As men it’s almost as if we wait for Mother Nature to prove she has a nice, long, blustery and cold winter in store for us each year. We’ll brave the 40 degrees and even the 30s in our hoodies if it means leaving the “winter box” in the basement for a few more weeks. And as always, I find myself in the second or third week of December complaining of dry skin, chapped lips and cold feet. Unless you work outside, chances are you’re only outside when you are scampering the length of a parking lot or dragging the garbage to the curb. But when cold sets in, winter is everywhere — whether it’s the dry air in your home or the wind that whips through your layers right when you open your door — so I thought I’d share with you my artillery for battling winter. Here’s my men’s winter survival guide:
Denim, Denim, Denim
While you’d be hard pressed to find anyone around here that wouldn’t call denim an “essential” for every season, winter is when the right pair of jeans will really shine. Do yourself a favor and pick up a black pair and a dark blue pair and thank me later. A nice, heavier fabric with just the right amount of stretch really is the perfect option for transitioning from inside to outdoors and back in a hurry.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but hear me out. This one is a lot like jeans for us guys. We’d like to think that any old pair of socks or jeans will work, but then you end up with a cheap pair of socks full of holes or a low-quality denim that wears out in a hurry or never fit well in the first place. I like to keep a few pairs of boot socks in my dresser that I wear exclusively through the winter. They’re made with Merino wool, so they can be worn over and over again, and the lighter weight hiking versions are perfect for wearing with winter shoes without being hot or too thick.
High Quality Lip Balm
This is step one. To put it simply, nobody should leave home without adequate lip balm. There really is nothing worse than feeling that chapped feeling halfway through the day only to realize you don’t have anything to help fight back. My personal favorite is Burt’s Bees, which can be found almost anywhere these days. I find that if you keep it on you early in the season, you’ll be much better prepared to endure those days when you accidentally leave it at home.
Face Wash + Moisturizer
This is one I end up wishing I had been more proactive about. It’s usually January or so before I succumb to perpetually dry skin, and by then it seems like every time I get out of the shower I am starting from square one. So this year I am going with a tag-team approach. I’ll be using Cetaphil and Kiehl’s Facial Fuel before things get out of hand. Cetaphil is the best, no-fuss way to wash your face without the harsh chemicals that will only further dry out your skin. Kiehl’s is great for SPF protection (REMINDER: the sun doesn’t go away when it’s cold), and I think it works great for your hands and those other trouble spots like your neck or shoulders.
Don’t be like me. We’ve all seen the commercials, and we’ve all told ourselves we’re so lucky we don’t have dandruff. There’s nothing more embarrassing than someone else giving you the old “shoulder swipe” halfway through your day. You’re eventually going to wear something dark (it is winter, after all), so you may as well be honest with yourself up front. If you have dandruff, AND A LOT OF US DO, then I suggest J.R. Ligget’s Shampoo. It’s mild, and it will help with both that dandruff problem that you “don’t” have, but it’ll also leave your hair moisturized and well equipped to survive the winter in style.
*Insider Tip: Avoid the urge to linger under a hot shower in the winter. Keep it brief and end by rinsing your hair with cool water. It’ll help preserve some of those natural oils your skin needs to stay healthy.
A lot of the things we dread most about enduring winter are made much more manageable with the right essentials and with a little bit of planning ahead. And while this list is worth its weight in gold for me and my winter routine, everybody is unique. What are some of your favorite tools and tricks you keep in your winter survival kit? Feel free to share in the comments below!