How to prevent city living from ruining your skin in the colder months with these FQ-approved products

11 April 2024
By Fashion Quarterly

City-proof your skin against pollution, sensitivity and other environmental ailments in the colder months to maintain a clear, radiant complexion all year round.

Mônot SS23. Image:

It’s no secret that cold weather can take a toll on our skin, but this is particularly true for those living in busy metropolitan areas where pollution is high. Here in Aotearoa, we’re regarded as having a very clean and green image, yet UV Rays, pollution and smoke pose an issue in all of our major cities — all of which can cause damage to the skin’s barrier. Below, we take you through the top products that you can shop to keep your skin in check over the coming months.

Protection and prevention

The best way to keep your skin looking and feeling its best is by avoiding oxidative stress and dehydration in the first place. Place a barrier between your skin and pollution with protectors that keep the hydration in and the grime and irritants out. A quality sunscreen should be your first port of call, followed by a hydrating tint or foundation with added SPF. And should you need a protective top up throughout the day, simply spritz your face with a little anti-pollution mist.

EnvIroshield Anti-pollution and Infrared Defence Spritz 50ml, $119
Clinique Superdefense City Block SPF 30 Daily Energy + Face Protector, $59
Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi™ Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops 30ml, $74
Murad City Skin Broad Spectrum SPF 50 50ml, $119


After exposing your skin to pollution and the elements, cleansing morning and night is key. A number of nasty impurities can build up on your skin barrier throughout the day when you live in the city, so you’ll want to reach for a deep cleanser that helps detox and remove grime that’s sitting on the surface of your skin and within your pores. Given the winter weather, you should also ensure that you opt for a gentle, non-stripping formula that targets pollution, dirt, and make-up, whilst retaining hydration.

Emma Lewisham Illuminating Oil Cleanser 115ml, $79
Clinique All About Clean 2-in-1 Cleansing + Exfoliating Jelly Anti-Pollution 150ml, $72
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective™ Brightening & Exfoliating Daily Cleanser 150ml, $66
Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser 150ml, $68


There’s a long list of pollutants that can cause harm to our skin barrier, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, irritants and harsh elements slip through and impair our skin’s barrier. From UV radiation, heavy metals, chemicals formed by oil, gas, and blue light exposure from electronic devices, the fine particles in pollution can lead to oxidative stress, causing unwanted effects like fine lines and wrinkles, irritation and clogged pores. These are only further exacerbated by the cooler temperatures in winter, which can cause the skin to become dry and red. Repair and restore your barrier with antioxidant rich serums and night time treatments that work to reverse the damage while you are sleeping.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye mask, $140
Dermalogica Biolumin-C serum 30ml, $192
Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-ageing Intensive Repair Daily Serum, $203
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Omega Rich Cloud Cream, $103

Words: Amberley Colby.

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means that Fashion Quarterly may earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. This is at no extra cost to you and helps fund future editorial content. 


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