Winter is the time when our skin needs extra attention to keep it in the best possible condition. Kathleen Hou in her article How to Streamline Your Winter Beauty Routine has few great points.
I agree that drinking more water, remembering moisturizing your neck (not just face), washing your hair less frequently, having good basic skin products ((cleanser, exfoliator, shampoo/conditioner, sunscreen, moisturizer) and being consistent with your routine is very important at any time of the year. However, if you have never used Retin A, I would not recommend starting it in the winter when your face is already dry and possibly peeling.
Also, I would add these 3 simple winter beauty essential to her list:
1. Spray Rose Water on to your face often. Your skin is especially thirsty in the dry winter air and moisturizing it twice a day may not be enough. That is where Rose Water comes in. My favorite one can be found at Earth Fare and comes in a small spraying bottle. You can use it multiple times a day over your makeup to keep your skin extra hydrated.
2. Cacao Oil or Cocoa Butter. There is no better moisturizer than cacao oil. It helps to seal all the moisture into the skin. Cacao oil is considered a vegetable fat that is pressed out of cacao beans. It should not be confused with coconut oil. Cacao oil or butter is solid at the room temperature and you have to use a heated teaspoon before getting it out of the jar. You can pour hot water into the cup and let the teaspoon sit in it till it gets hot. Once teaspoon is hot shake off extra drops of water before dipping into the cacao butter. Let butter melt in the teaspoon and then apply a thin layer over the skin of your face.
3. Humidifier. Not only sleeping in the room with running humidifier will help your skin to feel and look better, it will also help to prevent nose bleeds and sore throat that often goes together with the dry air. There are a variety of humidifier out there but my favorite can also be found at the Earth Fare and can double up as a night lamp as well.
I hope you find these winter beauty essentials helpful.