Favorite Skincare Products – Fall and Winter

I used to be a very, very simple skincare gal. The same products, day in and day out  – they weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible, and I was too lazy to do more research.

Starting a few years ago though, I started to pay more attention to my skin, and try out more products. It wasn’t really by choice. First I moved to Boston for school, which had a cold climate that caused me to have dry, chapped skin for the first time in my life. Then about a year later, a very sweet college student informed me that she’d like to be like me – and then added – “when I’m old.” Agh! Youth of America, why must you be so unknowingly cruel? These two traumatic incidents were enough to push me to the Clarins counter, pronto.

The last few years I’ve tried out quite a few cleansers, moisturizers, and more, in all different price points. Here are some of my favorites that have stood the test of time for the colder seasons, and I’ve used and replaced most of these at least once.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. This is a classic that I first used when I was a teenager. Back then, I thought it wasn’t working well because my face didn’t feel fully “stripped” – that squeaky clean feeling. Now I know that the “stripped” feeling isn’t that good for your skin actually, and I’m back to using Cetaphil as my daily cleanser. It’s cheap and effective.

Tatcha Ageless Enriching Renewal CreamIn the winter especially, my skin gets dry and flaky. This is the heaviest cream that I use in my daily routine, that actually “feels” lighter than it is, and doesn’t cause me to break out (always a fear). It’s more or less unscented and has beautiful packaging. And side note, why am I having to worry about both wrinkles and acne? What kind of horrible deal is that?

Clinique Superdefense. I’ve used this for years, every morning, without fail. A great all around moisturizer that has quite good SPF protection. Plus it comes in various formulations for oily to very dry skin. Right now I’m using the combination but I’d like to try the very dry formulation next. In my opinion, if there’s only one item that you splurge on in skincare, it should be a daytime moisturizer/SPF combination. One of my favorite products, ever. 

Josie Maran Argan Oil. I was introduced to this by my beautiful friend Christine and I’ve been addicted to it ever since. It’s super easy to mix into any kind of cream to make it more moisturizing. You can also use it in foundation, or by itself. When I travel I always have a bottle of this on hand to use on the plane and even on my hair to add gloss!

Tarte Maracuja Oil. This is my second favorite oil next to Josie Maran’s Argan Oil, I use it for all the exact same things but like to switch it up once in a while. I love the little size of this deluxe sample, it’s perfect for travel. I have the larger bottle as well which stays under my sink.

CeraVe Cream. This along with Cetaphil are two of my favorite drugstore skincare buys. CeraVe is a great, very moisturizing cream that dries quite fast and is unscented. A huge tub is around $15 and at first I was a little incredulous that something so cheap would work so well on my face. I tried it out after reading its great reviews (here) and have been a fan ever since. The cream is cheap enough that I use it as a body cream too – how many other lotions can you say are able to multi-task like that, at a great price point?

What are some of your favorite skincare products, for cold weather?

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  • Leona
    February 4, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Ouf! what a compliment!
    One of my winter must haves I discovered when I was on maternity leave. My fingers especially get sooooo dry with the cold & salt everywhere. I use Lansinoh – regular hand creams don’t help!
    Leona in the frozen north (aka Canada)

    • Katherine
      February 4, 2013 at 9:34 am

      These both sound great, thank you for the recommendations! Does your skin change when pregnant? I’ve always heard that.

      • Leona
        February 4, 2013 at 9:39 am

        It sure does! Sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better. My 2nd is a year old now & my skin is so different – even from the first time around. Like you, I had to switch to a cream and/or oil cleanser, but I breakout less 🙂

  • Whitney Worthington
    February 4, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I love using Origins facial cleansers, a vitamin C serum, and then seal it all up with a nice Bobbi Brown moisturizer! That is my cold weather routine.

  • LC
    February 4, 2013 at 9:48 am

    i love the cetaphil creams! i have eczema and hate that everything gets even MORE dry in the winter )= i tried cerave before too, but still go back to the cream!

