The Winter Skin Routines Our Beauty Editors Swear By

Plug "skin type" into Google's search bar, and you'll get over 30 million results claiming to help you navigate yours. Most of these articles will give you the stereotypical rundown: Oily skin types should reach for oil-free moisturizers! Dry skin loves balm! But by now, you likely already know that a one-size-fits-all routine isn't going to solve all your skin woes. What's more, the same routine usually doesn't work year-round — shifts in weather, climate, and environment all influence what your complexion needs, too.

Most of us at Refinery29 change up our routines seasonally. In the winter, combination types might add an exfoliating serum to the mix, while drier people might reach for a heavier oil. Ahead, see what our staffers — all with different skin needs — slather on when the temps drop.

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Alix Tunell, Senior Beauty Editor
Skin Type: Normal bordering on dry

"In the winter, it's a miracle if I don't have a flake of dry skin threatening to peel off my nose at any moment and I'm not covering up what looks like a rosacea flare-up on my cheeks, so I look for super-hydrators rich in reparative antioxidants."
"This creamy cleanser was a finalist in our Beauty Innovator Awards for three reasons: It's as gentle on sensitive skin as it gets, removes all makeup in one go, and comes in a never-ending bottle. I've been using it for months now and there's no sign I'm anywhere near running out."
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser, $14.99 Buy
"I'm not totally sold on eye cream as a necessary step (I usually just tap the serums and moisturizers I use on the rest of my face around my eyes), but lately, the area is feeling particularly dry and tight after cleansing. I keep this rich cream in the fridge and apply it every night — the coolness soothes after a long day of screens and the rich formula makes everything feel supple instantly."
Fresh Crème Ancienne Supreme Eye Cream, $165.00 Buy
"I can't get enough of this new skin-care line by Dr. Maryam Zamani, an oculoplastic surgeon based in London. This vitamin C serum smells pretty funky, I'll admit, but it's the first thing I've found that significantly lessens the melasma around my eyes, in addition to making my skin brighter and clearer overall. I'd use it head-to-toe if it didn't cost almost $400."
MZ Skin Brighten and Perfect Vitamin C Corrective Serum, $390.00 Buy
"Moisturizing ceramides, redness-reducing willowherb extract, anti-aging retinol... there's really nothing I need in a night cream that isn't in here."
Zo Skin Health Ommerse Overnight Recovery Crème, $106.00 Buy
Khalea Underwood, Beauty Writer
Skin Type: Combination

"To be frank, I'm the biggest scaredy-cat when it comes to switching up my skin-care routine. I've spent way too much money and time reversing the damages, so when I've found things that work, I've stuck with them. The products I use in the winter are tried-and-true favorites that never let me down."
"My coworkers are probably sick of me talking about Urban Skin Rx, but it really is that good. I use their Even Tone Cleansing Bar year-round, especially in the winter when the colder air makes my skin look uneven."
Urban Skin RX Even Tone Cleansing Bar , $28.00 Buy
"I always dig brightening serums with hydrating hyaluronic acid. Dr. Barbara Strum's fast-absorbing selection specifically for darker skin tones kills two birds with one stone."
"Tatcha's Water Cream is my saving grace. I used it a lot during the summer because it's so light and airy, but still seeps into my skin and locks in the moisture in seconds."
Tatcha The Water Cream, $68.00 Buy
Cat Quinn, Beauty Director
Skin Type: Combination, acne-prone

"When the weather gets colder, my acne goes haywire. So my routine is about treating the flare-ups without drying the crap out of my already dry skin. "
"I'm a huge fan of double-cleansing — ever since I started doing it earlier this year, I've seen a significant difference in my acne-prone skin. I don't think you necessarily need to splurge on one, but this beautiful blend of camellia and rice bran oils makes washing your face in the winter a treat."
Tatcha One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, $48.00 Buy
"This 2017 Beauty Innovator Award winner obliterates makeup and oil, and has a calming eucalyptus scent that relieves the Sunday scaries."
Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance™ Oil Control Cleanser, $25.00 Buy
"I started using this back in February, and since then, the persistent acne on my cheeks has largely disappeared. I am continuing to use it into winter a) because my acne still flares up hormonally and b) the retinoid formula also fights fine lines and wrinkles."
Differin Acne Treatment, $28.99 Buy
"When temps drop, the dry half of my combination skin tends to go into overdrive. I alternate between this and Differin to replenish my parched winter skin."
"I have now gone through three jars of this cream and can't quit it. The light-as-air texture deeply hydrates my skin, without feeling greasy or clogged. My skin looks brighter and clearer when I use it; when I stop, well, I don't want to talk about it."
Sisley Paris Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream, $195.00 Buy
"I call these my magic packets. Whenever I have an acne flare-up, redness, or dry patches, I smooth this on my face before bed and wake up with significantly better-looking skin."
Derm Institute Anti-Oxidant Hydration Gel Masque, $120.00 Buy
Kelsey Castañon, Beauty News Editor
Skin Type: Combination & Sensitive

