Tips on how to look and feel your best - despite the harsh conditions.
By Jasmine Salazar | January 31, 2017
OK – you’re not an amphibian, which can just shed its skin and grow a new one. It’s imperative that you are diligent with your skincare routine all year round. A typical routine can involve anywhere around three to five products. In the winter, that can increase to five to 10 products, depending on your skin type.
Danielle Decuyper, boutique leader and make-up artist at Lux Beauty Boutique, says that the key to winterizing skin is simply incorporating some extra hydrating products into your current skincare routine. She also suggests looking for products that contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and squalane, as they both help to maintain moisture in the skin and leave it feeling super soft.
A skincare routine for the ladies
STEP ONE: Cleansing
The cleansing step involves two processes, referred to as the “double cleanse” by beauty experts. It’s meant for make-up wearers, so you can skip to the cleanser if you don’t wear cosmetics.
I know what you’re thinking: “Oil on the face – what?” But, oil-based products are effective, if not better, at cleansing the skin as they remove oil-based gunk, including make-up, dirt and sweat off your face. The cleanser works by attaching to the oils on your face, allowing your body to achieve its natural balance without having to forfeit its natural oils – as most detergent-based cleansers tend to do. “In the ’80s, it was very common for everything to be oil-free. We started to use detergent cleansers on our skin, but that philosophy has now changed,” says Karina Birch, co-owner of Rocky Mountain Soap Company. “It’s counter-intuitive from what we’ve been taught from those oil-free days, but it’s amazing.”
Followed by: the cleanser
Lux / Indie Lee / Rosehip Cleanser ($38)
“The cleansing oil will take off most of your make-up, whereas the cleanser takes off the rest of it,” says Decuyper. The Indie Lee Rosehip Cleanser is particularly good for winter as its main ingredient, rose seed oil, is full of essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C and vitamin A, all of which improve the skin’s moisture levels. This cleanser also foams a bit while being completely soap-free, so it’s good for those who like that extra-clean feeling that detergent-based products give.
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STEP TWO: The Exfoliator (No more than twice a week)
Rocky Mountain Soap Co. / Bamboo Brightening Face Polish ($16.75)
Exfoliating is crucial in the effectiveness of serums, mask and moisturizers, as it removes the dry dead skin cells from the upper layer of the skin. “Using a face polish is amazing this time of year, because it helps with cell renewal and regeneration, and helps the [moisturizers] to work better and help protect that layer of skin more effectively rather than applying product on dead skin cells,” says Birch. Choose a dry microdermabrasion powder – such as Bamboo Brightening Face Polish – over microbead-based exfoliators as these can be rough on your skin and are harmful to the environment. (Both Canada and the United States have banned these).
STEP THREE: The Toner
Rocky Mountain Soap Co. / Hydrating Toner ($26)
Toners are versatile products that can be applied after cleansing and/or exfoliating, before make-up or throughout the day. Toners provide hydration to your skin when you need it most.
STEP FOUR: The Serum
Rocky Mountain Soap Co. / Hydrating Face Serum ($28)
“Serums are highly concentrated with anti-aging active ingredients that penetrate to the second layer of skin and help boost the hydrating effects of a moisturizer,” explains Natasha Jiwan, esthetician at EvelineCharles Salon and Spa. The serum can be used all-year round, but in the winter you’ll want to up the frequency to morning and night. “The serum gives a boost to your day cream,” says Birch. “It would be like adding a multi-vitamin anywhere on your skin that gets extra dry.”
STEP FIVE: The Moisturizer
Lux Beauty / REN /Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream ($59)
Facial moisturizers should be applied twice daily (morning and night) as they maintain moisture levels and prevent premature aging of the skin. Switching to the REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream ($59) for the winter is an apt choice due to its protection complex of seaweed, arctic cranberry seed oil and candle tree leaves that can protect the skin against UV induced damage and premature aging. In addition, the calendula oil can help make the skin more resilient to the outdoors by improving the skin’s hydrolipidic film – an external protective barrier composed of sweat, sebum (a naturally occurring lubricant) and water that defends the skin against bacteria.
Ingredients good for hydration
Hyaluronic acid and squalane are beneficial ingredients for hydration since they’re close derivatives of naturally occurring compounds in the human body – which decrease as we age – explains Decuyper. “If it’s something that your body recognizes, then your skin will be like, ‘I know what to do with this; I’ll make more of this,'” she says.
What products should you include in your winter routine? Decuyper recommends adding three easy steps.
An Overnight Mask: Decuyper recommends the Tata Harper Moisturizing Mask ($149), which is a rich treatment mask that is applied on the skin twice a week at night before bed. This mask will provide ultimate hydration and moisture to dehydrated and stressed skin.
A Serum: Serum is a highly concentrated add-on that gives a boost to the other products used after it. It is important to note that the serum does not replace the moisturizer, and should be used as a supplement. Ren’s Instant Firming Beauty Shot ($65) is a gel-based serum formulated with a double dose of hyaluronic acid, which will instantly supercharge the skin with moisture, while reducing the loss of moisture in the skin.
