It’s not even technically winter yet and already I’m doing battle with my skin. From eczema flare ups to just plain old itchy, patchy and dry skin, I’ve bought four new dry skin remedies in the past week trying to solve all my problems.

Some winters are better than others, but this winter it’s especially bad. Maybe it’s age-related skin changes, or perhaps it’s because our old house has a moisture level on par with that of the Sahara desert. Either way, this isn’t the game I want to be playing until the warm weather returns.

I caught up with Gabbi Pascua, celebrity makeup artist and beauty director for The Beyond Project to get some help navigating these winter skin dilemmas. What should we be adding to our routines? What should we cut out? And are hot showers (my favorite reward for spending time freezing to death on the sledding hill) really a no-no for already parched skin?

Read on to find her tips along with some of the dry skin remedies that have helped me out as well!

Best winter skincare tools

Zen Me Dry Brush

Zen Me


Premium Boar Bristle Dry Brush

Dry brushing is something I started doing a few years ago to help my ashy legs and ingrown hairs. It’s one of those inexpensive and manageable self care practices that really does make a difference. Any dry brush will work, but this one is my fave. It’s the perfect blend of soft bristles with just enough firmness to really do its job, and made from sustainably harvested boar bristle. Use it before showering to slough off dead skin, aid lymphatic drainage and increase blood flow. The long handle is great for hard to reach spots and it can be removed for more focused massage.

zakia's morocco original kessa exfoliating glove

Zakia's Morocco


Original Kessa Exfoliating Glove

If you use self-tanner to combat winter pastiness, battle with ingrown hairs or suffer from keratosis pilaris, this is the best investment you can make. I discovered this miracle exfoliation mitt at a Hammam spa a few years ago and it completely changed my skin. After you soap up and rinse off, simply scrub your body and watch in horror/delight as balls of dead skin begin to appear. You’ll instantly feel soft as a baby’s bottom and can repeat weekly for continued improvement.

If you’re like me and prefer showers that threaten first degree burns, you’ll be sad to know they’re not the best if you’re struggling with any skin conditions like rosacea, eczema or psoriasis. The high temps can exacerbate inflammation, making matters worse.

But the good news? “If you don’t want to skip out on hot showers–I suggest adding an oil like almond, jojoba or coconut in combination to your already existing moisturizing routine for your body. For your face, use a heavier moisturizer boosted with hyaluronic acid and be generous with it. If you have extremely dry skin, you can mix in some of your non-active night creams for a daytime quench,” says Pascua.

Now about those moisturizers.

Body moisturizers for winter skin

Flamingo Daily Moisturizing Lotion



Daily Moisturizing Lotion

If you shy away from thick body cream because they never seem to rub in and turn you into a greasy mess, forget what you know. The Flamingo Daily Moisturizing Lotion is rich and emollient and also happens to sink right in, leaving skin soft and supple for the entire day. It’s packed with squalane for instant hydration along with white willow bark and papaya extract to help exfoliate and improve the quality of skin over time. I love the clean fresh scent and have to say, the best body cream I’ve used in ages. The biggest surprise? It’s also the cheapest.

Now Solutions Sweet Almond Oil

Now Solutions


Sweet Almond Oil

If you’ve already got a lotion you love but want to give your skin an extra boost during the cold months, Pascua recommends adding a bit of almond oil to it and applying post-shower. Not only does it hydrate and seal in moisture, it can help repair the skin barrier as well. It’s also loaded with antioxidants which can help with inflammation and aging and Vitamin E which is proven to help improve the look of scars and stretch marks. Win, win, win!

Weleda Skin Food Ultra-Rich Cream



Skin Food Ultra-Rich Cream

You know those stubborn dry patches that crop up out of nowhere and just want to hang out all winter long? No thank you. Invitation revoked, thanks to Weleda Skin Food. The raved-about formula is your best defense against scaly elbows, eczema battles, ratty cuticles…basically anywhere you need some super-charged hydration and protection. It’s thick and rich (almost like diaper cream) but sinks in fast and works like a charm.

Lush Naked Shower Oil



Coco Loco Naked Shower Oil

On the days when I’m in a hurry or when I want to give my skin an extra dose of moisture, the shower oil bars from Lush are my BFF. Just rub the coco butter and coconut oil-based bar over your skin as the last step of your shower and rinse away for serious softness that doesn’t even require lotion. (But by all means, go for it if you want to!) The Coco Loco scent smells like vacation which is a welcome experience in the darkest of months.

