Presenting the best in vegan winter skincare

Winter, with extreme weather outside and centrally-heated environments inside, can take a tremendous toll on our skin. So it’s never too soon to start taking a little extra care of this very precious organ with some of my favourite vegan winter skincare products.

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Small white labelled bottle containing Green People Nordic Roots serum, containing hyaluronic acid to illustrate this vegan winter skincare guide

What is it about winter? Every year as the days start to shorten, my skin seems to know that change is in the air. The skin on my face starts to take on a parchment-like quality, my hands feel like sandpaper, my lips dry out and crack, and the velcro sensation of bare feet on carpet is nigh-on unbearable. It’s all a bit of a pore show really…

Anyway, those heady days of summer when, apart from a bit of suncream, my skin seems to take care of itself are long gone and I know it’s time to take action. So if you also experience some of these sorry symptoms, then I hope this vegan winter skincare guide, in which I share some of my favourite products, will help you through this chilly season too.

What is good for skin in winter?

Close up of Vegan Mum's face on a sunny but cold winter's day

In a word, hydration. Oh, and then there’s protection. Ok, in two words then! Simple…

As someone with rosacea, an inflammatory facial skin condition, I have to look after my skin, come rain or shine. But winter throws some additional challenges at skin, whether a rosacea sufferer or not, so there are some basic principles to follow in your winter skincare regime that will give your skin a fighting chance through the chillier seasons.

One of the most important things to remember is that although it’s no longer warm outside, you still need to hydrate from within. If you don’t do that, nothing else is really going to work, so make sure you are keeping up an appropriate fluid intake that feels right for you.

I’m not personally an advocate of drinking litres and litres of water each day, however. Not only would it make me feel very uncomfortable to drink the amounts that some people recommend, I also like to be able to spend some time without having to be in striking distance of a toilet! So it’s important that you drink when you’re thirsty, and make sure that some of the time, that’s just plain old water.

Aside from that, winter skincare for me is about protecting it from the elements in the first place because as always, prevention is better than treating a problem that you could have avoided. Consequently, many of the products I talk about in this article are those that defend my skin from the ravages of wind, rain and cold. However, I do also talk about some of my favourite products that seem to just put everything right again on those occasions when I haven’t given my skin adequate protection.

Importantly, while many of these products are gender neutral, I have also made some suggestions for products designed to appeal specifically to men – we all need to look after our skin!

Vegan Mum’s top vegan winter skincare products

Here are some of my favourite, most effective vegan winter skincare picks, broken down into relevant product ranges that treat different concerns. It’s worth noting that I have rosacea, a skin condition that can be inflamed by certain ingredients, and none of the products I have listed below aggravate my overly-sensitive skin. This is personal however, and whilst I don’t have an adverse reaction to these products, someone else might.


Open tin of The Body Shop's camomile cleanser sitting on some red, yellow and green autumn leaves

I’m starting with cleansers because, as someone who for several years used to use plain old soap and water, I can testify to just how drying that can be. If you dry out your face when you cleanse it, you’re already making it harder to keep it moisturised, so make sure to use a cleanser that is not going to strip your skin of its natural oils and hydration from the outset.

My favourite facial cleanser, particularly for the winter months, is The Body Shop’s Camomile cleansing butter. This stuff is amazing and although I rinse it off with water, it leaves my skin still feeling soft, and doesn’t have the drying effect that some wash-off cleansers do. And it really does melt away my make-up too on first application, even waterproof mascara; not many cleansers can make that claim.

I like the fact too that the branding is pretty gender neutral, so it would look good on anybody’s bathroom shelf. If it has a downside, it’s that I tend to use quite a lot, although to be honest you don’t have to use as much as the ‘walnut-sized’ amount they suggest.

Body Shop 20% discount code: AFFVEGANMUM

Buy from Amazon



I have split this into lighter day creams, and those for use at night.

