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Winter Skin Care Guide


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Winter skincare guide / dry skin / seasonal changes to skincare routine / green beauty / cold weather skincare / holistic beauty

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for most things! Our skin, on the other hand, seems to take an extra round in the boxing ring with the harsh elements winter brings us.

That’s why we’ve developed a guide to winter skin care to help keep your spirits and radiance high while the temperature is low.


4 Keys to Winter Skin Care:

009_0121) Hydrate!

Still the most commonly missed step in any skin care routine, hydrating is a crucial part of maintaining skin. The oils found in moisturizers can do wondrous things for our skin, but they can’t reach their ultimate level of effectiveness if our pores aren’t supported with water in order to accept their healing powers. Grounded Sage makes picking your perfect hydrator simple. Take this quick quiz to determine which is best suited for your skin.

008_0952) Seal it in

Now that we’ve covered hydration, what you need to know next is how to seal it in. The goal here is to lend a helping hand to your lipid barrier (aka your natural oil barrier). Think of lipids as a defence mechanism for your skin. They keep water in and help armour against the outside elements. When our lipids are stripped or damaged, the skin is left vulnerable to dehydration, irritation, and infection. The good news is thicker moisturizers and serums are just what the doctor ordered to help your lipid barrier seal in the goodness of hydration. The oils found in these types of products are similar to the ones in your lipid barrier, which mean they help boost your skin’s ability to protect itself. Now don’t be turned off by “thick” moisturizers either. A well-formulated moisturizer can be thick without feeling so! We formulate ours to do just that!

002_0213) Protect!

We don’t always put the words “sun” and “winter” in the same sentence, but we would be naïve to assume the sun’s ability to damage our skin can’t happen year round. Using products that contain titanium dioxide and zinc will help prevent harmful UV rays from getting at your skin. And while we’re on the topic of protection, don’t forget those the rest of your body too! Our Lip Balm+, Lip Rescue Jelly, and Body Butter can help you create a similar barrier in other sensitive areas.


4) Harness the Power of the Night!

Overnight is the perfect time to help build your skin’s defences. We’ll show you exactly how in the tips section below.


For the best results, your winter skin care routine should also include elements that are beneficial year round! Those include a routine that:

✓ removes makeup, pollution, impurities, and debris.

✓ buffs off dead skin cells so they don’t stop beneficial ingredients from being absorbed into your skin.

✓ hydrates so your pores are lubricated and can purge any blockages and impurities. Hydration also makes your skin is plump – having well-hydrated skin is the key to getting that “dewy”, naturally highlighted look.

✓ Seals in all that hydration with the right moisturizer for you (take our quiz to find yours).

✓ Supports your lipid barrier (as well as provides additional “hydration sealing – yet breathable – support”)  with a serum.

Ready to have a look at those 4 keys in actionable, practical steps? Keep reading …


So what do the 4 keys look like on a daily basis?

We answer that (and more!) – below – in our ultimate list of tips and how-tos for winter skincare!

In the winter, your skin needs a routine that will ensure you’re holding on to all the hydration you’ve applied (via hydrating skin care products – which are different than moisturizing products) as well as holding on to all the water your body is giving your skin internally.

This is extremely important (especially the serum step) because at night, in the winter here in the north, all that dry warm air from our furnaces is on the hunt for moisture and it will suck any water up that it finds (even if it’s from our skin!). Don’t let dry indoor air act like a vampire to your skin!


Winter skincare guide / dry skin / seasonal changes to skincare routine / green beauty / cold weather skincare / holistic beauty

Tip #1: If your skin could ask for one thing this winter, it would be? A serum!

You knew that was coming if you read the 4 keys to winter skin care above!

Start out by applying a light layer of serum at the end of your routine for a few days. If you notice it’s not enough for your skin (it’s still dry, tight, flaking, or isn’t feeling moisturized when you wake up), take the following steps:

  • Make sure you’re using the RIGHT hydrator for your skin (For example, move up from a mist to a gel if you need a boost!)
  • Make sure you’re using the RIGHT moisturizer for your skin. You might need to save the Raw Radiance, Calendula & Oat, or Daily Detox Moisturizer for daytime use and opt for our Patchouli or Forever Young at night.
  • Increase the amount of serum you’re using. Apply your serum before your moisturizer in the AM, and then in the PM, boost your serum game by loading up on serum over top of your moisturizer! In this case, since it’s the last thing you’ll be applying, you can’t use too much! Honest! Any amount that your skin doesn’t absorb (or the dry air doesn’t steal), can be washed off in the AM when you do your usual cleansing routine. Just be sure to use a towel over your pillowcase (just in case you roll around a lot at night). If you’re someone who skips the AM cleanse (either out of habit, limited time, or you find your skin does better with just one good cleanse a day), simply wipe off any excess serum in the morning with a warm, damp, clean washcloth. Then apply your hydration and moisturizer.


