If you’re anything like me and suffer from dry, sensitive skin, you know that you need extra reinforcements in the winter. During these harsh, cold months, it’s important to keep your skin moisturized, healthy, and strong in ways that work best for you. But in case you don’t know where to start or are looking for something new to try, let me share with you my Top 3 products for winter skincare survival:
1. Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
This hand balm is my holy grail of skincare products, especially for the winter months. How am I that confident about it? About a year-and-a-half ago, I had persistent dryness on my right ring finger’s knuckle as a result of constant hand washing and towel drying. It was so bad that sometimes when I bent my finger, the skin on my knuckle would crack and bleed. No hand cream or lotion made any difference until I tried Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. While I’m hesitant to attribute any mystic healing powers to the product, I will say that it did heal my cracked, dry skin (and its cuts and wounds) overnight. This is the product that made me a Kiehl’s believer and it’s the first product I recommend when introducing others to the brand.
Product claims and ingredients:
Formulated for the driest, most active hands, this heavy-duty moisture treatment is a thick, rich formula offering all-day care and protection. Our blend of select ingredients allows skin to actually draw and absorb water from the air, forming a “glove-like” protective barrier against moisture loss. This formula, which contains a blend of botanical oils as well as natural wax derived from Olive Oil, further soothes, moisturizes and conditions skin. This most effective preparation helps protect against and repair the appearance of severe dryness caused by heavy industrial work, manual labor, neglect, or exposure to harsh elements.
Pro: It’s a thick but fast-absorbing hand balm, so it withstands up to three hand washes before the need to reapply. It also has a nice, mild, minty scent to it.
Con: The price point could deter people from trying it out but a little does go a long way (as it does with most Kiehl’s products).
Price: $18 for 75 mL (travel size) and $28 for 150 mL (large size)
Buy online: kiehls.ca
2. Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer
This moisturizer by Kiehl’s helps my face stay hydrated all day, especially in the winter when my face is prone to dryness and peeling. Three main things I love about this product: 1) It really does calm and control the patchy redness I get in my face during the winter; 2) It has a thick consistency that I can feel strengthening and protecting my skin barrier from drying out against harsh winds; 3) This is my go-to base for my makeup because it gives my face that highly sought-after natural, dewey “glow.” This is a big deal for me as I try to stay away from artificial highlighters and illuminators because I find they always look so fake on me and make my skin look greasy. I believe, for my makeup regimen at least, that true radiance comes from beneath the foundation, and this daily moisturizer definitely gives me that. Tip: I wait for my moisturizer to set for at least a minute before applying my liquid foundation. It gives my makeup a nice base and helps avoid things from looking too streaky and feeling too cakey. Side note worth mentioning: Winter is the season of increased runny noses. Because of this, the constant nose-blowing causes dryness and peeling around my nose, my inner cheeks, and my chin (basically all the places that facial tissue hits the most in the process), so I do sometimes need to reapply some Skin Rescuer in those areas at about midday. I keep the smaller, deluxe sample size in my purse handy for these moments.
Product claims and ingredients:
Signs of Stress-Minimizing Daily Hydrator
Reduces the look of skin’s signs of stress, including skin fatigue and redness due to dry skin with Rosa Gallica Botanical Extract, Mannose and Chamomile.
Our lightweight formula diminishes the look of signs of stress such as skin fatigue and redness due to dry skin, while fortifying the skin barrier over time, leaving it less susceptible to the effects of ongoing daily stressors. This moisturizing treatment, formulated with Rosa Gallica Botanical Extract and Mannose, helps minimize skin’s visible response to stress while protecting and strengthening the skin barrier; enriched with Chamomile this formula provides instant comfort. Our unique daily moisturizer leaves skin more resistant to stressors while delivering all day hydration to reveal a healthy-looking, well-balanced complexion with fresh and replenished looking skin.
Pro: It comes in a nice pump bottle so it keeps things sanitary and it’s easy to measure how much you need. I use 2-3 full pumps.
Con: The scent isn’t necessarily pleasant but it isn’t foul. I describe the scent as neutral, which can be odd at first, especially if you’re used to a bit of fragrance in your moisturizer.
Price: $45 for 75 mL
Buy online: kiehls.ca
3. eos Soft Sphere Lip Balm
For about 10 years, I remained very loyal to Blistex Lip Medex because of how instantly it healed and moisturized my always-cracked and chapped lips. Other lip balms felt like a layer of wax that would just sit there and do nothing, which was why I was skeptical about trying eos Soft Sphere Lip Balms for so long.
I thought it was just another overrated lip balm that people loved blindly for the fun colours and fruity scents, while offering no real benefit for chapped lips. But then I decided it was time to put an end to 10 years of sticking my finger in potted lip balms — how unhygienic! In fact, I originally prepared this post with Blistex Lip Medex included, then I had to re-do all the photos after I tested eos for a few days. I was sold after a week and my lips love me for making the much-needed switch. Not only are the scents addictive, the balms really are as smooth as it gets. However, eos took some getting used to for me as it has such a sheer wear that I felt like I needed to keep reapplying — for the record, I don’t anymore and it was clearly a psychological thing — but it really is very effective in keeping your lips moisturized without feeling at all waxy. When I apply some before bed, I enjoy waking up to find that smooth feeling on my lips is still there. Find a scent / colour you like (Sweet Mint is featured in this post) and you’re set.
Product claims, features and ingredients:
eos lip balm in Sweet Mint is 95% organic, 100% natural, and paraben and petrolatum free. Packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, soothing shea butter and jojoba oil, eos keeps your lips moist, soft and sensationally smooth.
Shea butter & vitamin E
Smoothes on clear
Precisely glides on lips
0.25 oz — evolutionofsmooth.ca Pro: eos lives up to its claim of “keeping your lips moist and sensationally smooth” while using natural ingredients.
Con: It can take a couple days before it helps to heal cracked, peeling lips (using Blistex Lip Medex as my point of comparison, which can start to work after just hours), but it eventually gets the job done.
Buy online: evolutionofsmooth.ca
UPDATE — Jan. 11, 2017
After regular use of the eos Soft Sphere Lip Balm for about four months, I had developed a severe reaction to it. I experienced similar reactions as stated in this case (cracking, blistering, bleeding, severe itching). Photo below.
I used eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Sweet Mint from December 2014 to April 2015. Then around late April to June was when the discomfort and cracking, blistering, bleeding, and itching occurred. I was terrified and miserable as the reactions were so noticeable and uncomfortable. It hurt to laugh, eat, and even brush my teeth.
So I ceased using eos for over a month and the symptoms cleared up. After that, I tried it one more time, and rashes immediately developed just like they previously had. That confirmed for me that eos was no longer something that was suitable for me. I then went back to the lip balm that had worked for me (Blistex Lip Medex) for over 12 years and have not had a reaction since. it’s been almost two years since I’ve used eos and my mouth has been rash-free ever since.
And those are my Top 3 winter skincare products. Have you tried any of these?
Thanks for contributing your skincare favourites on our Instagram. We’ll be sure to consider them for future themed skincare posts, such as “The top overnight oils and creams” and “The best hydrating and moisturizing masks.” And, of course, if you have any suggestions you’d like to share now, feel free to comment below.
Have a good one!