  • Beau
    February 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Do you use Cetaphil cleanser with Clarisonic Mia? Thank you.

    • Katherine
      February 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Beau, yes I do! I think they are a great combo since the Cetaphil is very gentle and the Mia helps clean out your pores as is. You don’t need to use a harsh cleanser with the Mia (at least in my opinion).

  • Girlie Blogger
    February 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I used to be simple too, then I started making money (lol) But now that I’m a mom of two, skincare became easy again. We use Cetaphil all the time at our house. It’s a staple.

  • Chrisy
    February 4, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I used philosophy purity cleanser (with clarisonic mia about once a week) and Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. Love the Kiehl’s, it’s light but leaves me skin feeling moisturized and so soft and bouncy, especially after I use the Clarisonic Mia…almost like a baby’s butt.

  • irugnotmis
    February 4, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    thank you for posing this! have you tried philosophy’s purity made simple? if you have, how does that compare to cetaphil? also, have you tried the ceraVe lotion? how does that compare to the cream?

    i went through a stage of complicated to try different products but found the simpler the routine the easier it is to stick to and the better it is for my skin. now I just apply copious amount of toner and a little bit of lotion (used to use cream but found that if I just spend a little more on a good toner and seal the moisture with a lotion, I’m good to go).

    • Katherine
      February 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      I haven’t tried Purity Made Simple but I have a HUGE sample size via Sephora that I have to get started using – I’ll post how I like it!

  • Carolyn
    February 4, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Cerave is amazing! I’ve good things about the cream but I personally use the lotion since I tend to have oily/combination skin, and it works great. Another great product is Carmex, for dry lips. The taste isn’t the best but it works wonders.

    I’m also wondering what skin type you have. I’m interested in trying the Tatcha and Clinique but I’m worried it might not be right for my oily/combo skin. It’d also be great to find something to use year round (for the most part anyway)… I’m from Boston too and I’m sure you understand how frequently the weather changes here!

    • Katherine
      February 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      Oh I need to get Carmex again! I’ve been using up my Kiehls which I also quite like but it doesn’t work as well. I do like that Kiehls has tinted versions though. I have combo skin which is drier in the winter and both the brands work for me. If you are uncertain about them I might try to get a sample of Clinique. Tatcha has a great sampler set which I think is priced well for all that they give you:

  • Doni
    February 4, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    you must visit! this site has saved me so much time and money!! the lady in charge(along with her team) reviews thousands of beauty products. she gives her opinion along with price per product, whether it has been discontinued, detailed info about ingredients, and animal testing. check here first before purchasing anything new:)
    p.s. love what you do, keep up the fabulous work. Doni

    • Katherine
      February 4, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Doni! I have to check this out, I have bookmarked the page 🙂

  • Marlene @ chocolatecookiesandcandies
    February 4, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Lately, I’ve been trying to go as natural as possible. I’ve been using the Trilogy rosehip oil for a few years now. Other than that, I’m trialing the baking soda paste which seems to be working wonderfully as an exfoliant. The others are from Ren skincare and Caudalie.

  • Tanya
    February 4, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I agree with Doni, I use Beautypedia too for the reviews. She reviews based on if the product actually works, and not if she likes the product.
    I buy a few of her products (she sells skin care and makeup) but I mainly use Armani makeup and skin care and Laura Mercier.

  • Anna
    February 4, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    I lvoe cetaphil cleansers. It takes off all my makeup and I feel so fresh.

  • latkesanddimsum
    February 4, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I am very hooked on the Philosophy Purity Made Simple cleanser, especially the foaming version that seems to only be available at Costco. I have the Cetaphil cleanser as well but feel the Philosophy is a touch lighter (which I like in a cleanser). For a moisturizer, nothing works on my skin as well as La Mer (the classic heavy cream – I have tried all formulations).

