I’m a beauty editor and mum-of-two - these are the 8 winter skin tips I slot into busy family life

I follow these winter skin tips to look after my tired, weather-beaten skin when time is tight

woman moisturising her face as part of her winter skincare tips
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Winter is arguably the prettiest of all seasons - blanketed gardens, frost-tipped branches, piercingly blue skies - but it’s not quite so picturesque for skin, and you’ll need some solid winter skincare tips to help.

If you’re experiencing dry patches, flaky skin and a complexion as dull as dishwater, then layering rich creams, oils and masks will help keep moisture locked in. But dedicating the time to maintaining healthy, hydrated skin can be tricky when you’re busy juggling work, packed lunches, party invitations, and all the other 'mum balls' in the air. You may have a bathroom cabinet brimming with toners, boosters, facial oils and eye creams for dark circles but if you don’t even have a minute to grab lunch or go to the loo in peace, then you’re not likely to carve out the hours needed for a 10-step skincare routine. 

“Keep it simple,” advises expert facialist, Charlotte Connoley. “Morning routines need to be quick to get the kids to school and yourself to work - a quick cleanse, a hydrating serum, a moisturiser and an SPF is enough.” Trust me, I know - I barely have time to wash my hair these days but I’ve learned to streamline my regime to include non-negotiable elements, like sunscreen for your face, and choose multi-faceted products, which offer additional skincare perks. Treat this list a pick 'n mix for your face, choosing the tips that work best for you and your skin. These top tricks and product picks sit in the middle of my Venn diagram of my life as a Beauty Editor and mum-of-two, and I’m confident these winter skincare tips will work for you too. 

8 winter skincare tips for busy mums

1. Upgrade your cleanser

Cleansing is the bedrock of great skin, and arguably the most important step of any regime. Do it right, and your skin will be cleansed of impurities and better able to absorb all those lovely skincare ingredients in your serum and moisturiser. Your skin’s ability to retain moisture drops by 25 per cent in winter, and the less hydrated it is the more likely it is to appear dull and flaky. If you’re currently using micellar water or a foam cleanser, switch to a balm or cream during the colder months to put back in what winter takes out. 

I do a double cleanse with a balm filled with nourishing oils. My makeup and sunscreen slip right off, but my skin is left plump and perky.

2. Invest in a super serum

Dr Aiza Jamil, consultant dermatologist at sk:n Clinics, implores everyone to apply a serum containing antioxidants every day. ‘Antioxidants are the substances that help to protect the skin surface from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and environmental triggers like UV rays,” she explains. “Vitamin C, resveratrol, vitamin E and hyaluronic acid are a few examples. All have excellent anti-ageing properties, preventing fine lines and wrinkles, boosting collagen production and improving skin texture and elasticity.” 

3. Incorporate retinoids

Another vitamin to add to your winter wishlist is Vitamin A (AKA retinoids). Retinoid is the umbrella term for anything derived from vitamin A, with retinol being the most famous over-the-counter ingredient. There are stronger, more potent derivatives like Tretinoin and Retinoic acid, but they are only available on prescription. The one major downside to retinoids is their potential to irritate. Doesn’t sound like a brilliant match for winter skin, right? Trust us when we say the benefits far outweigh the cons. 

Retinoids are such brilliant anti-agers. You’re not going to get more bang for your buck than a quick smear of a retinol serum right before bed. Expect plumper skin and a more uniform tone with very little time and effort required. Whichever retinoid you choose, only apply in the evening, since vitamin A can make skin more reactive to the sun.

4. Use a targeted eye cream

The eyes are often the first place to show signs of tiredness and ageing. "The skin around your eyes is only 0.05mm thick and the most delicate skin on the body. It has fewer sebaceous glands and collagen and elastin fibres compared to the rest of the face,” explains leading ophthalmologist, Dr. Maryam Zamani. “This makes it more prone to losing moisture and becoming drier." 

5. Stock up on sheet masks

A 90-minute facial, once a week, should be available on prescription for new mums. The excuse to lie down, eyes closed, is reason enough to book in, but a facial also happens to be an effective way of bombarding skin with moisture, especially in winter. But for many of us, this sort of treatment can feel like an over-indulgence, too time-consuming and financially-unjustifiable. 

As a Beauty Editor, I have been lucky enough to try many facials over the years, but since having my children, they’ve taken a backseat to DIY treatments that I can do at home. A sheet mask in the bath is my go-to when my skin looks particularly sad. They trap moisture in so it has nowhere to go but into your skin.