Sonia Kashuk. Photo by Richard Burbridge.
As a native Chicagoan, I know that infamous January look where your skin is either red like Campbell’s tomato soup … or gre-ige (grey-beige) like you’re playing one of the zombies on “The Walking Dead.”
Want to save your face during winter?
I went to celebrity skincare guru Sonia Kashuk, who felt our pain and couldn’t even fathom our wind chills at 50 below.
Sonia has styled the rich and famous for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Allure, Elle and Glamour. She started her own Target line in 1998 and even co-authored the best seller “Basic Face” with Cindy Crawford.
“The beauty of it is you don’t have to hate your winter skin,” says Sonia.
Q: What is the effect of extreme Polar Vortex temperatures on our skin? And how do we fight Mother Nature? Please tell me I don’t have to wear one of those masks that look like I’m about to burglarize a 7-Eleven store.
A: The cold is terrible for your skin. If you live in Chicago, get that face mask or hat and scarf and wear it. Who cares about how it looks? In the end, you’re saving your skin. Think about it this way: You might not look good in the moment, but you will look great in the long run. The key in cold is to keep your skin, including your face, as covered as possible. Any skin that’s exposed is a victim.
Q: What’s a great winter skincare routine?
A: You should do something in the morning and before bedtime. In the summer, you have more humidity and moisture in Chicago. Now it’s winter and your skin is dry from the cold and heated rooms. Cleanse. Rinse. Hydrate with lotion day and night. Focus on heavier moisturizers. There is such a trend of using facial oils, which are great, especially in the winter. Keep your moisturizers by your bedside and just lather up if you tend to forget to do it.
Q: Is it true that hot water in the shower or bath is making your skin even worse (red, dull, dry) in the winter?
A: I know you’re cold, but avoid shower or bath water that’s too hot. You have to find a balance. You want to feel the heat on your body and warm your bones. But remember that water that’s too hot will be too hard on your skin, body and face, which is more sensitive during this time of the year. It’s all about finding that comfort zone.
Q: What do you love about a subjecting yourself to a full body brush?
A: It’s key to remove or slough off that dead skin. If you dry brush, it gives skin vibrancy and renewal.
Q: Do you have a favorite DIY home skincare recipe to use in a pinch?
A: I have a laboratory in my bathroom. Right now I’m testing some new face oils. I can tell you that coconut oil and olive oil really work to add moisture. Even put your head over a bowl of steam. Use a towel and be careful not to burn yourself. The steam opens up your pores. Then moisturize when you’re done.
Q: What can you do about that elephant skin a lot of people get on their legs in the winter? In other words, your skin is so dry it forms a cracking pattern? So attractive!
A: I’d definitely try using a body polish. I have bath and body products that are perfect. I’d say to try the polish and then body butter. Remember when it’s cold your body can’t get enough hydration. You can even take the body butter and combine it with one of the oils. Let your skin drink it up. You can’t overdo it.
Q: How important are facials in the winter? What if you can’t afford it?
A: I love to have facials once a month. Everyone in my office knows not to touch Sonia’s facial appointment! If you can do them monthly, definitely do it. If you can only do a facial every other month then alternate with at home steaming. If you belong to a gym go into the steam room. Take a few minutes to steam your skin there.
Q: Who do you think in Hollywood has the most gorgeous skin?
A: There is so much attention on youth, but I love seeing Judi Dench, who has wrinkles. She ages. She has amazing skin and looks so beautiful. Then you have Jennifer Lawrence who covers a different realm. Yes, the younger girls have more hydrated skin, but the older actresses are just as gorgeous. Cate Blanchett in her 40s has incredible skin. You can tell she really takes of it.
Q: Finish this sentence please: I feel beautiful when ….
A: I feel beautiful when I’ve just washed my face and put on my moisturizers and lotions. There is nothing more beautiful than somebody stripped down with no makeup.
HOW DO YOU DRY BODY BRUSH YOUR BOD: Sonia offers these steps:
STEP ONE: Buy a body brush made out of natural hair such as boar bristles. “Synthetics can be too harsh and irritate the skin,” says Sonia.
STEP TWO: Hold the head of the brush in the palm of your hands.
STEP THREE: In the shower, with the water off, scrub dry skin in a circular motion, working your way up the body, avoiding any delicate skin.
STEP FOUR: When finished, you can rinse with body wash or just cool water.
STEP FIVE: Post body brush is a great time for moisturizer, as the pores will be open from brushing and more susceptible to moisture.
STEP SIX: Remind yourself to do a full body brush twice a week, and do it in the morning if you can. “Brushing will deliver an awake feeling to the skin,” says Sonia.