Heat, Cleanse, Hydrate: Busting winter beauty myths

Looking up at shower head raining down water

What’s good for skin and hair, what’s not? The experts at Optase eye care products are out to bust some of the myths around heat, cleansing and hydration, so you can get the best out of your winter beauty regime.

We also have some top winter beauty tips from Bianca Estelle, founder of bea Skin Care. Bianca has over 17 years of expertise and practises as a skin specialist and medical aesthetician at her Marylebone-based clinic.

Bianca’s ever-growing knowledge – and passion – make her the perfect person to advise on skin care routines and how these should be adapted as the seasons change. She has recommendations for people who have rosacea as well as those prone to dry skin.

But first, here are those myths…

HEAT MYTH: Heat is never good for hairBack view of woman with long tumbling brown hair facing pink painted wall

We all know the damage that hairdryers and tongs can do to our hair. The flash drying effect not only evaporates surface water but also the moisture that binds to our hair, so strands become brittle. Use a cool setting to minimise this if you can’t let your hair air-dry.

Heat isn’t always the enemy, though. Heated oil-based treatments can reduce dandruff, promote the growth of new hair, and help hair retain its moisture. Hot oil treatments have multiple benefits for both hair and scalp; smoothing cuticles, moisturising skin, stimulating blood flow and, in turn, hair growth.

HEAT MYTH: Hot water opens your pores

Whether you’re splashing your face with hot or cold water, your pores remain the same. Hot, soapy water cuts through grease but doesn’t open your pores. It can dry out your skin and remove natural oils, causing sensitivity and irritation, especially on the delicate skin around the eyes.

Instead loosen the sebum with the power of steam, to reduce the appearance of pores:

  • Boil 1-2 cups of water, adding a couple of drops of essential oil, and place a clean hand towel over the back of your head.
  • Hold your face close enough to feel the heat without it being too hot – the length of a lemon is usually the right distance. Try to stay in this position for five minutes, and then gently exfoliate away the sebum.
  • Use a cold flannel, or splash cold water on your face, then pat dry.

HEAT MYTH: You should only use cool water on your eyes

Optase brand heated eye mask

Did you know that you have around 70 oil glands along your eyelids? These ducts produce the natural oils that keep eyes healthy and hydrated. Occasionally, these glands can get blocked which can cause irritation and dry eyes.

A good way to keep the oils moving is by applying a hot compress, like the OPTASE® Moist Heat Mask, (£10.99, available in Boots). This trick maintains a consistent heat, stimulating the glands for at least 10 minutes. The moist heat prevents the surface of the eye and surrounding skin from becoming dry.

CLEANSING MYTH: Hair gets used to your shampoo

Simply put; this isn’t true. Your shampoo will not become less effective the longer you use it. However, that doesn’t mean that you should use the same product all year round.

Just like our skin, the seasons and our lifestyle impact on our locks. In winter, hair can become brittle and dry, so switch up your shampoo to a more nourishing one. Remember a shampoo is not for life, it might just be for Christmas!

CLEANSING MYTH: Oil-based products will make your skin break out

Woman applying cream to the back of her handFinding the right cleansing style for your skin is important. A lot of high-street cleansers are cream-based but cleansing with natural oils can have a wealth of benefits.

‘Natural’ is key as synthetic oils may cause spots but coconut, avocado and grape-seed oils bind to oil on the skin, helping to control further oil production.

CLEANSING MYTH: Normal make-up remover wipes are fine for my eyes

The skin around the eyes is so delicate, yet many of us don’t use a specialised cleanser when removing our waterproof mascara.

Tea tree oil is one of the best cleansing and healing ingredients that loves delicate skin! It also has natural antimicrobial properties which makes it a great part of any skincare regime.

OPTASE TTO Lid Wipes (£9.99 available in Boots) are tea tree oil-based with added camomile, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid for maximum powerful yet gentle cleansing.

