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Winters in Canada can be pretty harsh. Like, -35 degrees Celsius harsh. Imagine that temperature with a gusty wind. *teethchatter* More often than not, I’d rather be curled up with a great book, warm and cozy socks, and a cup of mint tea than be out in that blustery frigid mess. But alas, one does have to go outside on occasion. You know, socializing, work, and grocery shopping. With all this chilliness comes super dry air which leaves my hair dry and frizzy and my skin super dry. I cannot stand it when my skin is dry – especially my lips and hands. I’m talking the type of dryness and dehydration that makes your lips crack and bleed and well, your skin crack too. It’s not fun.
Now that I’m 41, my skin can be a bit like a frustrated, hormonal teenager. Even in the dead of winter and all the dryness, I can get oily in my T zone. So, it’s a delicate balancing act of eating clean, hydrating properly and getting the right mix of hydration through my skincare routine.
There’s not too much that I change in the winter. I simply focus on adding deep hydration oils or serums and a spray for when I’m on the go. Everything else more or less remains the same. Although, I do have an odd penchant for trying new products, I’m always tweaking and seeing what works. It also depends on my budget. I’ve also been leaning more towards natural green beauty products. You know, the whole no parabens, sulfates, synthetic colors etc., type a deal.
They do bring results! You don’t have to go the chemical route for everything.
So, let’s give you the lowdown on my winter skincare routine. Ready?
Ren Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk. $35 CDN.
This cleanser is super gentle on my tired, sensitive, and dry skin. As I age, I’ve noticed that my skin has become more sensitive to cleansers and I’ve developed a bit of redness. This product line was recommended by a beauty expert friend and it doesn’t disappoint. It cleanses, is not greasy and leaves my skin feeling fresh.
I simply splash some warm water on my face, rub one small pump of cleanser between my hands, massage on my face, and rinse off. Easy peasy.
2. Moisturize + hydrate
Can I say ahhhhmazing?! I recently switched from Caudalie to this skin cream and it doesn’t disappoint. I was looking for something a bit more budget-friendly, and at $75 CDN, this product does its job and is made with responsibly sourced natural ingredients. It hydrates well, doesn’t leave my skin greasy or oily by midday, and doesn’t smell awful like some natural products can.
Trust me, I’m with you, I can’t stand products with really strong gross smells. I can stand some stronger floral/herbal smells but not that fake loaded with fragrance smell.
What’s nice about this cream is it can be mixed with the D.E. B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel and the D.E. Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil.
In fact, I was able to purchase this as a box set with all the products combined. I love buying value sets as a lower cost alternative to trying out new products.
Eyes: Tata Harper Restorative Eye Cream Age-Defying Eye Treatment. $126 CDN.
This is a relatively new find for me, although I did try a sample of it a few months back and loved the amount of hydration it provided. In the few weeks I’ve been using it, my eye area is more hydrated, fine lines are improving, and my eye area stays hydrated most of the day. The previous Caudalie product I was using would often leave my eyes dry part way through the day and would also create this piling effect – the product would roll up in little balls on my skin, kind of like a sweater that gets pills of fabric. Very strange.
At $126 CDN, it’s only slightly cheaper than Caudalie but I love that its natural and I’ve had great success with the other Tata Harper products I’ve tried. Essentially, my skin loves Tata Harper.
Both of these are designed for increased or intensive hydration. Hence why I’m using them during the dry winter months. I’m not too sure if I’ll use them during the summer months but I’m always up for an experiment!
Currently, I’m blending both of these with the D.E. Whipped Cream and rubbing them together in my hand, then massaging onto my face and neck. It’s been working wonderfully! My skin feels so soft and smooth and feels great. The combination of all three products leaves my skin feeling balanced with just the right amount of hydration. And a huge plus – I don’t get any oily areas and no breakouts or sensitivities from any of the D.E. products. Yay!
Both the gel and oil are essentially odorless which is a huge plus in my books.
Body: Kirkland Signature Body Lotion $9.99 CDN and/or Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizing lotion $8.99 CDN.
When it comes to body lotion, I’m not super fussy. My only musts are no parabens, non-greasy, and preferably fragrance-free.
