Polar Vortex Skincare Advice From A Genius Aesthetician

One of the reasons I can cope with this harsh weather: the wisdom of my incredibly smart and talented friend, Julie Clark.

In the last three weeks, a lot of us have struggled with incredibly harsh winter weather. In Toronto alone, we've battled an ice storm, two blizzards, temperatures that hit well below zero and something everyone's calling a polar vortex. The weather outside is truly frightful--like, horror-movie scary.

If I didn't have to work, I would already have bed sores from nestling so deep into my sheets, woodland-style. But like the rest of the modern world, I gotta pay to play or whatever this motivational calendar of the day says. I'm in it to win it!

So in lieu of snow days, we have exhaustive and slushy subway rides and painfully bitter walks into work. And all that weather is messing with our vibes and our skin!

I have normal to oily skin that behaves fairly well in the summer but come winter, it goes so ham. Flaky, red, itchy, dry: it's like Goldbond commercial on repeat until April (if I'm lucky). Luckily, in the last couple of years I've cobbled a fairly decent routine together that has kept me relatively normal-looking.

One of the reasons I can cope: the wisdom of my incredibly smart and talented friend Julie Clark, a natural aesthetician and skin genius. (You may recall Alyssa mentioning her.)

Julie's advice is always to keep it simple and hydrated. For me, that's meant cleansing solely with oil. I've boosted my usual sunflower/grapeseed/jojoba blend with argan and clary sage to calm and hydrate.

Next I pump up the moisture with a balm that acts as a barrier against the harsh winds and drying temperatures, worn over my normal moisturizer.

Julie has a line of beautiful products called Province Apothecary, and her amazing Protecting and Restoring Face Balm is made with apricot and rose hip. It's loaded with omega-3s to keep skin hydrated and has pumpkin and broccoli oils to help ease redness and heal bumps and irritations.

I have had chapped cheeks before, and it's hard to get past the top layer to really moisturize and heal once that happens. This balm is a life-saver.

You can also try adding soothing essential oils to beeswax treatments. My dad hoards this propolis treatment balm from Chilliwack, near where I grew up, and I just slather that stuff all over my face in the winter.

Another one of Julie's tips involves soothing the rest of your skin. While it's tempting to want to jump in a hot bath every night, it's crucial not to overdry your skin, so focus on added moisture in the tub with oats and olive oil.

Grind up half a cup of oatmeal and put it in a piece of cheese cloth, a small cotton bag, or the foot of a clean panty hose. Put it in the bath with half an ounce of olive oil. Add some lavender, clary sage or rose otto essential oils to the bath and chiiiiiillllll.

The oatmeal with soften your skin, prevent dryness and help strengthen your skin. The olive oil will penetrate the skin and help hydrate and moisturize it.

And I don't know, you could probably eat whatever's left in the tub. (Just kidding, please don't do that.)

Seriously, though, oatmeal is a winter wonder for your skin. Oats contain polysaccharides, which become gelatinous in water and leave a fine protective film on the skin, preventing dull, flaky dryness. Plus, the proteins in oatmeal help maintain the skin's natural barrier function, which means the harshness outside won't mess with your zen insides.

All of these things plus all of the brown liquors means that I have at least survived snowmageddon relatively unscathed. How are you coping? Are you psyched about bathing in oats?