If you’re planning a family ski or winter sports holiday this season, you’ve probably researched the best resort to suit your family, bought or borrowed ski-suits for the kids and thought about how to keep warm on the slopes. But while an active getaway such as skiing is great for the soul AND the fitness levels, bear in mind that high altitudes, harsh winds, freezing temperatures, snow, rain and ice can play havoc with your skin and your hair, whatever your age, causing them to lose essential oils, moisture and water. Mix into that central heating and the numerous layers of clothing you need for, and it’s no wonder we often emerge from the darker months looking less than our best.
Our winter wonders will combat these problems and put a spring in your family’s step again. Many make fantastic Christmas presents too, so we've categorised some according to who might appreciate them best in their Christmas stocking, although most are suitable for all members of the family. All prices were correct at the time of going to press.
First Aides and All-rounders
Perfect for minor emergencies while away, Lanolips 101 Ointment (boots.com; £10.99) is a multipurpose ointment that be used for all manner of things, including sunburn, skin abrasions, cracked heels and noses sore from the cold, and even on babies (for nappy rash or sore skin). It’s made from 100% pure clean medical-grade lanolin, which melts into a clear emulsion and is fragrance free.
And if the thought of watching your loved ones career down a black run unaided leaves you rather stressed, you might like to pack Tisserand’s Head Clear (tisserand.com; £5.95) – a pocket-sized rollerball containing a 100% natural essential oil remedy that you roll onto temples to ease headaches!
Weather and Sun Protection
You may be in a wintery setting but a great product for little ones that will instantly transport you to the tropics is Weleda Baby Calendula Weather Protection Cream (weleda.co.uk; £8.95), which acts as a gentle barrier protection on children’s exposed cheeks, lips and hands. For dry patches or chapped skin, you can’t beat Liz Earle’s cult Superbalm (lizearle.com; £17.25), which contains plant oils and is safe for the whole family to use – rub on lips, elbows, heels and even nails for an intense moisture boost.
Despite being covered in gloves for most of the day, your hands can become dry and chapped in cold weather, so slather on Olivina Napa Valley Olive Hand Crème (acassa.co.uk; £14.95), which contains sea algae, avocado, aloe vera and olives sourced from California for super-soft skin, or L’Occitane’s Organic Shea Butter (uk.loccitane.com; £28), which is super-hydrating, can be used on hands and body, and comes in a practical, slim tin.
High altitudes leave skiers exposed to harmful UV rays, which are magnified by the wide expanse of snow. Sisley’s Super Soin Solaire Facial Sunscreen (sisley-paris.com/en-GB) has one of the highest protections around – SPF50+ – making it perfect for the strong sun exposure found high up in the mountains. Sisley is a leading suncare brand incorporating the latest scientific know-how plus active ingredients such as shea butter, cucumber extract and essential oils – as the price (£109) confirms.
If you do overdo it in the sun, Payot’s SOS Sunburn Mask (lookfantastic.com; £28) is a lifesaver – apply a thick layer to affected areas and within minutes it eases any burnt or sore patches.
Lips are most vulnerable when you’re out in cold weather, so stop them getting dry and sore by liberally applying a lip balm throughout the day, especially on kids. Perfect for all to use is the faithful Medicated Chapstick (chemistdirect.co.uk; £1.65), which prevents cracking and keeps lips supple. More upmarket, the Malin+Goetz Lip Moisturiser (spacenk.co.uk; £10) hydrates for hours at a time.
Children's and Teens' Favourites
Sensitive and tender young skins need to be well protected in harsher weather just as in hot climates. Ideal for babies with patches of dryness is Tiddley Pom Organic Soothing Lotion (tiddley-pom.com, £8.99) with organic lavender and camomile essential oils, which can be gently applied after bathtime to ease away irritation. Gaia’s natural and organic skincare for babies includes hydrating baby washes, oils and lotions, all featuring in the travel-handy Gaia Organic Baby Starter Kit (gaiaskinnaturals.com, £9.99).
Yes to Blueberries Smoothing Daily Cleanser (hollandandbarrett.com, £6.99), great for teens, uses blueberries (rich in Vitamin C) and apple (rich in antioxidants and natural AHAs) to help brighten and nourish the skin’s surface, and lemon peel to sweep away dirt. The same firm’s Yes to Carrots Body Butter (ocado.com, £9.99) is brilliant for very dry skin, combining the antioxidant power of beta-carotene from organic fruits and veg with minerals from the Dead Sea, as well as being rich in shea butter and vitamins A and E.
Jurlique’s Baby Gentle Shampoo and Body Wash (jurlique.co.uk; £14) gently cleans and moisturises tender skin. Good Things Total Wipe Out Raspberry and Cranberry Face Wipes (boots.com; £3.99) for young and sensitive skins are a pretty, practical choice for keeping complexions clean and clear on hols.
Lush products are also perfect for teenage skin, especially the Lush BB Seaweed Mask (lush.co.uk, £6.95), which deep cleanses and softens all skin types with its fresh seaweed, rose absolute and calming aloe vera.
