Top 5 Winter Skin Products

Last week, I woke up one morning and looked in the mirror while brushing my teeth, to see the skin on my face looking visibly lined and dehydrated. It took me by surprise as if it happened overnight.  I hadn’t been following through my summer- to- winter- skincare transition. The sudden sub-zero temperatures and snowfall here in Toronto, weren’t going to make things better either. Dry and dehydrated skin isn’t pretty nor is it comfortable. And I thought if I wanted to keep my makeup routine simple and short each morning, I’d better take care of my skin’s condition.

The image on the left shows my winter damaged skin on Day 1 BEFORE, and on the right Day 1 AFTER using Consonant Skincare Hydrextreme.

The image on the left shows my winter damaged skin on Day 1 BEFORE, and on the right Day 1 AFTER using Consonant Skincare Hydrextreme.

I talk to so many of my clients and students about the importance of moisturizing and the connection between hydration and the health of one’s skin…I couldn’t go on without practicing what I preached! These are my recommendations based on my combination-dry skin type and dehydrated skin condition. With all the offerings out in the market, I get how confusing it can be.


Don’t just go for whatever your girlfriends are using. And when the sales associates tell you how much they like or recommend a product, don’t be afraid to ask WHY? Ask them what it does and more importantly, HOW it can benefit YOUR skincare needs.

Here are my top 5 winter skin must-haves:


NARSkin Gentle Creme Cleanser, Aqua Hydrating Gel, Vasanti BrightenUp! Jouviance Micellar Solution, Consonant Hydrextreme

1)      Consonant Skincare HYDREXTREME – Extreme hydration Booster and grand prize winner of the Canadian Beauty Innovation Awards (2012).

Consonant Body_Flagship_Toronto

Before using this amazing product, my skin was so dehydrated that I had dry red patches on my cheek and on my eyelid.  I followed the directions  Kristina Breckon (Senior Marketing Manager, Consonant) gave me- which was to gently roll the bottle to mix the content before use, and apply a few drops at full strength to the dry patches before bed. She also gave me samples of their regular and dry skin moisturizers to try (in the cutest sample pots that were perfect for 3x uses of the content). In the morning, Kristina said I should mix a few drops of the Hydrextreme with one of the moisturizers she sampled, and apply it as I would normally. So glad to have met Bill (CEO) and Kristina during my recent BlushPretty gig for Fresh Beauty Toronto’s pop-up at Consonant last week.


My skin felt so calmed and hydrated right away, and instantly looked better! By the 2nd day- both dry patches were gone. (I thought it would take a few more days/applications!) By the 5th day, my skin looked softer, smoother and more even-toned. LOVE this product and I think I need to go back for more of the actual products of the moisturizers. It’s unscented, so you’ll notice an olive oil-like smell, that I’m not crazy about BUT it dissipates fairly quickly and the trade-off is worth it.

Still have to try their DHE Mask (Detoxify, Hydrate, and Exfoliate) with its impressive ingredients – including Hydrextreme, and skin benefits list. Manicouagen Clay’s detoxifying minerals and antioxidant-rich sea algae smoothes and evens skin tone, while a unique blend of AHA fruit enzymes gently exfoliate and brighten the skin. Um…Yes, please!


At $70 for the 30ml bottle of the Hydrextreme, it isn’t cheap, but you are paying for quality. As they say, “What goes on your body, goes in your body”.


Hydrextreme is 100% natural and clinically proven to significantly outperform Hyaluronic Acid. There’s only 2 ingredients in it! Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, and Organic Vegetable Glycerine. It goes on smoothly and leaves a matte velvety finish.

Consonant Skincare is at 2479 Yonge Street M4P 3E3 Tel# (416) 925-2855


2)      Jouviance Micellar Solution- Face and Eye Makeup Remover.

Verdict: I started using this as a cleanser and toner-in-one a month ago and I love how quickly and gently it removes even my waterproof eye makeup! It even allows my moisturizer to reach deeper layers of my skin.

Jouviance (meaning fountain of youth) has a wide range of dermatologist-developed skincare products. Available at Shoppers Drug Mart, this Micellar Solution instantly refreshes, cleanses, and purifies without irritating the skin.

