Give your skin a little refresh with these top picks to fight the winter blues
Anyone else still feel like they're recovering from the holidays? We're only halfway through winter and after a few weeks (or more) of indulgences, our skin could use some pampering. All the products below were chosen for their nourishing, healing and enhancing qualities—everything you need to help your skin recover and get back to its best shape. Because when we have a good skin day, everything else looks better.
1. Nourish Cleansing Gelée and Moisture Mask by Huna, $70
This unique multi-tasker works both as a gentle cleanser for everyday, and as a mask when left on the skin. The texture is an "oleo-gel", beginning as an oil-based gel, which glides over skin like a cushioning balm. Add a few drops of water and it turns into a cleansing milk. But skip this last step to leave on the skin for a deeply hydrating treatment if you feel your skin needs that extra drink. The texture is beautifully comforting, especially this time of year. It'll cleanse your skin without stripping the moisture barrier.
2. Snap Shadows Mix and Match Eyeshadow Palette by Fenty Beauty, $33 or two for $59
Fenty BeautyImagine this: an eyeshadow kit with 12 colours including all the shades you want, and none you don't. Fenty Beauty has just launched eight mini palettes, each containing six shades as part of a cohesive colour story. If all you want are shimmery pastels, you've got 'em. Rose? Yup! And, of course, there are four neutral palettes ranging from cool to warm and everything in between. Pick up the two (or more) you absolutely love, then press them back-to-back until they click securely together. Voila! You've just created a compact, travel-friendly, doubled-sided eyeshadow palette that contains all your favourite shades.
Aside from palette eight, Pastel Frost (all frost), each palette contains a mixture of matte, satin, shimmer and even the occasional pressed glitter. And, it's Fenty—they all apply beautifully, are richly pigmented and have minimal fallout.
3. HydrExtreme by Consonant, $72
This award-winning serum offers extreme hydration in a bottle. It contains only two ingredients—a proprietary blend of exotic cassia angustifolia seed extract and vegetable glycerine—and has achieved cult status for its ability to visibly hydrate, plump and restore that youthful glow. HydrExtreme has actually been "clinically proven to deliver potent and persistent moisturization that significantly outperforms hyaluronic acid." The texture is lightweight and non-greasy, layering very well under other skincare and makeup without pilling.
4. Precision Liquid Eyeliner by Evalina, $32
Newly launched Evalina (based in Vancouver) debuted late last year with a capsule collection with elements for the entire face, including this standout eyeliner. It has a fine, tapered felt tip that easily lays down a satin-matte black ink. The colour is rich, the dry-down is quick and the maneuverability is relatively easy even for flick novices. To make it last the whole day, smudge some waterproof eye pencil overtop to seal in the base colour.
5. Clay Masks by Bl'eau, from $39
Made from glacial oceanic clay that's "loaded with over 60 unique minerals and rare elements," British Columbia's Bl'eau (pronounced "blue"), has created a lineup of masks to smooth and soothe the skin. The clay is locally and ethically sourced from a pristine region of Northern B.C., where the glaciers meet the ocean. All their products are certified organic (to the NSF/ANSI 305 standard), reassuring when the masks are actively using osmotic properties to both pull out toxins while depositing nutrients and hydration. The masks are soft and creamy, and leave the skin noticeably renewed.
6. Hide and Chic Fluid Foundation by Stila, $51
Last year saw a record number of foundation launches. Most were full coverage, which is just one of many reasons that make this stand out. Stila's contribution is sheer and natural—more than a skin tint, but less than even some tinted moisturizers. It's a winner because the texture is so cushion-y and silky that it evens out skin tone beautifully, imperceptibly. The foundation is a "shake-to-activate" formula that includes plant collagen extract (firming), baobab seed extract (protecting) and Irish sea moss (hydrating). It also features 30 shades that come in cool, neutral and warm undertones. A final note on packaging: it's terrible, with an imprecise, too-powerful pump dispenser that can shoot foundation across your bathroom if you're not prepared. Either do micro pumps, or cup your palm around the nozzle. A hassle, but one that's worth it.
7. Face Base Travel Set by Lano, $36
From Australian cult beauty brand, Lano, this is a great set for travel or as an introduction to the brand. It contains a cleanser, a recovery mask and a day cream. Lano is best known for its more emollient products, but the three products here would work very well for all skin types except for the very dry (you'll need a moisture barrier over the day cream) and the very oily (skip the recovery mask, or spot treat). If you're actually travelling, keep these little tubes in your handbag for repeated applications throughout your flight to ensure your skin stays hydrated and nourished.
8. Fragrances by Lush, from $39.99
Everyone has a favourite Lush scent, whether in a chunk of soap or fizzy bath bomb... and Lush has finally bottled those fan favourites into eight new perfumes (vegan, as always). These scents contain incredible essential oils from around the world that, when blended, create olfactory magic. Customers will recognize most of the fragrances, though one is brand new: Junk, offering a blend of Sicilian lemon and green mandarin oils, grounded by earthy rosemary and sage.
9. Sleep Well Set by Scentuals, $45.50
Local aromatherapy experts, Scentuals, have created the perfect way to relax after the hectic holidays and return to regular, healthy sleep patterns. This set contains hand and body lotion, sleep mist and aromatherapy roll-on. Use items individually, or layer them to create the ultimate sleep cocoon. All items are 100 percent natural, made with organic aloe, organic argan oil and pure essential oils.
10. Plant Gold by Clarins, $68
This is a unique 2-in1 oil emulsion that's housed in a dual-chamber bottle, keeping each component separate until pumped out. One chamber houses Clarins' iconic Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil, and the other holds a light lotion. With each pump, a precise amount of each liquid is dispensed, allowing you to blend them together—fresh—each time. Deceptively lightweight, it's packed with patchouli essential oil to help restore radiance, hazelnut oil for Omega 9, and sweet almond oil for its fatty acids to soften the skin.