"My already-sensitive skin has a major 'tude in the winter — going from red and angry to dry and flaky in a matter of hours. So the products I use have to be soothing and hydrating, but can't be too heavy or else I'll break out."
"Considering my deep-rooted obsession with mascara, I go through makeup wipes faster than any other beauty product. One of my favorites is this gentle version from Garnier, which whisks away even my longest-wearing mascara."
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Makeup Removing Towelettes, $6.99 Buy
"I love a good foaming cleanser, but historically these types of formulas leave my skin dry as a kale chip. Not so with La Roche! It’s made with teensy micelles, which make it ideal for my sensitive skin, but also serves up a side of hydrating glycerin with its suds."
La Roche-Posay Micellar Foaming Water, $18.00 Buy
"If you were to ask me a few months ago which skin-care step you can probably skip, I’d have said toner — hands down. But Renée made a believer out of me with this one. Not only does it smell like liquid heaven, it also feels more substantial than your average toner (and is a lot more hydrating, too)."
Renée Rouleau Moisture Infusion Toner, $42.50 Buy
"This time every year, my skin basically feels like it’s sending out an SOS to the world all winter long. It’s flaky, red, and angry as hell. So this season, I decided to start on a hyaluronic acid serum a few months early to keep it hydrated and fight the unfortunate symptoms before they happen. PCA’s iteration has been my cold-weather knight in shining bottle."
PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum , $115.00 Buy
"There’s a very simple explanation as to why I always reach for this SkinCeuticals gem every winter: There is NO other cream on the market that feels as luxurious, calming, and deeply moisturizing — it's like giving your skin a big, warm bear hug."
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 Anti Aging Cream, $127.00 Buy
Brianna Arps, Beauty Production Assistant
Skin Type: Oily

"Winter has always been tricky for me. While I'm normally super oily and spend most of the year battling breakouts, the cold, dry air often causes flaky patches and even a few extra pimples due to my skin's moisture imbalance. Therefore, my approach to skin care is more simple than complicated. The main goal is to cleanse and hydrate properly without doing too much, and to limit my use of harsh ingredients."
"Although I have oily, acne-prone skin, during the winter I try to stay away from harsh products because they only end up causing dryness and further irritation. Right now, I'm a fan of this calming foam cleanser made with green tea. It lathers nicely without leaving a slimy film, but the best part is that it doesn't leave my skin feeling tight."
Innisfree Hydrating Cleansing Foam With Green Tea, $9.00 Buy
"Used as a toner, this stuff helps me get every last bit of gunk off my face before I layer on any moisturizer. The formula is amazing and leaves me refreshed — not sticky, dry, or uncomfortable."
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Cleanser & Waterproof Makeup Remover, $8.99 Buy
"I've been using this since the summer, and I'll be restocking soon — it's just that good. As the name suggests, it's like an instant splash of moisture to your face. I really love it because the product absorbs quickly and doesn't suffocate my skin, which holds true even after I've added my Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen into the mix."
Dr. Jart+ Water Drop Hydrating Moisturizer, $36.00 Buy
"A friend recently recommended that I start using this scrub to prevent dull, dry skin. Made with Tahitian coconut shells and premium coconut oil, it has done wonders thus far to keep me glowing."
Kopari Beauty Coconut Crush Scrub, $38.00 Buy
"I'd much rather use creams instead of lotions during fall and winter because they seem to last way longer. One of my favorite drugstore buys is Nivea's classic Crème. Warning: It's really thick, so be cautious not to use too much. Just a dab will do the trick or you'll be rubbing the product in for what seems like forever."
Nivea Nivea Moisturizing Crème , $7.49 Buy
"I have full lips that seem to freak out at the slightest sign of changing weather. To keep them supple and flake-free, I rely on Carmex's Original Clickstick Lip Balm. I buy it in a pack of three, so I keep one at home, one at work, and one in my purse at all times. "
Carmex Carmex Original Clickstick Lip Balm , $2.69 Buy
Rachel Krause, Beauty Writer
Skin Type: Sensitive, Acne-Prone

