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Winter Care: How to Moisturize • The Petite Wanderess

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! Not gonna lie, getting to layer on my clothes in winter weather has always been the main thing that made me look forward to winter travel!

 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 very harsh weather to experience. Coming from Singapore where it’s summer all year round, winter is a season I experience only in short bouts while 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 the cold, your suffering in winter will intensify.

| Read: How to Stay Healthy on Your Winter Trip – the TCM Way! |

Skin Care Tips for Winter:
Where & How to Moisturize

Winter calls for a good moisturizer(s)!

Don’t wait till your skin starts peeling and cracking before you scramble to find proper skincare 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 skincare 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!

Keeping the Face Supple and Hydrated in Winter

Apply a moisturizing mask before your nightly skincare

Bhutan in Dec 2019 (I experienced -1ºC) and Hokkaido also in Dec 2019 (it dropped to -5ºC at night) were especially drying. On both trips, after cleansing my skin at night, I experimented with applying and leaving on a layer of collagen gel mask. At home Singapore, this gel mask will always remain a sticky layer on my skin for 15-20min, before I have to wash it off. On these winter trips, the collagen gel actually totally got absorbed into my skin, whoa. After removing the collagen gel mask with a damp cotton pad, I continued my facial moisturizer.

I didn’t have much problems with dry skin on these trips. So I guess from now on, I’ll always bring this collagen gel mask with me!

. . . . .

Use a thicker facial moisturizer

A light-weight, liquid-based facial moisturizer will not be good enough. For myself, I prefer to use a cream-based moisturizer with thicker texture when I’m on a winter trip.

Some thicker moisturizers I’ve used before are:
Shiseido White Lucent Luminizing Surge (last used in Hokkaido in Dec 2019)
Dr. Ci:Labo Aqua Collagen Gel Super Moisture EX

. . . . .

Or, mix A LITTLE BIT of organic facial oils into your moisturizer

Another idea would be to add a litttttle bit of oil into your face moisturizer. Be very careful about this though, especially if you have very sensitive skin. I last used this method in Nov 2017 in Tokyo.

These are a few options I’ve tried:

Virgin Coconut Oil

This virgin coconut oil! is organic, natural and works wonders!

I’ll 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 onto my cleansed face. 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 a tube of coconut oil under hot water, so I can pour it out.

Pure rosehip seed oil

Another option is pure rosehip seed oil. The seed smell might take a little getting used to, but it’s fine.

I also add this rosehip seed oil to my body moisturiser and apply it all over my body.

Japanese horse oil

I have heard that Japanese horse oil is great for moisturizing in winter too, you can check it out! The famous Son Bahyu horse oil contains only natural horse oil – it is NOT a cream moisturizer.

. . . . .

Use mask sheets

Some people might recommend mask sheets to moisturize their face. I for one don’t prefer to do that as much as I can, because I already feel very cold in winter – don’t need another cold thing on my face. When I’m not too lazy, I slap on an additional layer of sleeping mask on top of my moisturized skin, then go to bed.

Keep Your Hands, Nails, Body Moisturized in Winter

Protect your hands and nails

When you reach a cold country, the area surrounding your nails will feel the dryness of the climate first, perhaps even before you disembark from your plane. Your hands will peel or flake little streaks of skin at the sides or at the area below your nails. This makes 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.

. . . . .

Slather moisturizer all over your body

You’ll feel the dryness right after stepping out of the shower. The skin on your legs and arms will feel more rough than normal. That tight, prickly sensation is also unpleasant. You definitely don’t want to feel your skin flake off (*ouch*) as you put on your jeans.

Always slather on a good amount of body moisturizer straight after your shower, and before you put on your clothes to head out!

Also, avoid using strong body soap in your shower. Choose something milky if you can!

Some body moisturizers I’ve used:
• Vaseline (which is ok, not super moisturizing)
• Loshi Horse Oil Moisture Cream – a cream-based moisturizing body lotion that doesn’t leave any sticky residual feeling. Recommended!

The lips are important too

Put these to prevent your lips from cracking

In winter, the air lacks humidity, which in turn causes dry, chapped lips. Licking your lips will make the dryness worse.

Kids will feel the dryness on their lips too, don’t forget to moisturize for them!

lip-balms | Winter Care: How to Moisturize • The Petite Wanderess
my fave is the Lip Fondue (texture’s something like melted cream – very moisturizing!). All are Japanese products

Travel Tip: Bring your lip-balm wherever you go and apply it frequently!

Don’t forget about your hair, eyes, throat


I have never learned my lessons. Whenever I travel to cold countries, I tend to fall sick, developing 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). Sometimes, the cough develops into bronchitis.

Travel Tips: Keep the neck and back of head wrapped up against the cold wind with a thick scarf. There’re TCM reasons for this, which you can read in this useful post for winter. Keep some lozenges with you. Also, drink enough water to rehydrate! 

. . . . .


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!

. . . . .


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!

Do you have other skincare tips to combat cold weather? Share with me!

| Read next:Stay Healthy on Your Winter Vacation using these TCM Tips! |

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Winter Care: How to Moisturize • The Petite Wanderess

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