5 of the Best Skincare Products of 2012

These skincare finds are totally rocking my world right now.
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Michelle Villett
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These skincare finds are totally rocking my world right now.

Does your skin freak out a bit with the change in weather? Mine does (but then again, HELLO—it's not like it ever needs an excuse). But still, I always know the cooler weather is here when the tip of my nose starts getting all dry and flaky. Anyone else get that? It's SO annoying.

That's why I have to start in with the hydrating products come October. (But not too hydrating, or I'll become an oil slick. It's that oh-so-fun delicate balance....) I've found that it's all about layering the right ingredients in the right textures, and also making sure that I'm not stripping my skin with anything aggressive. Moist, dewy skin FTW!

To that end, today I'm gonna fill you in on a few new skincare finds that've made a home in my always-changing skincare routine for the past month or so. Some are new, some are not-so-new, but all are excellent.

Promise.

You should check these out:

Rodial Dragon's Blood Cleansing Water

Rodial Dragon's Blood Cleansing Water

People—okay, women in their 20s and 30s, to be more specific—are always asking me what I think is a good starter skincare line. I never really know what to say, because I'm a mixer-and-matcher by necessity (hazard of the job). But after trying everything in this new Dragon's Blood line from Rodial, it's getting my ringing endorsement. The whole range is based around the sap from the sangre de drago (Dragon's Blood) tree, which forms an invisible second-skin film to protect against environmental damage, calm inflammation and just generally make your complexion look better. And everything is super-light, not greasy!

My favourite product in the collection is this no-rinse cleanser. The pump makes makes it extra convenient, and the liquid itself does a wicked job of removing makeup. It's very gentle; I tend to use it to refresh my skin before a makeup touch-up/re-application in the evening, but you could use it as your regular cleanser, no probs. But best of all is the scent—and that goes for this entire line. I don't know what it is (ylang ylang?), but I DIE over the fragrance. You'll notice it even more in the (also great) hyaluronic mask and SPF 15 moisturizer.

Consonant Body HydrExtreme

Consonant Body HydrExtreme

Okay so for once, I'm going to recommend a serum that is NOT SkinCeuticals. (Not that I don't love them with all my heart, obvi.) But in this particular category—hydrating serums—I do think Consonant Body may have a slight edge. And that's saying something for an all-natural brand! HydrExtreme is a clear, light, runny liquid—it's not at all gel-like, which is the texture of the SkinCeuticals hyaluronic serum. And that's because this contains cassia angustifolia seed extract and glycerine instead. That's it! Two ingredients. When have you ever seen THAT kind of minimalism on a skincare label?

But there's more: what really blew me away with this was that it outperforms hyaluronic acid in terms of the longevity of hydration. Hyaluronic lasts 12 hours, whereas this goes for 24. So that's double. (See? I can do math.) Personally, I've noticed a difference too—I've been using this ever since meeting with Consonant founder Bill Baker about a month ago, and my skin just drinks it up and stays softer, longer.

Buy it online from Well.ca for $72 (10 mL size) or $149 (30 mL size). Free shipping with no minimum order in Canada!

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare All-In-One Facial Cleanser with Toner

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare All-In-One Facial Cleanser with Toner

I've been on a mission lately to eliminate sulfates from my cleansers (and shampoo—but that's another sad story for another day). I had no idea that Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare was so eco-progressive: this product is not only sulfate-free but also vegan, cruelty- and paraben-free. I honestly have no idea when it launched, but I pulled it out of my archives a few weeks ago and now I'm totally addicted. The formula is a thick cream, but don't let that put you off: the way you use it is to apply it on dry skin and then massage for 10 to 30 seconds (depending on whether you're dry, which needs less time, or oily, which needs more) before rinsing.

By this point, you'll be surprised and impressed because it gets off even sunscreen and waterproof eye makeup (!!) and yet doesn't leave your skin feeling tight or dry AT ALL. The way I see this is that it gives you all the benefits of a traditional cream or oil-based cleanser (which it's not) but in a hypoallergenic, cleaner-rinsing formula that won't break you out. No lie, it might just be my Life Cleanser.

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Eye Treatment Gel

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Eye Treatment Gel

Have you heard of AmorePacific? It's a Korean company—and Korea is totally the new France when it comes to skincare. I didn't really know what to expect from this line, since it's pretty luxe and you never know if it's all hype and packaging, yes? Thankfully, for this product at least, that's not at all the case. It belongs to this new category in skincare that I've been noticing: the gel-cream. Which is exactly what it sounds like—a cross between a light gel texture and a heavy cream. For daytime, it's genius, since anything greasy around the eye area can take forever to absorb and encourages my makeup to smear. I load this on and it feels both refreshing and incredibly hydrating; in fact, like the Consonant Body serum, it gives you a full 24 hours of hydration.

Other fun facts: it's free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan.

Eminence Organics Persimmon & Cantaloupe Day Cream SPF 32

Eminence Organics Persimmon & Cantaloupe Day Cream SPF 32

When it comes to sunscreen, I'm pretty much a SkinCeuticals girl—in the summer, you can't beat their tinted physical block. But like I said, come fall my skin needs something more... and while I could easily do the whole serum-moisturizer-sunscreen layering thing, some days I'm lazy and I want something more one-step. That's why I've been dabbling with this sunscreen cream from my favourite organic brand, Eminence Organics. It's a whipped pink cream in a pot (fun!) but it's designed for normal-to-oily skin. So I've found that it strikes that perfect balance of moisturization without greasiness, and leaves you with a matte finish.

The zinc oxide gives you the necessary SPF protection but you also get a whole host of other skin goodness: antioxidant persimmon and cantaloupe juices, soothing aloe vera, skin-firming maral root and wild jujube and wrinkle-fighting alpha lipoic acid. I mean, really—what other skincare brands do you know with products that include persimmon juice? Awesome.

Tell me:

What changes do you make to your skincare regimen come fall?
Have you tried any of these sweet brands and/or prodz?
Discovered any cool skincare stuff lately? Please share!