Banishing Winter Skincare Woes

Winter in Canada can be absolutely magical, but it can also be a challenging time for your skin. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite products to help you banish winter skincare woes and keep your skin healthy and protected while you enjoy our winter wonderland.

Banishing Winter Skincare Woes - Fave Products | Toronto Beauty Reviews

{Banishing Winter Skincare Woes}


Disclaimer: the products featured below were provided to me at no cost for editorial consideration. All opinions are my own.


Between the cold air outside and the dry, overheated air inside, the winter season can make skincare a real challenge. While summer skincare requires lots of cleansing and light formulas that won’t clog pores, wintertime brings its own set of must-have skincare products, especially in a country with such extreme temperature changes.

In general, your winter skincare routine should involve:

  • Regular exfoliation to remove dry, dead skin cells
  • Rich moisturizers to restore skin’s hydration barriers
  • Antioxidants, to ensure your skin is getting all the vitamins it needs
  • Sunscreen to protect against UVA & UVB rays made worse this time of year by the albedo effect

Banishing Winter Skincare Woes - Exfoliation | Toronto Beauty Reviews


Regular exfoliation to remove the dead skin cells that lead to a dull, scaly complexion is a necessity in winter. But, while you might think that exfoliating more frequently or more vigorously would be helpful in the colder seasons, that approach may actually cause harm. Gently removing these cells in circular motions is the key: rub too hard and you may further irritate the skin and cause even more dryness! A thorough exfoliation once a week is likely enough to keep your skin soft and happy.

Choosing the right face exfoliant can be tough, since everyone’s skin is so unique. If you prefer natural products, for example, Dirty Girl Farm’s Pearl Polish ($52.50, USD) is a great option. My new favourite, however, is Lierac’s Supra Radiance Double Peeling Radiance Mask ($60). This exfoliant-mask hybrid sloughs away dead skin cells in two ways: first, the AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) work to dissolve surface cells, then the volcanic micro-crystals reveal a smoother skin texture as you massage away the product. The Radiance Mask truly lives up to its name, leaving my skin noticeably brightened and feeling impressively smooth.

But exfoliation doesn’t stop there: as any Canadian knows, our lips need extra help during the winter, too! Before you pile on another layer of lip balm, you should definitely exfoliate your pout. My pick is Farmhouse Fresh’s Whoopie Lip Polish ($15 USD). Made with organic Georgia cane sugar, this natural lip scrub is gentle enough to use regularly. Plus, a small jar lasts forever, so you’ll be able to keep soft, hydrated lips all winter long.



Following exfoliation, you should always moisturize to protect that fresh, smooth skin. If you have very dry skin, oil-based creams or body butters are your best bet. If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, look instead for water-based lotions.

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying Jowaé‘s Revitalizing Moisturizing Lotion ($28). The bamboo scent is clean and light, and the lotion absorbs well into my skin. With its accessible price point and 97% natural ingredients, I don’t feel guilty using this all over my body.

For a more concentrated dose of moisture, I love Earth Luxe’s All-Purpose Body Balm ($13.95). This little wonder is just slightly bigger than a lip balm, and has a similar texture. It’s perfect for keeping in your desk drawer or purse, as the solid formula makes it portable and mess-free. I’ve been using it on my knuckles and any other patches of especially dry skin – it’s been a lifesaver!

Spending time outside with the sharp winter wind blowing snow and ice around can make our faces extremely dehydrated. This can even result in uncomfortably tight, red skin, referred to as ‘windburn.’ A weekly moisturizing mask can give your skin some relief from this cold weather complaint. Skeyndor’s Fresh Sorbet MyMask, distributed in Canada by Caryl Baker Visage, is an exciting new arrival ($65). Its unique gelée texture allows the skin to really drink in its hydrating ingredients, including Norwegian glacial water.  This mask feels refreshing and rich without seeming the slightest bit greasy.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes normal dry skin moves into the painful, irritated territory of eczema. Now, of course, if you think you are experiencing eczema, talk to a dermatologist before applying any product. If, however, you already have been diagnosed with eczema, dermatitis, or psoriasis, but aren’t comfortable using harsh hydrocortisone, Province Apothecary‘s Healing Eczema Balm ($52) might for you. Made with colloidal oatmeal, natural oils, and zinc oxide, this soothing balm hydrates deeply, while reducing redness and itching. It’s even gentle enough to use on babies!

Banishing Winter Skincare Woes - Antioxidants | Toronto Beauty Reviews


Antioxidants are extremely important for maintaining strong skin, since they protect against damage caused by free radicals and help stimulate collagen development. While eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs, incorporating antioxidant-rich products into your winter skincare routine may give your skin the added boost it’s been yearning for.

Vitamin C is one antioxidant that is particularly important for skincare. In addition to its protective benefits, it also brightens complexion and reduces hyper-pigmentation. Reversa’s new Radiance-C Concentrate ($60) contains 20% pure vitamin C, as well as vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, making it extraordinarily effective. Its invigorating tingle and citrus fragrance make it a great product to use first thing in the morning.

It can be hard to get a high amount of antioxidants from our diet, for a variety of reasons. Ingestible supplements and powders have therefore become a huge trend in beauty, and – though there haven’t yet been enough long-term studies to prove their efficacy – many folks swear by them. Sproos is a Canadian brand that has created a range of bars and powders allowing you to easily add extra collagen and antioxidants to your diet. Their Sproos Up Your Skin & Hair citrus green tea powder ($50) is packed with biotin, zinc, silica, and sustainably-sourced marine collagen to keep your hair, skin, and nails strong and healthy. Although it smells a bit like gelatin, the powder has a mild, slightly tangy flavour, and is a great way to get a ton of healthy antioxidants and nutrients while drinking one of your 8-daily glasses of water. Talk about multitasking!



Here, I’ll be brief: wear sunscreen. You need to. While the sun shines for less time overall on winter days, the albedo effect – light reflecting off of snow and ice – means that we are exposed to just as much UVA & UVB radiation in winter as were are at any other time of year.

There are tons of different sunscreens available on the market, so be sure to find the one that works best for you. Some of our favourites include Aveeno Sheer Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 ($25), and Zorah BioDef 30 Tinted Sunscreen ($35).


A Few Extra Tips

  • Try not to take extra hot showers in winter, as this can (surprisingly) dry out your skin even more
  • Your feet and hands need love, too! Our feet benefit from exfoliation this time of year, since they’re often covered with socks and boots. Since the thin skin on our hands is more frequently exposed to dry air, however, they need extra moisture and sunscreen.
  • Having a humidifier in your house will help keep your skin happy
  • In general, use gentler products with fewer fragrances for your winter skincare routine. Strong fragrances can irritate skin, especially since we stay so bundled up this time of year.
  • If you struggle with chapped lips, move away from matte lipsticks in the winter. Their formulas tend to draw out moisture and make cracks and flakes more apparent.


Hope you’re all staying warm! What are your favourite products for a winter skincare routine?

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