Celebrity Esthetician Renee Rouleau Reveals Her No. 1 Piece of Advice for Combating Dry Winter Skin

Each product has been independently selected by our editorial team. We may receive commissions from some links to products on this page. Promotions are subject to availability and retailer terms.
Lili Reinhart
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Glamour

The skin guru, who counts Lili Reinhart and Demi Lovato as clients, dishes her expertise on how to achieve hydrated skin in the cold.

Winter can wreak havoc on your skin and celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau is spilling everything you need to know to keep your skin hydrated against the harsh cold (hello, blistering temps and sharp winds!). 

Makeup can't hide flaky, irritated, dehydrated skin (if anything, it'll exacerbate it), so it's important to tackle the problem and treat it to maintain a healthy, supple complexion. The Austin-based skin guru and skincare line creator, trusted by A-list celebs including Lili Reinhart, Demi Lovato and Sabrina Carpenter, is revealing her expert advice to ET on what ingredients to look out for in products, the common moisturizer mistake people make and the skincare step you should never skimp on.

Read our ultimate dry skincare guide ahead to achieve your inner glow in the dead of winter. 

ET: What is your number one advice for combating dry skin in the winter and maintaining the moisture barrier? 

Renee Rouleau: Use the right moisturizer for your skin type and one that has the most effective hydrating ingredients that actually repair the lipid barrier and prevent transepidermal water loss. Some of my favorite moisturizer ingredients for repairing dry, flaky, winter skin are safflower, soybean, sweet almond, carrot, borage and sunflower oils as well as ceramides and linoleic acid. Unlike other types of moisturizing ingredients used in skincare formulations, these ingredients will actually correct the lack of oil and lack of hydration deep within your skin and repair your skin’s lipid moisture barrier to make your skin moist, supple and smooth.

What are the most important products to use to keep the skin hydrated? What is your favorite affordable drugstore option? 

You should deeply infuse hydration (water) in your skin with this trick. One of my favorite ways to do this is to use what is known as an “essence." An essence is like a toner, but it is serum-infused with water-binding ingredients so it has a slippery gel type of feel to it as opposed to toners that have the consistency of water. I recommend my Moisture Infusion Toner. You can apply this right after you have washed your face and multiple times so you are applying layers of it on your skin.

Moisturizers will most certainly be beneficial for repairing your skin’s moisture barrier when it’s damaged, but it’s important that you look for specific ingredients that mimic the natural lipids found in your skin. Just because a moisturizer feels rich and greasy on the skin doesn’t necessarily mean that it will offer repair. If you’re looking for something in the middle that is not too heavy but not too light, my HydraBoost Rescue Creme is perfect.

Whenever my clients are in need of some serious repair to their skin’s moisture barrier, I always recommend using a well-formulated skin oil over moisturizer as the last step in your routine at night. This will provide a much-needed protective seal so everything underneath is less likely to evaporate out of the skin’s surface—especially in winter.

A good drugstore hydrating serum or oil for extra hydration is Physicians Formula Rosé All Day Oil-Free Serum.

Most people associate breakouts with oily skin, but oftentimes dry skin can cause breakouts, too. Why does this happen and how can we prevent and treat this?

Basically…breakouts come from oil and dry skin is a skin type that doesn’t have oil, so if someone “feels” dry and gets breakouts, it’s because they are dehydrated. Dry skin types can also experience occasional hormonal cystic blemishes. It occurs in all ages especially on the chin and jawline mainly in adult women. 

For those with oily skin, what kind of products should they use if they don't want anything too heavy or oily? 

They should look for products that have oil-free ingredients. These attract and retain water in the skin, which is crucial for keeping oil production at bay. Look for products with Sodium Hyaluronate (also known as Hyaluronic Acid). This is a bioactive hydrating ingredient that can bind 1000 times its weight in moisture to the skin. It has been used for years and continues to be one of the most commonly used skin-hydrating ingredients for oily skin. 

Any advice for people with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis? 

Use a product with beta glucans to reduce sensitivity from within. Phospholipids repair and hydrate the skin and sunflower oil repairs skin’s moisture defense barrier function. 

Common mistakes you see clients with dry skin make? 

I see clients over-moisturizing with the wrong moisturizer and relying exclusively on moisturizer to hydrate the face. Your skin is like a sponge in that it takes in what it needs and the rest sits on top. When you apply an extra layer of moisturizer, this may be wasteful since the skin can only absorb so much.

What does it mean when you put products on your skin and it immediately starts to feel tingly and stinging?

You have damaged the moisture barrier. Your skin has a barrier made of natural lipids that help keep moisture in and irritants out. When this barrier is damaged (due to age, hormones, genetics, incorrect products and more), it creates tiny, invisible cracks in the skin. These cracks allow moisture to escape, causing dry, flaky skin on the face and elsewhere and irritants then enter more easily. This causes even sensitive skin products to cause a stinging, uncomfortable sensation. This sensation might not normally occur if the skin was in a healthy state.

Any tips on keeping the skin moisturized throughout the day when you're outside or at work with touch-up products?

Add in my Pro Remedy Oil in your daily skin care routine. This adds in extra hydration and seals in all of the products. You could also add in my Moisture Infusion Toner into your routine. This will instantly calm and correct signs of redness, rosacea, and irritation while leaving a silky coat of moisture to elevate hydration levels deep within the intercellular matrix. It can also be used for a makeup setting spray if you pour into a spray bottle and mist on the skin over foundation and powder makeup to give a dewy, luminous glow. Or use it as a makeup primer by pouring into a spray bottle and mist on the skin before applying foundation makeup to soften surface lines and give a beautiful diffused glow.

For more beauty tips, see below: 

Each product has been selected, and each product’s style has been reviewed, by our editorial team; however, we may receive affiliate commissions from some links to products on this page. Prices listed are subject to change by the retailer.