Drugstore Staples + Pro Tips For Glowing Winter Skin



Winter is just around the corner, which means it’s time to trade in some of your summer skincare staples in favor of some more climate-appropriate winter essentials. This means richer formulas that not only focus on hydration, hydration, hydration but also strengthen, brighten, and repair. Luckily for you, this roundup is jam-packed full of drugstore formulas that’ll do all of the above without breaking the bank. Who said glowing skin was a summer thang? Get your winter glow game here.

1. Versed Advanced Recovery Mode Night Cream, $25

1-Versed-Advanced-Recovery-Mode-Night-CreamSource: Versed

Adding a night cream to your daily routine is a no-brainer during the winter months. It’ll boost your skin with a rich layer of moisture so your skin can repair itself more efficiently while you catch your zzz’s – it’s called beauty sleep for a reason!

Formulated with fermented purple tea, green coffee extract, and microalgae, this cream will go above and beyond. Not only does it repair skin at a deeper cellular level, but it energizes skin cells, allowing them to shed layers of damage to reveal brighter, softer skin in its place. It also protects against the premature degradation of collagen and elastin, so your skin remains plump and firm for longer. #Obsessed.

2. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner, $24

2-First-Aid-Beauty-Ultra-Repair-Wild-Oat-Hydrating-TonerSource: First Aid Beauty

During the winter, swap out any potent toners and grab a hydrating, gentle formula to strengthen your skin barrier and aid in better moisture retention in the long term. This Wild Oat Hydrating Toner is ideal as it’s enriched with two types of oats that work together to calm and relieve dry or distressed skin. It also boasts honey to soothe and soften, and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration.

Pro tip: One of the best things you can do year-round, but particularly in the winter, is to pack your skincare regimen full of antioxidants. According to Inna Knyazevych, a licensed esthetician and the co-owner of NYC’s IN-GLO MedSpa, vitamin C is her top choice. “Vitamin C is one of the most powerful protectants against photodamage,” says Inna. “It improves elasticity by stimulating collagen synthesis, brightens the skin, and suppresses pigmentation.”

3. Olay Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Serum, $26

3-Olay-VitaminC+Peptide24-SerumSource: Olay

As Inna explained, vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the shelves. This Olay serum is not only formulated with vitamin C to brighten and protect but also contains vitamin b3, AKA niacinamide, which helps restore damaged skin cells and uneven skin tone. Plus, the formula is enriched with plumping peptides and lactic acid to gently melt away dead skin cells, revealing glowier skin in its place. We also love the lightweight texture that absorbs fast and layers well underneath SPF and makeup.

Pro tip: In addition to using antioxidants and moisturizing regularly, exfoliation is also key when it comes to maintaining a glowing complexion through the icy months. Inna Knyazevych explains, “Chemical peels, which use alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) break down the glue-like substance that holds dead cells together. Using chemical exfoliants helps not only remove the outermost dead layer of the skin but also boosts the hydration levels as well as suppress pigmentation and sunspots. The result is a youthful, glowing complexion.”

4. Cetaphil Healthy Radiance PHA Cleanser, $11

6-Cetaphil-Healthy-Radiance-PHA-CleanserSource: Cetaphil

Ensuring you remove every last trace of makeup, dirt, and oil at the end of the day is just as essential in the winter months as it is in summer. This multi-tasking hero is formulated with a very gently chemical exfoliant, PHA, to gently cleanse and exfoliate dead skin. At the same time, the addition of niacinamide improves skin luminosity and diminishes the appearance of hyperpigmentation. We love that it leaves skin feeling soft and hydrated post-cleanse rather than dry or tight.

 5. The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% Serum, $31

4-The-Ordinary-Buffet+Copper-Peptides-SerumSource: The Ordinary

You may be familiar with The Ordinary’s Buffet Serum, however, the formula just got a facelift. The award-winning formula now features copper peptides, an ingredient that’s having a mega moment in skincare RN. Copper peptides support a range of healthy skin functions, from collagen synthesis for plump skin to improving anti-inflammatory responses to reduce swelling. The formula also contains matrixyl and argirelox to target and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

6. Sweet Chef Ginger + Vitamin C Oil-Free Moisturizer, $21 


If you have oily or combination skin and struggle to find a daily moisturizer, consider yourself in luck! This Ginger Sweet Chef Ginger + Vitamin C Oil-Free Moisturizer is the bomb.com. Formulated with ginger and turmeric to rescue dull skin, ascorbic acid to brighten and restore uneven skin tone, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide to visibly plump and hydrate, it does it ALL. Oh, and it does so without clogging your pores; in fact, it helps minimize the appearance of large pores and strengthen the skin’s barrier function. Can we get a hallelujah?

Pro tip: We know it seems silly to slap on sunscreen when you haven’t seen the sun in what feels like forever, but just because you can’t feel it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Experts have even found that you can slow down signs of aging by 24% by wearing sunscreen daily. And don’t think wearing foundation with SPF will cut it; apply a stand-alone sunscreen to your face and hands every morning. Find our faves here.

For more drugstore skincare staples, check out the drugstore skincare derms love.

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. We never take payment to review products; however, some brands allow affiliate links, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.