It boggles my mind but at $9.99 for two 650mL bottles, the Kirkland lotion works amazing. It also has Squalane in it, which is a natural skin booster. It is a natural component of human skin sebum (oil). It is a wonderfully moisturizing ingredient as well as being a source of replenishing fatty acids and antioxidants.
Budget tip: Add some organic Jojoba oil to extra dry areas. I love the Now Solutions Organic Jojoba Oil and massage it onto my shoulders, around my collarbone, and on my knees. Basically, I put it anywhere I’m seeing sun damage, extra dryness or wrinkles/stretch marks from aging. So far, it’s been working well. Because as we all know, dryness + wrinkles = more wrinkles. And we don’t want that!
I recently received a sample of the Fresh product and I love it! It’s a little minty and leaves my lips feeling hydrated and amazing. Whenever Sephora gets more stock, I’m looking forward to ordering it and trying it for longer than two weeks.
My usual go-to for lips is the Clarins Instant Light Lip Oil in Honey. It is so luxurious and hydrating. It’s also high shine too if you’re looking for some extra oomph. One negative is that it is a little sticky and if its windy, my hair gets all stuck in my lips. A plus to cancel the negative? It’s pure plant-based. Yay!
3. Exfoliate once a week
I rotate through several different products depending on what my skin’s been up to over the course of a week. Er, or should I say what foods I’ve decided to consume?
Depending on how much exfoliating love my skin needs, I’ll decide between either of these routines.
I use this routine for when my skin is super, super dry or needs a good exfoliation. This was part of my skin care routine when I was earning a lot more money and could afford La Mer. These are two products however that I don’t think I can give up. Why? Results are why. They work. Usually, the intensive mask is enough hydration, but on occasion, I’ll add some of the La Mer soft cream that I have left. I’ve been hoarding and making the last of my La Mer stretch.
I don’t do this routine as much during the summer as the intensive mask leaves my skin feeling greasy. You know, summer equals T zone oil factory.
I use this when I notice more pimples, lumps, and bumps than usual or if my skin is strangely producing more oil than normal. 40-something hormones anyone? I’ll also use it if I want some aromatherapy as it reminds me of honey, eucalyptus, and grapefruit. It’s perfect for my relaxing hot bath on self-care Sunday.
The clarifying mask is super sticky (honey, right?) and takes a bit to get on, but it smells wonderful and massaging it off with a bit of warm water is amazing. It has microcrystals in it that exfoliates.
In my initial review, I didn’t give the Hydrating Floral Essence enough credit. I thought it was one of those non-essential halfway effective types of products. Boy, was I wrong! Used after the mask, it tones AND hydrates my skin. It reduces the size of my pores and leaves my skin clear and bright.
Once a week, I also dry brush my entire body, use an exfoliating body scrub, and moisturize with a richer body cream. When I can afford it, I spring for L’Occitane’s Almond Scrub and smoothing and beautifying milk.
So, I’ve already told you the wonders of the Ren cleansing milk and Tata’s restorative eye cream. What I haven’t had a chance to freak out about is the Sunday Riley Luna Oil. OMG! This stuff is amazing.
For the lazy gal: If I’m super lazy (tired), I’ll use my Costco Kirkland face wipes instead of all-out cleansing. They work fantastically as a makeup remover as well.
5. Extra hydration boost for during the day…
If I find that my skin is a bit drier than usual during the day, I’ll spritz on some of Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral Essence spray. It gives my skin a nice hydration boost.
In case you missed it above, check out the review here.
In case you’re wondering, hey Michelle, where’s the toner in there? I don’t use one. I did for a bit but found that it didn’t really do anything for me. So no toner, no micellar water, none of that. Until someone finds me one that shows it does something, I won’t use it.
Extra tips for winter skincare
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
It’s true. There’s no skincare substitute for drinking water. I usually down at least 2 liters at minimum. What makes it easier is challenging myself to drink two full bkr water bottles. I’ve got the Tutu 1L bkr and always have it on my desk or work area.
Cut back on caffeine.
Caffeine dehydrates and is a diuretic. Need I say more?
And that is my winter skincare routine. Fairly simple and minimal, since I loathe having a ton of products and taking more than 10-15 minutes to apply anything.
Related: My Minimal Makeup Routine
Anyone else out there have dry skin? What are your go-to’s for winter skincare?