought moving to California would mean I didn’t have to take as meticulous care to keep my skin hydrated and dewy all year round, but I was wrong: Instead of switching up my regimen to align with NYC’s fairly predictable rise in temps and humidity, I spend nearly six weeks playing skin care Tetris before I lock in a routine.
The good news is that I don’t have to make major adjustments, but instead, I fine-tune a few things in my skin care routine to transition it from winter to spring. Ahead, the 11 beauty products I use to transition my skin from winter to spring — all without a single sign of ashiness.
I’ve sung the praises of Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant for years because it works great in just about any climate. That said, I use it almost 365 days a year: It’s gentle enough for daily use (hence the name) but the rice-enzyme powder works to slough off dry and dead skin cells without causing irritation. It’s a must-have in any season, but especially during extra-dry times.
Transitioning from winter to spring in Los Angeles generally means I can turn off my heat, rely less on my humidifier and finally get back to using my favorite daily exfoliating peel again. Each pre-soaked pad is loaded with glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids to help chemically exfoliate pores without leaving skin flaky and dry.
I use LaPrairie’s Essence in the winter months when my skin needs all the hydration it can get, but as the weather heats up, I (mostly) switch it out for Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir, a refreshing face mist that tones as it hydrates.
I swear by Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream six months out of the year, but I try to wean myself off of it when the weather starts to warm up. The only suitable replacement, of course, is the serum equivalent. Its main ingredient is niacinamide, which gives skin an undeniable lit-from-within glow. It also provides the perfect base for my foundation to glide over.
This lightweight moisturizing lotion is a great lightweight alternative to my usual heavyweight cream.
In addition to swapping out my serum and moisturizers, I also switch to a lighter, dewier foundation. ILIA’s Super Serum Skin Tint comes in 30 shades and has a mix of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and squalene to keep even the driest of complexions looking dewy. (The SPF 40 is a great bonus, too.)
Tons of dry brushes are overpriced and hard to handle, but this dry brush is truly life-changing. I use it for a few minutes every morning to help with circulation and exfoliate my residually dry skin just before I hop in the shower.
I’m a sucker for a good-looking body wash, but this one doesn’t just make my bathtub prettier. Unlike most body washes or soaps, SALT & STONE’s non-drying iteration has niacinamide and hyaluronic acid for unparalleled hydration.
I typically don’t shave much in the winter, but come spring, I’m reunited with those tiny little bumps that are impossible to eradicate with lotion alone. Soft Services’ Smoothing Solution, which is made specifically for the body, is a gentle chemical exfoliant formulated with lactic acid and aloe leaf juice to target things like ingrown hairs or uneven texture. It’s a slightly tacky gel-serum that absorbs quickly, though I recommend using it only where you need it. (For me, that’s the backs of my arms, legs, and bikini line.)
Could I skip the luxurious jar of lotion and go for the cheap kind? Absolutely, but there’s no single moisturizer I’ve found that keeps every inch of my body — including my dry-as-heck heels and knees — hydrated for a full 24 hours like this one from Susanne Kaufmann which is loaded with shea butter and olive oil.
Here’s one habit I don’t drop come spring: I love to mix that body butter with a little bit of Alo’s Glow System Body Oil for an all-over glow that doesn’t dissipate by noon.
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