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Christina's Cold-Weather Holy Grails + Daily Skincare Routine

By Christina, Skincare Contributor

Christina is a professed skincare and makeup junkie living in La Belle Province (aka Quebec, Canada). When not reading beauty blogs and magazines, stalking the beauty aisle of her local pharmacy fawning over new products or making her girlfriends spend way too much money at the beauty counter, Christina is studying full-time to obtain a masters degree in marketing, with a research focus on multicultural marketing and advertising strategies in the beauty industry. You can follow her on Twitter @cbellevue25.

Christina’s Cold-Weather Holy Grails + Daily Skincare Routine

This year, du jour au lendemain, the weather in Montreal became very cold all of a sudden. As a result, I’m quickly stashing away my summer products and winterizing my beauty routine for the coming months. I have combination skin on the sensitive side, therefore it is important that all year round, my skin stays matte, acne-free and properly hydrated especially the skin on my cheeks and around my mouth, which tends to become very dry or dehydrated. For the longest time, I felt those objectives were contradictory, although with time and experience, I have finally been able to develop a solid skincare routine that has allowed me to reach all three of these goals simultaneously, much to my (skin’s) relief.

Here is my updated Fall/almost-Winter daily skincare routine with some of my colder-weather holy grail products that you might also want to look into if you share some of the same skin concerns as I do:

In the AM: Keeping my skin moisturized is key (face & body)

In the morning, I wash my face in the shower with a pea-size amount of AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Foam ($50.00) to remove any leftover night cream or sebum. This foam cleanser smells delightful, is gentler than any of the other foam cleansers I’ve tried in the past and the tube lasts forever it is a definite must-have for me.

To hydrate my face, I like using La Roche-Posay Tolériane Fluide ($26.95) mixed in with a small scoop of Philosophy Turbo Boost Vitamin C Powder ($35.00) for antioxidant action. I swear by this La Roche-Posay moisturizer, simply because I find it is the perfect moisturizer for combination to oily skin with sensitivities: it’s light, oil-free, fragrance-free, and it sinks right into your skin. For sensitive skin on the drier side, another good option in the Tolériane range is La Roche-Posay Tolériane Ultra Intense Soothing Care ($34.95). I also use this cream whenever I feel my skin is very dehydrated. What I like about this product is that it has a thicker consistency and offers excellent long-lasting hydration, yet it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy after applying.

Before applying my powder foundation, I prep my skin with a dab of Nurturing Force Blot Out Offensive Mattifying Cream + HD Primer ($24.00) applied with a foundation brush for an even application. I discovered the Nurturing Force brand when I attended The Makeup Show in NYC this summer, and it turned out to be one my favourite skincare products ever. This cream is made with aloe vera and is silicone-, paraben- and alcohol-free which is great news for any skin that is sensitive or that cannot tolerate silicone-based primers very well. It is a wonderful product for any skin type, and it does an excellent job of keeping your face fresh all day, not causing any breakouts and increasing your makeup’s staying power like nobody’s business.

To keep my body moisturized, I will usually wash with a body cleansing oil in the shower. I love La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lipid-Replenishing Anti-Irritation Cleansing Oil ($14.00) because you get to wash and oil it up at the same time, how amazing is that?! I also keep my favourite body butter, Belle Butters Orange Dream Cream Butter ($12.50), in the bathroom and apply it on my knees and elbows right after the shower. Little tip for all the natural hair ladies and gentlemen out there, this shea and orange butter cream is a fantastic multi-tasker, because you can also use it on your hair for twist-outs/braid-outs with great definition (especially on type 4a and 4b hair), or to seal in the moisture.

Anywhere I go, I always carry a tube of my favourite hand cream, L’Occitane en Provence Shea Butter Hand Cream ($10.00), because ashy is to-tal-ly unsexy!

Check out Christina’s evening and night time routine! 

In the PM: Removing my makeup gently and properly is my main focus

I will usually start by gently removing my makeup (face and eyes) with my favourite makeup remover ever, Bioderma Créaline H20 Micelle Solution for Sensitive Skin ($33.49). Models love this stuff, and for good reason: this cleanser is gentle and it works wonders to remove (lots of) makeup without having you rub your eyes or your skin considerably to get it off. To clean my face, I follow up with my trusted Clarisonic ($149.00) with a pea-size amount of AmorePacific Treatment Cleansing Foam ($50.00) on the brush. To finish off, I’ll swipe a bit of Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion ($21.00) on my face with a cotton pad to ensure there is no makeup residue left.

Nighttime: Treating and helping my skin renew itself is my primary goal

Depending on how my skin feels (or if I’m not too lazy), I like using some of my favourite facial masks once or twice a week to treat my skin before going to bed. I use either Ole Henriksen Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask ($32.00) to soothe and hydrate my skin, the fantastic Belle Butters Oil Neutralizing Butter ($12.50) to help control sebum production on my T-Zone (here’s a great review from Krissy of Addicted to All Things Pretty if you’d like to know more about this product), or Darphin Mild Aroma Peeling ($50.00) to exfoliate if my skin feels a bit rugged.

