Lotions & Potions for the winter

Bring out your moisturisers, ladies, for the New Year’s winters is here for a while longer. Shilpa Shah speaks with experts for advice so that you stay skin-happy and glowing this winter, no matter what your skin-type.

Undoubtedly, New Year fill us with renewed vigour to achieve our hopes and dreams, and that unmistakable rosy glow on our cheeks. But let celebrations not be marred by the cold waves. Winter affects every skin-type differently, and it is important to opt for lotions and potions that are best suited for you. Because no matter how much care you take to protect your skin in winter, there are some parts—the scalp, face and feet—that will be more affected by exposure.
But, it is not such a hopeless situation, for a little attention can go a long way.


The cold, winter weather can dry your scalp, leaving it itchy and flaky—and you, a lot grumpier. The age-old granny’s advice of massaging coconut oil into your scalp before washing your hair is worth a try, for the oil, and the massage that follows will add moisture to your scalp.
Make a deeply moisturising and conditioning mask, by massaging coconut oil into your dry scalp, wearing a shower cap or wrapping a warm towel, and leaving it on for about 45–60 minutes. Then, wash you hair in cold or warm water. You may even try a neem-based shampoo, as it is touted to be a scalp tonic used to treat various scalp conditions.
Avoid frequent hair washes. But if you need to, go for a gentle hydrating shampoo that will not strip your scalp of its natural oils. Avoid hot-water rinses or blow-drying, as they may further dry your scalp.


For a glowing skin, follow an easy ritual of cleansing, toning and moisturising, every morning and night. In general, cleansers wash away the dirt and grime, toners restore your skin’s natural pH and moisturisers seal the moisture in the skin. However, their usage should be based on your skin type.
For instance, Dr Jaishree Sharad, one of India’s leading cosmetic dermatologists, suggests using a non-soapy cleanser for dry or combination skin-types and a mild cleanser for an oily or normal skin-type. She also recommends that people with dry or normal skin avoid the ritual of toning. Dr Sharad warns against the use of salicylic-acid-based face washes in winter as well as toners and astringents that are alcohol-based, as they could rip off the moisture from the skin and dry it out further. The dermatologist also advocates the use of sunscreen to protect your skin from any sun-induced damage even through winters.


It is said that eyes are the windows to the soul, and you definitely don’t want them to look dry and irritated—a common problem in the winters, which is caused due to low humidity and wind. Gently massaging the delicate and sensitive area around your eyes with a soothing eye-cream or gel containing natural vitamin E will keep the area soft, and prevent the occurrence of those pesky dark circles. The anti oxidant vitamin E has the power to heal and protect the skin, thereby keeping the skin around your eyes not only supple but also strong.
You can also try almond oil, as it moisturises the skin effectively and possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Regular care will improve the blood circulation and skin texture around your eyes, and brighten up the area.


Most of us are familiar with those painfully dry, cracked lips that come with winters. One of the reasons this happens is because the lips do not have any oil glands. Also, the layer of the skin on the lips is much thinner than that anywhere else in the body. Hence, the lips are more susceptible to drying out. But with some preventive measures, one can easily maintain their lusciousness.
Firstly, avoid any matte lipsticks; use lip gloss instead. You may also choose to use ghee or butter on the area, as often as you need to keep it moist. Other home remedies like soaking rose petals in honey and then applying them on your lips also ensure moist lips. Also, before stepping out, remember to apply a lip balm with a minimum SPF of 15. Always keep some petroleum jelly handy, as it is a healing agent too. In addition to locking in the moisture, the jelly seals off any cracks in your lips. Also, it is advisable
to stop licking them when they are dry, as the act will only dry them out further.


Just like your skin, your nails need care too. Therefore, it is important to winter-proof them to prevent them from chipping. Also, as the cuticles are attached to your nails and protect them from getting infected, it is important to apply a good cuticle cream, with natural vitamin E, or Shea butter on your nail beds for retaining the moisture. Also, every time you wash your hands, remember to rub in a lotion or an ointment containing hydrating and skin-penetrating natural oils, such as jojoba and avocado. This will keep your nails moist, healthy and strong.
Dr Sharad shares some tips for nail care:
- Take biotin supplements daily for stronger nails and avoid styling with gel nail or acrylic nail during winter
- Avoid using acetone to remove nail polish


Cracked and sore feet in winter can be excruciating. Feet are naturally dry, as there are no oil glands on the soles. But with some pampering, you can make your heels look like a million dollars in no time. Once a week, scrub your feet gently with a pumice stone or a loofah. Make a daily ritual of applying moisturising cream with coconut oil or cocoa and Shea butter to nourish and soften your feet. At bedtime, prepare a foot-soak, by adding a few drops of lemon or a cleansing lotion to the water. Soaking your feet in it for a few minutes will help slough off dead skin while soothing your tired feet. Follow it up with a thick moisturising foot cream, and cover it with a pair of socks.


- Add a little less than one teaspoon of olive oil to your bathwater to help retain moisture on your skin once you step out of the bath.
- Apply a moisturising lotion or cream immediately after bath; the skin is slightly moist then and will better lock in the moisture.
- When outside, wear a scarf, cap or hat, to protect your scalp and hair from getting dry due to the harsh climate.
- Don’t leave home without your sunglasses to protect your eyes from winter glare.
- Wear cotton socks to protect your feet from drying.

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