Our skin and haircare needs vary from season to season. . .
Jennifer Hermitage, Cornelius Formulations Chemist
Our skin and haircare needs vary from season to season. Apart from the glaringly obvious seasonal essentials like suncream in the summer and a chapped lip balm in the winter, there are many subtle requirements, which can be addressed to create sophisticated beauty concepts for each of the four seasons. Magazines make much of the transitions from one season to the next and beauty editors love to unveil the latest wonder products to tackle seasonally induced hair/skin issues as well as showcasing the newest, most beautiful colour palettes.
Colour cosmetics are the ultimate seasonal switch products. Who doesn’t long for a beautiful soft palette of spring shades after the long winter months?
During the winter months, skin and hair are exposed to extreme fluctuations in temperature as we move from centrally heated homes and offices out into the worst that Jack Frost can throw at us.
Ceramide 1-linoleate levels are reduced in winter, as are all other major lipids found in skin, leading to an increased susceptibility of skin to have impaired barrier function and dryness. It has also been observed that Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and elasticity levels are affected, with elasticity being lower in winter than in summer and TEWL levels higher in the colder months, underlining the fact that the barrier has been impaired1,2,3,4.
During the cold months, skincare products tend to be thicker and heavier as the oil phase ratio is increased to really feed and protect the skin from the elements. Products should have a higher emollient content and ideally provide an occlusive effect to counter the barrier damage and any actives included should be focussed on moisturising, lipid boosting and improving barrier function.
Winter skincare is all about nourishment and protection and should also include UVA protection, which is still important at this time of year. Cegesoft PS 6 is an emollient high in both oleic and linoleic acids with a rich feel and skin conditioning properties; this makes it an ideal candidate for use in a winter skin preparation. It is a suitable active to partner with this is Glyco-Repair5, derived from carob seeds, which boosts the skin’s own natural repare function.
Wash products should be as gentle as possible using mild surfactants and including ingredients such as. Lamesoft PO 65, a microemulsion designed to deliver glycerylmonooleate to the skin when washing. This is a biolipid which naturally occurs in human skin and helps counteract barrier damage.
Hair, too, suffers at this time of year, prone as it is to drying out and becoming dull. Therefore, as with skincare, winter haircare products need to be richer and more nourishing. Treatments and masks, which are designed to be left on for a while to work their magic, can be particularly beneficial to tresses stressed out by harsh winds and temperature extremes.
Coconut oil is currently very on trend and a heavier oil such as this can do wonders for dry ends if left on for a short while before being gently washed out. A micronised lipid such as Lamesoft Care counteracts dry or damaged hair in three ways: Firstly it provides strong conditioning which significantly improves wet combability; it increases hair shine by 20%; and it provides outstanding breakage protection.
Winter does have some good points though as it encompasses the Christmas and New Year party season and with it lots of scope for great party make-up. These occasions allow for use of vibrant tones and effect pigments come into their own as this is probably the one time of year to get away with plenty of sparkle!
As the year transitions into spring, it is time to rejuvenate the skin after the stresses inflicted by winter. Skincare no longer needs to be so heavy now that TEWL levels are lower and there is a welcome return to lighter, fresher feeling textures. A good way to create a lighter feeling skin cream is to increase the water phase and also switch to less greasy emollients such as Cetiol RLF. This light emollient is produced via enzymatic processes and is great for those with sensitive skin. During panel tests (on a group with disturbed barrier function), 100% of volunteers said that their skin felt hydrated and 90% said their skin became much softer.
At this time of year UVB as well as UVA becomes important again as temperatures begin to rise and days become longer.
Wash products should be kept mild to prevent further barrier damage and let the skin slowly recover, with naturally healthy and well-moisturised skin being the aim at this time of year. Some consumers prefer to use cleansing oils rather than traditional wash products to cleanse their skin. In this instance a product containing sesame oil is a good choice as this oil is rich in linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid, and it also reduces trans epidermal water loss by restoring the hydrolipidic film and is an excellent moisturiser. Oils rich in linoleic acid are recommended for use in products for young, acne-prone skin, since they diminish sebum production and reduce the formation of blemishes.
Radiance is a key feature to reviving skin at this time of year and Chione Digital Pink is an ideal addition to any facial care product to perk up a tired complexion. Pretty colour palettes are synonymous with spring fashion and BASF’s MultiReflections Soft Sparkle pearls, which are available in Orchid, Rose and Sunflower, are ideal for usage here, fitting extremely well with strong floral influences.