“You can put it on by itself after you’ve cleansed the skin; you can put it on top of a moisturizer; you can mix it in with make-up; you can use it on your lips to help plump your lips,” Decuyper says. “It’s focused on hydrating and firming, and it does that by pumping it with hydration.”
A Hydrating Spray: The Caudalie Grape Water ($14) is great for hydrating your skin throughout the day. Think of it in the same way as drinking a glass of water to replenish your thirst. When your skin is feeling dry, just spritz some of the hydrating spray onto your face.
A skincare routine for men
You’ve probably heard from the women in your life about the importance of skincare, but those assertions are not for nothing – skin damage and premature aging are very real consequences of not following a skincare regimen. However, if that still doesn’t convince you to start a skincare routine, Kristopher Armitage, manager at Kent of Inglewood, puts it this way: “It’s about the way you present yourself to the world,” he says. “People take pride in the clothes they wear and the car they drive, but you only get one face – you need to put a little more time and attention into it.
“It’s about giving yourself permission to take care of yourself,” he adds. “It’s just a part of looking after yourself. A lot of men either don’t know what they’re doing or don’t know what they should be doing, so they just don’t…It’s time we take care of ourselves.”
OK, you’re convinced – now what?
The biggest difference between facial skincare routines for women and men is that the men’s routine involves shaving or maintaining a beard. As such the steps will differ accordingly. Hyaluronic acid and squalane are also beneficial ingredients for men.
Shower before you shave. If you don’t have time to shower, then use a hot towel, says Armitage.
Using a hydrating facial cleanser will help add moisture to the skin during those cold winter months. Armitage recommends the Schaf Facial Cleanser ($35), as it’s formulated with ultra-hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe and coconut oil.
Once a week, Armitage uses the Schaf Purifying Scrub ($40) for a deep cleanse and scrub after playing hockey. The lava particles help polish away dead skin cells, dirt and debris, explains Armitage.
Prep your facial hair with a preshave product like the Castle Forbes Preshave ($75), which will hydrate and protect the skin for a smoother and closer shave.
Use a badger brush to apply your lather – the Midnight & Two Shaving Soap ($33.95) is Calgary-made with natural ingredients like kokum butter and illipe butter that will ensure a thick and luxurious lather, while the palm oil provides moisture to dry skin. The badger brush will help the hair stand up, while exfoliating the dead skin off your face.
Next, comes the shave. “Using one blade over multiple blades is better for your skin,” says Armitage. “You can tailor your shave by choosing a blade that is appropriate for your hair and skin type.” Kent of Inglewood carries both straight and safety razors.
After the shave, apply an aftershave, which will clean and soothe irritated skin after shaving. “You’ve just irritated your face by dragging a knife across it, essentially, so using an aftershave product with witch hazel or alcohol will close up your pores,” he says. A traditional alcohol-based splash like the D.R. Harris Windsor Aftershave ($65) will work, but it can be drying due to its alcohol content. Instead, opt for an aftershave that is alcohol-free for the winter such as the Castle Forbes Alcohol Free Aftershave Balm ($75).
Don’t forget the moisturizer. Apply the Schaf Moisturizer ($50) daily (morning and night) all over your face. This product, formulated with hyaluronic acid, peptides and shea butter, will help increase elasticity (good for fighting premature aging) and moisture in the skin.
This skincare system might look daunting with its eight steps, but Armitage promises it will only take a few extra minutes. ” [Men] think the traditional wet shave is going to take so much longer, but what they don’t realize is spending those few extra minutes to do a proper routine – and it really is going to take a couple extra minutes – is going to prevent so much hassle down the line and make you feel better,” he says. “Instead of taking the three minutes to shave with your two-track and your can of whatever it is – that comes from the grocery store that you spray in your hand and is going to dry out your skin and it’s going to lead to breakouts – if you take the extra couple minutes to build a lather and have a nice shave and treat it after, then you will just get a better result in the end.”
Common myths debunked
#1 – You don’t need to wear SPF in the winter
SPF is important year-round, and the Skin Cancer Foundation advises people should wear SPF 30 or higher in the winter since the snow reflects up to 80 per cent of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, meaning that these rays can reach your skin twice as a result.
#2 – You can use soap in place of a cleanser
While it’s not necessarily a bad thing, soaps and detergents can “mess with the pH of the skin,” says Birch. Some of these products can be more damaging to the skin since they can strip away those natural oils that help maintain moisture.
#3 – Applying body lotion on the face is the same as a facial moisturizer
Body lotions are typically formulated with ingredients that can clog the pores in your face and can result in breakouts, explains Decuyper.
#4 – Your body can become immune to products after time
Your body doesn’t necessarily become immune to products after years of using them, but rather a product might stop being beneficial for you as you age. Decuyper recommends changing your routine based on your needs at that time. “Your body doesn’t stay the same in 10 years,” Decuyper says. “Your skin has changed a lot in that time period, so you need different things.”