For an Australian – who had never really encountered REAL cold before – experiencing a Canadian winter of below zero temperatures was a bit of a shock!
I learnt that surviving happily through winter requires more than just warm clothes. You have to be able to adapt to not only the cold, but the heat indoors as well.
Here are some Health and Beauty Tips to Survive a Canadian Winter.
TIPS FOR THE COLD
Good boots, jacket, hat and gloves
It might sound self explanatory or obvious information but if you’re spending a winter in Canada – good boots, jacket, hat and gloves are crucial. They will be the best investments you’ll make all year.
I heard over and over again the advice delivered, as if the Canadians were parrots –
“You’ll need solid boots, a hard core jacket, a warm hat with muffs and some insulated gloves!”
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing!”
For the jacket, hat and gloves I bought second hand as there are plenty of good quality items you can buy recycled, for a fraction of the price new items cost at regular retail stores. If you are in Montreal check out: La Chainon which is a charity run second hand store.
The choice of boots is crucial because if you don’t wear shoes which keep the cold and the wet out, you’ll suffer in misery and it will effect your whole body. You need boots with excellent grip because there is a lot of slipping and sliding that transpires walking the streets in snow or sludge.
Don’t compromise on the quality and fit – I’d recommend buying new and get the best you can afford!
You soon learn after a couple of embarrassing ‘snotty’ situations that in winter you simply CAN NOT leave the house without tissues. Going out and coming in, you’ll be continually blowing your nose and you need some trusty tissues in your pockets or bags, always. Now at the ‘pharmacie’ you’ll be buying up big on small transportable packets and the household tissues in bulk 6 packs!
Paw Paw Cream
Snow storms can be cruel to your ‘peau’ but thankfully paw paw cream is an ideal companion in protecting your skin against the elements. Lather up before going out as it’s a very effective ‘force field’!
Dress so you can easily remove layers when you go out. When coming out of the cold into warm supermarkets, metro, restaurants and bars – you’ll soon feel sick if you have too many clothes on which you can’t remove. You have to be careful not to overheat! I came to realise that dressing in winter, you have to be like an onion, and be able to unravel each layer, and alternatively put them back on, as temperatures rise or fall.
TIPS FOR THE HEAT
With the heating on constantly indoors it is not uncommon for your body and skin to dry out. Here are some tips to combat the effect of heat!
I always moisturise my face but in winter you need to take it to another level and use a really nourishing face moisturiser. I learnt this the hard way when one morning I awoke and screamed in horror when I saw my face in the mirror. My entire ‘visage’ was flaking from dehydration caused by the heater. It was a scary moment!
I headed directly to the ‘pharmacie’ to get a ‘soothing cream’ which was also free of parabens. Not overly expensive, I highly recommend this brand CLINIDERM as a face moisturiser (and I’m not getting paid for this reference, just sharing my good experience).
The harsh conditions play havoc on your lips and there are times when you might feel your lips might crack open! You need a lip balm on hand all the time in winter and the ones without fragrance are lower in additives and generally more effective for hydration.
Hair becomes brittle and fragile in the colder months so it’s a good idea to get some coconut oil to spray onto the ends of your hair after washing it to give it a little more nourishment.
Now I don’t want to scare newcomers to the Canadian winter. But it is not uncommon for some people to experience a blood nose as a result of being in heated buildings for months on end. To combat the dryness you might need to get a nasal spray from the ‘pharmacie’ (which has now become a regular stop on your errand run in winter!)
Replenish Air Quality
With the doors closed and the heating on all the time, the inside air quality of your apartment can get a little stale. It’s a good idea to open the doors for 10 minutes a day (when there isn’t a snow storm) to generate a fresh burst of air into your living quarters. Having plants is also a huge help in filtering your interior air.
Hydrate the air
The heat emanating from heaters if often quite dry, so to put more moisture into the air you can place a glass of water on top of the heater if there’s a flat surface. As the water evaporates into the air it will add more humidity to the air. You can also add some aromatherapy oil drops to the water to add a pleasant fragrance. Just make sure you don’t let the water run out and crack the glass! Alternatively you can buy a humidifier (also found at the ‘pharmacie’ of course!) which will probably be more effective than the glass of water.
Drink LOTS of water in winter. Drinking enough L’eau in winter is crucial to keeping your body hydrated and healthy.
Use the winter as an opportunity to nurture yourself and retreat
Enjoy the down time – and the minimisation of your ‘beauty’ routine!
Winter is naturally a time of retreat and can be well used to cultivate artistic talents, read some more books, or enjoy quality time with friends by a fire in a chalet!
It takes some extra effort in some areas to look after your body and skin over winter, but the advantage is you can actually spend less time on some beauty routines than you might in summer.
In the colder months, most of you is now covered up!
For me, winter was a chance to give up a little on some of the work one needs to do in the warmer seasons – when your feet are in sandals, your legs are bare and your hands are not covered in gloves.
Winter offers a chance for a breather and some down time to get back to your natural self.
When I say this, I don’t exactly mean growing armpit hair long enough to see if it really could look like Tom Hanks in Castaway – but in winter I think we can all be a little bit more relaxed about hair growth!
After all doesn’t it keep us warmer!?
In winter, I embraced the time and energy saving benefits of a minimised routine:
- Shaving legs and armpits less
- Not needing to paint toenails as much
- Having a bad hair day is easily solved by wearing a hat
- So much easier to get away with going bra less – as you have so many layers on no one can tell you’re going ‘freestyle’
So enjoy the retreat during the colder months – and I hope these tips help you combat some of the challenges!
Do you have any tips to share about health and beauty in winter?