I enjoy traveling. Check.
I enjoy new people, places, foods, clothes, hairstyles and partying. Check.
I enjoy being spontaneous and slightly crazy when on holidays. Check.
I enjoy not brushing my hair and looking slightly dirty/unkempt/ugly when I’m traveling. Um?
Let’s cut to it. The unfortunate stereotype of “The Female Backpacker” kills me on the inside a little bit. Messy and dirty hair, enormous boots/bag/bandana, an outfit that has served 14 consecutive days and that dreaded “i-don’t-care-i’m-a-crazy-cool-spontaneous-traveler-with-dreadies” attitude to top it all off. I’ll get one thing straight – if you fit the bill that I have just described, and not only do you fit it – you dig it, then awesome! Each to their own. I bet you pull it off way better than I ever could.
But it has become increasingly obvious to me that there is a quite distinct and opposite end of the spectrum. Girls who do not fit the bill. In fact after much reading and researching I have found the following – if you would prefer to remain clean, clear-skinned, fuzz-free, moisturised, polished, straightened or tanned whilst traveling then not only is there a limited amount of advice out there for you – but also some pretty hectic opinions from people who are not necessarily experts on the subject. (Read: Men.) I won’t even bother with the reasons they gave for why paying attention to this sort of thing while traveling is a waste of time – but I will give you my pick of the best travel/beauty advice to help you stay lovely on the go. I’d love your feedback and helpful tips of which I’m sure there are plenty.
So – before I climb onto my pedestal, first things first. It does depend where you are going and what you are doing. England will be different to Egypt, Egypt will be different to Ecuador. So take my advice lightly – I’m basing it on my own travels through Europe.
Look After Your Face
Long-haul flights, varying altitudes, late nights, alcohol and sun (amongst others) are all things that can affect your skin while you’re traveling. Good news – there are few things you can do before you fly and while you’re away to improve your skin’s texture and take it from tired and dull to healthy and glowing.
- Moisturise. Yep, do it. The night before you leave, while you’re in the air, when you land, after a day in the sun. Just do it. Even if you’re usually not a big face-moisturising kid at home, traveling is guaranteed to suck all the moisture out of your skin leaving it looking sluggish – grab a brightening moisturiser to give your face a pretty pep up.
- Cod Liver Oil. Creepy name, amazing effects. It will brighten and repair dull and acne-prone skin, improve hair shine and strength, give you a nice healthy dose of Vitamins A & D which can boost your immunity and to boot, it can be cheap cheap. Winner.
- Bi-Carb Soda Microdermabrasion. Uha-yep I’m not even kidding. The daddy of DIY home beauty secrets is now out in the open. No doubt you are trying to scrape together your pennies before you leave – this gentle scrub will give you results to rival a $300 session at the beautician for a smidge of the price. Mix bi-carb soda with a little water, gradually adding until it resembles a toothpaste consistency. Gently rub onto your face in circular motions for 5 minutes and rinse completely. Do this a couple of times in the week leading up to you going to refine pores and to make sure your face is build-up free and ready to go. Add honey to make your skin softer, or some essential oils to make it smell pretty. You’re welcome.
- Drink water and use suncream. An obvious one but important nonetheless. Drinking water will hydrate your skin and make sure you don’t go puffy on your flight (not-so-attractive) and suncream is your right-hand man for avoiding the lobster look when all you really want is to look good in photos. Fact.
Make-me-up and brush-me-hair.
Ah, yes. The age-old debate – should you bother taking make-up or a straightener with you when you go overseas? Does anyone really care what you look like? Should you care? The short story is that realistically, almost nobody will notice if you don’t. The long story is that if wearing make-up helps you to feel comfortable, confident and pretty then you should go for it. Generally this is a concept that most men/women who fit the said bill/strangers won’t understand, but I get it – you want to look (and in turn, feel) good. Having said this, taking a 3kg beauty case in your backpack is a bit ridiculous so let’s cut it down a bit.
- Foundation. If you’re like me, you wear it daily. With a primer. And concealer. And a brightener. Before you know it, 4 different bottles taking up limited space. My tip? Experiment with tinted moisturiser before you go – there are varying levels of coverage and moisture, different shades, brighteners and consistencies so you might surprise yourself at how well a tinted moisturiser can replace your foundation. Still skeptical? If you do need a foundation, find a high-moisture, dewy one to cut-out the need for a primer (I know – sacrilegious!).