Day Cream

Pale lilac blue tube of Dr Paw Paw daily moisturiser with a little of the cream squeezed out onto a red autumnal leaf

Dr Paw Paw’s hydrating day cream has been a recent discovery for me, and I really love it. It feels almost weightless, yet it moisturises my skin very effectively. It contains a papaya extract (come on, the name gives away the fact that this is pretty exotic!) and a hyaluronic acid mix that apparently helps with the absorption and retention of the hydrating effects.

I am using this every morning and for the moment, have dispensed with a primer because this moisturiser also seems to work very well under make-up. It is fragrance-free, lightweight (and vegan of course) and seems to be doing a great job of protecting my skin on frequent dog walks in the east anglian winds and rain – winter skincare in a tube!

Dr.PawPaw 20% discount code: HELLO20

  • An alternative for those times when I feel the need for a little more protection is The Body Shop’s Edelweiss Intense smoothing day cream, although it understandably feels a little heavier.

Night Cream

white bottle of Green People's Nordic Roots night cream facial moisturiser, on a bed of red, green and yellow autumnal leaves

This Nordic Roots Truffle Night Cream by Green People is so gentle and calming, and just what you need to put on your face before a good night’s sleep. This actually helps settle my rosacea which can be worsened by the significant changes in temperature we experience at this time of year, coming into warm environments after being outside (although I should point out it’s not marketed as a rosacea product).

With Vitamin E and nourishing hemp seed oil, my skin certainly feels replenished, calmer and more hydrated in the morning when I have used this lovely, light cream. I apply it after using the Nordic Roots hyaluronic booster serum. It also contains Northern Truffle, harvested under the Northern Lights in Finnish forests apparently – I can’t vouch for these wild, organic ingredients (and have only ever eaten truffle before, not smothered it on my face) but I do know this lovely night cream seems to work for me! So much so, that there is no alternative I can think of that matches it.

Eye Cream

I am not someone who believes that eye cream is going to work any miracles, and I really have come to terms with my wrinkles! But using a gentle eye cream is much better for that delicate skin around your eyes and apart from anything else, it just feels better than using my facial moisturiser in that area. Also, the skin around your eyes is very susceptible and open to the elements all the time, even if you wear glasses, so using an eye cream as part of your winter skincare routine is important.

My eyes water quite a lot in cold weather which can make them a bit sore and dry at the outer edges of the lids, and that’s why I like The Body Shop’s Vitamin E eye cream – it feels very light and refreshing and contains that popular ingredient, hyaluronic acid, to help build and retain moisture that can be lost in dry heat and extreme weathers. I use it morning and evening and it does seem to largely prevent the soreness that I can get from my eyes watering. Once I get that soreness, putting anything on can make it sting, so prevention really is key here.

Body Shop 20% discount code: AFFVEGANMUM

Buy from Amazon


  • Whilst I guess many products are suitable for any gender, there are several beauty products designed to appeal to men (and perhaps have different, more appropriate formulations for male skin). I haven’t tried it, but Amazon do a face and eye serum for men, and it looks great.

Winter Lip Care

Dark blue tube of DrPawPaw overnight lip mask and a yellow tub of DrPawPaw lip balm, both sitting on a bed of autumnal leaves

My lips very quickly crack and dry out, and this starts, spookily, around the time the clocks go back in October! So let’s start with the award-winning Dr.PawPaw overnight lip mask. What a revelation. It is packed full of natural ingredients that sound so comforting – olive oil, pawpaw fruit, aloe vera and castor oil. It’s like wrapping your lips in a warm moisturising bath overnight. I haven’t been using it for long enough to vouch for its claims about smoothing out fine lines, but it certainly repairs and moisturises. I almost look forward to going to bed just to apply it!

The lip balm, which comes in a clever double tub containing the balm and a lip scrub in 2 separate compartments, has resulted in me finally giving up my trusty vaseline. I never, ever found a lip balm that came anywhere close to vaseline until being introduced to Dr.PawPaw’s scrub and nourish lip balm, and I have at last been able to move away from what is essentially a by-product of the petro-chemical industry!

The scrub is very gentle, and the balm is reassuringly sticky (in really cold weather, I like to feel that a product is actually doing something effective) but without feeling unpleasant. I love it, it works a treat, and is a must-have in my winter skincare products. I can only recommend that you try it.

