A couple of years back, I shared what I packed for a trip where it was going to be chilly and dry in Spring. I come from the Tropics where the temperature varies very little. Our version of seasons is Hot and Wet and Hot and Dry, with Hot being the operative word. Humidity? It’s at 100%. We’re like fish living underwater LOL! I sometimes wonder if I should be evolving gills at any time…
So, whenever I head somewhere else in the world that has more variation in the weather, I face a little challenge as to what to pack in terms of my skincare, since I’m not about to head out and buy a whole new range just for travel, right?
I thought I’d share an updated version of “What skincare is in my travel bag” because while the basic concepts I employ for packing skincare haven’t changed, the products have. So, some of you who are travelling may find this useful, or to take a peep at my updated travel skincare routine 😀
These products came with me on a 10 day trip to China and Tibet in Spring-Summer where the temperature varied from 23°C in the middle of the day to -2°C in the evenings. The air was chilly, the wind was cold and due to the altitude Lhasa is at, the air is incredibly dry. You can quite literally feel your skin tightening and stretching from all that loss of moisture. Due to its location as well, it gets incredibly bright sun, which is great for sightseeing and photographs, but all those unfiltered UV rays that beat down on you from a clear blue sky plays merry hell with your skin.
With all this in mind, here’s what I packed, and what, if anything I might do or pack differently the next time I head somewhere cold and dry, and you don’t have to buy new stuff! 🙂
My primary focus, as it always is when I travel and am away from my regular skincare routine, is hydration. I place a great emphasis on it, because many factors result in our skin getting dehydrated and cold and dry weather is horrible for skin used to high humidity. It helps that my current skincare routine focuses a lot on hydration as well.
For the first time in my life, I travelled without packing skincare samples or living on sample sizes. I no longer do and no longer plan to and I’ll expound on this theory in a future blog post if you’re interested 😀 Instead, I brought my regular skincare, products my skin knew and recognised, and where it was not convenient, I decanted my regular skincare into travel sized bottles.
Remember, this is a guide, not gospel – nothing is ever gospel here at MWS. I believe in guiding you to find your own gospel 😉 All products are ones I already own or use.
- Sunscreen – This would have found its way into my skincare kit with or without the fore-knowledge of the potential exposure to UV rays. The Shiseido Perfect UV Protector has been my daily sunscreen for years and unless I find something better, will continue to be for a while. The difference this time was that I reapplied my sunscreen every hour that I was outside. Almost. Sometimes it was after every 2 hours and even then, I noticed more sun spots appearing after my trip. But my diligence paid off, because I did not burn. I made sure my family did the same so we were all fine. Others in the group returned with a tan and sunburn. That’s sun/UV damage right there, folks! Use whichever sunscreen makes you happy, but use one wherever you go! The UV rays don’t discriminate between Summer and Winter.
- Gentle face cleanser – Ok this one was technically a sample product I found in my cupboard and decided to take along. It is the Algenist Gentle Rejuvenating Cleanser which is non-foaming and fairly gentle on skin. Did not make it feel tight at all! I used this as my second cleanse every night and I liked it. It did take some getting used to at first, but I eventually learned that more is more so I did have to use a fair amount of product to get my skin feeling clean, but it was nice.
- Hydrating face mist – I carried this around with me and would spritz it whenever my skin felt dry, which was quite often through the day. The mist I picked was the Bobbi Brown Face Mist which is a travel friendly size and kept my skin feeling refreshed and hydrated. I also used this after cleansing in the morning and evenings, as a hydrating toner.
