Photo: Toby Butterfield
Van Life: 13 Tips for Staying Fresh on the Road
Last week I had lunch with one of my city-dwelling gal pals, and we were talking about some of my recent outdoor adventures. This was her response:
“Wow. That sounds like so much fun…but I don’t think I could do it. Being all dusty and dirty and not having a shower….how do you handle it?”
Our conversation made me realize that for many women this is a HUGE barrier that prevents them from getting outside. Now I don’t mind a little grit and I’m certainly no beauty queen, but I also don’t want to feel like a hot sweaty mess.
So I thought I would share some of my favorite outdoor beauty tips, tricks, and products that help me stay fresh whether I’m on the road, car camping, or at a music festival.
*** Tinted Sunscreen ***
If you want to avoid cancer, not to mention wrinkles and early aging, wearing sunscreen in the outdoors in critical. To simplify your beauty routine, skip the foundation and wear tinted sunscreen. This lightly tinted SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen by MDSolarSciences will blur pores and imperfections and leave your skin feeling smooth and moisturized. The active ingredients – zinc oxide and titanium oxide – are also considered safe by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization that studies the cancer risk of different types of sunscreens. The bottle is 1.7 ounces and takes up hardly any room in your bag.
*** Face Wipes ***
I absolutely love Neutrogena’s Calming Cleansing Towelettes. These gentle pre-moistened cloths remove any makeup you might be wearing, including eye makeup, and leave your face feeling cool and refreshed. I like to use one of these at night to clean up and also first thing in the morning to wake up before I emerge from my sleeping bag. To save on room, just put the number that you need for your trip in a small ziploc freezer bag.
*** Eyeliner ***
I am a big fan of ditching the makeup while I’m on the road…all you really need out there is a smile. But…if if I had to choose only one cosmetic product to bring with me on a trip, it would be stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner. It goes on flawlessly, makes your eyes pop, and never smears even when you are sweating.
*** Lips ***
The mountains can suck the moisture right out of those beautiful lips leaving them cracked and dry. My go-to lip balm is Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm with SPF 25 in the natural mint flavor. It goes on clear, lasts for hours, and provides added protection against the sun, keeping your smile camera ready.
*** Hair ***
Keeping your hair from becoming a dreaded mess after days of no shower can be a challenge. Here’s a few tips for how I deal with my mop.
My first piece of advice is to avoid messy buns, which can leave your hair in a giant knot. Instead, go for a low braid that will keep your hair contained while being less prone to tangles.
Second, whenever I travel, I bring my Mason Pearson Pocket Hair Brush. When I first saw the price of these hair brushes, I gasped…as I’m sure you will. But after 2 years with mine, I’m a total convert. The pocket size is perfect for traveling, but more important, I’m able to effortlessly comb through my hair from top to bottom in a single stroke.
Third, I recently discovered these individual coconut oil packets by Carrington Farms. When my hair gets really dry and needs a little shine, I dabble a little of this coconut oil on my fingers and rub it into the ends of my hair. Whatever is left in the packet, I then use to moisturize my hands and face.
Alternatively, if I’m in a humid environment and my hair is greasy, I’ll apply a small amount of Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo to soak up the grease and give my locks a little oomph. This stuff has a nice scent and is best applied using your fingers rather than straight from the bottle. It’s not cheap, but the 1-oz bottle should last you quite a long time.
*** Natural Deoderant ***
I stopped using antiperspirant years ago when rumors started coming out about its connection with breast cancer. I feel my body has adjusted, and I swear I don’t smell 🙂 …But every now and then, I want some sort of additional protection – whether I’m off to a fancy dinner, a sweaty concert, or a challenging hike with friends. In those cases, I use the Crystal Body Deodorant Stick. This naturally occurring salt-based stick kills the bacteria that make you stink without all of the nasty stuff that is found in chemical based deodorants. To apply it, you just run a bit of water over the end of the stick and then rub it on your armpits. It goes on clear, leaves no residue, and has no scent. I tested this in the muggy Belize jungle and found it to work much better than other natural deodorants I have tried. It’s also very compact making it convenient for traveling or on the trail.
*** Down there ***
No blushing here. There’s nothing wrong with wanting your lady parts to stay so fresh and so clean.
If going to the bathroom in the woods scares you, you aren’t alone. With enough practice, squatting does get easier…but if you just can’t seem to get it down, you might consider a Go Girl. This is basically a funnel you can use to direct your pee to help reduce that awful splattering that is oh so common. The Go Girl also allows you to pee standing up or to even go in a bottle if it’s freezing outside and you don’t want to leave your tent.
I used these Swipes Lovin’ Wipes during my week at Burning Man, both in lieu of TP and to clean up at the end of the day. They definitely did the trick. I prefer the unscented version, but they also come in a cucumber scent. You can also use them to wipe off the dust and grime from your legs, hands, or other parts of your body. Just remember that Leave No Trace principles require that you pack out any trash, including these. For more info on feminine hygiene, stay tuned for a future post.
Hopefully this gives you some new beauty ideas for your next outdoor adventure. That said, the most important thing to remember is that when you are out there doing what you love, you are going to be glowing no matter what.
** OTHER POSTS FOR THE LADIES **