Dr.PawPaw 20% discount code: HELLO20

Face Serums

I do like this hydrating serum, and use it at night before applying the Nordic Roots truffle night cream. The hyaluronic acid, in the form of sodium hyaluronate, means that apparently the skin is better able to absorb the ingredients. Whilst that’s not something I’m an expert in, all I can say is that when my skin feels dry and tight, this serum has an immediately soothing and moisturising effect. It is fragrance free, light, and has always been very soothing on my overly-sensitive skin.

The use of hyaluronic acid in products is very useful in a winter skincare regime because of its hydrating and moisture-retaining properties. This serum combines that with other lovely ingredients including hop flowers and sugar beet – sounds almost good enough to eat!


  • One that I haven’t tried yet, but from the Amazon Aware brand, is their anti-ageing hyaluronic face serum. With their Amazon Aware climate pledge, vegan promise, organic ingredients, and value for money, this is a range I’m definitely going to be trying more of. Let me know in the comments if you try it!

Hand Cream

Is there anyone that doesn’t use hand cream in winter? Maybe there is, but I’m a wimp and not sure what I’d do without my 2 favourites. They are both incredibly effective, absorb brilliantly without feeling greasy, and both have a subtle fragrance. I don’t often wear gloves because I find that my hands remain just as cold inside the gloves as out, so getting the right hand cream at least gives my hands some protection.

The Body Shop Shea Hand Balm is pretty unbeatable in my opinion and I’m rarely without a tube of it in my backpack. Whilst the balm feels thick when you squeeze it out, it absorbs very quickly, leaving my hands feeling moisturised without being sticky (which I really hate!). This is winter skincare for hands at its best.

Dr.PawPaw’s Cocoa and Coconut Hand Cream is a very, very close second. It is lighter than the shea cream above, but still very effective. The other thing I really like about it is its fragrance – I love the smell of coconut, but it can be overdone. There is another well-known coconut-based brand out there which is fine, but to me the smell is almost chemical-like, whereas this Dr.PawPaw hand cream is subtle and not overpowering.

Body Shop 20% discount code: AFFVEGANMUM

Dr.PawPaw 20% discount code: HELLO20

Foot Cream

I don’t know how my feet know it’s winter, but they do. The skin on my feet seems to roughen up and dry out, and I really hate the feeling of dry feet on carpet. Just me? Well, maybe, but there are plenty of foot creams on the market which suggests I’m not alone…

However, not all foot cream is created equal and one that I have found to be very effective is The Body Shop’s Hemp foot protector. With hemp seed oil and shea butter, this rich cream is absorbed really well and the positive effects are felt pretty quickly. I still need to use a pumice stone during the winter, the cream doesn’t work on its own, but in combination it works a treat. I usually use it at night because even though this cream is absorbed quite quickly, I don’t feel comfortable putting shoes or socks on whilst there are traces of stickiness. Hmmm, all my personal foibles coming out now. I might move on…

Body Shop 20% discount code: AFFVEGANMUM


  • I do also use a lovely foot cream which deodorises with peppermint and contains shea butter and olive oil for softening. This refreshing peppermint and prebiotic foot cream from Green People also comes in a sugar cane tube, so very eco-friendly too.

Body Butters

Well, The Body Shop has a bit of a contender here, and it’s from a brand you may not immediately link with good quality vegan skincare products…Amazon. They have a fantastic range of vegan skincare products, many of which I have still to try. However, I have used their body butter and it is really good. I love their orange fragrance, but it comes in 2 other scents as well – Neroli, and Lemon (confusingly in pink packaging!) – and all of them contain organic aloe vera and fairtrade shea butter, and come in recyclable metal tins. Who knew?

This is a serious body butter contender, and in winter, I probably use it more than I do in the summer – my shins and arms in particular dry out, and this non-greasy but rich body butter is perfect, and goes a long way too.

The other thing to mention about this Amazon range is that the product packaging has clearly been well thought through to reflect its environmental credentials, but also to be gender neutral.

I’d recommend you give it a try.


