Australia and Canada have a lot of things in common, but in other ways, they couldn’t be further apart.
For example, in December, when folks in Canada are wrapping their windows like leftovers, Aussies are waxing their surfboards and flinging themselves into the ocean.
Not me, however. For some pre-pandemic reason this Aussie can’t recall, I moved to Montreal, where I learned very quickly that I had never experienced a true winter.
Three years on, and I’ve finally gotten a hang of the tricks necessary to make it through the snowy season — from mastering the penguin walk to doubling my daily allocation of body lotion.
Nothing puts your skin to the test quite like winter, I’ve found, so it’s not a bad idea to hunt down a moisturizing skin-care solution when the temperature drops.
Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Body Wash, for example, is a soap- and dye-free formula that’s made with oatmeal and won’t dry your skin out, and their Daily Moisturizing Lotion helps replenish your natural moisture and keep your skin soft for 24 hours.
With a hydrating duo like this (and my newfound appreciation of layers) my winters are much more comfortable. Before I figured all this out, however, there were a few things that caught me completely off-guard, and these topped the list.
Snow Is Wet
I had never seen real snow until I moved to Canada. I know it’s silly, but for some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me that snow was made of water until it melted on my clothes and froze me to the bone.
Now, not only do I understand the essential wetness of snow, but I also know that if you don’t brush it off before you go inside, you get a wet apartment. Growth!
You Can't Trust Puddles
I’ll never forget the first time I stepped on what looked to me like a damp Montreal sidewalk to discover that it was, in fact, crystal-clear ice.
I didn’t fall (that time), but I did slide gently sideways before coming to rest against a stranger’s parked SUV. These days, I can tell the difference between ice and water from a mile away, thankfully.
Winter Skin Care Is Legit
Until you’ve experienced the torment of a Canadian winter, you can’t comprehend the value of a season-specific skin-care routine.
Low-humidity environments in winter will dry your skin out whether it’s the cold outside or the cranked-up heat inside. Amping up my moisturizing efforts has been a game changer to not feel like a dried-out raisin all winter.
Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Body Wash and Lotion are both formulated with prebiotic oat, which helps to soothe dry skin. And you can get two times the moisture if you use them together, which makes them especially hydrating.
The Holiday Aesthetic Makes Sense
December in Australia is peak summer. Despite the blue, unclouded sky and 30-degree days, Aussies still go all-in on the classic winter aesthetic: Santa Claus and his reindeer, fake snow, baked ham, pudding — the lot. It’s… confusing.
Cut to my first winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and I felt like I had tumbled into a greeting card. It was cold, I decorated gingerbread cookies with friends and outside was bright with twinkling lights reflecting off the snow. I was charmed beyond belief.
You Have To Walk Differently For At Least 3 Months A Year
Born-and-bred Canadians know this one, where you shuffle from the knees down and keep your weight over your feet when walking on icy surfaces.
I got so used to walking like this last winter that I was genuinely thrown by how much traction I had once the ice melted in spring.
Layers Are More Than A Fashion Statement
It’s amazing anyone gets anywhere on time after putting on their entire wardrobe under their coat, but I’ve learned to embrace the art of layering in winter. My favourite is pulling a hoodie up over a toque and wrapping a scarf around the whole lot.
I feel like my life changed when I started applying a non-greasy moisturizer before going out too. This lotion helps lock in moisture for 24 hours, which is helpful when heading out into the biting cold.
Plow Do You Do?
Canada’s snow-removing vehicles caught me by surprise simply because I had never seen anything like them before — especially that little guy that does the sidewalks.
There’s also the big one that grinds up the hard ice and shoots it into a truck like a wood chipper. If you’re in Montreal and you spot someone filming the ice chomper as it goes by, it’s probably me.
It’s taken a couple of years, but this little Aussie has figured out a few things about surviving Canada’s infamous winters.
Undoubtedly, learning to give my skin some extra TLC during the colder months was a big one. Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Body Wash is lightly fragranced and hypoallergenic, and the non-greasy Daily Moisturizing Lotion is free of fragrances and dyes.
After three years, I can now smugly tell people in Australia that they have no idea what winter is, just like I tell Canadians they don’t know summer (for real, you don’t).