Recently, a friend asked me to recommend some skincare. Now that was some flattery I could get behind. Her exact words were “I’m approaching 50 and I need to start using skincare. Can you tell me which products you love?” All I could think was “Where should I even start?”, I have been using skincare products for as long as I can remember. And the fact is, there are so many fantastic products out there with different ingredients to serve all kinds of skin needs, so it really depends what you’re looking for.

Want Great Skin? Find Out What It Needs in 3 Simple StepsThen I realized that she hadn’t even mentioned the most important aspect of choosing the right skincare: the state of her skin. Since skincare is never a one-size-fits-all solution, I needed to know what we were looking at here. Was her skin dehydrated? Did she have spots or discoloration? Is she an oily T-zone kind of girl? Is she more concerned with fine lines and wrinkles than anything else?

So I asked her: What’s going on with your skin exactly that you want to treat? And you know what? She didn’t know.

Truth be told, the only reason I am so educated about my skin is because of my recent skincare consultation with Andrea, a Beauty Expert from Shoppers Drug Mart beautyBOUTIQUE. Using two different tools, the Moisture Checker and the Video Microscope, and of course, a series of questions about my personal situation—skin, routine, diet, and more—this expert took a deep dive into my skin and then recommended a routine that met my specific needs. Here’s how it works.


STEP 1: Assess your skin’s hydration level with the Moisture Checker

WHAT IT IS: The first step is a specialized tool to measure skin hydration, since water content contributes to skin’s suppleness and comfort. This process quickly determines if skin is hydrated, dehydrated or very dehydrated.

Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique Moisture Checker


WHAT I DISCOVERED: With a score of 19 or 20, it turns out my skin was very dehydrated, which wasn’t necessarily a surprise given it’s winter. So needless to say, there was lots of room for improvement.

STEP 2: Identify skin conditions with the Video Microscope

WHAT IT IS: This specialized tool magnifies the skin’s surface by 30 times. It helps to identify skin conditions like clogged pores, dry or oily skin, sun damage, dilated capillaries, brown spots and signs of pollution.

WHAT I DISCOVERED: I have tons of sun damage, areas of open pores, and dry patches.

STEP 3: Get product recommendations specific to your skin

You want to know exactly which products your skin really needs before you buy. After my skin assessment, Andrea was able to recommend products that are ideal for my skin’s needs. This step is so important because loading up on skincare products can be a pretty significant investment.

Here are the products I am now using—and can’t believe I ever lived without:

Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum: Super restorative and lush, Andrea recommended that I use this serum at night. I love the idea of the premeasured capsules (there’s just enough to cover your face and neck, so I’m not using too much or too little), plus the gorgeous packaging looks pretty snazzy on my vanity.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules

Shiseido Bio-Performance LiftDynamic Cream: This cream is a stunner. Thick and restorative, but with no noticeable scent, I use it at night when it can do its best work. It looks heavy, but doesn’t feel it. I love that it comes with a little spatula, since I don’t like sticking my finger in the pot.

Shiseido BioPerformance Lift Dynamic Cream

Strivectin Line BlurFector Wrinkle Blurring Primer: Since deep wrinkles are not my main concern just yet (please don’t hate me), I didn’t go with this primer. But I love the idea of it smoothing out the skin so that makeup doesn’t cake into the grooves and lasts longer. Fake it till you make it, right?

Strivectin AntiWrinkle LineBlur perfector

Vichy Mineral 89 Fortifying & Hydrating Daily Skin Booster: Why should I do all the work? This skin booster actually arms my skin with superpowers to ward off external aggressors. Be gone, environmental damage and the ravages of winter!

Vichy Mineral 89


Of course, when it comes to gorgeous skin, the right skincare products are just the start. The key to proper skin maintenance is to feed your skin from the outside in, and the inside out.

Feed Your Skin from the Outside In

According to the leading dermatologist Dr. Paul Cohen, we can’t rely only on products to keep our skin happy during the dry winter months. Instead, follow 3 key tips—Prevent, Moisturize, Change it Up—for healthy skin.

PREVENT: Prevention is key to avoid dry winter skin and this is the time of year to be even more vigilant.

  • Avoid long, hot showers that dehydrate your skin. Use warm water and lightly pat the skin with a towel to absorb excess water, rather than rubbing it dry
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Keep one in the bedroom at night; even a small one beside the bed is helpful for the face

MOISTURIZE: Regular moisturizing is an integral part of any skincare regime to help maintain smooth, supple, healthy, younger-looking skin.

  • This winter, look for ingredients that attract water, like shea butter, ceramides and hyaluronic acid
  • After showering/bathing, apply your moisturizer right away while skin is still damp

CHANGE IT UP: As the seasons change, so should your skincare routine.

  • This winter, try a more hydrating cleanser and use a moisturizer with a creamy, rich consistency rather than a lighter gel format
  • Try a skincare oil to help prevent moisture loss and help to keep skin soft and supple

The doctor recommends: La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Soothing Care for Face & Eyes

LaRoche Posay toleriane ultra face and eyes

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: This is one of the doctor’s go-to recommendations for all clients with sensitive skin and allergies. It’s designed to soothe, calm and protect all types of sensitive and reactive skin with long-lasting results.

Feed Your Skin from the Inside Out

Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist Victor Wong confirmed what I suspected: research shows that good skin is not only what you put on your skin, but also what you put into your body. Our skin can tell us a lot about our body’s internal needs, and some skin conditions can be a manifestation of nutritional deficiencies. So, feed your skin from the inside out to look healthier and younger!  If you don’t think you’re getting what you need from food, you can try supplements to boost your way to a radiant, healthy and youthful complexion.

What should you look for in a supplement?

  • Antioxidants such as vitamin E and selenium have been shown to reduce damage from free radicals caused by the sun, smoke and pollution
  • B vitamins such as biotin and thiamine are vital for skin regeneration and have been shown to improve skin conditions like dermatitis and hair loss
  • Keratin and the amino acid L-cysteine are essential building blocks that can help provide the necessary components for skin to repair itself 

The pharmacist recommends: Life Brand Hair, Skin and Nails Formula

WHY YOU’LL LOVE IT: Although your skin, hair and nails look very different, they are all made from the same protein: keratin. This formula provides a comprehensive blend of trace minerals, vitamins and nutrients important to the health and structure of skin, hair and nails. Contains Biotin, L-Cysteine, Selenium and PABA. Supports healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Life Brand Vitamins for Hair, Skin, and Nails


Are you ready to head to a Shoppers Drug Mart beautyBOUTIQUE for your skin care assessment? Get your new skincare program started with this $150 Shoppers Drug Mart gift card! Enter to win below. 


Note: This post was generously sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart. All opinions are our own. 

About the author

Mara Shapiro

Mara Shapiro is Co-Editor, Community of BrazenWoman. She is proof that it's never too late to reinvent yourself, and also that you cannot have too many pairs of shoes and lipglosses. A Social Media addict, Community Manager, and insatiable lover of movie popcorn, Mara is always on the hunt for the next best thing. You'll often find her laughing and dancing, phone in one hand, and a glass of red in the other. The only time she's not talking is when she's sleeping.

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