How to Win at Winter Skin

How to Win at Winter Skincare

For the first few years that I lived in Massachusetts, I lived in an apartment that was built in the 1940s, which came complete with steam heat radiators. It wasn’t until I moved back here a couple of years ago that I understood how harsh central heating can be on the skin. This year has been particularly cold and I’ve had to fight my way back to healthy skin. But I’ve finally found a balance using a few surprising products that I never would have dared to use on my face back when I lived in Hawaii.

Washing: My skin is usually combination/oily and most of the year I wash my face twice a day. This winter, since my skin has been so dry, I’ve taken to washing it in the evenings only. I use a moisturizing oil cleanser by Tu’el followed by an emulsifier. These two help to keep my pores blackhead-free without stripping my skin of natural oils.

Daytime Moisturizer: Last year, Victoria recommended Waleda Skin Food and I immediately went out to Whole Foods to get some. This stuff is thick and rich, but it sinks into my skin and has never caused me to break out (and I’m pretty prone to breakouts). Victoria used it as night cream, but since we’ve had so much extreme cold accompanied by a good amount of wind, I need something this heavy during the day.

Nighttime Moisturizer: Despite using such thick moisturizer, the skin on my cheeks was still red and chapped. I was about to resort to Vaseline when Lindsey recommended Lanolin. Typically, Lanolin (an oil derived from sheep’s wool) is used by mothers who are breastfeeding, but it turns out that it’s excellent for healing all kinds of dry, chapped areas where nothing else is helping. It is greasy and doesn’t sink in quickly, but if you’ve tried everything else and nothing is helping, it’s worth a try. Lanolin is the number one thing that has helped my skin this winter. And at $7 a pop it’s a steal.

Supplements: When I was struggling with dandruff and dry skin, my favorite esthetician recommended taking fish oil supplements. Within a week my scalp was once again balanced and I noticed a real difference in the overall health of my skin. I take these pearl-sized ones in the morning and evening. Fish oil also promotes heart health, so it’s a win all around!

Air: Since I hail from a place with 90% humidity year round, I put off getting a humidifier for a long time. But we recently invested in this one by Air-o-Swiss and it’s made a huge difference, not just in my skin feeling balanced, but in the way we feel overall. No more ear/nose/throat issues! No more tight morning skin! It’s worth every penny.

Oil Pulling: If you’ve been suffering from flaky and/or itchy skin on your lips and around your mouth, it may be because of your mouthwash. The chemicals that whiten your teeth and the alcohol can be incredibly drying. While I couldn’t commit to just oil pulling without brushing, I’ve added it to my routine in place of mouthwash. Since coconut oil naturally kills bacteria, I’ve actually found it to be more effective than regular mouthwash. Happy gums mean a happy body! Here’s some medical information on the benefits of oil pulling.

A Cold Weather Education

Stay Toasty | Winter clothes warm enough for a Hawaii girl in New England

1. Land’s End Shimmer Down Parka2. Target Women’s Knit Warrior Hat | 3. Columbia Women’s Fast Trek Pants | 4. Swany Legend II Mitt| 5. Saloman Hime High Boot

When I first moved to New England, I was cold all the time. I had a wool coat from the Gap and I thought that was about as good as it got. My cold weather experience was limited to the couple of years I’d spent in England, where fashion, darling, was much more important than function. And anyway, it didn’t get as cold as it does here.

Over the years, I’ve slowly become educated in the fine art of staying warm in the wintertime. And since we’re now dog owners, we actually have to spend long periods of time walking around in the cold, which is like a Dressing for Cold Weather: Honors Edition. With -40 windchill last week, I somehow managed to stay toasty with the right combination of fleece, down, leather, and wool. Being warm is worth the investment–especially when winter lasts as long as it does in New England!

What are your winter must-haves? I’m always looking for advice from seasoned winter professionals.

Life Update: I’m THAT GUY

Don't Be That Guy

Last week, right before Thanksgiving, we had our first snow storm of the year. The officials decided to shut the university down early, so my boss suggested that I work from home but asked that I post something about the students moving their cars into the garages so that the plows could come through. To get their attention, I posted a photo of a car encased in snow with the words, “Don’t be this guy. Garage your car!”