- Mascara & Eyeliner. Waterproof and long-lasting. Melting eyes when you jump out of the ocean is not sexy, and neither is the “tranny” look. Less is most definitely more here, so go easy on the eyes and save the liner for night time only. Mascara should only be used during the day to make you look more fresh and awake and less “i’ve been wearing this make-up for 3 days”.
- Lipgloss. Go for a high-moisture balm. Clear balms such as Paw-paw ointment or Blistex make sure that your lips stay smooth and polished without the try-hard full-make-up factor.
- Fake Eyelashes. While you’re traveling? Shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t.
- Make-up Wipes. A god-send for the traveling girl. The nature of traveling is that plans change, flights are delayed and trains just don’t show up. Don’t get caught out and have to sleep in your make-up – regardless of whether it’s in a hotel, hostel, on a train, a plane or on a bar stool (hopefully not). Carry wipes around with you and take off your make-up whenever you’re about to shut your eyes.
- Straighteners & Dryers. Quite simple – if you need your straightener, buy a low-voltage mini one for cheap so you can save space and you won’t care if you lose it. Most places you stay should provide some vague likeness of a hair-dryer, so check out their facilities online. If they don’t, or better yet you have no idea where you’re sleeping, do the same as the straightener and buy a little one. Everything smaller is more fun. If you’re feeling super erratic, forget the dryer and let your hair air dry and then straighten it. Or learn how to blow-dry it straight without the need for a straightener. Or do without and embrace your inner “The Female Backpacker”. Hell, get dreadlocks.
Photo by xtina5645
Make sure you are as comfortable and ready as possible. I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting on a long-haul in jeans, make-up and a bra. So listen up & listen good.
- PJ pants or trackies and a comfy bra with no under-wire.
- Small bottle of cleanser/moisturiser or face wipes – depending on your skin, and tinted moisturiser for when you land.
- Socks & a hoodie. Cabins can be freezing.
- A neck pillow.
- Lollies or mints to chew on while you take-off and land to avoid your ears ‘popping’.
- An eye-mask & ear plugs.
- Toothbrush/toothpaste and eye drops. Flying & tiredness can make your eyes creepy & bloodshot.
The Faux Tan
Realistically, depending on where you’re going and at what time of year, you won’t necessarily need a fake-tan. If you’re going into summer in Europe, you are going to get your natural glow on anyway – similarly if it’s winter there, you will stand out in a bad way if you turn up looking like a tangerine.
There’s no way you would be able to take all of your tanning products and tools away with you and trying to get a nice tan in your tiny hostel bathroom (or worse – tent) would be a killer. Your best bet is to build a subtle and healthy glow in the week leading up to your flight using a gradual moisturiser tanner. My favourite for smell & colour is Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze body lotion by Palmer’s. Use it every other day while you’re away to maintain and give a friendly boost to your natural tan. Keep in mind that it won’t replace your suncream.
Fight The Fuzz.
Shaving is quick, painless, easy and you can do it yourself. It beats the risk of having a large, hairy and scary European woman standing over you with hot wax and it is your cheapest option. Look for a razor that comes with several cartridges in the pack and a moisturising bar around the outside to cut out the need for shaving cream.
If you are a waxer through and through and can’t bring yourself to shave, do your research and find out exactly where the reputable and hygienic places are, hopefully sans scary European woman. Maybe a friend has been there, perhaps the place got a good reviews online or maybe it’s a chain of beauty counters that are well-known. Either way, be picky and careful and remember that most expensive doesn’t always equal best wax.
Photo by george.schon
The Festival Girl.
Ahh – the festival. Difficult to stay tidy when you’re sleeping in a tent, having fun dancing in the sun (and mud) for three days straight and sharing bathroom facilities with thousands of other revelers. Make sure you take the following to own it:
- Dry Shampoo
- Lip Balm
- Face Wipes
- A brush. Hair & tooth.
- Mini packets of tissues – they can double as toilet paper without having to take the embarrassing roll with you.
- Eye mask/ear plugs.
- Thongs for the shower and toilets
- A head-lamp. Your phone will eventually die and finding things after 7pm will be difficult. More practicality and less beauty advice!
Photo by fussy onion
Hopefully this post has helped you get some ideas for staying pretty and clean while away on holidays. The more you can condense the items mentioned the better – and the more dual purpose items you can take the easier it will be for you. For some last minute advice – learn to braid! It will save you on those days where you just don’t have time to wash your hair. Also, buy some inexpensive nail polish removing wipes – taking off chipped nail polish is a sure way to avoid looking disheveled.
I would love you to give me your ideas and advice too, pretty ladies!