Desert dwellers have neon sunsets and clean, crisp air, but the perks come at a cost: windy winters and very low humidity.
This brutal combination kills skin and hair. If you’re plagued with dry skin and dull, frizzy hair, you can try these simple and inexpensive remedies.
The first things to do for dry skin are to shorten your showers and turn down the heat. Then add fat to your skin-care diet.
The dryness of desert air is intensified when we crank up the heaters in our homes, so throw on a sweater and save money on bills.
According to DailyGlow.com, hot water breaks down the defensive fats that naturally occur on the skin.
Limit the time you spend in a warm shower to lessen the breakdown of oils on your skin. Treat your dry skin to a body wash that contains added fats instead of using harsh bar soaps.
DailyGlow.com recommends you look for emollient-rich ingredients such as sunflower or soybean oil and glycerin. My favorite is Oil of Olay, but other good options include Dove and Neutrogena.
Lotion doesn’t actually moisturize your skin; it traps the moisture that’s already there. So it’s important that you apply it within a few minutes of drying off from the bath or shower.
If you’re really suffering, DailyGlow.com suggests using a heavier cream or an oil-based ointment that contains glycerin, lanolin, mineral oil or lactic acid.
Devon Van Hecke is a UNM alumna, aesthetician and the owner of Broadway Skin and Body Retreat on Broadway Boulevard in Albuquerque. She recommended adding vitamins to your skin-care routine.
“Use products that contain vitamins, especially A, C and E,” Van Hecke said. “Shea butter and coconut oil are also good ingredients for softening skin.”
It may seem counterintuitive, but exfoliate. The benefits are twofold. First, when you slough off the dead skin, you give moisturizing ingredients the opportunity to sink in. Second, it brightens skin and restores radiance, Van Hecke said.
“You accumulate dry, dead surface cells that dull your complexion and clog pores, resulting in breakouts,” she said.
There are also some more natural options. Rub pure coconut oil into your skin and let it set for a few minutes before you get in the shower. Bathe normally. Pat dry instead of rubbing. Coconut oil can be purchased at most grocery stores for about $8 for 16 ounces. I love the soft, glowy effect it’s had on my skin.
Mash up a ripe avocado and mix it with a tablespoon or two of honey. Add a cup of dry oatmeal. Spread a generous layer all over your clean, dry face, carefully avoiding the eyes. After 15 to 20 minutes, remove the mask with a damp washcloth. It gently exfoliates and restores hydration. It also tastes yummy.
If your normally lustrous locks are showing symptoms of winter weather — frizziness, dullness and split ends — they need special treatment, too.
Wash your hair less frequently and use cooler water. Vanessa Walsh, a senior stylist at Mark Pardo SalonSpa, advised skipping every other shampoo.
“Wet your hair, scrub your scalp with your fingertips, condition and rinse,” she said.
Don’t brush or use styling tools on wet hair. According to DailyGlow.com, hair is more vulnerable to breakage when wet, so comb carefully. It should be entirely dry before you use styling tools on it. Frizziness is the result of breakage and split ends.
“The only way to eliminate split ends is to have regular trims, but they can be temporarily mended by using a deep conditioner, hair mask or leave-in conditioner once or twice a week,” Walsh said.
DailyGlow.com recommends using a shine serum to boost the luster of dull hair. To apply it properly and prevent greasy hair, rub a pea-size amount in your palms, flip your head over, and rub the oil into the ends of your hair. In other words, avoid getting the serum on or close to your scalp. I use Moroccan Oil Treatment, but Aveda Light Elements Smoothing Fluid and Citre Shine Anti-Frizz Serum are great too.
If you want to go the natural route, give this moisturizing recipe from TheDailyGreen.com a try. Mash up an avocado and mix in two or three tablespoons of honey. Massage into your hair and let set for at least 30 minutes. Wash your hair as normal. If you have a lot of hair like me, you may need to double the recipe.
I hope these remedies help make your last winter weeks more beautiful than ever.