One minute, your skin’s parched by the heating, the next it’s shiny from that rich cream. Achieving the right balance can feel impossible, but the latest moisturizing innovations combine clever hydration with lightweight formulas to give you perfect winter skin.

We all know the effect winter has on skin; the colder weather coupled with dry air from central heating has the annoying ability to deplete our body of its natural moisture. The result? Skin that feels dry, flaky and uncomfortable. And though common sense says that, just as we envelop ourselves in the heaviest duvet we can find when the mercury drops, we should grab the richest cream on the shelves, it turns out that slathering on the thickest moisturizer we can find isn’t always the answer.

Though thick, intense lotions and butters can provide instant comfort, they can also lead to oiliness hence the new crop of far less rich but just as effective winter creams. ‘The latest super hydrating moisturisers are superior because they’re more akin to serums albeit in a jar offering a similar lightweight structure but with intense moisturisation,’ says Dr Tom Mammone, Clinique’s executive director of skin physiology and pharmacology. ‘It means they can work with any skin type because they won’t aggravate oily skin and they’re moisturizing enough for dry skin.’ Think of them as the equivalent of wrapping your skin in light cashmere layers rather than smothering it in a heavy, chunky knit.

If you’re not quite convinced that a lighter-textured moisturizer can really be that effective on your parched winter skin, it’s worth looking at what’s actually going into these new creams. ‘It’s about the ingredients as well as the texture of a product that makes it moisturizing,’ reveals beauty specialist and skincare expert Sarah Chapman. ‘While something that’s heavier and thicker can feel like it’s doing more (and in severe cases of dry skin, it does provide immediate relief), the latest lighter-weight serums and creams are a lot more easily absorbed into the skin because they have a lower molecular structure, meaning they can pack in more hydrating ingredients,’ she explains.

It’s also worth remembering that, because your facial skin has more oil glands than the skin on your body, it doesn’t need the same sort of products, meaning oil deprived areas like your arms and legs require a richer textured product to combat it. Great news if you feel that, when it comes to winter, your only option is to trade in your dry complexion for a more moisturized and therefore spottier/shinier one.

So, ingredients-wise, what should we be searching for? The latest products go far and beyond bog-standard moisturisers, using new and high-tech hydrating techniques and delivering a double dose (or even more) of humectants (the things that pull water from the atmosphere into your skin) such as hyaluronic acid and Pentavitin, to glycerine, which is particularly soothing for really dry skin. Essentially, they act as ‘moisture magnets’, locking water into skin cells to instantly plump your complexion and draw moisture in and, most importantly, retain it.

‘I recommend looking for skin-barrier strengthening and repairing ingredients that reduce any water loss and help give your skin a healthy balance,’ adds Tom. ‘Look out for olive squalane, sodium hyaluronate, glycerine and aloe leaf juice.’

What’s more, these new products aren’t just hydrating but boosted by anti-aging ingredients, skin soothers and ingredients that offer instant fixes. How clever is that?

H20 Oasis 24 Hydrating Booster, $37.5, use for dry skin

H20 Oasis 24 Hydrating Booster

This oil-free, water-based serum instantly moisturises with a blend of marine botanicals, antioxidants and plant extracts and because it’s olive-free, it feels fresh and lightweight on your skin.

Hydraluron Moisture Booster, $37.5, use for very dry skin

Hydraluron Moisture Booster

This light serum contains the purest form of hyaluronic acid with the bonus of holding up to 1,00 times its weight in water. Skin genuinely feels smoother and softer after just one application.

Nuxe Sérum Crème Fraiche de Beauté, $39, use for all skin types

Nuxe Sérum Crème Fraiche de Beauté

This ultra-concentrated serum contains natural-origin hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and almond and white flower extracts to soothe. And it claims to keep skin soft for 24 hours.

Originals Make a Difference Plus + Rejuvenating Moisturiser, $49.5, use for dry skin

Originals Make a Difference Plus + Rejuvenating Moisturiser

Originals Make a Difference Plus + Rejuvenating Moisturiser

Combining a cocktail of powerful plant actives known for their moisturizing qualities (and a handful of gorgeous smelling essential oils) this is a must-have for parched complexions.

Elemental Herbology Moisture Replenish Cell Plumping Facial Moisturiser SPF8, $63, use for very dry skin

Elemental Herbology Moisture Replenish Cell Plumping Facial Moisturiser SPF8

Need your moisture fix to last? This omega-rich cream contains Aquarich, a 24-hour moisturizing complex that keeps your skin hydrated all day.

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