1. Switch your moisturizer
The lightweight face and body creams you wear in the warm weather won’t protect your skin from freezing temperatures that are typical in Canadian winters, so you’ll need to switch to something that is thicker and more emollient, advises Toronto-based dermatologist Dr. Nowell Solish. Try a richer version of your go-to moisturizer or look for one with ingredients known for their hydrating benefits such as olive oil and shea butter.
Try: Olay Professional Pro-X hydra firming cream, $60.
2. Hydrate your hair
Just as you change your skin moisturizer when the cold weather hits, you should also swap your usual shampoo for a more hydrating formula, suggests Justin German, consulting stylist for Pantene Pro-V. “You want to create a barrier,” to protect locks from things like moisture-stripping electric heating. Making the switch will help minimize static tresses, which are caused by dryness. It will also make hair easier to style.
Try: Pantene Pro-V medium-thick hair solutions dry to moisturized hair shampoo, $6.
3. Invest in a humidifier
The heat at home and at the office (think central heating systems and space heaters) can also parch your skin, says Solish. He suggests using a humidifier to create more moisture in the air. “The ones that attach to the furnace are not usually enough, so install a small one in the bedroom.”
4. Shower smart
As great as a hot shower feels after hitting the gym or at the end of a long day, it also strips the skin of its natural lipid barrier. Turn the dial to lukewarm for your skin’s sake, and “before you completely dry off, apply your body moisturizer to help keep skin soft,” says Solish.
5. Help your hands
Washing your hands regularly and using hand-sanitizing gel are the keys to fending off colds and flu during the winter, but they also make the skin extremely dry. Stock up on a few tubes of hand cream, then stash them in your bag, by your bed and beside the computer to remind you to hydrate often.
Try: L’Occitane en Provence shea butter hand cream, $30.
6. Get wet
A year-round complexion fix, facial mists make a perfect antidote for thirsty skin, not to mention a great pick-me-up mid-afternoon when you would usually reach for a cup of caffeine. Just spritz your face a few times a day for a quick hit of hydration.
Try: Etival Laboratoire Ener-C Mist, $25. At Shoppers Drug Mart.
7. Strike oil
Cleansing oils are a great way to remove makeup when skin is suffering from seasonal dryness. (As an alternative, switching to a milky cleanser also works.) Other facial and body oils can be used in the morning or at night and can be mixed into your moisturizer for an added boost of hydration. If you bathe, add a few drops of oil to the water, suggests Solish.
Try: Weleda sea buckthorn body oil, $24.
8. Prepare for the outdoors
Whether you’re hitting the slopes or the ice rink, applying a balm over your daily moisturizer will help prevent windburn and soothe skin. Make sure to cover sensitive areas such as the nose, cheeks and chin. And don’t forget to slather on some sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher; just because you aren’t sitting on the beach, doesn’t mean those rays aren’t reaching you.
Try: Green Beaver winter cheek balm, $10.
9. Travel with care
Spending time on a plane can take a toll on your already winter-stressed skin. So, if you’re flying home for the holidays or heading on a winter getaway “drink a lot of water and moisturize before, during and after the flight,” suggests Solish. You can also spritz your skin throughout the trip with a travel-size facial mist. And, consider going au natural like Canadian supermodel Coco Rocha – the Vancouver native says she flies makeup-free to let her skin breathe.
10. Exfoliate often
Exfoliating your face and body regularly removes dead skin, which helps moisturizers penetrate faster and deeper. For the face, look for a non-abrasive exfoliant (translation: you shouldn’t be able to feel the exfoliating beads) that won’t irritate winter-sensitive skin and can be used daily.
Try: Dermalogica daily microfoliant, $72.