Here's why these beauty heroes may be the secret to helping skin lock in moisture all winter long.

By Elyse Moody
Updated August 17, 2020
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There's no doubt about it: Cold winter weather can take a toll on your skin, leaving it tight and a little tired-looking. But when it comes to proper moisturizing, don't let your skin settle for just any cream. In fact, consider beating dryness with a balm.

Far more concentrated than lotions and creams, balms differ largely because of their lack of water. And while you may be thinking how something without much water can still keep you hydrated, New York City dermatologist Julie Russak explains: "The reason why we don't want water in our (hydrating) ingredients in the winter is that water actually evaporates from the surface of the skin after application." This natural "law of water," as Dr. Russak describes, is also the biggest reason why some of your favorite skincare products prove ineffective year-round. In other words, your go-to lotions might not cut it when it comes to treating dry, itchy winter skin. Instead, Dr. Russak suggests preventing the loss of water and maintaining your skin's moisture barrier with a balm which will help moisturize, heal, and restore your skin.

The best part? You can still slather it on everywhere-from lips and hands to cuticles and other dry problem areas (just avoid doing so before hitting the gym as this can lead to trapped moisture while you sweat!). Some balms can even cleanse, prime, or provide tinted coverage, too, while key ingredients like anti-inflammatory oils, (sunflower, olive, and berry) deep-treat dryness. Here are a few of our favorites balms to get you started.

Treat Tired Skin

If your skin needs a pick-me-up, reach for Clarins Beauty Flash Balm ($48, clarinsusa.com). It moisturizes, brightens, and tightens so you can look like you've had a full night's sleep.

Multitask

Try a two-in-one powerhouse product like Juice Beauty Signal Peptides Firming Balm & Mask ($100, juicebeauty.com). It uses sunflower-derived lipids combined with rice peptides and seabuckthorn to hydrate skin.

Perfect Your Pout

Pucker up and lather up with a hydrating lip balm like BKR Paris Water Balm ($22, mybkr.com). This one's made from a proprietary blend of rose, algae, and essential bio lipids with a natural French rose scent that's simply delightful.

Cleanse

Who says your favorite face wash has to be in foam form? A balm is just the thing to cleanse the skin after a long day. Try Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm ($22, sephora.com) that acts as both a makeup remover and cleanser.

Protect

Few things are as important in a skincare routine as SPF. Sun protection is key to reducing the signs of aging. If applying sunscreen isn't your favorite activity, use makeup that has SPF, like Bobbi Brown Extra SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm ($60, bobbibrowncosmetics.com).

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