#1 Face facts Moisturizer does not moisturize. Most formulas are a blend of water and emollients, but their role is really to prevent or slow moisture's escape from the skin's surface.
#2 Cool your jets Reduce that steamy shower temperature – no matter how good it feels. Hot water + cleanser washes away your skin's natural oils as thoroughly as hot water + detergent washes grease from your dinner plates. Squeaky clean is great for dishware, not so great for skin in winter.
#3 Buff up Exfoliate regularly to help lagging cells get out of the way so skin can soak up moisture more easily. A scrubby glove or plain white granulated sugar in the shower will do the trick body-wise. On the face, a mild scrub is great every few days to get rid of surface flakes. Gentle chemical-exfoliant skincare such as Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Extreme Night Pads or Indeed Retinol Reface will keep flaky skin at bay and soften fine lines as well.
#4 Pat down Don't rub the water away after your shower – you want to dab or pat off the excess instead, so you leave a little extra moisture on the skin (see point #1). Then lock it in with lotion right away. (Skin's hydration boost from your shower lasts only about three minutes without lotion, fyi.)
#5 Layer layer If you can't take heavy textures on your face, consider a serum followed by a lighter-weight cream. The most potent part of any skincare ritual, serums consist of small molecules that the top layer of skin can absorb. Apply first, so your face cream can then serve as a protective barrier to trap the serum molecules against your skin.
#6 Put oil on water Oil doesn't "moisturize" any better than cream does. But applied over dampness, it helps keep some of that extra water in the top layer of the epidermis. It's also a great layering option especially for dry complexions desperate for oil as well as water. Apply something like Smashbox Primer Oil before moisturizer (or mix it with moisturizer), or massage a couple of drops into skin before foundation for a glow boost.
#7 Skip fragrance Skin prone to dryness tends to be sensitive, and can react negatively to skincare scent, whether synthetic or natural. In the slideshow above, if the product is fragrance-free, I've said so.
#8 Consider ingredients Ceramides, glycerin, mineral oil (aka paraffinum liquidum), colloidal oatmeal, and petrolatum are all excellent for tempering extreme dryness in winter. See ingredient details in the slideshow above.
#9 Scoop it up Apply body lotion generously. If you're a habitual skimper, dermatologist Julia Carroll recommends going large-format as a self-training trick. "A tub is a great signal that this is something you're going to slather all over," she notes. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream comes in a ginormous pot.
#10 Keep 'em close Place lotion or cream within easy reach: on the side of the tub, on the bathroom counter, on the coffee table, on a side table, beside the couch, and the bedside table – you get the idea. If moisturizer is always handy, you'll put some on instead of scratching peevish, winter-itchy skin.
#11 Create mist opportunities Remember the part about applying moisturizer on damp skin for best results? No need to run to the sink to splash parched skin. Just keep a can of thermal water with each stash of body lotion. Spray it lightly onto dry skin, pat it in real quick and top with cream. Your skin will sigh in thanks.
#12 Trust your B.A No, not Bachelor of Arts – your Beauty Advisor. At Shopper's Drug Mart, beauty advisors are excellent sources of information. They can help determine skin type, show you what's new and improved (and what's on sale or what will give you major Optimum points!), make appropriate recommendations and offer tips on how best to use your skin care. At a Shopper's close to my hood, I asked beauty advisor Neyssa about the No. 7 Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum. She highlighted its potent antioxidant + peptide youth-boosting complex, and that it's one of the line's best-sellers. So I'm giving it a go now myself.
#13 Tech it out Wanna know exactly how thirsty your complexion is? Shoppers Drug Mart has a skin moisture-checker tool (yep, that's the official term) that measures your skin's dryness and dehydration, and via video microscope offers an extreme closeup of the epidermis so your beauty advisor can really get into detail with you.