"My M.O. is always about placating my highly reactive skin with gentle (and lately, essential oil-free) formulas that keep me as balanced as possible — and keep my skin clear of breakouts, too."
"I always use an oil cleanser to take off my makeup before I go to bed, but I’ve never been loyal to any one brand or formula. They’re all pretty much the same — or so I thought. Since I started using this one, I suddenly find myself looking forward to washing my face. It’s a weird thing to get excited about, but after every use I’m left with smooth, clean, remarkably soft skin that feels balanced without a trace of makeup left behind, so I can skip the second part of the double-cleanse technique entirely. Does it smell vaguely of salad dressing? Yes, but it’s a very small price to pay."
Marie Veronique Pure + E.O. Free Oil Cleanser, $40.00 Buy
"I once read that it takes three seconds for your skin to start losing moisture after you wash your face, which makes applying a toner or essence right away absolutely crucial. I sincerely doubt that it’s true, but it really stuck with me regardless, so I dry off my face with a towel and then splash on a quarter-sized amount of this antioxidant-rich anti-aging formula — which basically contains nothing except green tea that’s been aged naturally for 100 days — as quickly as humanly possible. I swear it makes my skin look clear and virtually poreless in a way no other product has, which makes the absurd price tag seem almost justifiable. Almost."
Amorepacific Vintage Single Extract Essence, $145.00 Buy
"I’ve yet to find a face scrub that doesn’t drive my reactive skin to the brink of disaster, so I am all about the chemical exfoliants. This best-selling serum is one of the best out there: It packs in both AHAs and BHAs in the form of glycolic, tartaric, lactic, citric, and salicylic acids, and seems to fend off breakouts and dark spots as well as diminish fine lines and enlarged pores, all without ever making my skin feel dry or irritated. I’ll mix a couple pumps with the B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel or Virgin Marula Oil, depending on how much extra moisture I need."
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, $90.00 Buy
"Hand to God, I literally wake up with clearer, brighter skin every time I use this fatty acid-based oil. Needless to say, I’ve started using it every night, which leaves me with both healthy, radiant skin and constant anxiety about how quickly I might run out. The star ingredient in this rich formula, and probably the component most to thank for the viscous, slightly waxy texture? Cholesterol. Terrible for your heart, but turns out it’s excellent for locking in moisture and keeping skin in its plumpest, most hydrated state — without clogging pores or causing breakouts."
Marie Veronique Barrier Lipid Complex, $95.00 Buy
Megan Decker, Beauty Production Assistant
Skin-type: Normal to Dry

"With the drier air and gustier winds, the moisture is sucked out of my skin as soon as I step out the door. So for me, it's all about amping up exfoliation for faster skin cell turnover, and doubling up on hydrating oils so I can regain some brightness."
"In the winter, when it feels like all the moisture is sucked out of my skin, I like to use a cream-based makeup remover over anything with alcohol that's stripping. This lotion-y cleanser is soft on my skin, smells like roses, and works to melt the makeup right off."
Avène 3 in 1 Makeup Remover, $20.00 Buy
"I worry about acne spot treatments because so many are drying and leave my skin red and flaky, but this Sunday Riley oil is an acne-fighting powerhouse. The salicylic acid helps to treat blackheads and budding pimples, while the cucumber seed oil and licorice make it both hydrating and brightening — my skin drinks it right up."
Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil, $40.00 Buy
"I started using this hyaluronic acid serum when the weather suddenly turned cold and dry. I use it in the morning and it gives my skin a little plumping before I put on my gel moisturizer. I think any hyaluronic acid product would probably work for me, but I like how this one comes in a huge bottle and doesn't have any added fragrance."
SkinMedica SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, $120.00 Buy
"I wanted to try this mask after reading an incredible review of it, and man, it did not disappoint. I apply a pump of the gel to slightly damp skin before I got to bed and when I wake up, my dull skin is bright and dewy. I don't use it daily — just when I need a pick-me-up — mostly because it's pricey and I want to make it last as long as possible."
Allies Of Skin Bright Future Overnight Facial, $120.00 Buy
Mi-Anne Chan, Beauty Writer
Skin Type: Oily/Combination

"I always say my skin is a bit of an oxymoron — oily but dry, flaky yet acne-prone. Since I have to combat dryness, oil, and acne, I'm judicial about the types of ingredients I use. Come winter, I switch to lightweight, hydrating serums and moisturizers that feature ingredients like hyaluronic acid while using retinol to combat acne and scarring."
"I knew I'd like this cleanser the moment I saw the words 'honey' and 'enzymes' on the bottle. It cleanses gently and has antibacterial and exfoliating qualities. It also smells amazing, which helps make cold winter mornings a little bit more bearable."
Kát Rudu Coco Honey Papaya Enzymes Cleanser, $45.00 Buy
"I have an on again, off again relationship with prescription retinol. If I weren't so lazy, I'd get it from my dermatologist year-round, but alas, it's too much of a hassle so I've been on the hunt for an OTC fix. This one comes close. It doesn't give me the drastic results that a more powerful retinol product would, but my skin is noticeably smoother and less congested because of it."
Paula's Choice RESIST 1% Retinol Booster, $52.00 Buy
"When the temps drop (and the heater in my building turns on), my skin freaks out. My lips become shriveled prunes, the skin around my nose starts flaking off — it's a mess. That's why I like to slather on a hyaluronic acid-rich serum or moisturizer before going in with a heavier moisturizer. This one has been a favorite of mine for years. It's so lightweight it could almost be a serum, but it contains powerful hydrators like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides. And all for 16 bucks a pop!"
CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM, $15.49 Buy
"I love facial oils. They're the final layer of my skin-care routine. This one contains a blend of jojoba oil, avocado oil, prickly pear seed oil, and vitamin E that never leaves my skin feeling greasy."
Peet Rivko Balancing Face Oil, $56.00 Buy
"I have oily, acne-prone skin, so masks of the clay variety tend to be my favorites. I have dozens of different clay masks in my collection, but this one from Chantecaille has been my go-to. Unlike many clay masks, this one isn't drying at all, thanks to the rose flower water and honey in the formula."
Chantecaille Detox Clay Mask with Rosemary & Honey, $82.00 Buy
appearance by Mi-Anne Chan.
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