Right before bed, I apply Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum ($85.00) all over my face and my neck. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in terms of evening out my skintone while giving me a smoother skin texture since I’ve started using this product a couple of months ago I seriously love this stuff and will repurchase once my bottle is finished.

Next up is a thin layer of Karin Herzog Vita-A-Kombi 1,($54.00) a cream that contains a 1% pure oxygen and Vitamin A patented complex. This is a staple in my night-time skincare routine because it helps with so many things, including minimizing fine lines, hydrating skin, reducing skin sensitivity and promoting quicker skin healing; I’ve been using it for many years and I currently have no intention of using anything else it is definitely one of my lifetime skincare holy grails, because it does everything it says and more. I highly recommend this product, and if you’d like to get a trusted second opinion, you can also read Temptalia’s review on this cream (PS: I agree with Christine, it is best left for usage at night because it does have an old-lady smell). Additionally, the Karin Herzog brand is a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, so you know this is “royally” good stuff.

Lastly, I gently pat a bit of Vagheggi Rehydra Eye Contour Cream (AUS $33.30) around my eyes and on my brow bone to reduce puffiness the next day. Then it’s off to bed on my satin pillowcase to prevent sleep wrinkles the next morning.

Voilà! That’s my daily skincare routine with some of my must-haves for the colder months to come. How about you, how do you winterize your skincare routine? What are your skincare must-haves?


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Dayday Avatar

I feel your pain, since I live in Montréal as well!
My oily skin suddenly, like the weather, change to a dehydrated mess!
Adieu La Roche Posay Efflaclar Cleanser, my holy grail. Welcome more hydrating cleansers (Using one by Neutrogena at the moment, love this stuff)
I also bought an Aveeno scrub, that I like very much as well.
But now I have plenty of black heads! GRRRRR. I want to switch back to LRP cleanser but nope.. If I do that: Dry and flaky skin.
Ah life is never easy, n’est-ce pas?

Christina Avatar

Dayday, the same thing happened to me! I was a major fan of LRP Effaclar cleanser for years until my skin said “enough” and became very dehydrated after each cleanse. I stopped by the AmorePacific store while shopping in NYC and the cleansing foam sample I purchased changed my skin for the better. I haven’t looked back since, although I may need to find a more affordable (and accessible) option for the future.

Would love to know which Neutrogena cleanser you’re using! And have you thought about switching to another LRP cleanser? I’m thinking Tolériane Foaming Cleanser perhaps?

Christina Avatar

Hi kate!

I was able to purchase many of the products listed in Montreal, but some you will have to order by phone or online. Thankfully, they all ship to Canada at a decent rate 🙂

– Bioderma and La Roche-Posay can be found at Pharmaprix and Jean Coutu pharmacies across Montréal, as well as Murale Place Ville-Marie.

– AmorePacific is not sold in Montréal (only at Holt Renfrew in Toronto and Vancouver), but it can be ordered online by visiting, or by phone by calling 1-877-55-AMORE. also sells AmorePacific, but weirdly enough, it doesn’t allow the brand to ship to Canada 🙁

– Karin Herzog is sold at various spas and salons across Montréal. For a full listing, please visit this website:

– Ole Henriksen, Clarisonic and Philosophy are sold at Sephora (stores and online — except for Clarisonic, which has to be purchased in-store).

– Estée Lauder is sold at The Bay, Sears, Murale Place Ville-Marie, Ogilvy and Holt Renfrew.

– Nurturing Force can be ordered online at The website also mentions the product can be purchased at Studio Backstage on Saint-Jacques street, but I can’t vouch for that since I tried calling the store a few times but nobody ever picked up…

– Darphin is sold at Murale Place Ville-Marie and select spas across Montréal.

– Belle Butters can be ordered online at

– L’Occitane en Provence can be ordered online or purchased at L’Occitane en Provence store locations in Montréal (Sherbrooke West, Place Ville-Marie and Laurier St.).

– Vagheggi is sold at select spas and salons across Montreal. For locations, please call 514-856-7494 or the toll-free number at 1-800-363-0156.

– Clinique is sold at The Bay, Sephora, Sears, Holt Renfrew, Murale Place Ville-Marie and select Pharmaprix.

Hope this helps!

Ljana Avatar

That’s such a thorough, well-balanced and thought out routine, I’m impressed! We have a lot of products in common – I’m also a huge fan of French pharmacy skincare. LRP’s Toleriane Ultra is the first moisturizer to become a staple of mine (I’m usually quite adventurous with my skin care and experiment a lot), but Toleriane Ultra is such a wonderful product I haven’t been without it since it came out. And the packaging is pure genius!

Christina Avatar

Thank you very much Ljana!

It took me a while and a lot of trial and error, but I think I have finally found my holy-grails for some time now (at least I hope so!). I agree with you, French pharmacy skincare is great, I find it offers the best of both worlds: efficacy at a decent price. It’s my derm who introduced me to LRP years ago and I have been hooked since then. To be honest, I was quite hesitant about Tolériane Ultra at first, so I requested a sample. As soon as I tried it though, I knew this product would become one of my staples. And I concur, the packaging is pretty neat 🙂

Anne Avatar

I used to don’t winterize my skincare routine, but I’ve found out I need to. My skin looks a bit dehydrated now, so I’m looking for a new moisturizer to replace L’Occitante Ultra Matte Rice Fluid, which is great for summertime.