Dry and chapped lips can be one of the worst side-effects when the temperature drops, but Korres Lip Butter (asos.com, £8) melts on the lips and leaves them with a lovely tinted finish. The jasmine option using the healing properties of wild rose, pomegranate and guava gives lips a natural sheen. Or try Essential Care Organic Lip Silk (naturisimo.com, £5.50) with vitamin-rich coconut oil, calendula and orange oil. The same organic brand’s Ultra Rich Balm (£9.50) is the ultimate moisturiser to winter-proof your skin, with shea butter and plant oils to give nourishing protection from the wind, rain and snow without blocking the pores.
Clinique's Moisture Surge Intense (Clinique.co.uk, £34) has a gel formula brilliant for ‘thirsty’ skin, offering a ‘plumping’ effect so your complexion looks radiant and healthy. Alternatively, Korres Watercress Extra Moisturising Cream (lookfantastic.com, £20) is a great-value addition to your kit, using the water-retaining qualities of watercress to keep skin hydrated through the day.
Using concentrated formulas of active ingredients designed to rejuvenate and heal, serums are a wonderful way to make sure your skin keeps in excellent condition during the winter months. Australian brand Black Chicken Remedies' Love Your Face Serum (cultbeauty.co.uk, £66) uses 11 therapeutic oils to give fuller, more radiant skin.
Payot’s Nutricia Masque (lookfantastic.com, £28.50) promises ‘emergency repair’ for the driest of skins – leave on for 10 minutes and its quinoa extracts and royal jelly work to eliminate tautness and red patches. Or Gazelli’s Ultra Nourishing Saviour Mask (gazelliskincare.com, £48) makes a dried-out complexion look hydrated and luminous if you leave a thin layer on the skin twice a week.
Don’t forget a good night cream, which will work wonders while you sleep: Swiss skincare expert Mavalia’s Restoring Night Cream (mavala.co.uk; £19.95) helps recoup skin after exposure to the great outdoors with a surge of moisture and anti-ageing properties.
There’s nothing like a long soak in the bath to banish the winter blues, so make sure you add something to the water that can work hard while you rest. Ahava’s Liquid Dead Sea Salt (ahava.co.uk, £16) can be used as a pre-soak exfoliator or to enrich your bath water, with a mineral-concentrated solution to detoxify and regenerate the skin.
Wonderfully old-fashioned looking E. Coudray’s Foaming Cream (roullierwhite.com, £29.50) with bergamot, orange and ylang ylang leaves skin delicately scented and silky to the touch. G. Baldwin’s Synergy Soothing Bath Oil (baldwins.co.uk, £8.85), meanwhile, uses the relaxing properties of lavender and camomile for the ideal wind-down soak.
After luxuriating in the tub, rehydrate with a body cream or oil. Based at Foxbury Farm in Kent, Mitchell and Peach uses home-grown lavender and local honey, violet root and rose; the Body Cream (mitchellandpeach.com, £36) is indulgent and sweet-smelling.
Doctor Renaud’s Peach Hydrating Body Milk (doctor-renaud.co.uk, £28) is packed with hydrating (and tasty) ingredients such as honey, pear, fig and almond extracts to leave skin supple and smooth. Caudalie’s Vine Body Butter (uk.caudalie.com, £21) will also make your mouth water, this time with goodies sourced from the vineyard – grapeseed oil, rich in omega 6 and vitamin E, combined with Vinolevure, Caudalie’s unique formula extracted from wine yeast and used for its moisturizing properties.
A tiny amount of Shiffa’s Soothing Body Oil (shiffa.com, £50) goes a long way – use just before bedtime and its blend of nut, fruit and flower extracts will relax the body and mind and soften skin while you sleep. Aromatherapy Associates Renew Rose Massage & Body Oil (aromatherapyassociates.com, £42) has uplifting rose absolute to leave skin silky-smooth and evening primrose to condition dehydrated skin.
For those troubled by stretch marks, scars or ageing skin, Phyta Lotion (phytacol.com, £8.99) uses rosehip oil and extract as well as vitamins A and E to help improve the appearance of skin blemishes and roughness caused by weather exposure. Or Suti Purity Organic Balm (sutiskincare.com, £26) is a fantastic all-rounder ideally suited to those exposed to freezing temperatures – calendula, camomile and lavender work to cocoon skin by protecting exposed areas from environmental extremities.
Hair can become brittle, dry and lacklustre without much sunshine. Macadamia Hair Deep Repair Masque (macadamiahair.co.uk, £12.75) combines macadamia and argan oils with teatree oil, camomile, aloe and algae extract to help to rebuild damaged hair and give it shine and elasticity.
After a long day spent exerting muscles you didn’t know existed, Friction de Foucard (foucaud.fr; £16.50) uses camphor, menthol, lavender and rosemary to restore tired and sore limbs. (If it’s good enough for the the French Foreign Legion…). Meanwhile, Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Gel (aromatherapyassociates.com; £18.75) helps release tension in aching muscles and joints, with a localised warming effect for instant relief.
Connock London Kukui Oil Wonder Balm (connocklondon.co.uk, £15) is a portable gem combatting dry, rough skin on elbows, lips and hands, with kukui oil, monoi, cocoa butter and mango butter to deeply moisturise cracked and sore areas. Kukui has been used by Hawaiians for centuries to keep skin soft, with essential fatty acids that can help with eczema, psoriasis and dry skin. Queen Sensitive Skin Oil (queen-cosmetics.com, £18.45) is gentle enough to use on dry, itchy and flaky areas caused by eczema or dermatitis.
Read more about family ski holidays and our exclusive ski discounts.