Then I sat inside, in my cozy little home, drinking tea and hot chocolate all day. Kona curled up by my feet and napped.

Don't Be That Guy

Then James came home at six, having braved the storm (because he’s a hearty New Englander) and said, “Did you know your car is parked outside?”

Don’t be this guy. I was that guy.

Suddenly it all came flooding back–I had come home the night before and parked outside the clubhouse where we have a gym. And then in the flurry of activity that comes with notifying people about the storm, I totally forgot to move it to my spot in the garage. Therefore: car covered in six inches of snow.

Don't Be That Guy

We’re dusting off those winter skills that we so quickly let go of after last year’s VERY. LONG. WINTER. Are you? Actually, only part of me is trying to remember. The other part of my mind has transplanted us in sunny San Diego, where I imagine we would have a little house with a yard for Kona and the electric blanket would collect cobwebs at the back of the closet.

Which is probably how I ended up forgetting about my car in the snow in the first place.

How’s your winter going?

Love, Joy

The Best Winter Leggings. Ever.

Top Secret Best Winter Leggings

Some of you are going to think I’ve gone insane when you read this post. Some of you will think I’ve just given up. And some of you will think I’m brilliant, go out and purchase them, and then be really, really happy getting dressed for the rest of winter.

My go-to legwear for winter are leggings, since they fit into my boots and I can wear them with dresses. A couple of years ago, Lindsey introduced me to fleece-lined tights, which I would sometimes wear under my leggings for protection. Then, my very fashionable and pregnant co-worker, Amy, told me that she had just ordered some maternity leggings that she would continue to wear even after giving birth because they were so comfortable. Amy is enviably thin–one of those pregnant women who looks exactly the same as usual except when she turns sideways–so I took this declaration to heart.

Then I found the perfect marriage of all those things: fleece-lined maternity leggings.

They came up in my Google search for fleece lined leggings and Amy’s voice rang in my head. I ordered two pairs and when they arrived I was delighted to discover that they don’t look like maternity clothing–no obvious seams or extra fabric. They’re pretty heavyweight for leggings, and jet-black. And unlike my other leggings, they don’t bag in weird places. Just a sleek, totally comfortable, and surprisingly warm legging. Pretty much everything I’ve been looking for all these years.

Anyway, I know it’s a little weird but I couldn’t resist letting you guys in on the secret of the best leggings ever. They’re buy one, get one 50% off right now at Motherhood Maternity. Don’t worry, I won’t tell if you get a pair. But you might find that you love them so much you’ll have to tell all your friends too.

This isn’t a sponsored post. I just really love these leggings!

I’m So Done With Winter + Weekend Links

Frock Files // Weekend Links To Cheer You Up

Earlier this year, I wrote about how I’ve managed to stave off seasonal depression with exercise and the necessary evil/blessing of dog walking even in bad weather (which delivers all that Vitamin D). But after being hit by one snow storm after another, things came to a head this week. On Wednesday morning, halfway through a particularly harrowing drive to work, I pulled over, called James, and burst into tears.

Despite living in Massachusetts for a cumulative six years, I still haven’t quite figured out how to deal with the six months of coat wearing, the slippery sidewalks, and the sheer terror I feel every time I lose some control of my car because of ice. Which is what kept happening to me on my way to work, and then because of a surprise afternoon storm, on my way home. If I can be really, totally, brutally honest for just one second, I’d like to say this: I love living in Massachusetts from April through November. I don’t really even mind it in December. And there’s hope, at least, in March. But January and February? No redeeming qualities. None. Okay, one: sometimes it’s sunny.

But since we don’t have any plans to escape the winter physically (and, hey, maybe it’ll be over soon…?), I’m turning to the kind of escape that doesn’t require a plane ticket: entertainment. If you, too, are in need of a vacation from this winter, perhaps you’ll want to get absorbed in another world as well, even if just for a few seconds.

What happens when everything is just right Except For That One Thing.

The new wave of Americans in Paris?

Completely obsessed with Orphan Black.

Food and charming stories by an author named Banana? In Japan? Perfect.

Louis CK on trying to impress his daughters, screwing up, and impressing them anyway. Adorable. (This whole series is awesome.)

P.S. I promise I’ll be in a better mood next week. It will have a lot to do with the floral DIY I’ve been putting together for you!

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