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A Collegiette’s Guide to Combat Icky Winter Skin

With fall semester exams and finals around the corner, I am sure that signs of anxiety and stress have started popping up on our faces. Be it in the form of dark circles, pimples, or dull and flaky skin, these little nuisances add on to the stresses of finishing assignment and acing finals. I didn’t realize how important winter skincare was until I sat down one day and really examined my reflection; I basically resembled a Jack-o-Lantern left outside long past its due date. Not only is dull flaky skin not sexy, it’s also uncomfortable. I am sure that many of you have experienced that unpleasant, burning sensation on your hands after putting on emergency hand cream, or finding awkward dry patches of skin on your cheeks when you try to blend your makeup on in the morning.

I believe in the philosophy of looking great and feeling great. Therefore, here are some tips and tricks I have for keeping your skin looking fresh in the harsh winters of the True North.

Maybe I watch too many Proactive infomercials late at night, but I believe that great skincare doesn’t come a sole product. It’s always a good idea to develop your personalized skincare routine, from cleanser to moisturizer, using a combination of products that work for you. Now with that said, it’s also important to figure out what your skin type is. Personally, I have combination skin, which means I get an oily T-Zone while the rest of my face is normal or dry. I am #blessed for my tame skin, and it’s important for collegiettes to figure out what your skin type is to properly source skincare products.

Let’s get nitty gritty with the details of my winter skincare routine for my fresh faced look during the dead of winter!

Starting with the bare essentials, it’s important to have a good body wash, and an even better facial wash. My fave at the moment is Philosophy’s Strawberry Shortcake 3 in 1 Body Wash (1). It’s the perfect way to perk myself up with a whiff of the delicious smell of cake. Compact with moisturizing ingredients and gentle for everyday use, Philosophy’s body wash comes in a variety of different scents that change seasonally!

Every time I take a shower, this is what it smells like.

For my facial cleanser, I have always entrusted Burt’s Bee’s Radiance Cleanser (2) with Royal Jelly. I am huge fan of Burt’s Bee line, and I have to say that this facial cleanser doesn’t strip my skin of natural moisture (like so many products did!), and it’s 99% natural! The key here is to find a cleanser that cleans your pores, but doesn’t dry-out your skin as many cleanser would if they are too harsh or strong. This is especially important in the winter.

To make sure that your skin stays fresh and radiant, it’s a good idea to have exfoliating facial masks on hand, as well as a good scrub. There are sheet-styled face masks, and the ones that come in a tube and squeeze out in mud or cream form. To get rid of winter dullness and  dark circles, my favorite go-to mask is Ayesha (3) from Lush. Hand-formulated from all-natural and fresh ingredients, Lush face masks are good for body and for your skin.

For masks with a little zing and exfoliating abilities, I highly recommend Brazen Honey, and Mask of Magnamity (4). The former is the strongest of the masks I’ve tried thus far, but it sure pulls the dirt out of my face and gives it a jolt of life. Mask of Magnamity contains peppermint (which also contains menthol), and is a minty fresh way to keep those pesky pimples at bay. 

For those with a preference for sheet masks, I recommend checking out The Face Shop’s $2 dollar face masks in Aloe Vera, and Blueberry (5). Refreshing and easy-to-use, these sheet masks feels like a spa treat on-the-go. Don’t forget Bubble Gum, a lip exfoliant from LUSH that should also be used on a weekly basis (I use it every 2 weeks) to make sure your lips stay soft and smooth!

As important as cleansing is, an effective post-cleanse process also contributes to the effectiveness of your facial routine! After my shower, I always apply some Burt’s Bee’s Rosewater and Glycerin toner (6) with my favorite cotton pad applicators. An all-time favorite, I can always count on this toner to refresh my skin and remove makeup remnants that my cleanser missed. Every application of this toner feels like it’s taking the day’s labour and sweat off of my face.

To top everything off in my winter skincare routine would be the Avène Thermal Spring Water (7). A.K.A., what every beauty blog has been raving about for the last year or so. Beloved by models and beauty bloggers alike, Avène Spring Thermal Water is more than just fancy French spring water packed into a pressurized canister. Just two sprays will leave your skin feeling dewy and glowing. I always incorporate this in the morning to set my skin for the day.

As Marc Jacobs says, “I love the entire ritual of getting dressed. When we do a fashion show, we try to send out a message; we couldn’t do [it] without the hair and makeup. The whole is equal to the sum of its parts.” Setting up the perfect winter skincare routine can’t be complete without treatments such as a facial mask, proper cleansers, and great aftercare. What are your tips and tricks to great looking skin during the dead of winter? Leave a comment and let us know below!

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Karen Li

U Toronto

Book & Media,Visual Studies + Writing and Rhetoric. 1T6 20 something-female at the University of Toronto with a penchant for spotting the best Thai restaurant around. When she is not optimizing the perfect take-out order, she can be found writing about culture, media, and lifestyle at her blog, http://www.plasticconfetti.wordpress.com
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