We may be halfway through the cold season, but that doesn't mean your skincare regime has to slip into hibernation. Lisa Haynes reveals some handy techniques to help you battle the elements.
By Lisa Haynes The holiday's over and all that's left is an empty wallet and bulging tummy. If you've got a bad case of the January blues, it's likely that your skin has too.
The party season has taken its toll, it's the bleak midwinter and, to add to your skin's woes, the central heating is blasting out.
Book your face and body in for some New Year TLC that will keep your skin in great condition all the way through to spring.
Glacial glow Winter frosts bring more than just a rosy glow to your cheeks. Think Rudolph-style red nose, uncomfortable dryness and flaking skin.
When the weather is really biting cold, a moisturiser may not be enough.
"Apply a serum beneath your daily moisturiser to give dull winter complexions an extra boost of hydration," advises Bao-Tam Phan, pharmacist and Eau Thermale Avene spokesperson.
"It's also important to keep skin hydrated during the winter months by ensuring you drink water regularly."
When your skin is really tight, apply a mask overnight for an intensive treatment.
If you can't resist cranking up the heating, leave a bowl of water close to the radiator to put water back into the atmosphere, or snuggle up with a hot water bottle instead.
Stinging skin After a day shivering in the cold, a piping hot bath can feel like heaven but the contrast in temperatures can be hellish for your skin.
For a more skin-friendly wash, go easy on the hot tap.
"As nice as a long soak feels in freezing temperatures, the hot soapy water strips away the natural oils, making dry skin worse," explains Steve Riley, pharmacist and Care spokesperson.
"Use lukewarm water instead of hot when having baths or showers, and always make sure you carefully pat yourself dry instead of rubbing."
Your skin is at its most vulnerable straight after lathering up so apply a nourishing body lotion right away to maximise hydration levels. Try a sensitive formulation if you're prone to irritation.
Chilly limbs Tucked away under five layers of clothing, it's easy to forget about your arms and legs.
"Skin that has been concealed away for months can become dry, dull and lacklustre," says Paul Banwell, skin health expert.
"The slowdown in cell renewal during the winter means that exfoliation is essential to bring it back to life."
Dry skin means that you have dry cell build-up. Exfoliate regularly to sweep away the dead cells and create the perfect smooth base for deep moisturisation.
Aim to exfoliate your skin once or twice a week - it might feel like a chore now but you'll be rewarded with fresh, radiant skin come spring.
Frosty fingers Unless you're a market trader, ditch the fingerless gloves and give your digits a fighting chance by wearing protective gloves or mittens on cold, windy days.
The skin on your hands has fewer oil glands than other parts of the body, which can lead to dry, chapped hands in winter.
"Being constantly exposed to the elements, hands are particularly susceptible to dryness in cold, windy weather," explains Andrew Saynor, Dove technical expert.
"Carry hand cream with you in your bag for extra nourishment."
If your nails are unusually dry and brittle, it's because talons can also be affected by a drop in temperature. Ensure you don't forget to rub hand lotion into your nails and nail beds to keep them soft.
Winter layering Just as we wouldn't leave the house without layering clothes to protect against the elements, the same should apply to our winter skincare regime. Try adopting these skin insulating tips: :: Central heating may keep you toasty but the dry atmosphere can play havoc with your skin. Aim to apply moisturiser daily in the morning to quench dry skin.
:: Skin regeneration peaks when you're fast asleep so apply a layer of intensive moisturiser or body butter before bed for overnight nourishment.
:: Give bed socks a soothing update by applying foot cream generously before bed. Don't rub in and wear cotton socks overnight to soften your tootsies by morning.
:: Valentine's Day isn't far away so avoid chapped lips and keep them primed for pouting by carrying a repairing lip balm containing shea or cocoa butter with you.
:: The sun might be missing but you still need the protection of an SPF. Try a clever UV protector with skin brightening properties to cheat a winter glow.
Tried & tested Lisa Haynes lifts her January blues frown with an uplifting facial.
There are facials that send you to sleep and then there are Nichola Joss facials. With an A-list clientele including Scarlett Johansson and Gwyneth Paltrow, the celebrity beauty therapist is celebrated for her miraculous lymphatic drainage massage facials and now she's bought her in-demand expertise to Sanctuary Spa. Joss has developed the Active Reverse Facial and trained other therapists with her magic moves, but I get to experience the treatment from the lady herself. It's been less than a minute and Joss has already identified where I have 'blockages', just under my eyes and around my jaw. This isn't just about skin, there is also an interest in my teeth alignment and strange clicky jaw as her therapeutic fingers work deeply through my facial contours. The treatment is a three-step massage, starting with a deep facial massage to relax the muscles and mind. Next, Joss uses lifting techniques, which feels like a mini workout for my face. Although the movements are firm, I don't feel any discomfort and usually tense areas were highlighted by Joss before I'd even felt them! The facial finale is the lymphatic drainage, which is like a detox for my skin, clearing out the blockages, boosting the circulation and waking up lazy muscles to instantly lift my face. The facial includes the application of Sanctuary Spa's warming Active Reverse 30 Day Thermal Transformation Mask (£27.50) together with a nourishing Power Peptide Serum (£25) and Lipid Recovery Facial Oil (£22), so you can (attempt to) replicate the facial at home. I peer into my compact mirror afterwards, which reveals a dewy, fresh-faced reflection that barely needs make-up - perfect for a New Year pick-me-up.
:: Sanctuary Spa Active Reverse Facial is £90 for 55 minutes.
:: Available at Sanctuary Spas in Covent Garden, Richmond, Cambridge and Bristol (0845 521 4567/www.sanctuary.com).
Buy it now Zaggora are in the business of toning with their technology-enhanced activewear and best-selling 'Hotpants'. Now the brand has launched two new body-sculpting treatments to help women on their quest for enviable pins. Introducing Svelt Melt and Motion Lotion, both £35, designed to be used in conjunction with exercise (www.boots.com).
Beauty bulletin :: Mad men Forget 2013, women are harking back to the Fifties for an uber-groomed gent. Today's women believe the men of the 1950s were the best turned out, according to a recent survey by male grooming brand Scaramouche & Fandango. More than half (61%) of women believe the Fifties was the most desirable era for men and would like to see more coiffed Mad Men-style gents around today.
:: Body idol If you need any more inspiration to hit the gym in the New Year, Jessica Ennis has scooped another gong for Britain's 'perfect body idol'. The Olympic athlete, who was second in the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year contest, topped a national poll by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, beating other stars such as Beyonce and Kelly Brook with 65% of the votes. The study polled 2,103 British women to discover more about their body preferences and which celebrity they feel has the 'perfect' body.