Summer skin care should have reduced levels of lipids to counter the increase in sebum production observed at this time of year and barrier function is less important, as instead we focus on boosting molecules such as hyaluronic acid in the dermal matrix. Hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate naturally occurs in the body, where it maintains hydration. It can absorb up to a thousand times its own weight in water and it is this function that plumps out the skin making wrinkles appear much smoother. Many different grades of this material are available from Bloomage Freda, even an oil soluble grade which has been specifically formulated for the inclusion in plumping lipsticks.
Sun protection becomes most important at this time of year and with modern ingredients it is possible to create light feeling formulations, which are pleasant to use during the hot weather. New sun filters such as Tinosorb S Aqua have been developed to be used in the water phase of the emulsion, thus reducing the oil phase. This results in a less oily skin feel whilst also boosting UVA/UVB protection, due to more homogenous filter distribution.
Another important aspect to remember when working on a light feeling sunscreen is the solubiliser used. Cetiol CC enhances solubility of crystalline UV filters (and also pigment dispersions) and having a light, soft feel is an excellent choice for modern skin care and sun care concepts.
Tanning accelerators can be used to start preparing the skin for summer holidays. One such active that encourages skin to tan is Silab’s Biotanning5, which is based on sweet orange citroflavanoids . It can be incorporated into pre-sun exposure products for the face and body to help encourage a tan. Hydrating ingredients should also be incorporated into these preparations as well as free radical scavengers to pre-empt the damaging and drying effects of the sun.
Holiday hair is frequently prone to frizz due to high humidity levels. A leave-in conditioner which keeps frizz under control and also doubles as a physical barrier to UV rays is a great option, plus it has the added advantage of helping create natural waves and texture at a time of year when it is most convenient to let hair dry naturally.
Make-up tends to be lighter in the summer months with BB creams replacing heavier foundations. Darker skin looks great against gold tones and Flamenco Summer Gold is a shimmering gold pearl perfect for this season and can be incorporated into colour cosmetics for the eyes, cheeks and body.
As summer transitions into autumn and days become shorter and cooler we should start to think again about preparing our skin in readiness for its drop in lipid levels and increased TEWL. Once again heavier products with higher oil content become necessary. Our foaming shower oil contains a variety of oils including macadamia, argan and jojoba as well as geranium rose essential oil. The rich formulation re-fats the skin and leaves it feeling soft and smooth, straight from the shower.
Dry skin emergencies which often result from the increased use in central heating can be addressed with emergency balm formulations. Our own Natural Rescue Balm contains high levels of Strahl & Pitsch’s Natural Wax Jelly, a 100% natural alternative to petrolatum, as well as lanolin, castor and olive oils. It is extremely emollient and a great multi-tasker, good for chapped lips, sun/windburn and minor irritations.
Autumn magazine editions are always very full with new clothes for the colder months and also news on the latest hair and make-up looks. Autumn make-up very often encompasses berry toned lipsticks and rich shades of bronze, russet and gold for the eyes. It is a time of year when we welcome the return of more intricate make-up after the pared back summer months when too much on your face frequently feels uncomfortable. Cloisonne Vivid Red is a vibrant red pearl which is free from carmine and an excellent choice in a berry-inspired lip product.
Complexions too often require more substantial coverage at this time of year and BB creams make way for foundations. Ideal for use in such products are the Timica Terra range of pearl pigments, as they have been especially created to mimic skin tone colours and their small particle size makes them quite matte, an advantage in creating a natural effect.
1. CONTI, A., ROGERS, J., VERDEJO†, P., HARDING, C. R. and RAWLINGS, A. V. (1996), Seasonal influences on stratum corneum ceramide 1 fatty acids and the influence of topical essential fatty acids. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 18: 1–12. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-
2. Rogers J, Harding C, Mayo A, Banks J, Rawlings A. “Stratum corneum lipids: the effect of ageing and the seasons.”Arch Dermatol Res. 1996 Nov;288(12):765-70.
3. ”Variability in The Physical Properties of The Stratum Corneum – Influences of Chronological Age And Season”, Long S, Godfrey M, Desnos A, Whitby D, Barton S & Agarwal V, Poster presentation at the 25th IFSCC Congress October 2008.
4. Qiu, H., Long, X., Ye, J. C., Hou, J., Senee, J., Laurent, A., Bazin, R., Flament, F., Adam, A., Coutet, J. and Piot, B. (2011), Influence of season on some skin properties: winter vs. summer, as experienced by 354 Shanghaiese women of various ages. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 33: 377–383. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2011.00639.x