Winter Skin Wellness Tips from Facialist Kristina Holey

Tips for keeping your skin healthy during the winter from facialist Kristina Holey. (Photo: Henry Leutwyler)

Sun Potion rice bran as an exfoliator, mineral-rich seaweed broth as a cleanser, raw honey from an upstate New York farm as a moisturizer — esthetician Kristina Holey’s inventive ingredient applications change with each season, but her glowing results do not. Her uniquely holistic approach to skincare, a blend of facial massage and custom-masks featuring food-grade botanicals, has earned her a loyal cult following on both coasts.  

Holey spent time in product development, worked under Parisian skincare legend Joelle Ciocco and is married to a chef, and all of these influences are reflected in her ethos. She just opened an eponymous skincare spa in the Bay area and hosts NYC pop ups that instantly sell out. Aside from the two hours of pampering you get with Holey, it’s her lifestyle and the product advice she doles out that keeps you coming back.  She regularly teams up with nutritionist Jennifer Hall Taylor of Buckwheat to Butter to provide clients with seasonal meal plans.  

“The key to having ideal skin is to view skincare as an extension of wellness,” says Holey. “By providing the necessary ingredients for our internal organs to function properly, making lifestyle choices which can decrease life’s many stressors, and utilizing nourishing products which respect our superficial ecosystem, we are then able to achieve our own, unique and optimal beauty.” We were lucky enough to have a session with Holey during her recent NYC visit and chatted about the products you’ll need for winter, the best two-ingredient face mask, and the perfect bone broth recipe to make use of those Thanksgiving leftovers.

Transition your routine

“I think it is important for people to move into winter by focusing more on nourishment rather than highly active ingredients,” says Holey. “People tend to exfoliate a lot after summer as their skin tends to thicken from all the sun exposure, but now you need to slow down, and create strong, balanced skin.” Holey says that the key for saving skin in the winter is to provide warmth and nourishment while decreasing stress to help counter what is going out outside of the body. “Allow it to slow down, conserve energy. Eat warm, whole, foods that are easy to digest, and get plenty of rest,” she advises.

Consider your immune system

“Your immune system is responsible for a lot of the unwanted symptoms I tend to see over winter such as increased redness or rosacea,” says Holey. She likes Marie Veronique Redness Relief ($80) for dealing with redness and calming the skin.

Incorporate oils

When it comes to oil, you want to apply them to the skin but also eat them says Holey — and don’t forget your moisturizer. “For dry skin I love Luzern Force de Vie ($145) and always a sunscreen during the winter,” says Holey, who prefers a physical sunblock to a chemical formula. “High levels of antioxidants and a good vitamin C serum are essential. I like Marie Veronique Serum Du Jour ($90). These protect the skin from UV and boost your repair functions.”

Make your own mask

“I always love a good goat’s milk yogurt mask — it’s great for light exfoliation and hydration as well as providing probiotics,” says Holey. She also recommends incorporating sea minerals, like spirulina or chlorella into your next mask. “Another wonderful ingredient is turmeric. Adding that to water for an easy mask or to yogurt is great at calming the skin and reducing inflammation.”

Add a bone broth

Bone broths are not only packed with nutritional benefits, but they can also benefit your skin. “Bone broths are energizing, satisfying and healing on so many levels. Since the whole animal is used in their preparation they provide high amounts of skin-plumping collagen and amino acid-rich gelatin,” says Holey. “The amino acids are identical to the proteins found in skin, hair, cartilage and joints.” Below, one of her recipes for the perfect winter bone broth.

Chicken (or Turkey) Bone Broth Recipe

  • One 3-4 pounds organic or free range chicken or turkey body, with some meat still on it
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ bunch cilantro or other favorite fresh herb (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Strain the solids from the broth and discard.

The longer you cook the broth, the more collagen you extract from the bones. You will likely find that once cooled and refrigerated, the broth congeals to a Jell-O like consistency, which is what you want. It will liquefy as soon as heated. You will also notice a hard layer of fat on the surface once cooled. You can remove this with a spoon before re-heating the broth. Drink this alone or use as a base for any other soup.

Kristina Holey and Buckwheat to Butter’s Winter Mealplan is available for purchase, contact kristina@kristinaholey.com for details.  

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