After my year-long backpacking trip around Asia, I learned the importance of the phrase “less is more” when packing. Even though I was consciously aware that I was going to be living in the same clothes for 10 straight months and using the same skincare/beauty products throughout my travels, it didn’t make packing it any easier.
I remember doing my very best to cram any last tank top, lip gloss, or makeup brush I could find into my tiny bag. The truth is, after travelling, I learned that I didn’t actually need all this STUFF!
A lot of this STUFF weighed me down and within two weeks, I ended up tossing it out.
Travelling for a year forces you to be minimal in what you bring. Only the strong will survive. That is why I decided to write down a few of my personal ‘must-have beauty items’ on the road.
Let’s talk about skin
First off, let’s talk about skin. To be honest, I was relatively blessed when it came to the skin department. I hadn’t suffered from any major breakouts as a teen and never really had bad acne. Nevertheless, that all changed the minute I began travelling. Maybe it had to do with a change in environment. My skin wasn’t used to the crazy humidity in Asia. Maybe the air quality in other countries was messing with me. Ultimately, my skin was struggling. I was diagnosed three months in with a skin condition known as perioral dermatitis.
Perioral Dermatitis is an inflammatory red bumpy rash that appears around the mouth and nose. It doesn’t necessarily hurt, but it takes months, if not years to clear up. I remember being so self-conscious on the road about going out in public with this crazy rash. However, after reading more and more about perioral dermatitis. I learned that wearing makeup and clogging my pores was NOT good for my face.
I immediately began cutting down the makeup I was putting on my face. After three months, I stopped using makeup altogether. That is why in this particular blog post you will see no makeup related recommendations. I stopped using it and it took up too much space. If you would have told me that I would go months without ever wearing makeup, I would have laughed. Being an important part of my day I would joke that I wouldn’t leave the house without my ‘face on’. Now, I only put it on for special occasions or outings with friends, but I do limit it as much as possible.
The items below are my top travel beauty products I took with me on the road. All of these items were carried in my bag from the day I left to the day I got back. They all had a different, yet meaningful purpose on the road!
Best Travel Beauty Products
TULA Travel Kit or Skin Stars Set
I am very picky when it comes to skincare. One thing that really tends to bug me is that the price of some of these products are so astronomical and when put in a travel-sized package, they vanish within a few weeks. That being said, this was NOT the case with all of the TULA products I took on the road.
Before I left, I was looking for a good skincare brand that made quality products in travel-sized form. I actually had never heard of TULA prior to my travels, but now I am a huge fan! Their 24-7 hydrating day and night cream was a lifesaver on the road. Hands down one of my favourite skincare products ever. I remember being so dry after long bus rides, or flights and this product saved my life. The formula is super creamy and it feels so smooth on your skin. The best part is, I had two pots with me and they lasted ALL 10 months!
The other great thing about the TULA travel-sized kits is that they come with their cult classic face cleanser. This is such a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip your face of all your essential oils. Similar to the face moisturizer, it lasted me a long time which is something I totally appreciate about the brand.
All of the TULA products are made with probiotics and superfoods, making them clean for your skin. The brand also doesn’t test on animals and is cruelty-free!
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Best Travel Beauty Products
Morocco Argan Oil
Both George and I have long hair, so we knew we needed to bring a product that would help protect it from damage on the road. When you travel you are constantly showering in new places with different water. Additionally, in some places, we were swimming in the ocean nearly every day! Therefore having a good hair repair product with us was essential. We took a mini Argan Oil of Morocco with us and used a pea-sized drop in our hair after nearly every shower. It definitely made a huge difference in not only the appearance of our hair but the feeling as well. It helped to prevent major split ends after months of water damage.
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask
At first, I thought that bringing a face mask on the road would be unnecessary, however, I am so glad I took this particular mask in my backpack. That is because this is a multi-purpose mask. It is not one that requires you to wash it off, in fact, you can leave it on to get extra moisture back into your face. I put this on before every flight and also once we landed and it helped me feel fresh and revived after long hours of travel. Also, if Geroge and I were having a pampered night in, we would bring this mask out to give our skin a little extra TLC.
Mini Tweezerman Tweezers
I nearly forgot to pack a pair of tweezers with me on my trip, but the mini Tweezerman tweezers ended up coming in handy for more things than one on the road! Not only did they help keep my brows clean, but they also were used as a tool to assist in medical situations. When we stepped on a sea urchin in Sri Lanka or got a bit of glass stuck in our foot, these helped tremendously. They don’t take up any space either…so definitely get your hands on a pair for your trip!
Best Travel Beauty Products
As I mentioned before, I took maybe one lipstick with me, but the thing I used nearly every day was chapstick. In my backpack, I threw in about 4 Nivea Original Care Lip Balms with me. I also took my favourite Rose Bud Salve, which lasted me the entire trip! Lip balm is so important when travelling because your lips get dry and cracked on the road.
Sunscreen is a MUST for your face especially if you plan to travel to warmer countries. Studies have shown that applying sunscreen daily helps with ageing, in the long run, so don’t forget to bring it! When we would be spending months in Thailand, the Philippines and Sri Lanka so having proper face sunscreen was very important. We brought a few miniature sunscreen bottles from ISDIN. Also brought the Neutrogena waterproof face stick! We suggest you try to pack as much sunscreen as you can before you leave because oddly enough it was one of the most expensive things to buy overseas.
Makeup Eraser Makeup Remover
Makeup remover wipes take up precious space in your backpack. I learned this the hard way the first time I went backpacking. I packed an entire pack of Neutrogena makeup remover wipes and they were way too big/bulky for travel. Prior to leaving, I purchased the Makeup eraser towel. This sustainable, reusable cloth worked so well at removing all the makeup off my face when I chose to wear it. I was really impressed with how well it actually cleaned my face off. After use, all you need to do is wash it out with soap and leftover makeup clears right off the cloth.
Overall, these are my top 7 beauty must-haves for long term travel. Narrowing down your everyday items can be hard, but hopefully, this little list will help you to prioritize and ensure you bring ONLY the essentials.
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