Winter does a number on our skin. From December till about April we’re mostly bundled up, covering every inch of our bodies except our hands and face, so it’s no surprise most of us report some form of irritation, redness, dryness and loss of moisture. Don’t get us started on the lack of sunlight and our impending Vitamin D deficiency…

While a sunny vacation and a hydrafacial is probably just what the doctor ordered for most of us, we’ve tested out a handful of new products that promise to nurture, soothe, and generally make winter a little more bearable for us.

Read on to discover our must-haves.

Biossance Squalane + Ectoin Overnight Repair, $92 CAD

We had the chance to test out the newest Biossance innovation using Ectoin last month before it hit shelves. A clinically proven bio-fermented molecule that targets environmental stressors to bind and seal in moisture, Ectoin is like the crock pot of skincare, a set it and forget it, wake up to reversed signs of stress, fatigue, and irritation. Combined with key ingredients like Magnesium and Sugarcane-derived Squalane, this intensive renewal cream is basically self-defence for winter skin to strengthen the collagen in the skin, which diminishes as we age. Designed to restore compromised skin overnight, when your body does most of its repair, this rich cream is the perfect add on to your nightly routine since it doesn’t interfere with other actives, like acids or retinol, for example so slug on.

Biossance Squalane + Ectoin Overnight Repair also helps to rescue compromised skin, say after a few days of skiing, a sunburn, or when you’re jet lag from a long flight. It works to rebuild damaged tissue, soothe the skin barrier as you sleep, and leave the skin stronger, firmer, and more supple with each application. It also works to protect against free radicals (like radiation from a flight), plump and deeply hydrate, and make the skin less sensitive while simultaneously diminishing fine lines.

I’ve been using this cream for just over a month now in conjunction with my retinol as a buffer and have noticed less irritation, more even skin tone, diminished redness, and also better overall hydration.

Kid Sister Afterglow Exfoliating Face Mask, $63 CAD

We love Vancouver-based clean skincare brand Kid Sister. Not only is their branding adorable, but their chemist-formulated products work without burdening the endocrine system. They’ve just released a brand new addition to their lineup, an exfoliating face mask that combines pineapple and papaya enzymes, lactic acid, jojoba beads and oat enzymes that gently exfoliate the skin and revitalize the complexion. The chemical and physical exfoliants in the formula slough away dead skin while working to soothe the skin barriers with rice powder and oat enzymes, which reveal a brightened complexion and softer skin with each use. It’s absolutely a must-have for winter.

Nécessaire, The Hand Retinol, $54 CAD

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, hand care is the new face care. We spend the entire winter and most of the spring compulsively trying to hydrate our hands, but why not go a step further and treat your hands like you do your face? Nécessaire has released a new hand retinol, just in time to rescue your cracked winter hands. This serum works to repair the skin through a combination of 0.25% pure retinol, 5% AHA and ten different peptides that work simultaneously to prevent wrinkles, spots, brittle cuticles, and crepiness.

Apply at night before bed and wake up to younger-looking hands by the time you’ve finished the tube.



iS Clinical Retinol+ Emulsion 0.3, $ 105 USD

We love iS Clinical products so we were delighted to hear they had released a new Retinol emulsion. We had the chance to test out the formula, which uses a proprietary blend of Bakuchiol, botanical boosters, antioxidants, and extremozymes to target fine lines, deep wrinkles, skin tone and texture all at once. This mild formula is ideal for beginner-level retinol users and vets alike looking for a more radiant and smooth complexion (who isn’t!?). What separates this retinol from others is the use of bio-identical lipids in the formula, which aid in delivering the retinol deeply into the skin efficaciously for long-term results. Beginner-level retinol users should apply it in the evening every other day and work up to daily as tolerated by the skin.


Drunk Elephant Bora Barrier Repair Cream, $69 CAD

If you’re looking to swap out your day cream for something a little more rich, Drunk Elephant’s brand-new Bora Barrier repair cream is just what you need. This reparative formula nourishes the skin with glucosyl ceramides, zinc, beta-sitosterols, and copper salt minerals, which stimulate the synthesis of vital lipids, hyaluronic acid and healthy collagen in the skin. This highly moisturizing formula is clinically proven to boost hydration levels by 98% immediately, strengthen the skin barrier over eight hours and leave the skin moisturized for twenty-four hours.

If you aren’t already sold, a clinical study of thirty-three people revealed improved fine lines and wrinkles, elasticity, and firmness after only four weeks. It also acts as a barrier from environmental stressors like pollution and bacteria working to strengthen the skin and maintain a healthy state.