And by less-than-perfect, we mean dull, dry and prone to breaking out. Not exactly the ideal base for a flawless make-up application. The problem? Winter, with its cold winds, amped-up air-con and drop in humidity. The solution? A fabulous exfoliant. Because there's no point slathering on hydrating serum if it can't penetrate through the layers of dead skin that build up when the temperature drops - the only way to get much-needed moisture to your parched visage is by exfoliating first.
Find your winter skin saviour in our edit of the best exfoliants on the market right now.
Related story: What you need in your winter beauty bag
1. Chanel Radiance Exfoliating Gel, $71, chanel.com
With its gel/cream consistency and ultra-fine particles, this Chanel gel gently exfoliates while working to restore skin's radiance. Cultured peal powders, jojoba microbeads and orange blossom concentrate leave skin soft and smooth. Use up to three times a week.
2. Ella Baché Revealing Fruit Enzyme Exfoliant, $64, ellabache.com.au
Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, this Ella Baché beauty contains papaya and pineapple enzymes and salicylic acid to encourage skin cell turnover while effectively unclogging pores and removing dead skin from the surface.
3. Clinique 7 Day Scrub, $47, clinique.com.au
As the name suggests, Clinique's 7 Day Scrub is gentle enough for everyday use - making it perfect for winter when a once-weekly scrub sometimes isn't enough - and works to refine the skin as it exfoliates. Suitable for all skin types.
4. Dior Instant Gentle Exfoliant, $68, dior.com
Harsh exfoliants can do more damage than good, but the Dior Instant Gentle Exfoliant leaves skin soft and supple, thanks to its silky formula. It contains Pure Lily extract to activate skin cell regeneration and is designed to be used up to three times a week.
Related story: 10 winter skin savers that will change your life
5. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, $73, dermalogica.com.au
A cult favourite, the Daily Microfoliant is a rice-based powder that turns into a creamy paste when mixed with wet hands. A blend of salicylic acid and rice proteins brightens the complexion while delivering a thorough exfoliation thanks to the micro-fine particles. Suitable for daily use and all skin types, the powder is formulated without artificial fragrances or colours.