There was a day, not long ago, that I unctuously slunk around the city thinking it would stay +6 degrees right through till March -- even my French amis in France were sanguine the +14 temperature they were enjoying was here to stay.
Crazy thick cream would stay shelved this season, I thought to myself. My lips won't procure one flake! I am inarguably a naïve Canadian; a few days later, news outlets across the nation broadcasted an austere frigid temperature warning, and the following day, my metal frame aviators froze to my face on a corner run for a cup of coffee.
The minute the temperature drops, my skin protests with dullness, uneven tone and ugh, breakouts -- it seems my complexion is as devoutly sybarite as my psyche and is infinitely happier in warm, sunny weather (preferably on a beach with a glass of sparkling rosé). To battle the baddies, I adopt a salubrious routine that ensures my face looks its best whether it's January or July with the help of these all-star products.
A good scrub is the foundation of a happy and healthy complexion; any product applied will have minimal effect if it has a layer of dead skin cells to fight through (ew.) Juara's Radiance Enzyme Scrub is my absolute favourite, as it combines both a chemical exfoliant, apple enzyme, which eradicates dead cells, and a physical exfoliant, jojoba and bamboo beads, which ensures a smooth surface. Also formulated with cinnamon to refine pores and texture, skin is left super soft and primed for product.
I like using a face mask at least a few times a week. This often warrants raised eyebrows from my better half when trying to explain this one tones while that one stimulates collagen production, which are two totally different things that require two separate treatments. When it comes to reviving a dull complexion, I love Bliss's Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Foaming Mask for its bubbly texture that I can actually feel tenaciously invigorating my complexion. Formulated with brightening and clarifying Vitamin C, a skin-shielding complex to enhance the skin's natural moisture barrier and three oxygen boosters to energize your complexion's glow, this powerfully foaming mask delivers radiance in five minutes flat.
If it's bedtime, I slip on Estée Lauder's new Advanced Night Repair PowerFoil Mask (available online and in select stores beginning in February 2016). From the fastidious faces of K-beauty comes the new colloquially coined "Ironman sheet mask", a metallic-looking foil-backed sheet that pumps the brand's beloved Advanced Night Repair formula into skin more effectively, boosting absorption and ingredient efficiency.
To hydrate and enliven the delicate eye area, I reach for a tiny scoop of NARS Skin's Total Replenishing Eye Cream. Rich yet lightweight (read: non-greasy and lightening quick to absorb), this little wonder cream deeply moisturizes, fights wrinkles, boosts collagen production and has microscopic light reflecting particles that impart a radiant and refreshed look.
If it's makeup time, there is no better dull-skin chicanery than Giorgio Armani's brand new Maestro Glow (available beginning in March). The breakthrough Meastro formula, which enigmatically contains a high concentration of nourishing oils yet feels immaculately nude and weightless, now features a new formula that boasts the same perfecting texture with a dewier, glowier finish. Formulated with fillers that have a similar structure to those used by NASA to capture stardust in space (!), Maestro Glow offers flawless, long lasting and comfortably fluid coverage. If that's not enough, the new Glow offers double the UV protection of the original Maestro for added daily protection.
For lips, I need a heavy-duty moisturizing formula, but also crave a bit of colour and shine to brighten up my face. Makeup artists, celebrities and editors alike all fell for Fresh's Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment years ago, and who am I to argue with Vogue (both U.S. and UK editions, respectively)? It's creamy texture and supremely moisturizing and nourishing formula makes pouts super soft, while the tinted shades add a generous dose of colour; I'm currently swiping on Rosé, a soft pink flush, and Berry, an alluringly bold Bordeaux.
While my devotion to one singular mascara is about as exclusive as A-Rod's dating life, my absolute must-have is Givenchy's new Mr. Black Top Coat Mascara. The innovative topcoat is applied to lashes after a your standard mascara application, and creates an exquisite glossy, bright and defined look. The doe-footed applicator makes for an easy and quick slick that instantly enhances and sexes up lashes, while still maintaining a natural yet intense fringe. This is both mine and Vogue's Elisabeth TNT preferred winter look; TNT recently removed her lash extensions in favour of a more demure look. She took to the December issue to share her dernier cri approach to lashes: "a spring runway season that has left me wanting minimal-meets-glamorous makeup rather than anything over the top. Healthy, natural-looking lashes are in."
I always finish my routine, whatever the season, with a few good spritzes of a facial mist; in the summer, I reach for toning and tightening formulas, and during the cold, grey, months, I use a glow-boosting and hydrating mist. Right now, I'm really loving The Face Shop's The Smim Radiance Collagen Mist. It's incredibly lightweight and has a super-fine mist, which means the formula quickly sinks deep into my complexion. The twice-fermented collagen-spiked spritz instantly and impressively brightens, restores and improves skin's elasticity, while plant-based ingredients, like Mullein, a Mediterranean flower, make skin positively glow with radiance. All that good stuff aside, misting your face has a certain languorous, louche quality to it, and I'll partake in any sort of decadent beauty behaviour to beat the blahs when it's cold and grey outside.