My friends in Florida make me laugh around this time of year. “OMG, it’s 50 degrees,” one of them lamented on Facebook this week. At one time, I might have said the same kind of thing. But right now in Chicago, it’s 30 degrees and the inevitable slide into winter has begun. It’s cold, and getting colder. All we can do is hunker down, master some good chili and stew recipes, and prepare for the worst. And by prepare for the worst, I mean stock up on cold weather clothing, accessories to carry you through, and the necessary beauty supplies to weather any winter storm. Let me tell you what I’ve learned about my skin and this thing called winter.


winter skin moisture no ashy legs

Photo of woman applying moisturizer from Shutterstock.


– Ash does not discriminate. People of color, we aren’t the only ones who get ashy skin in cold and dry weather. It just shows up on our skin more noticeably. When I lived in warmer climates (and let’s face it, was younger), I had no idea was ashy truly was. My skin didn’t get visibly dry in hot Trinidad or humid Miami. Moving to Chicago taught me some things about some things. Crisp, cold winter air can be your skin’s enemy. The heating used indoors to keep us all warm and alive also does a number on your skin. If you don’t know what ashy looks like, come to Chicago during the winter for a week and don’t bring your lotion. It isn’t pretty. To avoid ashy skin in the winter months, I recommend increasing your external moisture. But first – let me say this.

– Internal moisture is essential. Are we all drinking the amount of water that’s recommended for us every day? I’m asking because I know I’m not. I downloaded an app on my phone called Water Your Body, which helps. But I’m still falling beneath the recommended amounts. And I can see and feel the difference when I’m giving my body what it needs. When I’m drinking enough water, I FEEL better. Even if there’s no scientific evidence that suggests internal moisture is a factor in your skin’s external appearance, I know that dehydrating my body makes a visible difference and that’s enough to keep me sipping.

– Exfoliate your situation to preserve your sexy. Dry skin and dead skin cells are not the business, and during cold wintry months you can notice a visible difference. Your skin gets that dull, leathery look. Your legs and heels may be cracked and ashy – as we might say in Trinidad “like you’ve been kicking flour.” It’s not cute but I have been there, and we can get through it together. I’d like to recommend you invest in a sugar scrub (or DIY a sugar scrub, click here to learn how). I personally prefer to use a sugar scrub when my skin is slightly moist, and scrub it all in without the shower running and wasting my precious granules (click here for my sugar scrub shower step-by-step). I also am currently using a sugar based exfoliant for face, Mojo Spa’s Go Green Face and Body Scrub. The consistency is everything. Check it out!

– Switch up your products to survive the season. In the summer my skin is fine with a regular body lotion. When the weather dips below 40 degrees, it is time for me to escalate the situation to a body butter. And when it’s icy and cold and that hawk is out on these mean Chicago streets, I require a body butter followed by a body oil. And it’s so important to apply your product right when you’re emerging from the shower. Capture the moisture that’s still on your skin, slather on your body butter and oil when your skin is still drinking it all in. Let it absorb so you’re not greasy, and go about your business.

And you know I wouldn’t leave you in the cold without relevant product recommendations, right? Here are some amazing body butters to improve your skin’s happiness as the weather becomes increasingly frigid. Enjoy!


Luxury moisture recommendations

Kiehls Crème de Corps – or try new Kiehls Crème de Corps Grapefruit, sales benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign!

Mor Body Butter

Moroccanoil Body Soufflé

Carol’s Daughter Almond Cookie Shea Soufflé AND Carol’s Daughter Body Jelly

Lush Dream Cream (it’s their best selling product for a reason)!


Drugstore moisture recommendations

Sonia Kashuk Body Butter

Shea Moisture Lavender & Wild Orchid Body Butter

Shea Radiance Ultra Rich Shea Butter Cream

Body Shop Body Butter

Tree Hut Shea Body Butter


Indie brand moisture recommendations

Skin Deep – check out

Emily Jayne – check out

Belle Butters – check out


What are your favorite body butters and moisturizers when the weather takes this annual turn?

See also – Winter Skin For The Win



ThePBG says:
November 14, 2013, 1:02 pm
I usually whip up raw shea butter at home with vitamin E oil, coconut oil & castor oil. If I'm feeling fancy, I'll add something for scent. I was raised by the most anti-ashy Mama ever. Exfoliation & moisturizing has been a mandate my entire life!
Afrobella says:
November 14, 2013, 1:07 pm
YES! A good DIY body butter is necessary sometimes. And with castor oil? Sounds awesome!
Phyrra says:
November 14, 2013, 4:14 pm
Great tips! Winter dryness can be so brutal!
Tiffany says:
November 14, 2013, 7:30 pm
So I recently moved to Chicago from Texas and am, too, learning the depths of my ash. I used to be a Lush gal but the jars were too small and too expensive for my luscious (read: large) body. But then someone introduced me to Trader Joe's Lavender Salt Scrub. Magical. It has a lavender-scented bath oil that leaves your skin moist (no lotion needed) and it exfoliates at the same time. And it comes in a large jar. And it's $5.99. Win. Win. Win.
MrsNumbles says:
November 16, 2013, 12:14 pm
I was in Chicago in December once. ONCE. Never again. *LOL* You reminded me though, I need to whip up some sugar scrub with the quickness because my legs cussed me out this morning....
Dima Al Mahsiri says:
December 10, 2013, 9:44 am
Hi, You are right! Winter is the season of dry weather, but not anymore! I love to use shea butter, as you mentioned it above, it is great for curing dry skin, and I found that it is also great for curing eczema.
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My skin is quite dry and especially so on my legs, being a woman of a certain age, and the Made from Earth Valencia Orange Lotion does the trick perfectly. Really like this skin cream! No horrible nasties in it. Smells beautifully of oranges .


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