Body scrubs for winter skin

Om Skin Vanilla Moon Radiant Body Scrub



Vanilla Moon Radiant Body Scrub

TBH, I generally have a love/hate relationship with body scrubs because they can be such a pain to deal with in the shower. The oil separates from the gritty parts which makes them tricky to apply and eventually, you’re left with one ingredient or the other. This one is totally different. The texture is more like a sandy body butter which offers a deep exfoliation and instant hydration that doesn’t feel greasy or heavy. Ingredient-wise, it packs both coconut and meadowfoam oils to moisturize along with kaolinite clay to gently exfoliate. It’s also the only scrub I’ve ever used that’s kind enough on your skin that you can even use it as a shave cream!

P.S. I also love that this brand sells mini sizes of all their products so you can try them out before coming back to grab the full size (because inevitably, you will!)

Clinique Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator



Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator

With a subtle tingle the Sparkle Skin Exfoliator from Clinique is a refreshing addition to your exfoliation routine. The gel texture is not rough or gritty and the packaging makes it an easy one to use in the shower!

Winter skincare remedies for face

Grown Alchemist Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser

Grown Alchemist


Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser

When I was looking for a winter-appropriate cleanser, the Grown Alchemist Hydra-Restore Cream Cleanser was love at first wash. It’s creamy without being greasy, cleanses without stripping, and hydrates without overwhelming my pores. The formula is packed with plant-derived ingredients like Olive Leaf Extract to moisturize and firm, Plantago Extract and Beta-glucan from Oat to help soothe and even Niacinamide to help reduce the appearance of pores and re-invigorate dull skin. The subtle ylang ylang scent is comforting without overpowering and the aluminum tube means not so much as a drop gets wasted.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser



Hydrating Facial Cleanser

This super popular drugstore cleanser is a gentle but effective way to wash the day off (or get it started!) The lotion-like wash is formulated with three essential ceramides to help reinforce your skin’s barrier and lock in moisture without stripping skin or making your face feel tight after drying. The addition of hyaluronic acid helps to improve skin texture and keep it looking fresh, plump and ready to glow. And you can use it on your hands and body as well!

Murad Hydrating Toner



Hydrating Toner

Toners can be great for removing those traces of makeup and sunscreen after washing your face, but when temps drop make sure the one you’re using doesn’t strip out  moisture. Murad Hydrating Toner is Pascua’s pick, a lightweight formula made with peach and cucumber extracts which also helps balance skin’s pH levels.

Moon Juice Plump Jelly

Moon Juice


Plump Jelly

According to Pascua, hyaluronic acid hydration boosters are must-add when it comes to winter skincare routines. (For me, they’re constantly in play no matter what the season.) Hyaluronic acid—a molecule our bodies produce naturally that acts like a magnet to draw moisture in–is a total hydration powerhouse. It instantly plumps skin to give it a smoother, healthier appearance and when followed by a moisturizer, it keeps things that way all day long. There are a ton of great formulas out there, but Moon Juice Plump Jelly is one of my favorites. It’s a little more gel-like than some and gives my face a bouncy glow without being sticky.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream

Dr. Barbara Sturm


Face Cream

Pascua also recommends incorporating a heavy but active-ingredient gentle cream into your winter skincare line up like this one from Dr. Barbara Sturm. The luxe formula is super hydrating without feeling too heavy, helping to firm skin and fill in fine lines. The star of the show? A medicinal herb called Purslane which happens to be a powerful antioxidant which does everything from reduce inflammation to stimulate cell repair.

Vanicream daily facial moisturizer



Daily Facial Moisturizer

I discovered Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer through a reddit suggestion after two consecutive months of eczema flare ups that seemed spurred on by ovulation (how fun is that?!). After the swelling and wake-you-from a sound sleep itching subsides, it leaves a red, flaky mask in its wake. After one application, this gel-like gift from the goddesses sunk right in and improved the situation almost completely. Made with barrier nourishing hyaluronic acid and ceramides and no fragrance, essential oils or anything to irritate it’s super hydrating without being heavy or greasy. I then cut out literally every other step of my routine for two weeks. It helped immensely and has been a go-to ever since, eczema flares or not.

Knours Be Kind Double Duty Mist



Be Kind Double Duty Mist

Looking for a dose of moisture during the day? A pioneer in its category, we were instantly smitten with Knours’ Double Duty face mist. This brilliant multitasker is formulated with two separate layers of aloe vera water and jojoba oil to be used two ways: Not shaken if your skin is feeling sensitive or oily to deliver calming hydration, shaken if your skin is flaky and drier than usual for a blend that offers a moisturized glow. I mean, have you ever?! The sorcery! It’s perfect for an afternoon complexion pick-me-up and the subtle peony scent is absolutely intoxicating. Consider yourself hooked.