Around the end of September I always look in the mirror and think “why do I always end up looking so terrible in winter – this is fine! I look fine! Even still a bit brown.”
By the end of October, or even by now in fact, I’m always shot to hell. My tan has fallen off, I’ve got a cold, I am spotty and sad and my feet are so dry you could set fire to them.
I have been scrabbling around in the backs of drawers for the tail end of last years’ Emergency Winter Supplies and I was minded to start a conversation about what you need to survive the coming months.
1 This is not a cold and flu thing, but my friend Anne Kelly raised over WhatsApp yesterday the issue of “maskne”, meaning the zits that you get around the mouth and chin area from wearing a mask all the time. If this is happening to you, you need Clinisept. This is a gentle but effective anti-bacterial spray that smells like swimming pools that you can use twice a day on the affected area and it should clear it up in no time. If you are suffering from this also don’t forget to disinfect your phone regularly and change your pillowcase as often as is practical.
2 Zincovit. Chewable orange tablets containing zinc and vitamin C. One a day, every day until Easter.
3 Lansinoh. Okay now you’re like shut up about about the Lansinoh! because I push it on you about twice a year. But in case you have forgotten about it, Lansinoh is the best skin-healing cream available that isn’t, like, prescription only. Sore noses, cracked lips and scraggy cuticles will disappear overnight with a dab of this, keep a tube on your bedside table.
4 Actifed, only available over the counter. My cold has now moved onto the stuffed-up-can’t-breathe stage and if I didn’t have a nightly Actifed, which is a decongestant and a sleeping aid in one, I would be in a much worse state than I already am.
5 Heated eye mask. These Spacemasks are absolutely incredible, really soothing and relaxing, (this is from someone who finds it difficult to relax), and also very good for hydrating the eye area if your eyes are dry or knackered. If the single-use thing bothers you, as it probably should, consider a heatable reusable one. You’ve probably got one somewhere already but if not this one looks fun. You bung it in the microwave and then like down with it on your eyes. It’s really, really worth doing.
6 Vitamin D spray. Because swallowing pills is a bore.
How about you? What’s in your Winter Emergency box?
I had a pedicure this week. A revelation. Not had one in ages. It’s like having new feet. Made me feel so much better about myself!
Heather A says
My daughter had really sore chapped lips and mouth. The only product that worked was la roche posay lip cream which cured it completely in just two days. It is so good for sensitive skin.
No. 1 in my winter emergency box used to be Blistese for the type of chapped lips that end up taking up much of my (large) face. But looks like it’s been discontinued. Nightmare. Also suffer from the kindling skin on feet. I’ve tried (and reviewed) pretty much every foot product out there and keep coming back to Eucerin Aquaphor 30% Urea thingy which thankfully doesn’t smell of pee. Haven’t tried your best friend Lasinoh mind. Will give it a go. Stay warm x
Anne O'Connell says
Boots have 250mL Clinisept spray at £9.49 on the website but when I put it through self-serve the other day it came up as £2.38!
Esther, I have heard you say you are not an influencer recently, but you have no idea I’m sure! I have immediately ordered items 2, 5 and 6 ( I already have item 3, although probably need a new one as it’s VERY sticky these days) after reading this. And I am sat here thinking, well maybe I do want a heated eye mask and maybe I do NEED clinisept…It’s much easier to be told what to get rather than looking myself.
ha ha! this isn’t influencing, this is public service! x
sheila birch says
Ordered the cream and vitamins now I need something to remove eye bags ..
Flexitol is great for feet. My husband gets it on prescription (diabetes care) but you can buy it. You’ll have weird soft baby feet in no time and have to name them Sue to toughen them up again. Sudocrem is really good for lots of skin conditions and I use it overnight as it’s so thick, but it sorts out most sores by morning. I put oats in a sock in the microwave for inevitable earaches in cold weather. My hair is so long and dry and frizzy now I bought a big tub of Garnier hair mask and I definitely look less like I belong in a Highland herd after using it.
Helene Rabbitt says
The vitamin D spray is also on offer at Ocado x
Sophie Beveridge says
I can vouch for Clinisept – my awful one-sided spring stress acne (which appeared this spring just as we started applying for planning/listed building permission and vanished in Sept when the builders left) DIDN’T SCAR. I have the most sensitive scar-prone skin and I was amazed. I swear all down to the Clinisept as recommended by Esther. Forever grateful.
Sophie Beveridge says
YAY I CAN POST AGAIN PRAISE BE. Ahem.
Guess Who says
And am so excited about it you get my full name too.
great to have you back
Me again says
Also meant to say top Winter Emergency Potion is any body moisturiser that comes in a pump dispenser. This means that you will actually use it because it takes but seconds to splurt and slather rather than faffing with lids. My theory is that the cheapest, crappest moisturiser that you apply every day is going to do your dry winter skin far more good than Crème de la Mer lovingly massaged once a week because you haven’t got time to locate it, open it, put lid down, apply, pick up lid with greasy fingers, drop lid, swear, pick up lid, replace lid, replace jar on shelf, every day.
E45 current fave but using up some Ameliorate which hasn’t had much effect on the KP (bumpy skin) but a bit of AHA probably doesn’t go amiss.
Aveeno also comes in a massive pump-bottle situation but this in general is a very good point
Caudalie nourishing body lotion in a pump bottle is excellent and is absorbed immediately. It lasts for ages.