Christina Avatar

Switching to a more hydrating moisturizer is definitely a good idea this time of year! And thanks for the tip — I’ll keep this L’Occitane moisturizer in mind for next summer!

Faye Avatar

Morning Soap&Glory Peaches n Clean cleansing milk and a hot flannel. Night time the same. Toner before makeup in the morning if I remember, never moisturise (too oily already) and Blistex lip conditioner to bed. It works!

Christina Avatar

Thanks for sharing, Faye! I think it’s time I try Soap&Glory, I’ve been hearing so many good things about it, this brand is definitely going on my to-try-next list 🙂

Ashley Avatar

I love reading other people’s skincare routines. My morning and night routine is, for the most part, quite similar.

AM I wash with Clinique Liquid Facial Soap for combination oily/oily skin. Then, I follow up with their Clarifying Lotion 3. After that, I apply Silk Naturals Awesome Sauce (an antioxidant serum) to my face and NuFountain Vitamin C serum to my neck. (Getting ready to try Silk Naturals’ Vitamin C & Peptide serum, though.) In the summer, I could probably get away with just serum, but since it’s winter, I follow it up with Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.

PM, I use Ponds Makeup Removing Towelettes to remove make-up and cleanse my face. Getting ready to start following that up with First Aid Beauty’s Facial Cleanser. I use the clarifying lotion and then follow up with the serums and the moisturizing gel again. I used to use Clinique’s Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Cream for Combination/Oily skin in place of the serums and the moisturizing gel, but that stuff actually breaks me out.

Christina Avatar

Ashley, thank you very much for sharing your routine and for making me discover brands I’d never heard of! I’m already on Google to get more information on the products you are using 🙂

cherryglass Avatar

Thank you for such informative post. I need a new moisturizer (like, today!) and the timing of your post couldn’t have been better. I completely forgot about La Roche-Possay! You have stunning skin and it speaks volumes about your routine. I can’t wait to try some of the items.

Christina Avatar

Thanks cherryglass 🙂
There are other excellent moisturizers in other brands, but I have to admit that LRP stole my heart. If you shop at any Shoppers/Pharmaprix or Jean Coutu, you’ll find LRP Holiday skincare kits with most of the major facial moisturizers offered with free samples or gifts with purchase. It’s a great way to get familiarized with the brand!

holly Avatar

oooh im going to pick up the l’occitane shea hand lotion as soon as i get paid, im always on the lookout for a hand cream that ACTUALLY keeps my (chronically) dry hands moisturized! thanks for the tip 🙂

Walhalla Avatar

Fellow Quebecer here. 🙂 Great article, Christina! I’m still looking for my winter HG items, so I’ll definitely check out LRP Toleriane products. I never know what to do with my skin during winter because it becomes so dry and flaky. I’m currently using a mix of Korres and Neutrogena moisturizing creams for day and night, but they do not keep my skin as hydrated as I’d like it to be…

Christina Avatar

Hi MJ!

For now, I’ve been relying on the built-in SPF in my foundation (SPF 15 in CoverFX’s NaturalFX liquid foundation), because I still haven’t found an SPF cream or lotion that I’m 100% satisfied with. But I would also like to step it up a bit and look at other options! A few months ago, I tried a sample of Benefit Triple Performing Facial Emulsion SPF 15 in NYC. I really liked it and figured I would purchase it in Canada until I realized we didn’t carry this specific lotion here — total bummer. I may try to order it on eBay and will keep my fingers crossed that it’ll make it through Canadian customs, lol. Otherwise, I’m also considering trying out LRP Hydraphase Intense SPF 15/30, or L’Occitane en Provence Angelica UV Shield SPF 40, which I’ve read good things about. Will keep you posted in a future post 🙂

Angelcat47 Avatar

Christina,you are a woman after my own heart!! I love all things beauty,but skincare is my addiction.I so loved your in depth reviews and look forward to reading many more.

Jacqueline Avatar

Where did you get the Karin Herzog cream? I live in Canada as well (Vancouver), the Dermstore link you provided charges a really expensive international shipping fee, and the Canadian partner ebeauty doesn’t carry the brand 🙁

laedanlateiteia Avatar

Ahh Loved it! Your skincare routine is so very inspiring specially for me as I am a bit ignorant about all this stuff. Usually I just go to the Pharmaprix and pick up one or two product in discount to hydrate my face. I often buy Laroche-Posay because it is the only brand I know and trust. So I wonder if there is any one MUST-have among all the stuff you propose ? One product that really makes the difference? thxxx!

Christina Avatar

Thanks laedanlateiteia! If I were to pick and choose one product, I’d go with either LRP Tolériane Fluide, Soin Protecteur Apaisant or Ultra if you want something richer!

Olive Avatar

Thank you for this, Christina. Thanks to your advice I think I will actually go through this winter (I live in MI) quite comfortably, and I will be sure to stalk Temptalia for your follow-up on your summer routine. I can’t wait to hear!

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