Tip #2: Create Moisture

Winter is dry, and as we’ve established, has a tendency to steal whatever moisture may be present in the air (or in your skin). Start using a humidifier at night in your bedroom (and in your office, living room or any other place you spend a lot of time – but absolutely in the bedroom! Any other areas are a bonus) to help counteract the moisture stealing by adding moisture back into the air – this is not only great for your skin, but it’s also good for your throat, nose, and body in general. This is especially useful if you’re acne prone, prone to dry skin, have sensitive skin, or are prone to rosacea.

Using a humidifier in the bedroom at night MAY actually decrease the amount of moisturizing and protecting products you need to use (ie. you may be able to still use a lighter moisturizer like our Raw Radiance Moisturizer or our oil absorbing moisturizer – Daily Detox. You may also be able to get away with applying a light layer of serum, rather than needing to load up on it – not that it would hurt if you did!).

Another bonus to having a humidifier in the bedroom? You can add a couple drops of select essential oils to it for different aromatic effects like lavender for calming.


Tip #3: Show Your Lips Some Love

Make applying a lip protecting product like our Lip Balm+ or Lip Rescue Jelly a habit – especially commit to doing this as the last thing you do before going to bed and the first thing you do before stepping out of the house/office/school into the winter winds.

Are your lips a mess already? Here’s how to bring them back into beautiful balance:

  • Gentle buff off any dry skin (don’t SCRUB – I repeat, don’t scrub off dry skin!). Be gentle and just lightly and ever so gently buff your lips with a soft washcloth.
  • Then, mist them with our hydration mist. Yup – they need it too!
  • Next, apply the Lip Rescue Jelly to your lips. Apply EXTRA to any cracks.
  • Continue to do this until things clear up.
  • Once your lips can handle some light pressure, switch from the Lip Rescue Jelly to our Lip Balm+.

Lip Balm+ / winter skincare / dry skin / moisturizer / made with natural ingredients / eczema care


Tip #4: Don’t make this moisturizing mistake!

If your usual moisturizing routine isn’t cutting it and you find your skin isn’t staying as moisturized and smooth as normal, another layer of moisturizer isn’t the answer if you have acne prone skin! Instead, make sure your skin is well hydrated before applying your moisturizer and consider switching to a different moisturizer only if needed. Re-take our “your perfect moisturizer” quiz and answer according to how your skin is currently feeling to know whether or not it’s time to switch things up.

Applying too much moisturizer rather than building a balanced routine is a common trap!

Why? Let’s take a look…

Using a heavy cream or applying more layers of moisturizer in the winter is rarely the answer for most folks when it comes to dry, or unbalanced skin. Unless your skin is already well balanced and isn’t prone to becoming unbalanced – this is SUPER rare – layering products and making sure you have a COMPLETE routine (i.e. a balanced routine that addresses both the oil AND water content of your skin), you’ll continue to feel like your skin is dry. Remember, your skin can only absorb so much at a time and loading up on a moisturizer that it can’t absorb is not only a waste of product, but it could create a build-up of un-absorbed ingredients which could lead to congestion.

This is also an important point for anyone who tends to tell themselves, My usual moisturizer isn’t cutting it this winter.

  • While this MAY be the case, before you look into ditching your current moisturizer, check to make sure your routine isn’t lacking one or both of these key elements for the winter: a hydrating element (a hydrator – not the same thing as a moisturizer) and protecting element (a plant-based serum). If you’re missing those hydrating and protecting steps, your routine is incomplete and sadly, your moisturizer is trying to pull the weight of 3 different products. When it comes to the winter, that’s too much of an ask for one product – even if it is an excellent moisturizer!


Tip #5: Variety: How to feed your skin this winter

Nourishing your skin with different products that have different consistencies, ingredients, and absorb at different rates, helps feed all the layers of your skin as the products will absorb to different layers based on the type of ingredients used and whether they are cream or serum.

A basic rule of thumb:
  • Serums and oils absorb the deepest though not always the fastest.
  • Hydrators absorb the fastest and can be deep or superficial depending on the formula.
  • Creams can absorb quickly (and usually do – ours, for example, absorb super fast) and don’t absorb as deeply as a serum/oil. Creams, depending on the ingredients used, can absorb at different “depths” too.

Another benefit to using multiple products is deeper absorbing products help carry beneficial ingredients from OTHER products deeper into your skin. That increases the chances of your skin being able to put those ingredients to good use as they are less likely to be absorbed into the air before your skin can use them. Bonus!


Tip #6: Put Your Cleanser to the Test

What you cleanse with will determine the success of the rest of your efforts and routine. This is not only true in the winter, but all year around.

If your cleanser pulls out all the water (hydration) from your skin that we talked about above, not only will you have a hard time replacing that hydration (let alone ever getting your skin to balance), but applying products just to try to replace what a previous product has removed is never an effective or recommended approach!