  • Sarah
    February 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I’ve simplified my nighttime skin care routine to only using extra virgin olive oil for both cleansing and moisturizing. Oil attracts oil, so it removes my make-up and dirt and cleans out my pores. Another added benefit is that for some reason, putting it on my eyes has made my eyelashes grow exponentially (after only two weeks). I have thin Asian lashes. Although my lashes haven’t gotten any thicker, they’ve gotten much longer. When I curl my eyelashes, they actually extend past the “fold” on my eyelids.

    I was skeptical of using oil on my face, but it hasn’t made me break out at all. I’ve read that it does make some people break out, so I am not sure if it’s for everyone. The olive oil smell doesn’t bother me, and it has made my skin much softer. Another warning: some olive oil that’s labeled “extra virgin” is mislabeled, including brand names like Whole Foods. I’ve been using a Trader Joe’s version, and it seems to work pretty well.

    I’ve started using olive oil even in the morning, underneath sunscreen and make-up (I don’t wear foundation). The oil sinks in relatively quickly so I haven’t had any problems with runny make-up, etc. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you might want to try it!

    • Doni
      February 5, 2013 at 9:27 am

      i too have had wonderful results using this oil cleansing method. i googled this method and found that adding a little castor oil to the olive improves results. i then moisturize again with the olive oil, only at night though. i have acne prone skin and used all sorts of products, this was the ticket for me. turns out my skin needed the extra oil. i also use cetaphil sometimes. Doni

      • Katherine
        February 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

        Ah, I’ve heard wonderful things about this oil cleansing method and I need to try it out! EVOO and castor oil, here I come. Thank you both for sharing your experiences!

  • Mai
    February 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    i love cetaphil cleanser! i’ve been using it for about 2 years, and it’s interesting that you say it doesn’t give you that “stripped” feel, but it does for me, and that’s why i like it….lol

  • Rubiiee
    February 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Love using my Argan Oil on my cuticles!

  • Rola
    February 4, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    CeraVe is wonderful in the winter, must have! It is recommended by many dermatologists.

  • Makeup Morsels
    February 5, 2013 at 12:10 am

    hahahah oh god, that’s a backhanded compliment if I ever heard one. Nice list, I’ve heard so many good things about Tatcha’s skincare line lately! I think their blotting papers are the ultimate, so I bet everything else they make is just as good. I use Cetaphil too, even though I get annoyed at it half the time for not really doing anything. My two cold weather essentials are Lierac Sensorielle (you can get it at CVS, although it doesn’t exactly have a drugstore price tag. Great blend of essential oils though, and it smells gorgeous) and everything from Liz Earle (ok, that’s cheating, but I love their Hot Cloth Cleanser, Gentle Face Exfoliator, and Moisturizer for Dry/Sensitive Skin).

  • miss sophie
    February 8, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    i swear by Cetaphil as well! love your picks – i need to try out the Super Defense soon. the perfect double-duty morning product!

    February 10, 2013 at 5:32 am

    I Think that blog post, “Favorite Skincare Products
    – Fall and Winter

  • Katrina
    March 3, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Do you think cetaphil is advisable to use if I am having allergies on astringent and alcohol based cleanser?

    • Katherine
      March 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Katrina, I might advise to consult a dermatologist on that – good luck!

  • erinne Wilkens
    March 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I am on a constant search to find the right beauty products. Have you tried any of the Airelle skin line? Their products use all natural ingredients and antioxidants. They are one of my new favorites. My skin has never felt in better shape. Each time I put it on it feels smoother and more vibrant.

    • Katherine
      March 24, 2013 at 11:53 am

      No I haven’t! Thank you for the link, I’ll have to go check it out 🙂

  • Britney E Taylor
    April 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I am a great fan of Argan Oil as I have very dry hair and this works a treat. You just need to comb it in after washing your hair and it gives it a really nice sheen. You can also use it on your nails aswell so it really is a natural product worth using. Thanks for your other tips aswell,

    • Katherine
      April 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks Britney! I love Argan oil as well.