HYDRATION MYTH: Drinking water makes your hair shine

Drinking enough water is important for healthy hair and scalp as it promotes blood flow and extension growth, helping to strengthen fibres. However, you won’t notice shiny tresses from drinking water alone.

The natural moisture levels for your hair are between 8% and 12%, but this can’t be replenished by water intake. The only way to promote a glossy sheen is to use protective and restorative oils to lock in moisture on the strands and flatten the cuticles.

HYDRATION MYTH: Heavy moisturisers work best on dry skin

Close-up of young white woman's face, make-up free, green eyes, serious expressionOur skin contains mostly water so keeping it hydrated inside and out is essential for preventing premature ageing and promoting winter beauty and a healthy glow.

During the winter, the cold weather can cause our dry patches to intensify and become flaky, but this doesn’t always mean you should use a heavy moisturiser. Every day we lose dry or dead skin cells, so using rich moisturisers on flaking skin is often too little, too late.

Instead, try a moisturiser that smooths and supports the skin’s natural protective barrier. This will have dual benefits. it boosts protection from cold weather without being too heavy on the skin. In addition it will allow light to reflect from a more even surface, giving a more radiant complexion.

HYDRATION MYTH: Watery eyes can’t be dry  

Optase eye spray and lid wipesSurprisingly, if you experience excessively watery eyes this can actually be a sign of very dry eyes, which is very common in winter.

As the cold wind blows, our eyes often think we’ve got something in them and try to flush the irritant out with watery tears. These aren’t the kind that hydrate the surface of our eyes, and they become drier as a result!

The new OPTASE Eye Spray (£15.99, available in Boots) has a unique composition of sea buckthorn seed oil rich in omega-3s, plus hydrating sodium hyaluronate. These soothe the delicate skin around the eyes and boost elasticity. A gentle spritz before leaving the house should reduce eyes streaming.

Bianca’s Winter Beauty Skin Care

Skin specialist Bianca EstelleSkin specialist Bianca Estelle says, “Central heating coupled with constant temperature changes from heading in and out of warm spaces can cause havoc with our skin. These conditions can also trigger Rosacea flare-ups among those that suffer with this condition.

“To help care for the skin and calm down issues like Rosacea, I recommend antioxidant-rich formulas, such as those found in bea Skin Care’s Master Antioxidant range. Co-enzyme Q10, found here, is also a great ingredient to support cell turnover. This helps keep skin looking bright and glowing throughout dull weather.

“In addition, opt for a moisturiser with extra hydrating properties and products high in peptides that will help replenish collagen reserves.

“Collagen is often referred to as the tent pegs of our skin so it’s no surprise that higher collagen levels leave us looking more youthful and ‘boosted’.”

 Bea brand antioxidant products and collagen cream

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Spring Skin Care Tips From Bianca

“The term ‘spring clean’ refers to more than just a house clear-out,” continues Bianca. “Come March, our skin cells are more than ready for renewal. So I’d suggest opting for active ingredients that help with ‘shedding’.

“Particularly effective is bea Skin Care’s Advanced System Range. This features a unique blend of skin resurfacing compounds, powerful acne care solutions and skin brightening ingredients. The range also doubles up as effective preparation for skin procedures, many of which are in high demand at this time of year.”

Bianca advises, “As well as a twice-daily routine (AM and PM), I’d also recommend a weekly treatment product, such as our AHA Rejuvenating Wands, which are an at-home alternative to a skin peel.

“These contain 7% glycolic acid, lactic acid and citric acid to brighten the complexion. They also target a range of skin conditions including acne, pigmentation, enlarged pores and fine lines and wrinkles. Due to the super-strength active ingredients that penetrate beneath the skin’s surface, these wands can also enhance the efficacy of your skin care regime.”

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Sarah Proctor

I've worked on a variety of regional newspapers and national magazines. My Weekly and Your Best Ever Christmas are fantastic, warm-hearted brands with an amazing, talented team. I'm a sub-editor and particularly love working on cookery, fiction and advice pages - I feel I should know all the secrets of eternal life, health and happiness by now, but hey, we all need that regular reminder!