Winter Wellness

When the temperature drops, it’s a good idea to bring out the big guns when it comes to staying well.

Winter is as harsh as summer on the skin, but in a very different way. The cooler temperatures and lack of humidity mean drier skin, and it’s a good idea to change-up your skincare accordingly. I love adding more oils into my regime. Sans (ceuticals) Activator 7 Body Oil has long been a favourite of mine.

A beautiful formulation that hydrates and heals, it helps keep dryness at bay as well as leaving not a trace of grease or residue on the skin post-shower. Local facialist Caroline Hunt’s Hunt Skincare The Daily Face Oil is my current go-to for a day and night oil, and is a beautifully light yet nourishing formula that absorbs like a dream.

The term ‘clean beauty’ has been bandied about a lot lately, but it’s a step in the right direction if you’re looking to be kinder on yourself and the planet. The Clean Beauty Collective webstore ( offers a range of amazing brands from around the world that meet the strictest ‘clean’ criteria. One of its top sellers is the Everything Serum from the brand non gender specific. A silky smooth formula that absorbs instantly, it brightens, reduces pore size and firms using a blend of over 17 vegan and cruelty-free ingredients.

Makeup artist Emma Peters is the founder of the locally created Aleph Beauty brand, and has great tips when it comes to taking your beauty in a cleaner direction. One of her must dos for winter is exfoliation, “which will stop any dry skin from sitting on the surface of your skin and causing your makeup to grab.” She also says to stay hydrated, and “choosing a nourishing moisturiser or serum designed to hydrate and prevent moisture loss will go a long way to keeping a glow to the skin.” Her Aleph Concealer/Foundation is my daily go to at the moment, for a number of reasons.

Protecting and nourishing, it contains ingredients to help cellular metabolism while protecting from environmental stressors and increasing firmness, elasticity and hydration. It cares for your skin and looks and feels natural and glowy. Aleph’s Crush Cheek/Lip Tint is also a great option for this time of year, “as berry shades look so fantastic in winter,” says Emma. Lastly, her Radiance pots in Sun and Moon are great alone or mixed with the concealer/foundation. “Sun acts as a little bit of sunshine in your hand bag,” says Emma, “and can be easily mixed with the concealer/foundation to give your skin a summer glow, or used on eyelids, cheeks and lips.”

When it comes to lipstick – a winter essential – organic makeup brand RMS Beauty is my top pick. Known best for its little pots of foundation, cheek and lip colour, it took a big step by launching traditional lipsticks a couple of years ago. Called the Wild With Desire collection and available at Mecca Cosmetica, it features impeccably clean formulas, moisturising castor oil and rich pigments. All shades in the collection are full-coverage, and the finish is an impressively long-lasting, satin matte.

Winter is a time for slowing down but keeping active, and that is where a great alternative to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) comes in. Called LIIS – slow-intensity, steady-state cardio – it allows you to burn calories and get cardiovascular benefits but without the physical strain of high-impact workouts, and is associated with the likes of walking, yoga and Pilates. Because LIIS workouts are gentler, it’s easier to remember to workout regularly, and you can do LIIS on consecutive days without the risk of injury. In an age when many people sit for the majority of their working hours, it’s an ideal way to get moving.

Yogi Nikki Ralston from Brown Street’s Urban Ashram studio says that keeping regular movement in your day throughout winter is crucial for overall wellness, firstly because movement is the only way to keep your lymphatic system doing the work it should.

“Keeping moving will change your experience of winter for sure,” she says, “and not just because moving keeps you warm! Our lymphatic system is the way that things move around our body and it helps us stay well, so stimulating it is essential to keeping healthy.”

She changes her classes seasonally, with a slightly slower start and then an ever-changing pace to keep clients feeling invigorated. “Inversions are also important in winter,” she explains, “and that doesn’t mean you have to suddenly start doing handstands. Downward Dog will take your head below your heart, making your cardiovascular system and diaphragm work a little extra and keeping your system moving as it should. The only time to avoid inversions is when you’re suffering from any kind of congestion, although still move... if your teacher knows what they are doing they can adapt poses to work for you.”

Kate Benefield is the founder of Kcore Pilates in Freemans Bay, where they offer results-based workouts in 45 minutes that seriously make a difference. “We like to think of Kcore’s style of reformer Pilates as ‘pre-habilitation’,” she says. “They focus on both large and stabilising muscles so our clients are less likely to suffer injuries.” Their key point of difference is that they offer dynamic reformer Pilates ,“which means a high-intensity fun workout rather than a rehab-based class. One thing we hear often from new clients is that they are surprised how hard it is! They walk out feeling energised with an all over body ‘burn’.”

Chef and yogi Angus McLean is the founder of Barefoot Retreats, and was responsible for the delicious menu at The Butcher’s Son. He knows his way around a meal that tastes amazing and delivers on the wellness front and stresses, “as winter creeps up on us, it’s important to eat healthily to fight off ills and chills. I start to crave porridge topped with stewed fruits and nuts on chilly mornings, and soups crammed with veggies, spices and garlic at night.” The slow cooker also comes out “and I go hard on bone broths. They boost immunity, soothe colds, fight inflammation and heal our guts – good stuff!”

Angus adds that if he succumbs to a cold or sore throat “I go straight for my full-on germ basher tea! I boil up loads of chopped ginger, fresh turmeric, kawa kawa leaves, fresh rosemary, cayenne pepper, black pepper, lemon juice and a spoon of honey and keep drinking it all day. Works every time!” (HELENE RAVLICH)