Rebekah Gerber, director of spa, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise
Bundle up! Besides being stunning to look at, snow-capped mountain peaks and glaciers inform the weather. “A lack of humidity definitely plays a role,” says Gerber. “It gets very cold here, but it’s a dry cold. Because we’re at a higher elevation, we’re always slightly colder than Banff and especially Calgary. A temperature of –35ºC is not totally foreign, but usually –15ºC to –20ºC is more constant.”
HER WINTER SKIN RX RISE & SHINE
If your mindset is “have dry skin, will moisturize,” you’re missing out on an important and helpful winter-care step. “I find a lot of people who have very dry skin never exfoliate, which means a lot of the time they’re just moisturizing dead skin that needs to go,” says Gerber. Regular use of a gentle exfoliator will slough off dehydrated skin cells and create a more receptive canvas for hydrating ingredients to get to work. Gerber is also a fan of a.m. exfoliation. “I use one first thing in the morning, before I put on makeup for the day, so it isn’t going on top of lifeless skin,” she says. It just helps give your face a fresh palette to work with.
From skiing and skating to ice fishing and dog-sled tours, winter in the Banff area is all about experiencing the great outdoors. For maximum enjoyment with minimal skin damage (think: windburn), Gerber considers an emollient cream as much a part of her musthave gear as a thermal face mask. “Skin exposure is a big factor. I find guests feel the effects very quickly. They’ll say ‘I only arrived yesterday and already my skin is so dry.’ On top of that, being at a higher elevation leads to an increased exposure to UV levels,” she says. Her on-site fave, Kerstin Florian Correcting Rescue Crème, is blended with fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants to hydrate, reduce redness and promote healing. “If your skin is already dry, anything like wind or cool temperatures, will help contribute to that texture. However, using something preventive that creates a protective barrier over the skin will definitely reduce the damage that can be done,” she says.
MAKE IT A DOUBLE
Being a reactive organ, your skin is likely to adopt different behaviour during cold weather. Since working at Lake Louise for the last few years, Gerber has found that the composition of her oily/combination skin has changed. “I’m experiencing dry patches and even some eczema, which is never fun to deal with,” she says. To manage the seasonal shift, Gerber commits to self-care rituals like the spa’s Nature’s True Indulgence Facial, orchestrated with green beauty products from Tata Harper. “It’s amazing because it uses a multiple cleanse, multiple mask system with very active facial massage. It helps to clear out skin, rebalance skin’s composition and add whatever moisture is necessary. Plus, it helps to restimulate circulation.”
For a DIY approach, double cleansing and multi-masking will ease frost-related irritation. Start with an oil cleanser to dissolve SPF and makeup, followed by a mild cleansing formula to gently remove leftover surface residue. And whether you need to tame a blemish, add hydration or refine skin’s texture, it’s always a good idea to customize mask time.