When I was five years old, an outbreak of tornadoes blew through the Chicago suburbs one day, destroying everything in sight. I distinctly remember hiding in the janitor’s closet at school, bawling my eyes out while my teacher tried to reassure 30 kindergarteners that it was just a little rain and nothing to worry about. It was also my birthday. Awesome.
From that moment on, any time it rained, even a drizzle, I would gather my most important belongings and anxiously wait for the minute we’d have to take shelter.
I eventually grew out of my fear of storms, but I never grew out of having an emergency bag at the ready. When I was five, I couldn’t stand the idea of being without my Muttsy dolls, a flashlight, my ballet shoes, and a book, so these were the first things I would grab. I had pretty good priorities for a kindergartener, but as an adult, I need to be a little more pragmatic with what and how I pack.
I split my emergency kit into sections for beauty, clothes, tools, and entertainment. Each section holds items that will be useful in any situation, like a flashlight or first-aid kit, but my beauty bag is where I throw in a little bit of lavishness.
The goal is to pack as few items as possible that will cover as many bases as you need, so strive to find items that are both comforting and practical in their use. Who knows where the disaster will take you or how long you will need to rely on your emergency kit?
Here’s a list of beauty necessities I grab when the tornado sirens start to sing:
A water bottle. Hydration is key to mental and physical wellbeing. Plain and simple, you cannot survive without H2O at hand.
Bobby pins, hair ties, and a comb. A natural disaster is not the time to be worrying about elaborate hair styles, but ties and pins will keep your hair out of your face. They can also be used for practical reasons like securing a tarp or picking a lock.
Lip balm. Again, hydration is key and the right lip balm can keep your lips from cracking if you find yourself in a particularly harsh environment. I always throw a few extra tubes of Burt’s Bees lip balm in my bag.
Moisturizer with SPF. You can pack both a sunscreen AND a moisturizer, but why take up extra space in your bag if you can cut down by using combo products? My favorite (and Danielle's, too, apparently!) is Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Broad Spectrum SPF20 Anti-Wrinkle Protect Fluid. The bottle is slim, the formula is lightweight, and the SPF20 helps protect my skin from the sun, which means it will do its job without weighing you down.
Facial spray. This is one of those luxury items that serves a dual purpose. Although I love Evian spray for daily use, my emergency spray is Caudalie Beauty Elixir. It’s a hydrating toner that contains essential oils and plant ingredients, so while I keep my skin fresh and healthy, the essential oils are also incredibly calming to me.
Deodorant/antiperspirant. Disaster may mean skipping a shower or two.
Facial wipes. These come in handy for cleansing your face, as well as any other thing you may find needs cleaning. My favorite is Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes.
Travel-size makeup. This is totally optional, but I usually throw a trial-size mascara, some concealer, and an eye pencil into my bag as well. I find comfort in curating my appearance during an emergency situation. It’s something I can control when everything else has gone to hell.
I’ve been incredibly lucky because I haven’t had to use my bag since I was a kid, and I’ve never had to use it for a long-term situation. But that luck is not enough to stop me from being prepared for any situation that comes my way.
- What would you put in your emergency beauty kit?
- How long did it take for you to guess I’m a Virgo that likes to be prepared for everything?