My skincare knowledge has come a long way since I bought my first jar of Garnier moisturizer back in middle school. I used to believe that one product is all I needed [magazines told me so!], and I faithfully used that cream until the jar is empty before buying a new identical one. Almost two decades forward, I realize that, perhaps, it wasn’t the best approach. Thankfully my skin is not too angry at me for years of semi-negligence that sprawled from lack of information. After all, I made an effort and I meant well, so that has to count for something! Today I wanted to share that knowledge with you, in hopes this post may help someone correct their routine and get closer to achieving your ideal complexion.
First things first: I have combination/dehydrated skin type, and I live in Michigan, a state with very specific climate. It wasn’t until I got interested in Korean skincare that I realized I might need a skincare wardrobe, because my skin definitely did not act the same way during different seasons. When you think of combination skin, you probably imagine it to be on the oily side, right? In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell combination skin from oily skin, because our sebum production sprawls out of control. There is a number of factors why that happens, from medical to environmental. However, at certain times combination skin can mimic dry skin, especially when exposed to prolonged periods in dry, windy environment. To put it bluntly, combination skin is an annoying beast that constantly demands different things.
If you live somewhere with a stable climate and minimal seasonal weather change, like Seychelles or Spain’s Tenerife island [you lucky ducks!], then you could probably get by with just one all-season routine. Where I’m from, the temperatures range from mid 90s in the summer to below zero in the winter, plus we constantly experience changes in humidity. As soon as I realized that I needed to line up several products and pick among them daily [that’s why it’s called skincare wardrobe], depending on the weather and my skin’s current mood, I saw immediate positive results.
I do plan to sort of make a series of skincare wardrobe posts to show you different products I’m using that season, because if I shove everything into one post, it would be far too long and nobody wants to read that. Today I will be covering my wintertime moisturizers. All of these have been in rotation for a while [some are soon to join the empties pile], and they are 100% approved by my combination/dehydrated skin.
FOR DRY SKIN:
When my complexion is looking particularly dry, tight, and flakey from dehydration caused by spending too much time with indoor heating, it’s almost impossible to believe that I actually have combination skin type. Usually the dryness is caused by over-exfoliation, insufficient water intake, and sometimes stress. There are currently two products that have proven themselves as the perfect problem-solvers. My biggest issue with rich moisturizers is that they are often too heavy for my skin type. It’s quite hard to find one nourishing enough to help address the occasional dryness, but not too rich that it will clog the pores and cause breakouts.
The one I’ve been using the most is Sisley Sisleya L’Integral Anti-Age, a luxurious moisturizer that comes with a price too steep for us, mortals. However, I felt I had to include it in the roundup, because it had played a key role in my winter routine and I used it so much this year that the jar is nearly empty. This is the richest product my skin can tolerate without breaking out, as it balances right on the edge of being too heavy. I use it on the days when my skin gets incredibly dry, and it restores the supple appearance immediately, with long-lasting results that persist for days after just one application.
The majority of the formula consists of botanical oils, butters, waxes, and extracts, so it’s very much a natural product with minimal additives. It looks more like a paste that needs to be massaged into the skin for complete absorption. Even though it may feel heavy, something about this cream makes it non-comedogenic. Sisley claims this breakthrough moisturizer targets all of the factors that contribute to premature skin aging, including your climate and lifestyle choices. All things considered, I think it’s doing a great job for a product that doesn’t increase cell turnover, and I am a little sad that a) I’m about to run out and b) I definitely won’t be able to repurchase. You can read my full review here, if interested.
Kerstin Florian Correcting Rescue Creme is one of the newcomers on my vanity, and I knew it would be joining the lineup the moment I slathered it on my face. The cream looks deceptively light, but the moment you spread it on the skin, you realize how balmy and rich it actually is. There is no greasiness to it, but it definitely feels heavy at first, until my skin drinks it up. I also really like the natural fragrance: it reminds me of freshly cut leaves. It’s very relaxing! The formula contains ALA/GLA fatty acids, Vitamin E, shea butter, and various botanical extracts that quench the skin with moisture and provide soothing, nourishing, and anti-oxidant properties.
The brand is not very well-known in the US, but they are pretty famous in Europe. In fact, I used their products back when I lived in Moscow and I remember being very happy with everything. Kerstin Florian is a line of holistic skincare with environmentally-conscious approach to all aspects of their business, from ingredient and production selection, to printing methods, and even office lighting and climate. Now that’s what I call dedication!
FOR NORMAL SKIN:
You know, sometimes you wake up and your skin is just fine. Like, it’s just chill and cool and you kinda want to hang out with it. After using products for dry skin listed above, I get more of these good skin days than you’d think. Basically, when my face feels fairly hydrated and supple, but could use a little something something just to seal in my serums and provide a good base for makeup, I go for products that are lightweight, slightly balmy, and moisturizing.
