Dryness is perhaps one of the most annoying aspects of winter. If you dread winter because your skin tends to flake and your hair won’t lie flat due to static or breakage, using oils can work wonders.
Growing up, your mom may have taught you that oils on your face are never good, but it’s time to rethink that advice: certain kinds can be very beneficial. Just stay away from mineral oils (baby oil included), which can clog pores and never actually absorbs completely into the skin. Who knows, with calmer skin and silkier hair, you may even decide that winter is your favorite time of year.
Emu oil is an emollient option for those who hate when the temperature drops because their skin becomes drier and their eczema or psoriasis flares up. Emu oil comes from the subcutaneous layer of fat on the back of the bird and is used as an anti-inflammatory and a moisturizer. It contains Vitamins A and E, and several antioxidants, so it’s said to prevent wrinkles, thicken thinning skin, and promote cell regeneration. Look in health food stores for this; you probably won’t find it in the drugstore.
Argan oil, taken from the kernels of the argan tree, can be rubbed onto the face as a lightweight moisturizer and anti-aging treatment, and to soothe acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It can be smoothed (in small quantities) onto dry hair for shine, or massaged into damp hair as a leave-in conditioner. Argan oil can also be used to moisturize dry cuticles. You can get argan oil at Sephora in the Josie Maran section. You may also see argan oil listed as Moroccan oil at other locations or online.
Coconut oil can be used on the body or in the hair. It can cause breakouts on sensitive skin, so proceed with caution there. However, you can use it as a deep conditioner (warm it up between your hands before applying so that it will emulsify) on your hair or smooth it onto your body. The aroma alone helps relieve stress. Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and also good for extremely dry, scaly skin.
Jojoba oil is a good pick for those who prefer a very lightweight oil, or whose skin feels dry but could easily slip into oily territory on a warm day. It sinks into the skin and helps hold in moisture without clogging pores and is a natural carrier of Vitamin E and antioxidants. Jojoba oil comes from a shrub that grows in the wild in northwestern Mexico and the southwestern section of the United States. It can be found at health food stores and some grocery stores.
Extra virgin olive oil on a cotton pad is the perfect solution for taking off eye makeup without irritating your skin. You’ll moisturize the area around your eyes, which is important for warding off wrinkles. You can also use olive oil on your hair as a deep conditioner or use a tiny bit rubbed between your palms to smooth down flyaways that are a result of breakage or static electricity. Before you go to bed, you can rub a bit onto your heels and put on your favorite fluffy socks. Your feet will stay warm and be moisturized as you sleep. Olive oil is good for sensitive skin.
Using oils during the winter and possibly even year-round will help keep flakes, skin irritation, and dry, brittle hair at bay. There are several options—some more readily available than others—at various price points. Keep your skin soft and supple and your hair shiny despite the cold, dehydrated air.