Let’s face it — between holiday eating, drinking, travel, and cold weather — it’s that time of year when your skin might hate you...just a little...so we thought it might be the perfect time to sit down with a skinspert (for the uninitiated that’s skin expert) to get some tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy glow even in the dead of winter.

Meet Jeni Sykes, the Head of Skincare at Heyday, an NYC skincare destination that simplifies the facial experience and aims to make skincare and facials an easy part of your wellness routine (just like fitness) as opposed to a special event splurge. 

Here, Jeni shares everything from practical advice on how to prevent chapped lips to the most skin-friendly tea and a slew of other tips + tricks that will keep you looking fresh-faced all winter long!

Winter is officially upon us. What are some basic cold weather skin tips?

Hydrate inside and out. The winter season has a notoriously drying effect on the skin, so all skin types - even oily or acne-prone - need significantly more hydration in their routine than they did in summer. This is true inside and out, as we also tend to reach for a warming, comforting cups of tea or coffee far more in cooler weather without thinking about the dehydrating effects.

Beyond richer moisturizers, feed your skin nourishing nutrients. To a lesser extreme, winter for your skin is akin to being on a plane most of the day for months on end. Yeesh . Spending a lot more time indoors and in circulated air can really zap the life and radiance out of skin during winter. Not only do you need extra moisture, but your skin needs extra nourishment from fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants as much as ever. Be sure that what you put on it each day goes beyond just being non-stripping and less drying, but also truly offers a nourishing boost.

A little massage goes a long way in winter. The skin especially needs movement, stimulation, and exercise during winter. Facial massage exists to do just this (as relaxing as it is, that part is just a plus!). It helps deeply warm the skin, keeps healthy circulation and cell oxygenation going, helps keep toxins on their way (think holiday celebration aftermath), and tones the muscles to keep you supple and lifted. Between your pro treatments, you can help with this by just making sure you take 30 seconds to breathe deep and massage your moisturizer into the skin rather than just spreading it on. And if you’re using great products, this has a double benefit of ensuring that goodness sinks in to feed your cells.

Keep wearing sun protection - seriously! SPF is not a seasonal skincare product, it's a 365-days-a-year, rain-or-shine part of your routine if you're conscious of your skin health and at all concerned about how your skin will age. UVA (think ‘A’ for ‘aging’) rays are present any day the sun comes up, whether it's shining brightly or not. They move through cloud cover, office windows, and they also penetrate your skin deeply and do to your skin what a puppy might do to your couch and shoes while you're away. SPF is hugely important all year round. 

What are some “Winter Skin Essentials” in terms of products?

Try creamier or gentle gel cleansers in winter. No matter your skin type, the cleanser you use in summer will probably not perform optimally for your skin in winter. Moving to a creamy cleanser or an even more gentle gel cleanser is the first step to saving your skin from common winter woes.

Oils and balms live up to the hype. Facial oils and balms receive a lot of praise for being magical because of their game-changing effect on all skin types in cold weather. This is one bit of skincare chatter you can take to heart – these are both medicine cabinet essentials.

Make time for a weekly hydrating mask. Hydrating facial masks offer a deep dose of moisture when you're feeling particularly dry, flaky, or itchy. When it’s freezing on a weekend morning, stay inside and make this a ritual.

How often should we be getting facials? And does that depend on the season?

The monthly facial is where it's at, regardless of the season. 

A Skin Therapist's real talent is not just in treating a symptom of unhappy skin after it's already shown up, but in helping you build and maintain better skin health and resilience to prevent and mitigate skin freakouts  before  they happen.

We work with the skin's natural renewal cycle, which is about once every 28 days when skin is at it's most youthful ideal. You can have facial treatments more often if you love them, generally alternating between deep cleansing services and hydrating, nourishing services with a more focus on facial massage. 

Best way to deal with dry lips?

The true sign of winter’s arrival! You can actually treat your lips much like the rest of your face.

Lightly exfoliate your lips and don't be afraid to give them a hydrating mask. Look for lip balms and treatments with real, nourishing plant oils and seed butters like softening mango and cocoa butter or protective shea. If you're out in the elements, a protective barrier is key. Look to skin-safe, classic waxes like carnuba or beeswax.

Many lip balms are petrolatum (petroleum jelly) based. Know that petrolatum products do seal your lips, but can actually dry lips over time if the skin below them isn't hydrated to start. Many Skin Therapists would avoid petroleum products altogether for health and environmental reasons. There are great lip treatments out there formulated without the big P.

Our three favorite winter lip treatments right now: Herbivore Lip Butters, Image Skincare Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex, and Buckler's Chapped Lip Remedy with SPF.

We love outdoor winter activities — skiing/snowboarding, skating, snowshoeing — even running — How should you treat skin that’s going to spend lots of time outdoors in the cold?

Just as you put on performance wear to keep warm while going on that winter jog, consider the right products as gear for your skin.

Exposure to extended cold and winter weather has effect on the skin that's serious enough to see chapping and flaking, or even cold/wind burns. It's depleting and, like any environmental exposure, can accelerate premature aging.

Layer on moisture under your SPF before you go out. You can put a thin layer of a skin balm over moisturizer and finish with an SPF that provides some barrier function (great options in the MD Solar Sciences line). Winter facials will be hugely helpful for exposed skin as well. It doesn't have to be a full deep cleanse - you can do shorter facials more frequently for skin recovery with a focus boosting hydration and renewing facial massage. 

Are there any foods/drinks that are particularly good for skin, especially in the winter months? Hot Toddies? JK.

Hey, cheers to that. We’re all for a hot toddy after a day in the cold.

To support your skin, teas are really worth getting into for the chillier months. Many are loaded with antioxidants and have amazing anti-inflammatory and immune supporting benefits (Think about how your skin looks when you're under the weather. Staying healthy = better looking skin). African Rooibos teas in particular are skincare darlings. You'll even find Rooibos in some great skincare products.

What’s your favorite treatment that Heyday offers?

The 50 Minute Facial is a streamlined, classic, comprehensive treatment and I love a classic.

But I'm also really excited about our new 75 Minute option we'll be offering after hearing so many client requests for a longer session. Clients are asking for this for two awesome reasons:  First, a little extra time can mean a big extra impact from a visit, especially when it comes to deep cleansing treatments. And secondly, because their monthly facial has become a part of their regular self-care rituals with a notable effect on stress as well as their skin so they want a little more time to enjoy the experience. All good things and a need we're happy to meet.

What's your biggest skin indulgence? 

Time. :-) Let me tell you why.

I like quality simplicity for my daily routine, but within a busy life with many things competing for attention 24/7, I prioritize taking just five minutes a day and an hour each month to give to my whole self through my skin.

I know as a Skin Therapist that consistency is an investment with a way better return than the priciest serum or cream. But if you're asking where I will happily break the bank... it’s facial oils These are the ultimate in terms of precious materials that do nothing but good, anti-aging, healing, glow-making things for your skin. They're worth investing in and using them is a great reason to build the habit of paying 5 minutes of attention to your skin each day.

If you do one good thing for your skin everyday it should be…

Drink water. More of it, more often. Especially if you’re active. And if your skin was answering this, it might say, ‘Please try to actually cleanse me every night.’