Friday, 10 January 2014

Winter Essentials

I've never understood why people hate winter. In a city like Mumbai, where the sun is always shining (read scorching), winter brings cool comfort for us all. In fact, this is my favourite time of the year. But I think I'm one of the few who feel this way. People travelling in trains early morning always seem so grouchy and turn off all the fans and shut the windows and doors like we're in the middle of a hailstorm! This is Mumbai, not the Arctic! 

So why do people here hate the winter? Maybe it has something to do with dry skin, chapped lips and cracked feet. But all of these can be easily fixed by a few winter essentials (Remember, these are not tips meant only for winter, but the frequency of use should increase during winter depending on your skin type, humidity and temperature of the place you live in etc.):

# 1 Cold Cream
A good cold cream will not only give your dry skin the moisture it's starving for, but also get rid of those telltale tiny white lines and flaky skin. This is pretty basic, and something I'm sure everyone uses. The key is to use it consistently. You shouldn't wait for your dry skin to start flaking to know it needs moisture. Start using a good cold cream more frequently as soon as the rains start to subside and a chill hits the air. Thanks to global warming however, you don't feel the cold anymore until mid-November or so (and it's not even that cold. I haven't used a sweater in years. I have been told though that I seem to have a high resistance to cold, so maybe that doesn't count so much.). But you can tell your skin is dry when scratching your hands or feet lightly leaves white nail marks or when your skin starts feeling a little stretched - like it's suddenly shrunk and there's not enough to go round your body. Inelastic skin is a classic sign of dry, dehydrated skin. Or you need not even wait for that. Using a cold cream on your face, neck and hands twice a day (or maybe even more depending on how dry your skin tends to get) starting around September end will ensure that your skin does not get stretchy at all. (Tip: Use your cold cream at least 30 minutes before stepping out of the house in the morning; or you can apply it after washing your face when you reach your workplace. This will ensure that dust and dirt doesn't stick to the cream on your face.)

My Recommendation: Ponds Moisturizing Cold Cream or Dove Intensive Cream

# 2 Moisturizer
What's the difference between cold cream and moisturizer? Well, nothing really. A cold cream also moisturizes. But for my arms, legs and feet I prefer to use a lotion or a body milk as it's easier to spread. Moisturizing should be ideally done twice a day in the morning and evening especially after a warm bath which drains the skin of its natural moisture. If you naturally have dry skin, then use it as often as required, especially on your knees and elbows.

My Recommendation: Nivea Body Milk

# 3 Lip Balm
I love this Vaseline Lip Therapy ad; when I watched it the first time, I realised how many little things my lips did for me that I never even realised. I don't need to tell you why we should use lip balms. Not when the alternative of dry, chapped, hard, cut, bleeding lips are all too familiar to us. Lip balms are like moisturizers made specially for our lips. Use it at least once a day for soft, smooth lips capable of performing all those actions in the Vaseline ad. Now-a-days there are so many lip balms available which work as lip balms and add a hint of colour or gloss to the lips. Everyone loves killing two birds with one stone but I believe that when you try to do too many things at once, none of them tend to turn out too well. I generally stick with colour-free balms to use (especially at night or when at home) when I'm looking to repair lips that feel quite dry.

My Recommendation: Nivea Essential Lip Care or Vaseline Lip Therapy

# 4 Exfoliating Scrub
Dry skin is caused due to build-up of dead skin cells. This especially occurs on the feet. Eventually, the dead skin becomes hard and cracks. Using a good exfoliating scrub to get rid of those dead cells helps prevent cracked bleeding feet (regular pedicures would work too). Exfoliation should be done about twice a week.

My Recommendation: A good Everyuth or St. Ives scrub should do the trick.

# 5 Hair Oil
Suprised? Don't be. It's not just your skin which is subjected to the dry weather during winter. Hair becomes frizzy and dry too. The cold might discourage you from washing your hair too frequently, but your hair still needs the nourishment only hair oils (that's right, shampoos and conditioners may claim to be loaded with tons of nutrients; but at the end of the day, all of them drain the hair's moisture) can provide. Use a good hair oil at least twice a week. Considering that washing hair also dries it, hair oil should be ideally used after a hair wash. However, no one likes having oily hair, so make sure you keep the oil on overnight before washing it off. The oil needs time to seep in and work its wonders; and keeping it on for 10 minutes isn't going to do you any good. While applying, ensure that you apply an adequate amount to the scalp as well as the hair (from root to tip). Regular use of hair oil also helps curb the problem of dandruff (better than all the millions of anti-dandruff shampoos out there in the market put together).

My Recommendation: Parachute is famous for its hair oils (but you can use any hair oil really)

# 6 Water
 This is probably something that everyone forgets. In the summer we drink gallons of water, but in the winter it's already so cold, we don't really feel the need for water. But water is just as important in the winters. Drink at least 8-10 glasses a day for clear and radiant skin.

It sounds pretty simple, right? That's because it is! So I'm hoping to see people being a little less hostile and not giving me death glares when I switch on the fan in the train the next time. After all, flawless glowing skin is enough to make anyone happy, isn't it?

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