It’s dead centre of Winter. In Canada. Feeling like a whopping -4o° C on some days (Motherland is that you?).
This weather is definitely the main cause for my misery, constant fatigue, and hibernation. No doubt. The one thing that it doesn’t have a drastic effect on is my skin.
Over the years, the skincare-obsessed me, has tried many products and tricks to alleviate my dry, weather-dependant skin. Some worked. Lots didn’t. But I’ve finally perfected my winter skincare routine, leaving me with plump, hydrated, and healthy skin all year round.
Grab a green tea, put on that hydrating sheet mask, and enjoy reading about my winter skincare secrets.
Pre-cleanser/Makeup Remover (PM): Precleanse Balm by Dermalogica
In the winter, specifically, balm-to-oil and oil formulas are the real winner. The Precleanse Balm‘s focus is on breaking down makeup, outside dirt, excess oils, and product buildup. It’s water-activated formula achieves that without pulling or stripping the skin, while adding a self-administered face massage and eliminating any cotton pads or wasteful wipes. Rubbing a large pea-sized amount between your fingers is enough for the whole face, prepping it for the rest of the skincare routine.
The brand itself takes pride in omitting unnecessary ingredients, such as fragrance and S.D. alcohol, that can collectively contribute to drying out the skin, regardless of seasonal changes. Aka winning on all fronts.
Cleanser (AM & PM): Special Cleansing Gel by Dermalogica
Staying away from soap-y cleansers is a no-brainer, especially during the dry winter. If you are anything like me, you still yearn for that foam-y lather to mentally convince you that your face is as clean as it feels.
How does a soap-free foam cleanser, that knows the difference between impurities and natural oils, sound? Great? Then, I urge you to try my favourite cleanser, the Special Cleansing Gel. A pea-sized amount, with lavender and balm mint (the anti-everything-terrible ingredient) extracts, is enough to clean and maintain regular moisture levels. Just promise to use warm, never hot, water during this step in your winter skincare routine.
Lastly, the only possible side-effect is better sleep knowing that it is made without any mineral oils, unnecessary alcohols, parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. These terms alone sound irritating, imagine the effects on your skin.
Toner (AM & PM): Multi-Active Toner by Dermalogica
Something about a spray-on toner that doesn’t even know what a cotton pad is for, is largely satisfying. No rubbing, no waste, and no extra time spent.
That’s one of the main reasons why I prefer the Multi-Active Toner as part of my winter skincare routine. Rich with soothing extracts (e.g. Aloe, cucumber) and humectants (e.g. Butylene Glycol), it preps the skin for moisture absorption. Since, those two words are a hot commodity this, and any, winter, I will take all that I can get.
3-5 spritz is enough to refresh, hydrate, and maximize the absorption of your serums and moisturizers.
In the A.M., I reach for the C-Firma Day Serum, packed with 15% Vitamin C, antioxidants, Vitamin E, fruit enzymes, and other essential nutrients. “Sexy” skincare terms aside, I appreciate this serum for its brightening, firming, and plumping effects, especially during the dull winter months. This is one of those products that, should you decide that you are too good for it and stop using it, you’ll quickly by put into your place. As part of your daily skincare routine, a single pump is more than enough for face and neck.
Skipping to P.M., I tend to rely on the Skin Hydrating Booster to do all of the hydrating while I sleep. Leave it to Panthenol to penetrate the skin, Hyaluronic Acid and Algae Extract to hydrate, and Glycolipids to maintain the skin’s barrier. Skin: 1, Winter: 0.
With the number of times I forget to drink water or replace it with Old Fashioned’s and lattes, I have become the cause of my own dehydration lines. Go figure. Thankfully, this booster helps to minimize them overnight, as well as soften the application of thicker and richer night creams. 3-4 drops is all you need.
Moisturizers: Skin Smoothing Cream & Super Rich Repair by Dermalogica
In the mornings, especially after a Vitamin C serum, I rely on a moisturizer that is hydrating, light-weight, AND is makeup-friendly. The Skin Smoothing Cream works that magic for me.
Just like any Dermalogica product, it is packed with vitamins, acids, antioxidants, and fruit extracts. What that means is that it takes continuous hydration, moisture-retention, and environmental-stress protection, very seriously. Doesn’t hurt that my face and neck drink that stuff right up.
At the end of the day, after gravity and environment have done their dirty work, my skin requires a heavier-weight cream. For that, I turn to Dermalogica’s Super Rich Repair, as part of their Age Smart line.
On the surface, any tightness or dryness is instantaneously relieved and the skin is plumped. On the molecular level, peptides are stimulating collagen, Oatmeal and Shea Butter are replenishing the natural moisture barrier, and Allantoin is smoothing the skin. Aka make this rich cream a part of your winter skincare routine, like yesterday.
Eye Cream: Extra Eye Repair by Bobbi Brown
This Bobbi Brown eye cream is a life-saver when it comes to our cold, dry Canadian winters. It is very rich in texture, absorbs well and with ease, has great staying power, and provides long-lasting hydration. Ingredients such as Caffeine, Green Tea Leaf extract, and Shea Butter add to the de-puffing and glow-up of the eye area.
Don’t forget to lightly tap the cream on and use any excess product on the skin above the upper lip, it’s just as sensitive!
Lip Cream: Whatever Is On Hand (by Arina)
I have never been very particular about any specific lip moisturizer, balm, cream, etc. The only thing I can stand behind is that your lips deserve to be hydrated, at all times, winter or not. These days, my work apron carries a Beeswax Lip Balm, car’s cup holder: a Mint Balm Dotcom, purse: an Agave Lip Mask, and bathroom: a tub of Petroleum Jelly. Needless to say, I can never be stranded with chapped lips.
- Exfoliant: If you are going to do only one thing different in your winter skincare routine, make it exfoliation. You can’t lather on the skincare goods if your skin is dirty, flaky, clogged, etc. Simply illogical. My go-to is a Multivitamin Thermafoliant by Dermalogica. While packed with a long list of vitamins, it provides a physical AND chemical (slightly heated, too) exfoliation. Use once a week and put babies’ bums to shame.
- Masks: Yes this winter skincare routine is solid, but life throws some serious sh*t at you. Think wild drunken weddings, stress, periods, you name it. I suggest you reach for some super hydrating masks for that extra oomph. Some of my favourites to this day are listed here, while new additions include the Jet Lag Mask by Summer Fridays and Skin Hydrating Masque by Dermalogica.
- Facials: In need of a mid-winter skincare restart or recharge? Invest in a facial. While seasonal facials (aka 4/year) are recommended, let’s not go and throw money around as if you’ve got a sugar daddy. Stick to 1 or 2 for the purpose of maintenance. I tend to go for the hydrating ones, focused on extraction, exfoliation, and deep hydration. If you are curious, click here for a list of 8 reasons why you need to see a skin therapist, as well as my go-to Toronto spa!
- The Basics: Drink water like you will never have access to it again. Sleep longer any chance you get. Humidify your air bubble. De-stress your life to the best of your abilities. Stop touching your gorgeous face with your flu-infested hands. Take off makeup every single night. Wear sunscreen when not hibernating.
And that just about covers my obsession with skincare. What, you expected a shorter list? Never on this blog.
Changes to your winter skincare routine should not be dramatic or expensive, but a few changes, nonetheless, are required. I genuinely hope that I have shared some useful skincare tips, effective products, and a regimen that can be beneficial to dry skin.
Would love to know your thoughts!
Cheers to hydrated and comfortable skin this ugly winter,