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Colorado’s yo-yoing winter weather hits skin with a brutal one-two punch of outdoor cold followed by indoor heat. This pattern can cause even normal skin to become dry, dull, and irritated. Combat skin stress by incorporating oils—a product that’s been used to moisturize and prevent aging since at least the ancient Egyptian era—into your daily beauty regimen. Although a little oil tends to go a long way (two to three drops is often all you need), not all are created equal. I’ve pared down your options to these top performers:
Wipe away makeup (yes, even the waterproof variety) without stripping your face dry by using an oil cleanser. Cleansing oils bind to impurities as well as sebum and wash away all the gunk. My pick: Japanese brand Boscia’s Tsubaki Cleansing Oil-Gel. The antioxidant-rich camellia and rice bran oils protect the skin’s moisture barrier and even reduce dark spots. Bonus: Boscia products are 100 percent preservative-free. $28, sephora.com
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To refresh your face, try Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence with jasmine and tangerine hydrosols (a milder form of an essential oil that is created during the distillation process). This mist can be used as a toner after cleansing or—as is my preference—throughout the day to hydrate and perk up skin. $65, tataharperskincare.com
Strongly scented oils can cause irritation to those with sensitive skin. Instead, try Aubrey Organics‘ Evening Primrose Oil. Because it contains gamma-linolenic acid, it can even be used to treat eczema. Tip: Regardless of your skin type, this is a great oil to stash in your medicine cabinet for any complexion emergency. $16.48, aubrey-organics.com
Like the rest of the body, skin repairs itself during the sleep cycle. To help it along, there’s Santa Maria Novella‘s Nourishing Night Oil. SMN is one of the world’s oldest pharmacies; it was founded in 1221 by Dominican friars. The product’s rich combination of avocado and macadamia oils, along with bee pollen extract, nourishes skin and fights wrinkles. Tip: This is an intensive treatment, so heed the instructions regarding how frequently to apply to your skin type. $118, The Alchemist, 274 Detroit St., 303-377-7567, thealchemistdenver.com
Rodin Olio Lusso is a cult beauty go-to because it hydrates the skin without feeling greasy (it’s also beautifully packaged and has a divine jasmine scent—something those sensitive to fragrance should consider before trying). With its blend of 11 essential floral and botanical oils, this liquid moisturizer gives you a supple, luminous complexion. Although Olio Lusso is pricey, mixing just a couple of drops into your moisturizer should help lengthen its lifespan. $170, shopzoelife.com
Kora Organics‘ Luxurious Rosehip Body Oil is lightweight and absorbs quickly, making it a perfect choice if you have to get dressed immediately after showering and don’t have time to let an oil soak into your skin. And since there’s no added fragrance, you can still apply your favorite scent without fear of smelling like a perfume counter. Tip: Seal in moisture by applying oil while skin is still wet. $64, koraorganics.com
Another fast-absorbing product is Avène Body Oil. Formulated for very dry, sensitive skin, this gentle hydrating oil protects the skin’s hydrolipidic film (or protective moisture barrier) with Vitamins A and E, while avocado oil softens the skin and adds anti-inflammatory benefits. $24, aveneusa.com
For those who want the latest “it” ingredient, pick up Rahua (pictured, above; pronounced “ra-wa”), a restorative oil extracted from the fruit of the Seje palm tree. Women from the Quechua-Shuar tribes in the Ecuadorian rainforest have turned to this beauty treatment for centuries to maintain their thick, lustrous hair. Why? The oil molecule is so small that it’s able to smooth the hair’s cuticle (outer layer) while also repairing its mid-layer (cortex). Use a couple of drops every day to keep your hair shiny but not greasy. $175, rahua.com
If your muscles are tight and joints are fatigued after a day of skiing or a tough workout, try massaging Dr. Hauschka Birch Arnica Body Oil into your skin. The birch leaf and arnica extracts promote blood circulation to soothe and warm tired muscles, while sunflower seed and jojoba oils replenish moisture levels. $28.95, pharmaca.com
California-based Derma e creates products that are both skin- and earth-friendly. But what really makes their Skin, Hair & Nail Oil a winner is its multiple uses: Made with 100 percent pure organic argan, jojoba and kukui oils, this lightweight formula softens skin from head-to-toe. Apply it directly to your face, smooth over hair to boost shine and tame frizz, or massage it into brittle nails and dry cuticles. $15.50, dermae.com