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F is for Freeze-Face: Protect Your Cheeks From the Sting of Winter's Bitchslap

Hey, Frosty-Face! If you're an active outdoorsy type in the winter, here's how to save and protect your poor windburned -- or winterburned -- skin.
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michael-kors_FallWinter 2012

Oh, right. Some people do outdoorsy stuff in the winter, like ski, and snowboard, and run. #crazies. I forgot, until a couple of people (hi Jen and Keeley!) within days of each other asked what to use on their poor winter-burned cheeks.

wind shields  Vaseline sometimes comes up as a suggested protective shield against bitter winter winds, and it is -- if you're planning merely to stand in the cold. Petrolatum is amaaazing for its ability to sit on the surface of the skin to seal moisture in. But it's not good at letting moisture out, so when the skin needs to sweat, straight-up Vaseline is not the solution. Instead you want a balm-like texture that lets skin breathe.

Try Burt's Bees Multipurpose Ointment ($13.29, or Live Clean Baby Non-Petroleum Jelly ($7.49, Their thick balm consistency forms a protective barrier between cheeks and icy wind, but they're made from natural waxes, butters and essential oils that the skin's surface can slowly absorb and use to retain moisture. Other excellent options include Josie Maran Argan Balm ($50, with super-conditioning Argan oil; Rodial Glam Balm Multi ($49,, which combines hyaluronic acid with shea butter and soothing calendula; and Weleda Cold Cream ($16.99,, a rich blend of sweet-almond oil, peanut oil and beeswax.

extreme climate control  Seriously sporty types -- think extreme and high-endurance conditions -- are fans of Kiehl's Cross-Terrain UV Face Protector SPF 50 ($32,, a high-spf wax-textured balm that melts into skin. Ingredients include olive-plant derived squalane and synthetic beeswax. Also on the winter-extremist radar is formulated-in-Sweden Dermatone SPF 23 Face Protector ($5,, which protects with some petrolatum, yes, as well as carnauba wax, lanolin, tea tree oil, and vitamins A and E.

stick balm  Beautygeek Liza will be surprised to see that I'm recommending a wax-based lip balm for something (we're in a balm fight that I think is more about terminology than texture -- that's for another post). But stick balms have their uses -- that kind of consistency is ideal as a durable winter-weather barrier for cheeks. Consonant Body Organic Lip Conditioner ($12, is a good one to test drive, or how about your favourite Burt's Bees basic balm? Dermalogica used to have a protective face balm called Climate Control -- it's been discontinued. But lo, the same formula comes in the pocket-friendly Dermalogica Climate Control Lip Treatment version ($10, for retailers).

anti-redness booster  Good skincare is essential to keep skin's natural moisture reserves at optimal levels, especially this time of year -- skin that is already in tip-top shape holds up better in harsh cold weather. Liza and I met recently with Darphin's Canadian director of education Laetitia Lebassee, who has incredible skin (must do moisture mask then take buddy photo when she's next in town so you can see); I had to know what she uses. For skin that stays flushed after physical exertion, she swears by Darphin Intral Redness Relief Serum ($114, Worn alone (in more temperate weather) or layered under moisturizer before exercising, it helps to reduce that post-workout redness.

Are you nutty dedicated enough to run outdoors in cold weather? Do you have a winter cheek-saver you swear by?