Seasonal skincare 101 from Kiehl's expert

Kendra Hagerman

By Kendra Hagerman,


Dark spots, blemishes, redness, uneven skin tone, oily spots and dry patches — if your skin seems like it changes as frequently as the seasons, it’s because it does. Our environment can impact our skin’s overall health, and for the best results, our skincare regime should be responsive to it.

But a customized skincare routine doesn't mean you need to implement a 15-step system complete with an instruction manual and hourly journal. To keep up with change (and dropping temperatures), make slight adjustments to your beauty routine according to the current state of your skin.

For expert advice on happy skin, we turned to Kiehl's National Education Manager, Donna Paty. Founded as an old-world apothecary in 1851, the company's history in cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal expertise has come together to create the products that are sold on Kiehl's store shelves today. It's Paty's job to know everything there is to know about these products, and she does. From active ingredients to product benefits, she loves educating others and helping people solve their skincare woes.

Kiehl's has made a name for itself through its no-frills attitude, choosing to focus on high-quality ingredients and science. When it comes to beauty and skincare, there's something to be said for keeping things simple. If your skin is looking a little off this winter, go back to the basics and you may just find the answers you're searching for.

What are the main differences between spring/summer and fall/winter skincare?

DP: During the warmer months, skin tends to be oilier, so we recommend a light moisturizer with sunscreen. Protecting your skin from the sun is important year-round, but during the warmer months, we recommend using sunscreen with a higher level of protection like Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50.

In the winter, skin tends to be drier and more dehydrated; you may experience increased sensitivity, irritation, or redness as a result of extreme weather conditions. We recommend a richer moisturizer with hydrating benefits like Rosa Arctica, our deeply hydrating formula that contains a unique flowering botanical and helps protect the skin in harsh weather. We also recommend using a gentle cleanser with a toner to soften the skin, and exfoliating to remove any flakiness.

If you don't want to change your entire skincare routine every time the seasons change, what small changes can you recommend implementing?


  • -Changing your moisturizer depending on the season and/or the changes in your skin
  • Adding a deep cleansing mask for summer months and a hydrating mask for winter
  • Adding a serum to your routine

Is toner really important? Or is this just an extra step that we don't need?

DP: Toners have multiple benefits depending on the skin type and ingredients. Kiehl’s facial toners are formulated to remove excess dirt, debris, or cleanser residue, and soften the skin to enhance the absorption of your moisturizer. Additionally, they can also provide hydrating benefits for drier skin and anti-bacterial/anti-inflammatory benefits for oilier, sensitive skin.

What are your most popular winter skincare products?



  • Ultra Facial Cream: Provides 24-hour hydration in extreme weather conditions and is appropriate for normal and normal-to-drier skin types.
  • Midnight Recovery Concentrate: A rich blend of botanical and essential oils that help restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier, resulting in smoother, more radiant skin.
  • Lip Balm #1: Protects and helps to relieve dry, chapped lips; helps protect lips from the drying effects of wind and cold weather.


  • Crème de Corps Body Moisturizer: Nourishing, rich all-over body moisturizer formulated with a blend of naturally derived emollients (moisturizers) for extremely dry or flaking skin.
  • Ultimate Strength Hand Salve: A heavy-duty, but not greasy, moisturizer that is instantly absorbed, offering all-day care and protection.

Why is exfoliating important and how often should we do it?

DP: Exfoliating helps to remove surface dead skin cells and gently stimulates circulation, which results in smoother, healthier looking skin; it will also help enhance the absorption of treatments and moisturizers that follow. At Kiehl’s, we recommend exfoliating two-to-three times a week for ideal results.

Serums have been popping up everywhere recently. What's the difference between a serum and a moisturizer? Who should be using serums?

DP: Serums are usually lighter-weight treatments that have higher concentrations of active ingredients and can penetrate deeper into the skin. They offer multiple benefits that address specific conditions and concerns like brightness, skin texture, anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, and firming, and are usually applied under a moisturizer. At Kiehl’s, we recommend using a serum based on your specific skin concern. Our Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate with 10.5% pure Vitamin C is a customer favourite because of its benefits on improving skin tone, texture, radiance, and minimizing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Kendra Hagerman is a fashion writer, pug lover, and the Editor-in-Chief of

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions