How To Keep Fresh On A Long Train Ride

I'll travel far and wide to see the ones I love--but not without my toner water.
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Rachel
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I'll travel far and wide to see the ones I love--but not without my toner water.

Last month, my 22-year-old sister (and BFF) set forth on a 70-day, cross-country bicycle trip from Baltimore to Seattle. Working with 4K for Cancer, Shelby and her team have raised thousands of dollars to fight cancer. When her ride took a couple of rest days in Chicago a few weeks ago, I jumped at the opportunity to meet her there.

Before hopping on the overnight train from Jackson, Mississippi, I stocked up on a few items to keep my face fresh, as well as some treats to help perk my sister up after a month of grueling cycling and camping.

4K for Cancer relies on donations to keep their riders fed, sheltered, and taken care of so that every penny raised by cyclists and volunteers can go towards cancer research and support for patients. Riders can only bring with them a limited amount of supplies. As you might guess, beauty isn't exactly at the top of anyone's priorities.

However, the toil of riding between 50 and 100 miles a day has taken a toll on Shelby's skin. When she asked me to bring her some face wash and skin products, she noted that her skin felt dry, dirty, and gross. 

rachel train trip

Apologies for iPhone photography. When you hop a last-minute train, sometimes you forget your camera.

I wanted a product that would make her face feel clean and moisturized, but would also be inexpensive enough that she could buy more for herself. At $12, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is ideal for skin that's dry, sore, sensitive, or otherwise in need of some seriously gentle and moisturizing TLC. 

rachel train trip

A bit of exfoliation helps you feel extra clean. That's why I brought in The Body Shop Vitamin E Cream Exfoliator. I'm a huge fan of The Body Shop's entire Vitamin E line. Thanks to its creamy texture and tiny beads, this gentle exfoliator leaves skin feeling squeaky clean without any dryness or tightness.

rachel train trip

Understandably, Shelby is a bit too tired some nights for an entire face washing routine. Olay Wet Cleansing Cloths are an excellent option for those times. These wipes aren't drying, and they do a great job making your face feel super clean and replenished.

rachel train trip

My final gift for my sister was Lush Breath of Fresh Air toner water. A quick spritz wakes up and replenishes dull or achey skin, thanks to ingredients like aloe vera, seawater, and seaweed extract. This was the product she was most psyched about. She wanted to use it every few minutes!  

rachel train trip

Sissies!! (Should I shave my head like Shelby did? She definitely pulls it off.)

My sister was thrilled with her new skin care products, but not nearly as thrilled as I was to see her briefly in Chicago. We got to stay with some absolutely lovely family friends (Hi Jeff and Susan!), relax, catch up and eat amazing food before she hopped back on her bike, heading west. See you in Seattle, sissy!

While there's very little I wouldn't do to see my sister, a 16-hour train ride is certainly an extreme way to travel. I'm a huge fan of Amtrak, but overnight rides can wreck your beauty game. Between the freezing, dry air full of strangers' germs and the lack of healthy food available for purchase, it's difficult to get off the train feeling anything above wilted. Luckily, I'm a seasoned train travel veteran and I've got plenty of secrets for achieving Some Like It Hot levels of train glam. 

rachel train trip

I ended up getting less than an hour of sleep on my train to the city, but I looked rested thanks to some amazing products. 

rachel train trip

Amtrak bathroom selfies are a way of life.

Before settling in for my sleepless night, I used The Body Shop's Vitamin E Gentle Facial Cleansing Wipes, which are great for cleaning my face without drying it out or leaving any weird film behind.

rachel train trip

I then applied their Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil. I've been using this serum at night for a few weeks. It's smooth and silky, and sinks into skin quickly without feeling greasy at all.

rachel train trip

Rather than continuously applying moisturizer, which can make my skin breakout, I relied on Lush Eau Roma Water. Typically, I keep this rose and lavender toner in my fridge and spray it on when I need a pick-me-up, but it worked just as well on the train. Side note: The product smells great, but I used proper train etiquette and sprayed it on in the restroom.  

rachel train trip

Another word of advice—bring pants. Trains are COLD.

My hair has a magical power that allows it to become both flat AND frizzy. To combat this, I rely on Oscar Blandi Texture and Volume Spray to give my hair some oomph and Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Creme to tame frizz and flyaways.

I kept my beauty game simple, because applying eyeliner or blending shadow on a shaky train is a challenge. Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream moisturized and brightened my sleepless skin and L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara aided in the efforts to keep me looking alive.

rachel train trip

My four ride or die train products.

I used Bliss Fabulips Softening Lip Balm throughout the trip, and upon arriving in Chicago, mixed it a bit with Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick (in #10) for a touch of color. If you'd like to know if I looked good upon arriving, you can ask our dear Alle because I got to hang out with her, and my cute friend Jay! The proof is right here on my Instagram.

Overall, it was a very exciting and loving weekend filled with good food, good friends and the best sister in the whole world. I loved seeing my sister and giving her some quality beauty goods. Whether you're on a 4,000-mile bike ride or a 16-hour train ride, you don't have to sacrifice skincare or glamour if you don't want to.

rachel train trip

No new friends.

Just don't ask me about the train ride back to Jackson, in which I totally gave up, wore sweatpants in public for the first time ever, drank half a bottle of wine and fell asleep listening to Lana Del Rey.

Have you taken a lengthy train trip? How did you stay fresh?