Skin can look pale and tired in the winter. Our beauty editor Anna reveals five steps to uncover a radiant complexion
A term has been circling in beauty articles for some time now, one that’s become something of a secret code: “glow.” What it means is radiant skin, but I have to admit that I’ve grown a little allergic to the term. It’s not that I have anything against English words coming into the German language, but probably because I’ve read it one too many times and quickly envision ladies who have tanned themselves to the color of a roast chicken and enthusiastically exclaim “amaaaazing!” after every sentence. Difficult.
On the other hand, there’s no denying that skin tends to look very pale and tired during the cold winter months. That has something to do with the reduced hours of sunlight, of course. But then there’s also the cold and the dry air that results from winter heating, both of which pull moisture out of the skin – which is then immediately noticeable in a loss of elasticity and firmness. Right now your skin is not just lacking moisture, however. It’s also less oily than it is during the summer, and that makes it more sensitive to numerous environmental influences like exhaust and dirt particles, as well as everyday stress.
But how can you get a complexion that looks as rosy and fresh as it does after a long walk on the beach or an hour of power yoga – even when the weather is so wet, gray, and dreary? There are certainly a few natural luminosity enhancers: a) being freshly in love, b) sleeping well enough, and c) eating a healthy diet. In the best case, all three happen at the same time. But if not, a few beauty products can help.
1. Shine From Within
I’m not a big fan of tablets, but I really like nutritional supplements that come in powder form and provide all the important minerals and trace elements to the body. At the moment, my morning ritual includes a glass of water mixed with a spoonful of Beautiful by Equi London. The brand was founded by English dietician Alice Mackintosh with the goal of providing physical support for those with hectic lifestyles. Now, who feels like that describes their life?
The powder is based on a “GlowCutis”-complex that consists of skin beautifiers like collagen, hyaluronic acid, resveratrol, zinc, and silica. It also contains vitamins and superfoods with antioxidant effects like spirulina, açaí, and wheatgrass as well as active digestive enzymes and probiotics. The subject may still often be considered taboo – or not suitable for small talk, at least – but healthy, even-toned, and fresh skin is always directly related to healthy digestion.
2. Exfoliate the Veil Away
The skin renews itself approximately every 28 days. During this process, the skin cells move from the deepest layers to the surface, where they die off. And there it is, the famous grey veil.
Regular exfoliation, therefore, is an absolute must – which I admit I often avoided in the past. The reason for that was a cosmetic appointment a few years ago during which I was talked into a combination of microdermabrasion and alpha hydroxy acid treatments and the result was fire-red, burning skin. The cosmetician responded to my irritated look with beaming joy: I’d look great later. I felt like I was on an episode of Candid Camera, paid quickly and in shock, and scuttled away like a walking beacon buoy.
Then, during an interview, Susanne Kaufmann told me about her Enzyme Peel, which is just the right thing for my sensitive skin. Enzyme peels do not contain any abrasive particles, and rather just enzymes that go after the proteins that hold the cellular bonds of rough skin together. In the case of Susanne Kaufmann’s peel, those fruit enzymes come from kiwi, papaya, and apple. Dead skin cells are gently removed and the appearance of the skin is immediately refined and smoothed.
Another reason that I’ve stayed loyal to the transparent, gel-like Enzyme Peel is the Aloe Vera, green seaweed, and fenugreek seeds that work together to soothe my skin during the ten-minute treatment time. A thumbs up all around!
3. An Extra Energy Kick
The skin is especially receptive to active ingredients when it is freshly exfoliated, so you should plan an extra step after intensive cleansing. Fortified with silver-rich spring water, the Radiance Boost facial spray by Amly Botanicals does it in a flash. The precious metal has been used as a natural remedy for inflammations since ancient times. Hyaluronic acid and essential oils have a nourishing and moisturizing effect in this spray, which has a spring-like and floral fragrance, while copper peptides slow down the aging process and plant probiotics make the skin more resilient.
By the way, if you’re thinking that a facial spray is just for humid summer days, you’re wrong. Dry, dull-looking skin can use a freshness kick in the winter most of all – also as a pick-me-up at the office or before a party in the evening to quickly give make-up a natural, radiantly fresh finish.
4. Beauty Drops
Individual skincare-cocktails are really popular right now. That means mixing so-called Beauty Drops, highly potent active ingredient serums, into your daily moisturizer as a booster. Dr. Barbara Sturm was a pioneer in this area, and I liked her Sun Drops a lot during the summer. So I was all the more excited about her new Glow Drops, which are supposed to get your skin glowing in the winter.
I’ve been putting a few drops into my cream in the morning for a few weeks now, and it turned out to also be the ideal performance test – I got the flu, and wasn’t exactly looking like I was blooming with life. In this situation, the milky, shimmering, light pink Glow Drops did a great job: Hyaluronic acid and nourishing oils, plant extracts of wild rose, rose hip, and the Bistorta root all provide for clear, balanced-looking skin. And, thanks to light-reflecting pigments, your complexion can finally appear so luminous, small-pored, and smooth, it’s like you applied an Instagram filter.
5. For the Final Glow
I met Clyde Johnson, head of skincare of La Mer, at a press event at the beginning of October – an incredibly likeable guy. While we were chatting about Iceland, his favorite vacation destination, and speaking about which healing waters he swore by in the morning (annoyingly, I’ve now forgotten!) and who he put make-up on during Fashion Week (Kaia Gerber and Cindy Crawford were among them), Clyde gave me a natural look that he called – surprise – a “glow look.” It was like not wearing make-up at all, but brighter and better.
I quickly found my favorite product: the Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation. Thanks to its “miracle broth” formula – it’s the heart of all La Mer products and consists of hand-picked and elaborately fermented seaweed, quite a few minerals, and vitamins as well as citrus fruit oils, eucalyptus, wheat germ, sunflower extracts, and alfalfa – this foundation is like power food for your skin. At the same time, the texture is ultra-light. When I look into the mirror during the day, my skin not only looks beautifully even, but also has a very fine, healthy sheen.
Translation: Melissa Frost
Anna Bok was born and raised in Berlin. After stops in Freiburg and Florence, she made her way to Hamburg in 2007 to study journalism and art history – where she stayed and worked as a freelance journalist with various publications including Harper’s Bazaar, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Blonde. She’s now returned to Berlin after nearly 10 years in the Hanseatic City. When Anna isn’t writing about beauty, fashion, or traveling, you’ll often find her on her yoga mat (recommendations for studios in Berlin welcome!).