Along with blustery storms and flu season, winter brings the dehydrating effects of central heating - that's right, flaky skin and brittle hair. With so many products on the shelves to choose from, researching them all can be expensive. So we did some of the legwork, and here's our selection of the best no-fail products that will get you topically hydrated.
Promises, promises. All hair-care products work the silky manageability angle. However, Uan's Crema Moisturizing Hair Treatment (the Beauty Supply Outlet , 10 Eglinton East, 416-482-6464, and others, $13) for dry, damaged or processed hair delivers on its claim as a bona fide fixer of fried manes. For real, shiny, silky hair is a noticeable result after just one intensive use.
If only Hemp Magick Masque, in Ocean (the Hemp Factory , 249 Gerrard East, 416-923-HEMP, $20 ) contained THC, it could be the ultimate two-in-one fixer-upper. Muddy masques look scary as hell when you wear them, but this 100 per cent natural hemp-based product leaves skin and hair incredibly soft. Just keep the bathroom door locked. Shown in use, far right.
Though the bunk myth that it features an addictive ingredient persists, Carmex (at drug stores, $3) has been healing chapped lips with its proven formula of menthol, cocoa butter and lanolin since 1937. The family-run company is so confident in its product that it offers a money-back guarantee if your pucker isn't left smooth.
Gehwol's Fusskraft Blue Rich Emollient Cream ( Hair Dynamix , 2090 Queen East, 416-699-3575, $12) for dry, rough foot skin will transform the texture of your soles from sandpaper to smooth, with fresh-smelling botanicals like rosemary, pine, lavender and cooling menthol.
We love Strictly Roots' new line of 100 per cent natural skin- and hair-care products, especially the super-rich Face & Body Soufflé ( Strictly Roots , 159 Gerrard East, 416-757-1024, $24). Formulated with a mix of skin-quenching shea and cocoa butters, plus grapeseed, olive, almond and coconut oils, it keeps your epidermis satiny sleek. Essential oils such as orange, patchouli, rose and sandalwood leave a gentle fragrance.
The Karin Herzog skin care line features a patented formula that stabilizes active oxygen so the skin can absorb and benefit from its healing powers. Good for all types of skin, the Vit-A-Kombi 1 Day & NightCream ( O2 Spa Bar , 2044 Yonge, 416-322-7733, $68) rejuvenates the skin, resulting in a visibly younger-looking complexion.
Exfoliation is a necessary step in the quest for soft skin, and Kiehl's Liquid Body Scrub and Cleanser ( Kiehl's , 407 Queen West, 416-977-3588, $20-$59) - featuring corn cob meal as the scrub particle of choice - works double-time to gently slough away your dead skin cells, revealing skin soft to the touch. Other key ingredients include sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado and aloe vera.
For post-shower skin moisturizing, Lush's King of Skin ( Lush , 312 Queen West, 416-599-5874, $10) is hard to beat. Just rub this crown-shaped bar onto your wet skin and pat dry with a fluffy towel. It smells downright edible thanks to yummy cocoa butter and fresh banana and is packed full of other skin-softening agents such as avocado, shea butter and a heap of fragrant essential oils.
This rich hand cream by Glysomed (at drug stores, $6) goes on slippery but doesn't stay that way. Glycerin and silicone work together to lock moisture in, protecting your raw hands from drying out, especially if excessive dishwashing is on the agenda.
4V00's Repairing After Shave Balm ( Ma Zone , 473A Church, 416-934-9400, $49) soothes and moisturizes the skin after shaving. Formulated with choice ingredients like aloe vera, camomile, Japanese green tree extract and seaweed, this spray-on balm has a fresh grapefruit scent and will protect your sensitive skin from shaving irritations and ingrown hairs.