It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Snow, hot chocolate, ice-skating, Christmas shopping, and so much more to look forward to! But while the holiday season is amazing, it can be a bit harsh on your skin. Having to transition from warmer temperatures to hand-numbing cold can do a lot of damage, which is why it’s important to incorporate skincare products that will keep your skin looking and feeling soft, smooth, and youthful, regardless of the weather.

Here are 6 products, listed in order of application, that are winter skincare must haves! While these products can and should be used year round, these particular versions are best suited to harsh winter weather.

Note:  I have very sensitive skin and have tried many different types of skincare routines over the years until I found one that was best suited for my skin.  I have combination skin, so I tend to get oily in my T-zone area, while the rest of my face is relatively dry. As with any skincare product, you should consider whether or not the product will work for your skin specifically before using it, and always do a patch test in advance!

1. Toner

Toner is a multi-purpose product. It takes away any excess dirt that might be left over after washing your face, while also adding pH balance, hydration, and clarity to the skin. I typically apply my toner with a cotton pad and wait one minute before moving on to the next step. It’s important not to use toners that have alcohol or astringents in them as these ingredients tend to dry out your skin!

A clear bottle with a red cap and a label that reads 'facial toner'.
[Image description: A clear bottle with a red cap and a label that reads ‘facial toner’.] Via Amazon.
My favorite toner is the Thayers Witch Hazel Facial Toner in Rose Petal. It is completely alcohol-free and infused with aloe vera, which gives your skin the TLC it needs and deserves!

2. Essence

There is some confusion in the beauty world as to what the difference is between toner and essence. Essence originated in Korean skincare and is intended to add moisture into the skin prior to applying any other products. It is supposed to give you a flawless base to work with and you are supposed to apply it after toner.

Typically I apply a little bit of essence into the palms of my hands, then gently dab the product into my face in an upwards, pressing motion.

A clear bottle that has red writing that reads 'SK-II'.
[Image description: A clear bottle that has red writing that reads ‘SK-II’.] Via Sephora.
My go-to essence is one by SK-II. It’s pretty pricey, but worth every dime! You’ll notice a difference in your skin within a week!

3. Serum

A serum is intended to apply moisture to the face prior to using moisturizer. Think of it as a layer of protection on the skin to ensure that all of that moisture is locked in place.

A clear bottle with a red label that says 'REVITALIFT' on it.
[Image description: A clear bottle with a red label that says ‘REVITALIFT’ on it.] Via Amazon.
My favorite serum by miles is Loreal’s Revitalift. I thought all the hype online was exaggerated, but boy does this product deliver! After using it for 2 weeks, I noticed my skin was a lot smoother and healthier looking. It also gives the skin a glow that is much-needed during colder months.

I apply a drop to my fingertips and rub them together. Then, I proceed with tapping the product into my face.

4. Moisturizer

Moisturizer is a huge step in making sure your skin doesn’t dry out during harsher seasons. Add this to your skincare routine and see the difference unfold before your eyes!

A blue container with a white lid.
[Image description: A blue container with a white lid.] Via Amazon.
I have used many different moisturizers over the years, but the one I keep going back to is Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost water gel. The formula is so lightweight yet efficient, and gets the job done without making you look like an oily mess. I like to apply a small amount into my hands and then gently dab it onto my face and neck – don’t forget the neck!

5. Oils

If you have oily skin, you might think putting oil on your face is a recipe for disaster. On the contrary, applying oils to your face will prevent your skin from over-producing its own oils. One of the best oils to use in winter weather is Rosehip oil.

A brown bottle with a red label that reads 'Certified Organic Rosehip Oil'.
[Image description: A brown bottle with a red label that reads ‘Certified Organic Rosehip Oil’.] Via Ulta.
My personal favourite is the Rosehip Oil from Trilogy. There is a reason this oil is a must have for the Duchess of Cambridge – it not only provides the moisture your skin needs, but tackles issues like acne and scarring. It’s also a proven anti-aging remedy for keeping your skin silky smooth and youthful!

6. Sunscreen

I will admit I used to skip this step in its entirety. Having read so many pieces on the importance of adding SPF to your skincare routine, I decided to incorporate it and it has made all the difference!

A white container with red and black writing on it.
[Image description: A white container with red and black writing on it.] Via Amazon.
I love the SPF by eltaMD because it is incredibly lightweight and doesn’t have that odd smell many SPFs carry. It also does wonders for sensitive skin that cannot handle strong scents, like mine. This SPF adds the sun-protection your skin needs while also delivering moisture.


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Bernadette Lazar

By Bernadette Lazar

Editorial Fellow