Winter Skincare

‘Tis the season for mulled wine, cozy slippers, long books and drying out like a prune. Even in our native Northwest with all its recent rain, we can’t get away from the skin irritation, dryness and breakouts that come like clockwork with December. So when we heard Kate Somerville, skincare expert for more than 20 years and industry pioneer, was going to be in Seattle, we couldn’t let her leave without asking a few survival questions and gleaning year-round skin-saving insight.

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Winter is here and with it holiday travels. For those of us traveling to (or stuck for good in) harsher climates, how can we defend our skin?
Airplanes are so brutal. They just suck every bit of hydration out of you. Try not to wear makeup if it’s a long flight. I really recommend taking the Dermal Quench on your flight, along with the moisturizer that’s right for your skin. If you have a lot of oils, you’ll want to go oil-free. If you have normal skin, use our Age Arrest. Nordstrom is also launching our KateCeuticals line soon, which is really geared for dry skin and mature skin. The moisturizer is Multi-Active Revive. When you get back from wherever you’re going, steam your face. Take a wet washcloth as hot as you can handle and place it over your skin for about five minutes. Or put it over your face in the bath and really allow your skin to steam.



  Sometimes winter beauty seems to pale in comparison to the rest of the year—but M·A·C Director of Makeup Artistry Gregory Arlt has three spot-on tips for using bronzer to brighten the doldrums.

Pale skin is like a blank canvas: Everything shows up, so less is certainly more. Let’s face it, those with paler skin tend to go out in the sun less frequently (and when they do, they should be using tons of SPF!), so there’s a risk of going from zero to Oompa Loompa by using too much bronzer.

TOOLS: The tools you use are as important as the color being applied. Softer brushes spray the color on in a more realistic way as opposed to a more dense brush, which will put much more on.

CREAMS: Cream products are also a bit easier to use and as an added bonus, are more hydrating in the winter months. I recommend using M∙A∙C’s Cream Color Base in Au Nature. It has a warm, bronzy glow and is easy to apply. Use a 132 Duo Fibre Foundation Brush to lightly apply the color onto the apples of the cheeks. Sweep whatever excess is left on the brush onto temples, nose and chin, where the sun would naturally hit your face. If you use too much, you can blend it in with a sponge or your fingers.

POWDER: Try M∙A∙C’s Bronzing Powder in Refined Golden with a very soft brush, like the 127 Split Fibre Face Brush. Less is more: Start light, and build up if needed. I recommend applying it in circular motions on the apples of the cheeks and sweeping up toward the temples. Apply a small amount to the nose and chin for a sunkissed look, and voila!

Follow Gregory on Twitter for daily beauty tips and how-tos: @MAC_Gregory_A.


Our beauty trend editor Kate Fannin shares 8 kinds of products and her tips to get your skin healthy and glowing this winter.

I admit it—sometimes I put my face above an open dishwasher just after it’s finished, close my eyes, enjoy the steam and imagine I’m in a fancy spa in the snowy mountains of Switzerland (this also works while steeping tea*…just be sure your face is clean, at a safe distance and you can assure any doubting onlookers that it’s all for your health).

With the overindulgent holidays behind us, we all feel a little over-glittered and a lot under-hydrated, so January is the perfect time to “plump up” your skin care (pun intended). Along with my “DIY facial,” here are a few other ideas that will help your skin detox, refresh, rehydrate and get prepped for spring beauty trends (kitchen steaming optional).

Me visiting one of the many amazing glaciers in Iceland last year!

1. No need to overthink your cleanser with Dr. Dennis Gross’s new Color Smart Cleanser—it literally changes colors as it’s working! Plus, it’s an anti-ager that’s loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants (in case you haven’t hit reset on your diet just yet).

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Manhattan-based dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross, created a problem-solving skincare line in order to empower women to take control of their beauty routines and to raise the bar on expectations and results. We talk to this miracle worker about protecting the skin from winter’s chill, new skin treatments he’s excited about and knowing when to purge outdated products.

Beauty 24/7: Do you have any recommendations to protect skin from the winter weather?
Dr. Dennis Gross: Winter can be tough on your skin because skin produces less oil in the absence of sunlight and heat. To avoid over-drying your skin, skip extra hot baths and showers and choose cleansers that don’t completely strip the skin of its natural oils.

After a bath or shower, try this technique for moisturizing: Keep the bathroom door closed to preserve the steam, then gently towel-dry your body and apply moisturizer to skin that is still saturated, for optimum skin hydration.

What is the most common mistake you see people make with their skincare regimens?
Dr. Gross: The most common mistake people make is waiting too long to begin an anti-aging skincare regimen. The best way to maintain a healthy, youthful complexion is to work aggressively to preserve your skin early (in your 20s) with antioxidants, topical vitamins and regular, gentle chemical exfoliation.

A majority of your products are vegan. What differentiates vegan products from nonvegan products?
Dr. Gross: We do not test on animals. Vegan products are products that contain no animal-derived ingredients.

Which new skin treatment you are most excited about?
Dr. Gross: I’m always an advocate for at-home steaming to hydrate and clarify the skin; Steamer Solutions does just that. The constant flow of moisture exfoliates by getting rid of surface debris and dead skin cells while simultaneously clearing passageways (nose, mouth and lungs). It was important to me to create an easy way for my patients to achieve relaxing, clinical facials at home.

What is your #1 tip for aging gracefully?
Dr. Gross: My #1 tip for aging gracefully is to maintain proper balance of your skin. You can do this by using products specifically formulated for your skin type—dry, normal or oily. This will avoid over-moisturizing oily skin (leading to greasy skin and enlarged pores) or over-drying skin (leading to irritated skin and aging).