  • OK, you can’t ignore The Body Shop when it comes to body butters and they are a lovely alternative, although the packaging does still contain some plastic. I have a particular weakness for the British Rose Body Butter

Winter Skincare Rescue Remedies

To be honest, however attentive you are to your winter skincare regime, there are always times when you need a bit of extra help. I have 2 favourite rescue remedies that I would strongly recommend based on my experience:

I have been using The Body Shop tea tree products, in various forms, for years. I don’t know if it’s all in the mind, but spots and blemishes always feel instantly better when I use a product with tea tree in! It contains another acid to add to the list, salicylic acid this time, and its efficacy in low doses has been known about for many years and well-researched. Having rosacea means I do get bumps and blemishes, but I have to be very careful about how I treat them because my skin doesn’t respond well to anything too harsh. That’s why this little tube is so good because I can apply it directly to a small area and just leave it overnight. It doesn’t make spots and blemishes vanish altogether, but it helps to improve their appearance. And it just feels so cleansing, you feel like you’re doing something positive!

I think Dr.PawPaw’s multipurpose soothing balm is a little yellow tube of magic, and not just for lips. It reminds me of a cream my mum used to use – a well-known but non-vegan brand of 8 hour cream – and the Dr.PawPaw version is now my go-to cream when my skin has a problem. It seems to have a multitude of uses – see Dr.PawPaw’s blog for more ideas – but I use it whenever, and wherever, I get dry or sore skin. In the winter, the skin on the side of my hands and fingers can crack for example, and this stuff is amazing. I put it on overnight and the relief and improvement by the morning is impressive. For me, this is another ‘must-have’ in my list of winter skincare products. And apparently, even Victoria Beckham uses it, so you’ll be in good company!

Body Shop 20% discount code: AFFVEGANMUM

Dr.PawPaw 20% discount code: HELLO20

Winter Skincare for Children

Winter skincare…for children? Well, yes, and why not? Children’s delicate skin is no exception and also needs care and attention in the autumn and winter, particularly if there is lots of autumn leaf-kicking, puddle-jumping and snowball fights going on!

A very thoughtful and caring brand is Bloom & Blossom that has a lovely, gentle baby moisturiser (suitable for children of all ages). It has been so thoughtfully produced that it is suitable for even the most sensitive and eczema-prone skin. I bought this for my grandson who gets quite dry skin and it works wonders, an experience backed up by many positive online reviews from other purchasers.


What is hyaluronic acid?

Hyaluronic acid is a popular ingredient in many skincare products and you can even find it in oral beauty supplements – check out Dr Vegan’s Skin Saviour supplement for example. The word acid makes it sound like something you’d use in a chemistry lesson, but in simple terms, it’s just a molecule that hangs onto water – lots of it – and it is naturally occurring in almost all the cells in our body. That makes it a key ingredient all year round, but with particular importance during winter when your skin is more vulnerable to the drying effects of weather and central-heating. It’s hard to imagine finding any winter skincare products without this ‘superhero’ ingredient.

Generally regarded as safe and effective, you may still want to do your own research. I’ve provided a couple of links for you here:

What is salicylic acid?

It is believed that salicylic acid helps to:

  • remove the surface skin cells (exfoliates)
  • decreases redness and inflammation

Consequently, these 2 qualities make this an effective ingredient (in the right quantities). It’s not necessarily commonly used in winter skincare products, but many skin creams that aim to help clear blemish-prone skin will contain it.

However, it is an ingredient that can interact badly with some medications, and can cause sensitivities, although most over the counter products rightly have a very low percentage of salicylic acid. If you’re ever in doubt about using a product containing this ingredient, check with a medical professional.

You can find out more about salicylic acid using the links below:

I hope you have enjoyed this Vegan Mum guide to vegan winter skincare. Below are some other relevant posts that you might be interested in:

The Body Shop Edelweiss skincare review

Feel Skincare review

Best Vegan Collagen Supplements

Feel Pro Collagen Gels review

Feel Pineapple Pro Collagen review

Best vegan soap bars

Faith in Nature Products review

Penny Barkas


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