I like to travel light; however, I’m also a hopeful sucker who daydreams about being a just a little more put together. Sometimes the only beauty items I bring on a trip are hairpins, but usually I have a selection of berry lipsticks I never quite muster the joie de vivre to wear, and a few simple products that I actually use—for everything.
I just never learn.
If you want to go all-out utilitarian, all you really need to bring on any vacation is a pair of scissors, a tub of Vaseline and some baby powder. However, if you want to actually enjoy yourself instead of feeling like MacGyver, you can find essentials that are every bit as luxurious as a full makeup bag.
I composed a travel kit from the indie brand Captain Blankenship for my annual pilgrimage to the tropics. With just a few multi-purpose products, instead of feeling like sweaty garbage at the beach, I had big hair and dewy skin, and I smelled like an apothecary.
Mermaid Hair Oil
A good oil can serve double-duty for hair and face, moisturizing and protecting from sun and salt. Captain Blankenship’s Mermaid Hair Oil is a silky combination of argan, kukui, jojoba and sunflower oils, making it mid-weight but noncomedogenic.
Lightly scented with lemon, rosemary and cedar oils, Mermaid Hair Oil is perfect for adding texture and hydrating hair, or moisturizing skin after sun exposure. Rub a few drops between your palms and run through the last six inches of long hair, concentrating on the tips.
Alternatively, slather on your face at night, after washing.
Mermaid Dry Shampoo
A lovely day in the sun can leave hair sweaty and limp, but aerosol cans are a bulky nuisance to pack around. And the sad duster of baby powder is definitely going to pop open and fill your backpack.
You can do better: Mermaid Dry Shampoo comes in a sturdy (mostly compostable!) cardboard container, and is just the right size for a backpack. Instead of cornstarch, it’s a mixture of arrowroot, kaolin clay and rice, so that it not only soaks up excess grease, but it plumps up your hair with crazy volume, too.
The palmarosa and rose geranium scent is woodsy and a tad floral, but not sweet. You could use it for deodorant in a pinch, or even to ease the dreaded chub rub.
CB's Anchor Balm is really useful because it’s a lighter formula with milder essential oils than most salves, so it's suitable for everything from moisturizing to minor cuts and scrapes. With a base of almond oil, it absorbs quickly, and the lavender, orange and rose geranium essentials are bright and soothing.
Plum Rosy Lip Balm
This lip balm couldn’t be more precious; with the sheerest blackberry colour, it’s healing and hydrating, but the thin formula also works on cheeks for a dewy glow.
I have to bring at least one colour with me, just for when I feel like dolling up. Plum Rosy Stain is very sheer, so not only is it idiot-proof, but it also fades gracefully. (Though I wish the tin was a screw-top—it did pop open in my pocket more than once.)
- What do you pack for holiday?
- Have a lead on any precious small brands? Spill the beans!