Tips for Winter in Korea

6.17pm in Seoul right now and the skies have turned dark. As we countdown to the last few hours of 2014, have you decided how you’re going to spend the last few moments of this year? Or have you already made new resolutions for the next? Before I head out to a cute little Italian restaurant for my New Year Eve’s dinner, I wanted to share some tips with anyone of you who are thinking of visiting Korea this winter!

Climate

Winter in Korea can be harsh. Temperatures can dip to a low of minus 20 degrees. Typically, the cycle consists of four to six mild days to three very cold days (temperatures fall to minus 10 to 18 degrees). As I write this, the forecast for 1st January is going to be a high of minus 4 degrees! January is the coldest month in Seoul with average temperatures around minus 2 degrees. The days are short and the nights are long and it is not hard to see why melancholy is so often associated with the season. But, I also think winter is a time for good food, large gatherings and too many shots of soju!

What to wear

Layers, layers, lots of layers. You will also need a really good outer coat that can keep warmth.

  • Heat tech from Uniqlo are great because they offer lots of options when mixing and matching. They are also cool enough for when you step into a restaurant that has decided to amp up the heater, which makes you feel like you are in a sauna.
  • Fleece-lined inner wear, pants or jackets. Heat-tech fleece from Uniqlo are also great options. One of my greatest buys from Uniqlo was the Women’s Warm Lined Cargo Pants. They are slim fitting and lined with fleece inside. I think that at the moment they are sold out in Singapore, but keep a look out for these if you are thinking of travelling to a winter climate. (P.S. I wore these pants to my winter hike and they were wonderful at keeping me warm yet comfortable!)

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Picture credit: http://www.uniqlo.com

  • Last, but not least, you will need a really good coat. Unfortunately, I have to say that the usual down jackets at Uniqlo are not enough for the minus temperatures in Korea. If you do not already have a coat, do not spend your money on a ridiculously expensive down jacket in Singapore. Wear what you have, or borrow from a friend, then buy one when you are here in Seoul. The options here are endless (for both men and women). The designs here are stylish and made to keep you feel very warm in this wintry climate.

What skincare is necessary

Koreans are fanatical about skincare and having flawless skin. So, put your best face forward while in Seoul! The usual skin care routine, if you have any, is not necessarily enough in the winter seasons. I also know it is a hassle to bring your entire set of night creams, eye creams, emulsions on your vacation. So I’m here to make life easier for your. These are the absolute skincare essentials you need to bring on your trip.

  • Oils. I know this term sounds extremely foreign, especially to my fellow warm climate friends, but oil is the absolute essential you need to take along with you. You can choose to buy one when you are in Korea, afterall, the one that I am about to recommend you is from Innisfree – the Green Tea Seed Oil. Just rub two to three drops between your palms and apply it on your entire face (avoiding the eye area). I found this works really well to keep skin from flaking in this harsh climate.

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Picture credit: global.innisfree.co.kr

  • The other thing I brought along this trip is the PureHeal’s Propolis Ampoule I got from Sephora in Singapore. This one works like a wonder, its got a very thick and gooey texture but melts unto your skin after a few minutes.The other reason I brought it along is also that you can mix just a drop of this with your liquid foundation or bbcream. This helps to create that sought-after dewy glow that a lot of Koreans have. 캡처

Picture credit: beautifulbuns.wordpress.com

  • Your favourite deep moisture lip balm is the most important thing you will need! If you don’t have one, buy one in Seoul! My current favourite is from the Australian brand Paw Paw because they are all natural with no petrochemicals.

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Picture credit: pawpawaustralia.com.au

All your other winter essentials, such as touch screen gloves, mufflers, shawls can be found rather cheaply here in Seoul. So the advice is not to buy too much of these in Singapore because they can be very expensive but not necessarily warm enough to help you  battle the cold. I am still going to be in Seoul for a few more days, so if you have any questions about winter travel in Seoul, drop a comment below!

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