Botnia Winter Skincare: Occlusives and Emollients

We LOVE cozy things. When it’s chilly in the air and the fog rolls over the Marin Headlands, it’s nice to bundle up inside and crank the heat! Unfortunately for our skin, this type of environment can cause it to go bananas! What’s important about the wintertime is having hydrated skin when you’re inside (and of course, everything depends on your climate). Healthy happy skin is achievable in the winter if you follow a few easy steps.

Add in moisture//

If you’re in a dryer location that doesn’t get a lot of rain or snow, with the heater on while it’s cold outside, having occlusive skincare is the goal. So use any one of our face creams with your hydrating serum and oil during the daytime and at night to recover. Our Wisdom Oil is indicated for wintertime because it features antioxidant repairing properties, and it’s a heavier oil that sits on the surface of your stratum corneum and keeps the skin conditioned. 

This is the only time of the year that more can be better and adding in an extra layer of moisturizer is beneficial for the skin. In the summer months, I tend to use 2 to 3 products, but in the winter, I pretty much use our full line of products: cleanser, hydrating serum, toner, oil, and moisturizer, which leaves my skin feeling so good!

Hydrating or conditioning?

Different buzzwords in the beauty industry, like moisturizer, conditioner, and hydrating creams can be confusing. But the two things you want to look for are humectants or occlusives/emollients. 

Humectants bond with water molecules and hold them in the skin’s surface. This is your hyaluronic acid or glycerin and you’ll want to look for these types of ingredients if you’re feeling tight and dehydrated. The benefit of using humectants keeps your skin plump because they can pull moisture from the air, especially in humid environments. In dry environments, you actually want to stay away from humectants as they can draw water from your body, causing your skin to be depleted of moisture. 

Occlusives are products that create a physical barrier on your skin to lock moisture in and block outside elements. Our face creams are occlusives, and our serums are emollients with occlusive properties that help rebuild the skin barrier function. It’s best to use these on dry or flaky skin that needs additional moisture and to prevent continued moisture loss. Key ingredients to look for are waxes, oils, and butters.

Justine’s Winter Routine//

In the winter, this is my go-to routine:

Cleansing with the Balancing Oil Cleanser or Gentle Cleanser, followed by Hydrating Serum, then toner or hydrosol. (Juniper is my winter favorite!) Because you’re hydrating your skin with hyaluronic acid, you’ll want those molecules to absorb your toner or hydrosol into your skin before applying serum and/or moisturizer. I add the Wisdom Oil here, but you can also mix it in with your moisturizer. Finish with the Daily Face Cream or any of our face creams. 

Don’t forget to use SPF if you’re heading outside for more than 30 minutes to protect your skin from the sun. Even in the wintertime, SPF is the barrier between you and harsh UV rays and prevents sun damage and skin cancer.

Make a date with your esthetician//

It’s also a great time to see your local esthetician so they can make the best recommendations for swapping your skincare for the coldest months! They are the experts in skin health and can help you tackle any skin conditions that come up this time of year.

The cold weather doesn’t have to turn you into a grinch! The key thing to note for the winter is creating an occlusive barrier over your skin to help protect you from the elements. Adding in extra layers can be beneficial for those who experience dryness in these cold months. Curious about what’s right for you? Our Master Estheticians can also help suggest products for your winter routine. Email us at and we’ll help you out! 

Stay cozy,

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