Is it necessary to use a different skin-care routine in summer and winter? Cosmetic salespeople advise this but do they just want to make extra commissions by selling more products?

I feel that it is necessary to change products and skin-care routine with seasonal changes. The body and the skin do adjust to changes in weather, heat, levels of humidity, air conditioning, sun exposure, activity level, eating and drinking habits (water, tea, coffee, juices or liquor) etc. so we must adjust our cleansers, toners, moisturizers, strengthening or firming creams and masks to suit. In the winter, the skin is usually much thinner and it needs more help in the area of protection and retaining moisture balance. It is usually more dehydrated, has a slower circulation and temperature fluctuations are more severe. In the summer, skin is thicker, usually oilier, perspires more and we probably bathe more often. Therefore, in the summer we need a lighter moisturizer, perhaps a stronger cleanser or toner, more sun protection, less foundation and a softer shade of lipstick. In winter, we need much more moisture or water retaining substances. Cosmetic salespeope give you guidelines and suggestions which you can consider and then make your decision as to what will suit you and your lifestyle.

There are so many shampoos on the market that I find it hard to choose the right one. Hairdressers also have many types of products available, and they are not too keen on the grocery or drug-store brands.

Select your shampoo according to the condition of your hair. If you are not sure what the condition is, ask your hairdresser. Read the label carefully and also any accompanying literature as further guidelines may be given.

Your hair is probably oily if it needs washing daily. Dry hair could be left up to four days before it gets a greasy sheen. Normal hair would be fine if left a couple of days. However, hair is not considered normal if it has been tinted, highlighted or streaked, hennaed, exposed repeatedly to chlorinated water, permed, sunbleached, damaged by improper care (eg. over-use of hot hair dryers or curling irons). In most of these cases, a good conditioner, protein or other specialized shampoo would have to be used. There will probably be some trial and error in choosing products until you find the right one.

To make the most of your shampoo, follow these guidlines: Wet the hair thoroughly with lukewarm water, after you have brushed it to remove most of the surface dust, dirt and tangles.

Apply a small amount of the shampoo in your palm. Do not apply it directly to the scalp. Applying it to the crown area causes a buildup of shampoo which, in most cases, is in concentrated form. Rubbing it on your palm first allows you to spread it more evenly over the entire scalp.

Massage the scalp thoroughly using the pads of the fingers, not your fingernails.

Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Repeat the last three steps.

Squeeze out any excess water and apply rinse or conditioner, if needed, to the ends of your hair following the manufacturer’s instructions.

With permed hair, wet and rinse the hair with your head bent forward, as the pressure of the shower spray directly on the top of the head can weaken the hair and straighten it, shortening the life-span of the perm.