Of course you follow the winter rules: Drink lots of water. Moisturize. Moisturize again.
Still, despite your best mammalian care, scaly, alligator-like skin sets in for the season.
Elaine Sauer, corporate spa director for Mario Tricoci in Chicago, thinks the body tries to work things out on its own. "When you take your jeans and tights off at the end of the day, you have white, dry flaky skin. That's your skin exfoliating," Sauer said.
Her advice? A moisturizing bath with powdered milk. The milk softens the water, and the lactic acids help prevent the skin from drying out.
We weren't ready to become a human milkshake, so we asked Victoria Kirby, beauty editor for Allure magazine, about other ways to prevent and treat this cold-weather scourge. Her suggestions:
¢ Keep it short: "In the winter, don't soak in a long bath or take a long hot shower ... it depletes skin of natural oils. Try to keep the shower not too hot and only (running) a few minutes."
¢ Make the change: "Switch to a creamier cleanser for face and body. Creamy face wash is ... better than a bar of soap or foam."
¢ Prevent desert face: "If you have really dry skin, splash with lukewarm water and then apply your moisturizer ... while skin is still damp. It's the best time in winter to apply face and body moisturizer. You're adding in the extra water and keeping it in."
¢ Check the label: Look for products with ingredients such as glycerin that help skin absorb moisture, Kirby added.
¢ Turn it on: Use a humidifier in the bedroom. "While you sleep, it really does help."
Operation desert shield
Intrigued by a commercial for Oil of Olay's Thirst Quencher moisturizer, we decided to test out a few products for body, in the low, medium and high price categories ...
Olay Quench Therapy body lotion
Price: $7.99 for 8.4 fluid ounces at Walgreens and most drugstores.
Smells ... well, like Grandma, and we're not referring to the subtly sweet smell of a respected elder who revels in the nuanced bouquet of an earlier time. Instead, think antiseptic retirement community, or, modeling glue.
Pro: On our toughest trouble spot (hands, along side of index finger), this worked! Left the applied areas sort of shiny.
Con: Mildly greasy (also not a good grandmother quality).
Bliss 'Spaahh'-kling body butter maximum moisture cream
Price: $32 for 7 fluid ounces at Sephora stores.
Smells ... too strong, perfumy. Odd scent, almost like lemon menthol (they call it champagne). Probably no need to shake it up.
Pro: Nice and thick. Softness is noticeable and seems to last a bit longer than others.
Con: Looks and feels like sunscreen, and, like sunscreen, is a bit greasy - even after we wiped with a paper towel.
Rodial body cream
Price: $61 for 6.76 fluid ounces at beautyhabit.com, blissworld.com and handbag.com.
Smells ... orangey with a hint of suntan lotion.
Pro: Has vitamin E, which is a fine ingredient for body cream. Now all we need is a version fortified with B-12 and the omegas.
Con: Cap needs to be screwed off, which is an immediate point deduction for our very lazy staff.
Rx for those shopping-worn hands
As one of our staffers sat with GeLuscious' warm blue gloves on her hands, a co-worker compared them to those "big cartoon gloves."
Well, Scooby Doo was nowhere in sight, and yet these terrycloth gloves with gel lining intrigued us. The lining is a rich blend of grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E and olive oil, promising just the sort of restoration that our shopping-worn post-holiday hands needed. So we decided to test GeLuscious' gloves.
The directions were simple: Wash hands and slip on gloves.
Functionality? The gloves felt a little heavy. We could use a pen to write a note, but it was difficult to type on a computer. (But we should be relaxing, right?)
After 20 minutes, we took off the gloves, and our hands felt smoother and softer.
We tested the gloves for a second time before bed, but after a few hand washings, the moisture quickly depleted.
For added effect, the instructions suggest putting moisturizer on your hands before wearing the gloves.
The gloves (which you can use up to 40 times) cost $24.99 at geluscious.com.