Organic Substitutes

Winter Skin Care Essentials while in Italy

Florence, Italy

Last week this time I was in  Italy. Sigh! Italy is really a very beautiful place and those of you who have been there will surely agree with me, right? I love this place so much that I have even shared a few pics taken using my cam so that you get to see it too and I have even highlighted Italy with a special effects wherever it appears in this post (yea, cos I really loved this place and I wanted to express it to you!)

Pisa, Italy

But I did not go when most people would normally go instead I decided to choose the off season i.e February end, the positive part being less touristy, the negative part being extreme weather conditions. And especially belonging to the place where I am based, it truly was like going from one extreme to the other. I live in UAE and as you must have already guessed, the weather here during the winter season is not really all that cold such that we have to layer up on clothes unlike how I did so when I was in Italy.

Now in Italy, the weather there was really harsh as it was super cold and my skin managed to brave temperatures ranging from -5 to 5 ̊ C. The minimum winter temperature that my skin has experienced is 15 ̊ C. And after a long day when I step into the hotel, the heaters are on thus making the air inside dry as the heaters suck moisture from the air and from your delicate skin too. Research shows that exposing skin to dry air even for limited period of time can suck out all the moisture leaving it dry and dull. So for me, doing my extensive prior research as to how I should armor my skin before exposing it to relatively new and extreme temperature variations was beneficial. I decided to share this with you so it makes life easier for you and you don’t have to spend all that time I spend to research, as I will give you an idea of what exactly to carry with you to keep your skin moisturized and replenished, when going off for a holiday to a cold country.

San Gimignano, Italy

So if any of you are planning for any winter vacations and you belong to those parts of the planet where winter temperatures are not really low then I have discussed some , easy-to-prepare easy-to-carry DIY winter essentials that of course are organic which makes it even more interesting as these do not add to the harshness which already comes along with the cold climate.

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          1. How Exactly are Winters Harsh to the Skin?
          2. My Brainstorming Session before going to Italy
          3. My Solutions



How Exactly are Winters Harsh to the Skin?

Winters can literally suck the moisture out of your skin leaving it dry, flaky, chapped, rough and scaly. This mainly occurs because the sebaceous glands i.e. the oil producing glands on the skin are slowed down during winter thereby forcing these glands to produce less oil that they normally do. Ouch! That means even the natural means of having some moisture retention is also lost which leads us to adhere to external means, like moisturizing regularly, so necessarily!

Hence the ill effects of winter on our skin are rounded as follows:

        • Dry skin
        • Reduced moisture retention by sebaceous glands
        • Skin flakiness
        • Chapped/ rough/ irritated skin
        • Lack of moisture content will lead to formation of wrinkles in the long run.
        • Exposing skin to extreme temperature variations i.e. the really cold weather outside and the really warm temperature indoors can make the skin lose its smoothness and vibrancy.


My Brainstorming Session before going to Italy

Rome Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Since my skin is new to the extreme temperatures I was exposing it to, I had to make sure I carry with me formulations that guarantee extra moisturizing and since I was not ready to experiment with my skin or didn’t have time for trial and error in Italy once I have already taken with me my DIY formulations, hence I decided to go with subtle not-very-complex ingredients but at the same time able to provide me with all the moisture I will be needing.

I literally brainstormed regarding what I would need and it went as follows:

  • Since I was travelling I had to be concise and not carry too many products with me.
  • I need a toner
    • it should be moisturizing
    • it should be extra refreshing especially since I am travelling
    • and above all it should practically be portable so I could carry it with me and spray on whenever I wanted to.
  • I need a moisturizer
    • It should be oil based
    • The quiet ideal version of moisturizer in the winter is the oil based one especially during very low winter temperatures
    • and of course I should take care that it is easily storable.
  • The ingredients in the moisturizer and toner which I wish to carry with me should be
      • delicate to my skin as I am already exposing it to low temperatures
      • as well as provide enough moisturizing
      • and also retain the moisture on my face for longer periods.


Considering all of the above seemed pretty challenging, right? Well, it was. Read on and I will tell you what I came up with, taking all of the above into consideration as well as doing justice to my skin.

My Solutions

So I came across ingredients like glycerin, rosewater, aloe vera gel ( I have posted great Aloe Vera Face Packs based on skin type, in case you are interested CLICK HERE.), coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, etc. and after a lot of research I came up with the following concoctions as my go to winter travel essentials .



  1. Rose water
  2. Glycerin


Mix together one part of glycerin with four parts of rose water.(1:4 ratio)


  1. Moisturizes
  2. Refreshes
  3. Freshens

How I used it:

I used it mainly in between my journey in Italy for refreshing my skin like while in the train or on the plane for that instant freshness and moisturizing. This practice is really good as the air in trains and planes is dry thus it deprives your skin of moisture. I did not use it while I was outside however, as it cools your face and I could not handle that in such a cold weather.

Milan, Italy

My mistake:

This 1:4 ratio mix was a little heavy on me as the glycerin is really thick and I felt it a little sticky. You need to adjust its amount depending on what feels right on your skin. I did not check this before mixing but I recommend you to do so. If you mix it right you wont feel the stickiness. If you have dry skin however I recommend you stick to the 1:4 ratio. I realized I needed one part of glycerine with 8 parts of rose water (1:8 ratio). Oops! But in one way its good it happened so I could tell you guys to watch out.



  1. Olive oil
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Essential oil (preferably lavender essential oil)


  1. Mix together one part of olive oil with three parts of coconut oil and 7-8 drops of your favorite essential oil. I prefer lavender due to its great calming scent and it’s wonders on dry scaly skin.


  1. Acts like emollient
  2. Provides extra moisture as it is oil based
  3. Retains moisture on skin for longer periods
  4. Ideal for winter season

How I used it:

My coconut oil got over so I used almond oil instead which is also just as great. I used this immediately after shower right before going to bed. This way I am having two kinds of advantages:

  1. Using moisturizer right after shower makes your skin absorb more moisture as the pores are opened
  2. Using moisturizer right before bed allows the moisture to seep in deeper while the body takes rest. Research shows that moisturizers are best applied when body is in the complete rest phase (11pm – 4am).

My mistake:

None. This was perfect and ideal.

If you must be wondering what I used as cleanser, I used a mild, gentle store bought cleanser, the brand being Himalaya Neem face wash. With toner (the Rosewater Glycerin toner also acts as a great cleanser) and moisturizer as good as the above you frankly speaking do not need a cleanser. However I cannot do without a cleanser as it is a part of my daily skin care routine.

Well, that’s it for this post. Hope I was able to convey a great read and also hope you liked the pics I shared. Do let me know through comments below about your winter care travel essentials. Meanwhile Stay Beautiful Organically!

One Comment

  • Ramdas P Menon

    Thank you for sharing the information regarding the country like Italy and the information on the beauty care products.
    all the best.

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