- Face Oil – I have normal-dry skin and face oils are now a daily staple in my skincare routine. Where the air was dry I knew I’d need a good face oil to protect and nourish my skin and that’s what I made sure I packed. I didn’t want something lightweight. It needed to protect! The one I brought along was the Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil, which I’ll review soon. It was light enough that I could use it in the day without it feeling oily, and nourishing enough so I could use it in the evenings for overnight protection of my skin. I used it on its own, whenever my skin felt dry (which was rarely) but most often, mixed with my moisturiser in varying amounts, depending on how my skin felt. My parents were quite happy to slap this oil on as well, after asking me if I had something to help their skin which was feeling dry and tight, and they were happy with how it felt. There’s a lot to be said for using a facial oil 🙂
- Hydrating lotion/essence – I always “double-tone” and after spritzing with a hydrating mist, I always follow up with a hydrating lotion or essence. My favourite is the La Mer Treatment Lotion (which is really good stuff and not as crazy expensive as others I’ve come across) but for this trip, I decanted the Bobbi Brown Extra Treatment Lotion into a La Mer sample bottle and it worked well. I highly recommend this sandwiching style for boosting your skin’s hydration levels. It kept my skin feeling and looking plumped up and healthy all through the trip!
- Treatment serum – I wanted a multi-purpose serum I could use day and night and the Antipodes Worship Serum was a natural choice. Well, pun intended LOL! I love the Worship serum. It’s now my de facto day serum and I have backups. It can be used day and night, and because I was travelling, I wasn’t into using my usual retinols because of potential skin sensitivity. So a multi purpose serum like this one served me well!
- Cleansing Cream – I needed something for a first cleanse and rooting around my cupboard for something travel friendly yielded the Clarins Extra Comfort Anti-Pollution Cleansing Cream. This was also very nice, and did a good job of removing the dirt, grime and sunscreen of the day. I used a face cloth to remove and my skin felt lovely, soft and clean every time, after which I’d follow up with a second cleanse.
- Heavy moisturiser – I didn’t want to double pack, so I brought a moisturiser I could use for both day and night. The Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream served my purpose. It’s far too heavy for me to use here in the tropics in the day so I was using it as a night cream. In a cold, dry climate, it worked beautifully as a day cream. It was heavy enough and nourishing enough for my skin to be used in the day. In the night, it wasn’t as sufficient, but I remedied that by mixing in my facial oil and that solved the problem!
- Cleansing Water – While I’m not that huge a fan of cleansing water, I brought one along for emergencies. This travel size Bioderma Cleansing Water came in useful in the plane when I wanted a quick cleanse before following up with the Algenist cleanser. I didn’t really use it otherwise, because I ended up not wearing any makeup on the trip. Wearing makeup does not lend itself to regular application of sunscreen and I’d rather wear sunscreen than makeup 🙂
I’m happy to report that these lovely products kept my skin very happy all through my trip and I returned with a little more freckles, but with no breakouts nor unhappy skin. If anything, my skin looked better!
The important thing I feel, is the double cleansing with a face cloth (removes accumulated dirt, oil and grime effectively because all that travelling around in the day really really takes a toll!), keeping skin hydrated (dry air dries out your skin very quickly), and keeping it nourished with oils (seals in the moisture) and a good multipurpose serum (repairs and treats skin).
So, if you are similarly from the tropics, and are planning to visit somewhere cold and dry soon, or just heading to a country that is experiencing Spring, Autumn or Winter, bear these tips in mind. You don’t have to use the same products, nor must you run out and buy a brand new range of products just for your holiday. Use whatever your skin and wallet likes and modify your existing skincare routine. But keep in mind these basic tenets:-
- Double cleansing with a face cloth
- Keep skin hydrated
- Nourish skin with oils or a good serum
- Wear copious amounts of sunscreen
What I’d do differently is actually… nothing LOL! I’m quite happy with how this little experiment turned out. But ok, I’d pick a different second cleanse. While I quite liked the Algenist one, I’m not enamoured with it. I’d also not use the Clarins cleansing cream, because while I liked it as well, I didn’t think it did as good a job as some of the other cleansing balms I’m used to. I’d have to find one that’s more travel friendly for future use, or just find myself a container I can decant a cleansing balm into.
Do you practice similar tenets when travelling somewhere cold and dry? Do you live where it’s cold and dry and have tips to share?
These tips are of course, based on my skin type and my experience with some products I like. I’m happy to answer questions you may have and even happier to hear any tips YOU may have because I know that you guys are a mine of information 😀