I was very anti body lotion (ugh! who’s got the time/?!) but persistent lizard legs and bumpy arms were getting me down. Soap and Glory’s Sugar Crush body lotion is the only one that has ever worked. Plus some exfoliating with those hilarious rough mitt thingies.
I do like L’occitaine almond body oil, which prevents that horrid crack-y feeling on my skin.
Also Beauty Pie’s retinol hand cream. It’s the *only* hand cream that makes any difference. Not to cuticles though.
In winter, a combination of a light touch with Vichy’s Vitamin C serum then absolutely slathering on M&S Formula’s Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream means you wake up with both clearer and plumped up skin. The serum has a funny scent, like many vitamin C serums, but you see the results on discolouration/uneven skin tone after about a week of twice daily use. The Sleep Cream is so forgiving that I also dab it on cheekbones in the morning, so that foundation glides on without the sweatiness from many day creams
Can I also swear by Givenchy Teint Couture Balm Blurring Foundation SPF15? When you first put this on you think “so what?” but when you catch sight of yourself in a mirror about 20 minutes later you look fantastic.
Vitamin C serums are always weird
A lot of people are very allergic to lanolin so always read the label!
Maskne! I literally wondered yesterday if this could be a thing! I couldn’t work out why I keep getting spots on my chin, that must be it. Thanks! X
Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, Function of Beauty hair products, gummy vitamins and, er, wine for me. I suggested Lansinoh to my husband who has eczema and he gave me a look as if to say “I am not buying cream marketed at breastfeeding mothers’ cracked nipples, fuck off” but I suspect I’m wearing him down now. I’m a midwife so OBVIOUSLY I think Lansinoh is God.
Slightly off topic, can anyone recommend warm, upbeat slippers? I can’t do another winter of wandering around in old socks.
“Upbeat” slippers? What a fantastic phrase. UGG now do a short-short-short version of their boots, sort of mini mini booties, which I rather love.
You can also get sheepskin lined Birkenstock Boston Clogs. (https://rstyle.me/+9lNOUEIEAnqAxnsmnptGMg)
Right now I am wearing a pair of John Lewis’s very good own brand sheepskin slippers.
Or, invest in a few pairs of good cashmere socks and wear with any existing Birkenstocks! https://www.johnlewis.com/brora-cashmere-socks/foam/p5111196
Birkenstock also do wool clogs in some pretty blues, red, and pink which look great. The cork soles are surprisingly warm, even on stone floors.
Peabody bites says
I have the sheepskin lined Boston clogs – they bring me great joy!
Thank you all
Sorry that was me above not coping with wordpress. Thank you all for these tips. I love the short uggs and also the birkenstock/sock combo. I am also quite keen on haflinger boots but would like a fluffy lining. Possibly overthinking it but hey it’s been a weird year.
I like those boots in theory but I feel like after a while I would grow to resent them
So true. And they are German made so will never die. I’m getting the fluffy Birkenstocks.
Zoe I think you are making the right call
Crikey. They are … a LOT.
They are aren’t they? I am living in Germany so have become a bit desensitised.
I like the fluffy Birkenstocks. But I am gradually moving over to all Birkenstock, all the time. My favourites ever were some sheepskin ones my lovely friend brought me back from Australia, I would wear them and imagine them being made by someone who looks like Chris Hemsworth, possibly unrealistically over a forge because why not? My daughter has some a bit like the Haflingers but she is 6. I do quite like them but definitely the sort of thing I would buy and regret.
Toms have quite nice jaunty slippers (if that’s even a thing) and Philip Kingsley elastisizer for all the people who need conditioner but cannot use it due to very fine potentially limp hair (hello!) (also wtf is it called fine, its bloody not fine its terrible).
I am now wearing my new boston clogs and heartily recommend them!
Yay!! this is like interactive life advice. love it
Oh I forgot to tell you like months ago that my niece has brain cancer and has been having surgeries and chemo all through lockdown. So I bought my brother in law one of those eyemasks to help him sleep on the wards and it went down VERY WELL INDEED so fanks x
Dex this is absolutely horrific! How is she now?? My grandfather died of a brain tumour and I go to the doctor basically every six months with “symptoms”
She was diagnosed at the end of Jan and has six doses of chemo left. There’s no recurrence yet (tumour was in the bit where brain stem and spinal cord meet) but obviously they are going to keep a very close eye on her when she finishes the chemo course in the new year.
She’s not two til the end of the month and it has been SHITE. But considering that she was dying when they diagnosed her, she’s doing amazingly well! No apparent major damage from the surgeries, she copes with her chemo really well. Her development basically got paused for six months but the signs are good that she will catch up with a bit of extra help. She’s amazing!
two years old!!!! and listen I’m no doctor but I’ve got a feeling that the brain stem/spinal cord area is the important bit. I read somewhere that cancer spreads fastest in children because of high cell turnover but they’re also best at recovering from it. even so god almighty
It was FUCKING scary. She had an ependymoma, if you fancy a horror-google. Hers was totally blocking the channels and causing a major fluid buildup. We just thought she had a milk allergy and D+V!! It was only when a nurse at their local hospital spotted her fontanelles were bulging that they did a CT, and she became critical a few hours after the CT. The operation to remove it took twelve hours – thankfully, they only live an hour from Queens Medical Centre at Nottingham, which is the best place for paediatric brain tumours outside of London. Now it’s still fucking scary because there’s a fairly high chance of recurrence, but she’s stable and it hasn’t started regrowing as yet.