If you are not Nigerian you may be wondering what the heck is harmattan? well, it’s the West African version of winter. However, instead of snow, you get dryness and dust thanks to the wind blowing in from the Sahara desert.

Unlike most people, I love the weather because it is a relief from the unrelenting heat and humidity. But in addition to the coolness, the harmattan weather brings with it dust and dryness which can be detrimental to your skin. So let’s go through some tips to make sure your skin is harmattan proof.

No hot water baths!

I know what an abomination! I know it is cold but stay with me here. Bathing with hot water strips your skin of its natural oils. This makes it extra dry and is exactly what we are trying to avoid. So your best bet is to bath with lukewarm or tepid water so your skin does not dry out. It also helps to reduce the length time you spend in your baths or showers. For the exact same reason, longer showers mean drier skin.


This is not important for just your face, it is also important for your body as well. Harmattan is the best time to bring out your heavy lotions or creams because your skin needs the extra moisture. The harmattan wind and dry season mean the air is extremely dry and it will suck out any moisture you have on your skin.

Apart from using a moisturizer a tip to manage this is to make you do not completely dry off after your shower or bath. Leave your skin damp and apply a lotion or cream first then seal with body oil.  I know it seems excessive but when you are walking at 2 pm without the embarrassment of ashy skin you will thank me. Some products you can use to moisturize your skin are

Hyaluronic acid is not your friend

Although it seems counter-intuitive, this is not the time to include hyaluronic acid into your routine. Hyaluronic acid should not be used in a dry climate because it draws moisture from the air into the skin. In the dry season, there is no moisture in the air so it draws moisture from your skin causing even more dryness. So leave your hyaluronic acid for the rainy season when it can actually keep your skin moist.

Double cleanse –always

From the picture above you can see that the change in season comes with a heap of dust. So even if you don’t wear makeup this is not the time to use makeup wipes or do a cursory cleanse. You need to cleanse your skin properly the best way is to double cleanse. That way you will get every spec of dust and dirt off your skin you can read about how to do it here.

Skip the matte makeup

Even if your skin is oily , the dry season is not the best time to use matte make up products. So go light on the mattes and use a hydrating foundation instead. However, if feel you have to use a matte foundation make sure you moisturize properly beforehand and use a hydrating finishing spray. This also includes your lips , skip the matte lip products entirely and go with lip-glosses or sheer balms. They provide hydration for your lips and can be re-applied over the course of the day.

Don’t forget your hands

Your hands will take a beating on a daily basis because they are washed frequently and exposed to the elements. In the dry season, this is much worse so make sure you have an emollient hand cream available at all time and use it frequently.

What are your tips for keeping your skin moist during the harmattan? Let me know in the comments. Join my mailing list and share if this was helpful.

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