You’ll also be inadvertently creating a buildup of dead, dry skin cells!

Hello acne trigger, rough skin, dull complexion, and a “crust”. This what I call a buildup of dead skin cells and beneficial ingredients will have a hard time penetrating this crust.

With that in mind, it might be the season to switch to a milder, gentler cleanser.

Hydrating and moisturizing cleansers are particularly beneficial in the winter as our skin doesn’t need the deep cleaning that’s essential during the summer months to clear out sweat and excess oil.

Check out our Pure Amore Gel Cleanser for a hydrating cleanser, our extremely gentle Calendula & Cucumber Cleanser, or our Green Tea & Pineapple Cleanser for the benefits of AHA pineapple enzymes to remove an excess buildup of rough, dead skin cells that can stop your hydrator and moisturizer from absorbing properly).

  • Same Applies to Your Exfoliator: It might also be the season to adjust your exfoliator. If you prepped your skin as suggested in our Autumn Skin Care Guide, now might be the time to ease up slightly on your exfoliating efforts. Don’t stop completely of course! Just do a little less exfoliating (perhaps try just physical exfoliation or just enzyme exfoliation, rather than a combo, or switch to a super gentle enzyme scrub) and see how your skin does. Adjust as needed. More on how to pick the right exfoliator here.
  • No Foam Parties: If you’re still using a foaming cleanser that isn’t completely natural (in other words, the foaming isn’t happening by your creation – i.e. rubbing your hands together!), or you’re using a traditional “deep cleaning” cleanser – beware! You could be setting your skin up for complete and utter failure this winter!
    • Be sure to check your products for skin stripping ingredients (ingredients that damage, deplete or annihilate our lipid barrier).


Winter skincare guide / dry skin / seasonal changes to skincare routine / green beauty / cold weather skincare / holistic beauty

Tip #7: When Experiencing an Increase in Sensitive Skin, Winter Dryness, and/or Redness… Bring on Serum Serenity!

(aka: Why are plant-based oil serums are a MUST in the winter.)

Sensitive skin and dry skin go hand in hand during the cold winter months

Many peoples’ skin experiences an increase in dryness in the winter, but what you may not have realized, is that many people also experience an increase in sensitive skin in the winter.

This is often because dry skin, or even “drier than normal” skin for you means your skin’s barrier has been subjected to tiny cracks. Think of this as tiny cracks in a wall that are supposed to keep the winter winds and snow out of your house. Those cracks let in the cold, the snow, and make you shiver right down to the bone (I’d be extra sensitive in that situation too- Haha).

When it comes to your skin, tiny cracks means that the water content of your skin is stolen. It’s literally sucked out of those cracks by dry air, winter winds. The cracks also allow irritants to slip into your skin more easily, which results in sensitivity, redness, and even irritation from products you use without any issues the rest of the year.

The key to “filling in” those cracks (or prevent them in the first place!) is a serum that’s rich in plant-based oils. Particularly, plant-based oils that are selected specifically for your skin’s needs. See our serums in our “designed for you” blends.

Plant-based oils not only fill the cracks, but they repair our lipid-barrier which acts as a vital part of your immune system. We’ve designed our serums to help protect from winter dryness and sensitivity and repair our skin’s barrier (so our skin can stay hydrated AND moisturized).

To gain a better understanding of the difference between moisturizers and hydrators, check out this blog.

Plant-based oils can be carried deep into the skin and help repair, nourish, and moisturize each layer of our skin they pass through.

They correct the lack of oil (or repair breaks in our oil barrier). They also correct issues with dehydrated skin when paired with a hydrator. The hydrator provides the water content, and the serum makes sure that the hydrator is absorbed deeply and STAYS in the skin. But the most important part? Our plant oil serums create a breathable barrier that won’t stop the skin from doing any of the detoxifying and purging activities that keep it healthy and free of congestion. Pretty awesome right?



That’s a wrap! Time for Tea!

We know that’s a LOT to take in, but we want to make sure you’re equipped with the knowledge to take your skincare journey in the right direction.

Winter can get to the best and strongest of us, but with this guide, you’ll be able to ensure your skin survives this winter, all while still being able to enjoy the true splendours of the season.

Have a question or feeling a little overwhelmed with how to put this all together? No worries – We’ve got your back! Simply head over to the Start Here page to build a quick, effective, and customized-for-you routine in a few quick quizzes (we promise, no math or homework required!).

With Love & Radiance,

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Jamie Sabot, Author, Grounded Sage Skincare

Jamie Sabot

Jamie Sabot is the founder of Grounded Sage Skincare. Since she started in 2009, Grounded Sage Skincare has helped thousands of customers with their skin by creating handcrafted skincare products, online workshops, and this blog, which has been a trusted resource for straightforward natural skincare information to over 2 million readers and counting.

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