THEN let not winter’s ragged hand deface
In thee thy summer, ere thou be distill’d:
Make sweet some vial; treasure thou some place
With beauty’s treasure, ere it be self-kill’d.
–William Shakespeare, Sonnet VI
Who can argue with the Bard? Let’s talk about how to pamper your winter skin.
Slough it off. Winter skin can be dry and flaky; treat yourself to a great scrub. If you want to splurge, try Origins’ Salt Scrub ($30.00 for 21.2 ounces). The combination of sea salt and olive oil exfoliates and moisturizes all at once.
Now you’re thinking, I HAVE OLIVE OIL! I HAVE KOSHER SALT! CAN’T I JUST MAKE A SCRUB? Sure! Why not? I like Jeana’s sugar scrub, because all the ingredients are available at the grocery:
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons baby oil
3 tablespoons aloe vera gel
1 teaspoon vanilla
Go here for a brown sugar variation, and also for proportions to make a larger batch. And remember: DO NOT EAT. That’s what bon bons are for.
Pamper your hands. I like Vaseline’s Deep Moisture Creamy Petroleum Jelly (about $3.00 at your local drugstore). I slather this on before I do the dishes, and then slip on a pair of rubber gloves. The heat from the water helps the lotion sink in. Also, once you’re up to your elbows in a sink full of dishes, no one can pester you to do anything else. Some nights, I PRETEND I’m doing dishes, just so I can stand with my hands in the sink. It’s like a little spa right in my kitchen! Seriously.
Treat your toes. Soak your feet for about ten minutes in warm (not hot) water. Scrape off the winter blahs with a foot rasp (that cheese grater-type thing) or a pumice stone. I have an all-in-one nail brush/rasp/pumice stone tool that I got at the dollar store (thank you Mir!) and I love it; I use the boys’ baby soap to scrub my toes, because it’s less drying, and then I scrape away at the really dry parts.
But you probably didn’t want to know that.
After the soaking and scraping, slather your feet in Vaseline or Bag Balm, wrap in plastic bags and throw on some socks. Leave the bags on for ten minutes or as long as you can stand it. I’ll warn you now, the Bag Balm stinks, but it will do wonders for really dry, cracked feet.
If you want to pedicure after all that (why not? treat yourself!) wipe your nails clean with alcohol or polish remover first.
Get a buddy. A Body Buddy, that is! The Body Buddy is specially designed to let you apply lotion to hard-to-reach places, like that ONE spot in the middle of your back that gets really dry and itchy about this time every year. Made of a specially-formulated magical material that will NOT absorb your lotion, the Body Buddy is machine-washable. And unlike your husband, it won’t complain when you ask it to put just a little more lotion right there.
Finally, have a toddy. I’ve been drinking a lot of Tazo Calm lately (a lovely camomile blend), but I’m also partial to the Republic of Tea’s cardamon cinnamon tea. And sometimes a nice cup of Hershey’s cocoa hits the spot, especially with a shot of Starbucks creme liqueur. Whatever you chose, put your feet up and enjoy five minutes of peace and quiet.