Price and Benefits:

Approx $22 (SRP). It’s soap-free, pH balanced, alcohol-free, colorant-free, fragrance-free, does not contain sulfates, phthalates and is paraben and cruelty-free.


It’s a no-rinse formula for all skin types. Aqua and Glycerin are top 2 in its list of 10 ingredients.


3)      NARSskin Gentle Cream Cleanser $29 (used as a wash with water) with micro-beads that burst and leaves skin feeling soft and fresh.


Infused with Monoi oil, wild rose extract, and chamomile. I love how it smells of oranges, too! It’s great for normal, dry, and seasonally dry skin types. I would use this even in winter when I have more than my usual face of makeup on and feel like water needs to be added to my cleansing step.


Leaves skin soft and looking radiant with NARSskin exclusive Light Reflecting Complex, synthetic fragrance-free, paraben-free and alcohol-free.


4)      NARSskin Aqua Gel Hydrator $58 – now reformulated in the NARSskin revamped skincare line as Aqua Gel Luminous Oil Free Moisturizer. (I still have the older version but I’m almost out of it).


Until my skin started to show signs of dehydration and went past its dryness, this gel-cream was my only go-to product on my dresser (vanity).


Its dynamic aqua technology which holds hydration longer (8 hrs), makes your skin look and feel plump and radiant after its use. I’d wake up with glowing youthful-looking skin after applying this before bedtime.

Note: I don’t have the actual product, but the NARSskin aqua gel hydrator feels and looks a lot like Neostrata 24h Hydrating Serum (Shoppers Drug Mart). Tried a sample of it and I’d recommend this alternative dermatologist approved and formulated product, too!

5)      Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator with microderm crystals.

Dry skin and build-up can be an all-season skin problem, and I have to say, this has to be my all-time fave exfoliator.


Coming from the Philippines where the papaya has been long known for its natural skin brightening (whitening) properties, the triple-action formula’s papaya enzymes and microderm exfoliating crystals at 25% help to smooth skin’s surface and reveal a soft, hydrated (not stripped) and refreshed glowing complexion. A must-have! Great for use before any moisturizer and with Vasanti Eye Wonder eye crème (which I’ve sometimes used all over my face! Haha).


Can be used 3-5 times a week on wet skin and left on for 2-3minutes for enhanced enzyme action. Paraben-free, sulfate-free. 99% natural.

I have tried so many other serums, moisturizers and cleansers that are worth mentioning here, too – such as Lancome Genefique Youth Activating Serum, and the Genefique Eye crème which targets both dark under-eye circles and puffiness. I also really like CoverFX  Smoothing Eye Primer which I use under my eye makeup daily. My eyes look more rested, less tired-looking and my makeup goes on more smoothly. If you prefer the nano-technology skin oil cleansers, my pick would be Laura Mercier’s Purifying Oil followed by Perfecting Water.


To end this post- why ruin all that hard work on your skin with all these fantastic skincare products by applying tons of makeup that masks your skin? Try a multi-tasking BB Creme like Marcelle’s 24H Intense Moisture Skin Enhancer. It’s a moisture richer version than their original BB Creme and suits my skin type much better. (The regular one looked great but I eventually started to break out in little bumps, and I’m guessing it was due to lack of moisture when I’d be tempted to skip my moisturizing step!). LOVE how this brightens my skin tone and how it protects my skin with its powerful blend of antioxidants, aloe and chamomile extracts. Approx. $25 at Shoppers drug Mart. Marcelle is proud to announce that five of its products now bear the official seal of recognition of the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA)’s Skin Health Program:

-Cleansing Cloths
-Soothing Cleansing Water
-Eye Make-Up Remover Cloths

-Oil-Free Eye Make-Up Remover Lotion
-Eye Make-Up Remover Pads

The five products above have the same key characteristics in common:

-Recognized by the Canadian Dermatology Association as part of the Skin Health Program
-Tested under dermatological control
-Tested under ophthalmological control
-Non comedogenic ….So check out the brands skincare and cosmetics when you can. A less expensive but just as effective alternative to some of the high-end lines. Plus, Marcelle is made in Canada! :)

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and eat your fruit and veggies! Take care of your skin from the inside out, too and you’ll look and feel better for it.

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