For the month of February, my family and I are on a Great American Road Trip. This isn’t our first trip across the country as a family of four, but it is certainly our most extensive. A month on the road can be draining in many respects, and so it’s important to me that I don’t allow it to detract from my self-care.
The thing is, beauty regimens naturally shift during travel. Some of it is time and routine. Some of it is the shift in climate as you move from one side of the country to the other. And with four of us packed into one vehicle, there’s not much extra room for a suitcase of products to accommodate my beauty needs in various states and situations.
All that said, I think travel is an excellent opportunity to down shift, to simplify. When you’re on the road for long periods, it’s astounding to see how little you can actually get by on. This month, in honor of personal experience, I’ve rounded up my best travel beauty tips for you.
1. Hair and Skin
Hair and skin can be the hardest to care for while traveling. You don’t know how your body might react to whether and climate. Plus hair and skin normally require the bulk of our products.
Make your hair work for you. Showering can be iffy on a long journey, especially when you’re jumping from lodging-to-lodging; but in general, I like to make my hair work hard anyway. Here’s how I get the most out of one washing before relenting to the next:
Use braids in the car. They keep my hair away from my face, free of static, and when the traveling is done and I want to feel fresh, I can let it down into beachy waves. (Braids image via They All Hate Us.)
Dry shampoo, dry shampoo, dry shampoo. It’s no secret any more, but it is a must for those days you just can’t wash or need an extra lift (handy if you’re hair is flopping under varied climate conditions). I’m currently using Lulu Organics from Catbird, but I’ve honestly found baby powder to work just as nicely.
Have a back-up plan. I always travel with a head scarf or wrap in the event that I’ve got greasy roots I can’t hide. And I have some go-to undo’s that I know work in the event of an emergency, so I always make sure to pack bobby pins.
Choose one moisturizer. Now, my skin is pretty cooperative, so I do realize this can’t be an option for everyone. But when I travel, I skip all of the different lotions and potions for different parts of my body, and I default to one thick, lovely moisturizer for all over. I love using Burt’s Bees Milk & Honey formula, which I find particularly handy when traveling west where the air gets drier and drier.
Do I have to tell you to use sunscreen?! Hopefully this is part of your daily beauty process, but I find it particularly important when on a car trip. It may feel like you’re inside all day, but you’re sitting in front of a giant window with sunshine pouring in from the sky and bouncing off the black top in front of you. Treat a day in the car like a day at the beach and lather your face in a trustworthy sunscreen like Josie Maran’s.
Work from the inside-out. Don't forget that skin and hair reflect your inner health. Traveling can be incredibly dehydrating and draining on your body. Drink plenty of water and choose healthy snacks. (I once read that I pre-peeled clementine stored in a small Tupperware is the most refreshing snack when traveling. Plus it’s packed with immunity-boosting vitamins, because who wants to get sick on vacation?!)
Simple make-up on the road is best. You want something that quickly makes you look fresh, but it’s silly to think you’ll need to glam-up on the road too.
Skin first. I’m not a normal face make-up wearer. However, the road can be tough on your face. I like Mineral Fusion foundation because it is light and natural, but it takes care of whatever changes my skin incurs while traveling. Plus the tube is convenient for small travel bags.
Choose mascara wisely. For the road, I think it’s prudent to invest in mascara. Anything cheap can easily smear or wear off, and mascara is what makes the biggest different when you want to look fresh even if you’re not feeling it. Also go for non-waterproof. Waterproof mascara will flake in drier climates.
Carry a pop of color. I say ditch the fancy eyeshadows and eyeliners when you’re on the road. It’s a lot to pack and manage in spaces that aren’t your own. For a splash of drama, I still think a striking red lip is all you need anyway. I love my NARS lipsticks because the colors are fun and always stay in place.
To keep a manicure on the road requires some forethought and something low maintenance. Before you head out, clip your nails short and shape them naturally.
Choose either a clear top-coat or a natural colored polish so chipping doesn’t show. You’ll be able to wear the manicure longer and then only have to carry one bottle for touch-ups.
I love Golden Apothecary’s “Heal All” salve. I use it for a number of things, but particularly for my nails while traveling. It’s a moisturizing boost to protect against hangnails and keep my nails healthy so my manicure lasts longer.
What are your best tips and tricks for traveling light with a functional beauty regimen?