What is the shelf life of your skincare products? What are the dangers of using expired products?
Dr. Gross: Most products are made to have at least a 1-year shelf life from the moment you open the bottle, unless otherwise specified.

When using any product (expired or not), make sure to be aware of consistency differences, odors and separation properties. Ask yourself, “Is it usually this thick?” Damage to the product structure or chemistry will affect its potency. This is very unsafe because the product delivery to the skin could be flawed.


Our last round of tips for a winter-ready skincare routine comes from one of our Beauty Stylists in Riverside, CA: Shanilton Jackson. Her four-step process is perfect for oily and combination skin types.

Beauty Stylist: Shanilton Jackson, Riverside, CA
Skin Type: Oily, Combo

Winter is the time for me to truly indulge my skin. I like to keep it simple while giving my combo/oily skin the ultimate pamper treatment.

1. Cleanse. When I finally jump out of the bed in the morning, I go straight for my Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser and Clarisonic. This gently exfoliates and deep-cleans my skin while the Amazonian white clay detoxifies and closes my gigantic pores.

2. Refresh. After drying off and wishing I were blessed with perfect, angelic skin, I spray on philosophy hope springs eternal facial mist to give my skin the refreshment that it needs while bringing my pH balance back to normal.

3. Treat. Then, while I sip on my soy green tea latte, I lightly rub on Clarins Pore Minimizing Serum to help close my pores with its exceptional formula of flower acids and alpine willowherb to keep those bad boys closed!

4. Balance. And I like to finish it off with Clarins Ultra Matte Rebalancing Lotion to keep my oily T zone at bay while I decide whether I should wear something warm or cool, seeing as California doesn’t want to make up its mind!

Want more expert tips and advice? Drop by the Beauty Counter at your favorite Nordstrom store or check out our Beauty Stylist page for more info on booking an appointment and live chat.


Our second post on matching your winter skincare routine to your skin type comes from Victoria Levy, a Beauty Stylist right here in Seattle. She spills her tricks for winter radiance when–like her–you have normal-to-sensitive skin, and enjoy a little extra time to sleep in on chilly mornings.


Beauty Stylist: Victoria Levy,  Seattle, WA
Skin Type: Normal, Sensitive

In the winter, I’m obsessed with skincare simplicity. I gravitate toward multitasking products with luxurious textures to protect my skin from the cold harsh winds while simultaneously allowing me to spend the least possible amount of time in the bathroom (and as much possible time under the covers).

1. Cleanse. In the morning, instead of washing my face, I use Decléor Aroma Cleanse Essential Tonifying Lotion to tone my skin and provide a boost of hydration.

2. Treat. I then apply La Mer The Brightening Essence Intense serum–this is seriously my favorite serum EVER. I’m incredibly picky when it comes to serums, but I love the instant glow it gives my skin as well as the long-term effects. It has made such a difference in lightening my sun damage and smoothing the fine lines along my forehead.

3. Eye Care. For under my (chronically dry, dark and puffy) eyes, I splurge on 3Lab Super Eye Treatment! One bottle lasts forever–6 to 8 months in my experience–and works wonders on all of my eye concerns without irritating my allergy-prone and sensitive eyes.

4. Moisturize. Next, I use a moisturizer: La Mer the Moisturizing Soft Cream, which offers lightweight textures and soothing ingredients that absorb cleanly but still provide the lasting hydration I need to survive the weather.

5. Protect. Finally, because I’m so fair and already have existing sun damage, I always apply a generous amount of Chantecaille Ultra Sun Protection SPF 50–it also doubles as a fantastic primer and keeps my foundation flawless.

Want more expert tips and advice? Drop by the Beauty Counter at your favorite Nordstrom store or check out our Beauty Stylist page for more info on booking an appointment and live chat.


We asked three of our Beauty Stylists–each with a different skin type–how they kept their skin looking healthy and flawless during the winter months. They came to our rescue! In our first post, Erin Benke in Cerritos, CA, takes us through her arsenal for combating chilly conditions when you’re prone to dry skin.

Beauty Stylist: Erin Benke, Cerritos, CA
Skin Type: Dry

First of all, my skin changes with the season. I find that it typically gets drier around December through May and then retains more moisture around the summertime. So, I change up my skincare routine throughout the year to accommodate the fluctuations.

1. Cleanse. I start with Chanel Sublimage Essential Comfort Cleanser–with camellia and jojoba oils, the unique formula soothes as it gently removes makeup. Great to use with the Clarisonic! Then, a splash of L’Occitane Fresh Face Water removes excess oils and dirt while toning and hydrating the skin with shea oil.

2. Treat. Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift acts as a lifting agent, reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles instantly! La Mer the Regenerating Serum refines the texture of my skin, leaving it soft and supple to the touch.

3. Moisturize.  The Moisturizing Soft Cream is the latest from La Mer, and I think it’s miraculous. It finds its way deep into the skin to hydrate, strengthen and make me feel like I’m glowing.

4. Eye Care. Tired of looking at those eye-area lines or wrinkles? I have six words that will make them look less noticeable: Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Eye Contour Cream.

5. Refresh. I love a good hydrating spray to top off my skincare at night to seal it in. In the morning, I wake up to dewy skin. My favorite is the Dr. Dennis Gross Hydra Pure Spray. Because it’s only available in stores right now, a worthy alternative available online is jane iredale Balance Hydration Spray–full of antioxidants and nourishing, natural ingredients.

Just remember: If you have dry skin like me, the key right now is to not over-wash! Instead, always moisturize to keep it hydrated.

Want more expert tips and advice? Drop by the Beauty Counter at your favorite Nordstrom store or check out our Beauty Stylist page for more info on booking an appointment and live chat.