Dr. Hauschka Melissa Day Cream was formulated for combination skin, and this has to be one of the best products that actually balances out this tricky skin type. Every time I apply it, I feel like my face is evenly hydrated throughout, with less oil production in the T-zone and more supple moisture in the driest spots. The fragrance is fairly strong, so if you are not into bitter lemony scents, this would be one to avoid, otherwise it’s just a wonderful aromatherapy experience that I love to indulge in. This 100% natural formula contains melissa and witch hazel to balance oily areas and control shine, as well as daisy, anthyllis, and carrot extracts to soothe and nourish the dry spots and help the skin retain moisture.
Dr. Hauschka is a natural skincare brand that taps into the power of botanicals using only the best and most effective ingredients. Nowadays the lineup includes a comprehensive range of at-home skin solutions for all skin types, a full makeup collection, and potent cosmeceutical treatments for professional use. If you visit dr.hauschka.com, you can find a super helpful online test that will help pick out the products for your skin type and concerns. By the way, I am currently testing out an herbal serum from Elemental Herbology [I will tell you about it in another post], and I randomly discovered that it works really well with Melissa Day Cream. I am really stoked to have found this combo, together they make a great team!
Also worth mentioning Nooni Advanced Repair Therapy Super Revitalizing Cream that I am actually about to finish. This gel-cream formula has very delicate texture that reminds me of Greek yogurt, and it spreads on the skin like a dream without making my pores feel congested. It’s quite viscous, so you can layer more or less product to get the desired amount of nourishment. I use a spatula to measure my perfect portion – usually a pea-sized scoop is what it takes to make my skin glow. The formula includes Centella Asiatica extract to treat redness and breakouts, Calendula to calm irritated skin, nourishing Evening Primrose oil, and Ceramide complex to make the skin’s surface smooth and silky. I want to note that this is not a moisturizing powerhouse. Nooni’s new Super revitalizing Cream does make the skin’s surface look soft and velvety smooth, but it won’t quench it with moisture, so I definitely would only recommend it for normal, combination, and oily skin types.
Nooni is a Korean company that belongs to Memebox family of brands, and their skincare seems to be quite popular. The company’s name stands for “one that is as pure as snow”, with products that utilize the so-called magical Asian mineral water from Chojungri. Koreans love products that have a bit of a quirk to them, whether it’s a very exotic component or a special locale where the ingredients are harvested, so the inclusion of rare natural mineral water is a major selling point of this line [that seems to be working].
FOR OILY SKIN:
This doesn’t happen often during the winter, but sometimes my face flares up and turns into an oil slick. I don’t know why that happens, it could be my diet, stress, hormonal, or some other underlying condition, but when it does, I would always panic and try to dig out my summertime moisturizers to use. The oiliness manifests in very greasy forehead, sides of the nose, and even apples of the cheeks that are usually on the normal side. My pores look enlarged, and my makeup just melts off around lunch time, or sooner.
There is currently only one product I use to address that concern, but one is enough. Rodial Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel is a lightweight moisturizer, an anti-aging treatment, and a skincare primer in one. The star ingredient – Dragon’s Blood – is actually Croton Lechleri tree extract, which helps reduce inflammation and redness, typical for stressed and sensitive skin. Other noteworthy ingredients include Collageneer that makes the skin appear firmer, Pomegrante Extract that I dedicated an entire blog post to because it’s amazing when applied topically, and Commiphora Extract that reduces the appearance of fine lines over time.
With a name like that, I expected this moisturizer to be red or brown, but it turned out to be this milky, bouncy concoction that spreads over the skin like butter. I am already a huge fan of Rodial makeup, and you probably saw me feature their products on Instagram recently, but now I’m hooked on their skincare as well.
Depending on my skin’s condition that day, I would pick one of the above to apply in the morning, and follow up with the same cream in the evening. I also always layer my creams with SPF during the day, as some of these products may contain oils and extracts known to cause photosensitivity. Don’t be alarmed though, I can almost guarantee all of you are using at least a one or two products that also cause photosensitivity, you just don’t think about it. Everything that exfoliates your skin in any way will do that, whether it’s a scrub, a body lotion with any kind of citrus oil, a product with Retinol or another form of Vitamin A, brightening serum with Niacinamide, those super convenient AHA peel pads, or maybe your favorite toner with Salicylic Acid – they all make your skin more susceptible to sunburn, so it’s wise to be safe and wear SPF30+ daily if you want to keep your skin looking younger.
Do you have a skincare wardrobe? What are your current favorite moisturizers? Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer!
Disclosure: This post features products received for editorial consideration and may contain affiliate or referral links. For more details about my product review policy, copyright, and information about affiliate links, please refer to Disclosures & Content Use page.