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How to Beat Dry Winter Skin

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

Winter is a very trying time. It’s dark when you leave for class and dark when you go home. The weather gets colder. Finals are coming. And if that wasn’t enough, your skin starts to get dry AF. Luckily for you, I have mastered the art of hydration and by keeping to a routine, my skin has managed to escape the worst of the winter drought!


Let’s start with your face. It’s super important to keep enough moisture there so that your skin doesn’t begin to overproduce oils that will make you break out. In other words, too oily and you will break out, too dry and you will still break out. The key here is balance. You should most likely be washing your face twice a day, morning and night. I really like the daily cleansers from Neutrogena because they make my skin feel nice and clean and I can use them twice a day without any harsh reaction on my dry/sensitive skin.

After cleansing my face, I will use a serum. The one I have been using is the Elizabeth Grant Vitamin C Super Fruit Concentrate which is a little pricey but I highly recommend it if you are struggling with pimples. I used to get sporadic large painful pimples especially on my cheeks but ever since I started using this serum, I have not had any pimples to that extent. It also dries down really fast and doesn’t feel tacky or sticky which means I can move straight into the next step of my routine. Elizabeth Grant is also a Canadian company and I love supporting my fellow Canadians! However, if luxury skincare isn’t your thing, Neutrogena is pretty affordable and they produce a few different serum options depending on what your specific concern is.

My final step for the face is to use a good moisturizer. It does not necessarily have to be an expensive one. I have been using both the Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Ultimate Hydro Gel which is sold at Sephora and the Marcelle Night Cream which is available at any drugstore. The Dr. Jart moisturizer is extremely hydrating and a little goes a very long way. But because it is heavier and has a wetter texture, I find myself using it occasionally as an intense treatment and gravitating to my Marcelle cream more often. Despite the fact that it is a night cream, it is not super thick and it absorbs well into the skin so you can use it at any time of the day. I highly recommend Marcelle if you’re looking for a trustworthy and affordable brand. They are a Canadian company and all their products are dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free which is really amazing for sensitive skin. I swear by them and they also make really good eye-makeup removers!


I think that we are all familiar with the great chapped lip struggle. It is a battle that is always fought but can never be won. This is why it’s so important to always have some sort of product on your lips at all times, especially during the winter. I’m in the habit of putting on lip balm after I brush my teeth, after eating, and before I go to sleep. This keeps them as hydrated as they can be and ensures that I don’t go whole days without moisturizing that part of my face. At night I use the Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy which is hands-down the best lip balm I have ever used! However, I also like the C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve which is inexpensive and makes your lips look pretty juicy and plump. The only downside is that it comes in a pot which I really don’t mind too much. I also bought some cheap Nivea lip balms from the dollar store to keep in my jacket pocket and my different bags so I am never out and about without a lip balm. It’s always when you are in desperate need of lip balm, that you will never be able to find yours!


Hands are another important area because they can get very dry when exposed during the winter. This can cause your knuckles to crack and you’ll end up with painful cuts all over the backs of your hands. The simple answer to this is to try to moisturize your hands whenever possible. I tend to wash my hands a lot which means my hands will really start to dry out. So I have resorted to investing in cheap little pocket-size hand creams to stick in my bags for when I’m on the go. And if you’re anything like me and don’t enjoy the greasy feeling of lotion on your palms, I just apply it to the backs of my hands and rub the backs of my hands together. That way the product is getting where it needs to be and I can’t use the greasy feeling as an excuse not to moisturize.


As for the rest of your body, the rule of thumb is to moisturize after every shower. This is when you go in with your heavy duty body lotions or butters and take care of those elbows, knees, arms and legs. Occasionally, it’s nice to use an exfoliating body scrub in the shower to slough off all the dead skin that just builds up throughout the week. For large surface areas like your legs, this will make a huge difference and really allow the moisture to soak into your skin effectively. There are plenty of drugstore options, you just need to decide how coarse or fine you would like the scrub to be. You could even make your own!

Bonus Tip: It is undeniably important to drink a lot of water. I know people talk about doing this all the time but I’ve noticed that I tend to feel less thirsty during the winter and I won’t reach for my water bottle as much. This is bad because I can get very dehydrated and not even realize it. So even though you might not feel as thirsty, you should still be aiming to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Your skin needs the hydration!


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Cheryl Ng

U Ottawa '20

Cheryl is a third year student at the University of Ottawa studying Political Science and Communication. She is passionate about all kinds of art, but mostly writing and photography. She is an avid traveler and hopes to one day have a career that enables her adventurous spirit! Cheryl est une étudiante en troisième année à l’Université d’Ottawa. Elle étudie la science politique et la communication. Elle aime beaucoup les arts, les écrits et la photographie en particulier. Elle est une voyageuse et voudrait avoir un emploi qui comprend des occasions à voyager tout autour du monde!