by Margret Avery

Let’s face it — of all the reasons to dislike like winter, what it does to your skin might be near the top of the list.

The combination of cold weather outdoors and dry, hot air indoors sends many older women heading to drugstore or cosmetic counters seeking something to calm and heal overstressed skin.

One of the most common problems I see this time of year is what appears to be dry skin on the surface and an uneven skin tone underneath, with side effects like itching or occasional breakouts.

To improve the skin’s tone and texture, I usually start by recommending a good toner, which helps to deep cleanse after removing makeup.

If you use soap, a toner removes the fatty deposits left behind, as well as impurities found in tap water (especially if you are traveling and using different water on your face). A toner also can hydrate the skin and assist in the penetration of treatments and moisturizers. You may find you only need to use a toner in the evening.

I like the clarifying and facial toners by Dr. Hauschka, a holistic skin care line based in Germany.

Clarins Toning Lotion with Camomile is another good one, as is PCA Skin Phaze 2 Smoothing Toner, which contains lactic acid. PCA Skin Phaze products can be found at and other online retailers.

More consumers today are seeking natural products that are simply prepared. One product that I happily recommend is organic Bulgarian Rose Water by Alteya, a company known for its rose oil.

You’re likely to love the rose water as much for the aroma as for the results. It is 100 percent pure and does not contain any preservatives or additives. Once you incorporate this rose water into your skin care regimen, you’ll be very pleased with the results of your other serums and creams.

A cream that’s drawing rave reviews is made by Omorovicza, a high-end line out of Budapest that is sold in the United States at Neiman Marcus. The company makes a Rejuvenating Night Cream that contains Hungarian healing water rich in minerals to strengthen the skin barrier.

Let’s not forget our bodies, too. There is a Florida-based company called Evan’s Garden that I recommend for its all-natural skincare line that works wonders.

Evan makes these delicious sea salt scrubs with scents of rosemary-lemon or lavender-rose. These are particularly good for anyone who is stressed — the aromatherapy alone leads to a moment of quick nirvana, and then you get on with your busy life.

When using a scrub, it’s always good to smooth your skin with either a body oil or cream afterwards. Allow yourself to revel in the secret of soft, well-kept skin that only a certain someone gets to touch.

A final recommendation: Try Darphin’s Aromatic Bath and Body Oil with essential oils of lemon and rosemary. It’s the perfect ending to a natural skincare regime.

Margret Avery is a New York-based makeup artist who works for fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Glamour, as well as for models, celebrities and designers. She has released a CD of her own music. Visit her at

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