Before experiencing enough of winter, in the past, I’d always looked forward to winter vacations because it means I can do so many #OOTDs! All the clothes I’m gonna wear! All the boots that will make my legs look longer! #woesofbeingshort Not gonna lie, getting to layer on my clothes was the main thing that made me look forward to winter!
My infatuation with winter vacations didn’t last long.
Now, winter weather and snow scenes may look super pretty and dreamy in photos especially on Instagram, but in reality, winter is a very harsh weather to experience. Coming from Singapore where it’s summer all year round, winter is a season I experience only in short phases during travelling. Other than the possibility of falling sick from the weather, the physical body goes through changes from being exposed to the cold. If you’re not well-prepared for winter, your suffering will intensify.
Other than a good jacket, the best advice anyone can give you in preparation for heading to winter countries is…
Bring Your Moisturizer(s)!
Don’t wait till your skin starts peeling and cracking before you scramble to find moisturizers at the shops.
But which part of the body do you have to moisturize for winter? Is it just the limbs? In this post, I share the areas that are easily overlooked when you’re packing toiletries for winter.
Ps: This guide is only for temperatures from 0 to 10. If you’re going to places with subzero temperatures, research deeper elsewhere!
The Super Important Areas to Moisturize:
Of course this is the most important to us girls! In winter, the lightweight moisturizer (especially if it’s liquid moisturizer) you use at home is probably not good enough for winter. You need something more heavy-duty. A cream-based moisturizer with thicker texture would be better for winter.
Travel Tip: This is like the best thing I ever found: Virgin Coconut Oil! It’s organic, natural and works wonders! I add 1-2 drops of virgin coconut oil (just a little will do) to my Dr.Ci:Labo moisturizer on my hands, rub everything together, then apply on my cleansed face. The moisture from the coconut oil will be all I need to combat winter. Don’t forget that coconut oil turns solid in cold conditions (it even turned solid in my hotel room in Bali), so what I’ll do is to run my small tube of coconut oil under hot water, so I can pour it out.
I have heard that Japanese horse oil is great for winter moisturizing too, you can check it out!
Some girls also like to put on mask sheets to moisturize their face. I for one don’t prefer to do that because I already feel very cold in winter – don’t need another cold thing on my face. As an alternative though, occasionally, I slap on an additional layer of sleeping mask on top of my moisturized skin, then go to bed.
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When you first reach a cold country, the area near your nails will feel the dryness of the climate very quickly, perhaps even before you disembarked from your plane. Your hands will peel or flake little streaks of skin at the sides or at the area below your nails. These little streaks of skin though small, when they begin to peel, will make your fingers really sore and sensitive. It hurts to peel the skin off; it again hurts too afterwards.
Which is why you need to take special care to moisturize your hands in winter!
Travel Tip: Bring a small tube of hand moisturizer with you up the plane. Apply it before you feel the dryness set in. If you don’t have hand moisturizer with you (the plane lavatory should have, actually), rub some lip-balm around your nails as a temporary cuticle moisturizer.
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You’ll feel it right after stepping out of the shower. The skin on your legs and arms feel more rough than normal. The tight, prickly sensation is also unpleasant. You definitely don’t want to feel your skin flake off (*ouch*) as you put on your jeans.
Travel Tip: Avoid strong body soap in your shower – choose something milky if you can. Always slather on a good amount of body moisturizer straight after your shower, and before you put on your clothes to head out!
. . . . .
In winter, the air lacks humidity, which in turn causes dry, chapped lips. Licking to wet your lips will make the dryness worse.
Kids will feel the dryness on their lips too, don’t forget to moisturize for them!
Travel Tip: Apply a lip-balm frequently. Bring your lip-balm wherever you go!
Good to take care of these areas too:
I have never learned my lessons. When I travel to cold countries, I tend to fall sick. I’ll also develop this dry, hacking cough that won’t let up, not even for weeks after my return back to warm weather. It’s the kind of coughs that makes me wish I didn’t have to breathe, because with each inhalation, I feel an impossibly itchy sensation in the throat. It gets so bad, sometimes I’ll be tearing, as if from misery (but actually it’s just the itch).
Travel Tip: Other than keeping the neck area all wrapped up against the cold wind, keep some lozenges with you. Also, drink lots of water to rehydrate!
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Contact lens wearers will understand. You can feel how winter robs your eyes of moisture when you step outdoors! I haven’t found a great solution for this, the usual eye-drops can only provide relief for a short while. If you have recommendations of a good eye-drop for use in winter, please let me know!
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In Singapore, I already put a light, cream-based leave-in moisturizer on my hair ends.
Travel tip: When I travel, again, my virgin coconut oil (see Face tips above) is a wonderful natural moisturizer for my hair! I’ll bring a tiny bottle of it mixed with lavender essential oil just so that the coconut oil smell is not overpowering. Does the trick and my hair will smell great!
Image credits: Nature’s Way virgin coconut oil image is from iHerb.com.
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