Winter is coming (or here for some – cue Canada that’s already snowing!!), and if you’re absolutely clueless about skincare while travelling in winter, here’s a quick and simple guide for you to be ready! This also applies to men who are mostly clueless about skincare – and by skincare I don’t mean piling on serums and moisturisers. It’s actually pretty easy, if you follow me through. 🙂
I’ve been using this for over a year now and it works great! // image credit
Even girls make this mistake: neglecting sunscreen altogether during winter since you don’t see the sun. People be like, “there’s no sun and no warmth especially when places are just piled up in snow”, so what’s there to block? UV rays. Those UV rays are some invisible monster that damages your skin more during winter than summer. I shan’t go too scientific here but yes, please remember your sunscreen SPF50-100 (good for outdoors) when you’re travelling. It’s so essential for your skin I can’t emphasise enough! But the good thing about sunscreen during winter is: you just have to apply them on your face and nowhere else since you’re all covered up. You can read more proof here.
2. LIP BALM
Vanilla Coke flavoured lip balm (Las Vegas); Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm (London ON)
Yeah those lips are always, always forgotten. I’m not talking about lip gloss or lipsticks (most of them don’t contain SPF anyway), I’m talking about those plain old colourless lip balms (although now many comes with some colour) with SPF. Yes, sunscreen for your lips! For guys, stick to those colourless ones.
If you’re from Southeast Asia like myself, your lips would be very accustomed to the humidity. So when we head overseas during their winter seasons, our lips would become exceptionally dry (sometimes even on the plane). So you’d need lip balm to act as a lip moisturiser before it starts to crack!
Tip: Apply lip balm before you sleep if your lips are prone to cracking because your lips would be dehydrated after 8h of dryness.
3. A PAIR OF GOOD SUNGLASSES
After we’re done protecting your face, body and lips, it’s time to move on to your eyes! Like your lips, the eyes are always neglected because we… just don’t think of it. If you’re going to a country with high snowfall, you definitely should bring along a pair of sunglasses because snow and ice could reflect up to 80% of the UV rays. Don’t belittle the rays, I’ve experienced it myself and I had to squint my eyes so bad sometimes back in Canada! And long exposure to these rays with our naked eyes may increase the risk of cataract in future. You don’t want that, do you?
on me: Aldo sunglasses for CAD$10
Tip: If you don’t want to invest in a good pair (read: expensive) of sunglasses, you can buy a pair from some reputable chain stores at a lower price, but look for tags that says UV100 at least. Some protection is always better than none!
4. HAND CREAM
PINK by Victoria Secret hand cream (London ON)
Dry skin? Coming from a tropical SEA country? You cannot leave this out. You don’t want those hands to crack and suffer in pain before you decide you should get one of these. You don’t have to buy expensive ones, any lotion from the drugstore is good enough.
Walgreens USD$1.99 body lotion (Chicago), Bath & Body Works hand cream (my favourite!) (NYC)
Why is this important? You need to use your hands for everything, from washing your hands after every toilet visit, to eating, to bathing, to shopping, so you’d take off your gloves and expose your hands, which when cracked, would be too painful and annoying. I’ve been there, so trust me on this. (I’ve photo proof, but I think it’s a little disturbing to put here)
Tip: Buy a small one that you can keep inside your outer wear (say, down jacket)’s pocket. Because you have to keep using!
5. WATER/ FACIAL SPRAY
Think winter, then think static? YES goddamn static which I personally hate so much but have no way to stop them! I’m one unfortunate being that loves winter but nevertheless gets tortured every time during winter. My hair would fly and float around (starting from the plane ride), to getting electrocuted whenever I touch anything metal (read: water taps, door knobs, door handles etc), to getting all my clothes stuck to my skin, to getting all the static sounds when changing in and out (or when trying clothes), to accidentally electrocuting whoever’s beside me – basically my torture doesn’t end. If you can empathise with me, you’re my friend.
Eau Thermale Avène facial spray, Bio-essence Spring Water face/hair/body spray (both from Singapore)
Fortunately for some of you, you won’t experience what I’ve been through. But for those who face the same problem, water/ facial sprays are good things to bring along when you’re on and about! Just spray those water and fight those annoying static.
Tip: Cheapest option is to grab a small plastic spray water and fill with tap water. It’ll do the job perfectly 🙂
I swear by these back in harsh Canada’s winter // image credit
Here comes the division between (many) ladies and gentlemen. Well, FYI, moisturiser is really essential during winter for men and women, especially when your hotel room/ guesthouse/ airbnb rooms/ hostels don’t have a humidifier. Sometimes a few days into your winter trip, you’d notice your calves start to get scaly or really dry/flaky (differs from person to person), so moisturise your entire body, not just your face!
1. Senka toner (Tokyo); 2. Etude House Moistfull Essence (Serum); 3. Etude House Moistfull Cream Moisturiser; 4. Laneige Water Sleeping Pack (2-4 from Seoul); 5. Neutrogena Eye Roll-on (Singapore); 6. Eau Thermale Avène Soothing Eye Contour Cream (London ON). All products are what I’ve used in winter and are numbered according to steps of usage. Note: my sole purpose was for hydration only.
For people who are more concerned with which specific moisturisers to use, here’s a quick guide on how to make your option:
- If you already have dry skin back in your humid country, you definitely need moisturisers in cream form, and even better if you have both day and night creams. The latter is richer and help in the regeneration of your skin cells when you sleep and you’ll wake up with a hydrated face. Also, because your skin need more moisture than other skin types, it’d be good if you have hydrating sleeping masks.
- If you have combination/oily skin back in your humid country, you’re more lucky! Your skin would produce less sebum (oil) when you’re in a drier country, so keep your oil-controlling skincare products or gel moisturisers at home. Adapt by bringing along (or buy) moisturisers that would otherwise look too shiny on your face back at home. To put it simply, you’ll need to use those richer moisturisers that you’re forbidden to use back in a humid country.
- If you’re from a country that is already quite dry, then you can stick to your usual routine. Easy peasy! 🙂
850ml VOSS water bought from NYC
Did I read wrongly? What does water got to do with skincare? Yes, it totally does. Apart from your moisturisers that work on the outside, this cheap (or free) and readily available skincare item is what we just don’t bother when travelling. You excitedly go from one attraction to another, eating new cuisines, sipping on hot chocolates and lattes, and forgot all about water. And yet, it is this thing that you don’t really have to pay for that keeps you healthy and all hydrated, especially during winter.
Tim Hortons in -40 degrees Montréal
Budae Jjigae (army stew) in Seoul’s winter
Our biggest weakness during winter is sourcing for hot drinks (read: takeaway hot teas and coffees) and spicy hot delicacies (read: hotpot, steamboat etc), but these food are full of ingredients that only make us dehydrate further. So, a word of advice, drink lotsa water during winter (well and any other season)!
Having worked 3 years in the beauty industry has definitely influenced me a lot, so I’m pretty diligent in protecting my skin. Hope this post would enlighten you a little while you travel. 😉