If you were to ask me what my happy place is, I’d describe to you a pristine beach on a clear summer’s day, viewed from the picnic blanket outside my camping tent. I’d be with my boyfriend, eating nibbles and drinking iced tea. The birds would be chirping, and I’d have no worries or demands on my mind.
Oh and of course, my skin would be glowing.
Well, maybe the glowing skin part isn’t always a reality when camping. It can get sweaty, smelly, dirty and frankly pretty unglamorous. I go camping all the time around the Australian east coast and inland, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to stay on top of my skin care routine even while I’ve got no signal and ten cups of sand in my shoes.
These are the ways I try to feel and look my best without access to a sink and trying to travel light.
1. Hygiene First: Baby Wipes
If you’re camping then it’s very likely you won’t have a sink nearby. Without a sink, washing your hands is pretty tedious and unappealing (think: friend pouring freezing water bottle over your hands while you frantically scrub with a dirty bar of soap). Especially if you’re already cosy in your tent.
But of course you shouldn’t go touching your skin with grubby hands from being outside all day. To tackle this, I rely on my favourite baby wipes by Naty that are fragrance and alcohol free, contain very few ingredients and are compostable. Because of this I can use them without worrying about possible reactions, and I know that if they somehow escape my rubbish bag they’ll do less damage to the environment!
I use these to start my routine by wiping down my face at night, then clean my hands and especially under my fingernails. (I’ve also been known to use them as a poor man’s shower under my armpits too shhh).
2. Sink-Free Washing: Micellar Water & Cleansing Cloths
No access to a sink also means no running water. This is a problem for cleansing! But thankfully, I have my trusty Garnier Micellar Water (which I actually use daily – read why here). You just need to pour onto a cotton pad and wipe away the day’s sweat, oil and dirt! There’s no rinsing and it’s so satisfying seeing what comes off your face too.
If you want to go totally traceless (i.e. no rubbish left behind) and don’t like the idea of taking too much rubbish with you, you can get a microfibre cleansing cloth. These soft cloths are dampened just from a water bottle and used to wipe down your skin to remove dirt like any other cleanser. I especially love these if I have a lot of makeup on and want to get rid of it without using lots of cotton pads and micellar water. They’re not only really affordable, but machine washable and reusable too meaning there’s no waste.
3. Travel Light: Decanter Bottles
I’m very picky about my skin – I use the same products day in and day out. I don’t let camping get in the way of the rock solid routine I’ve developed. So, to avoid carrying huge bottles of skin care with me when I’m trying to pack light, I decant everything! You can purchase travel bottles and jars to pour small amounts of your various moisturisers and serums into. This way you’ll stay on track with your usual routine and your skin hopefully won’t freak out! (Side note: these are perfect for long flights too as they’ll be able to get through security and come on the plane with you.)
4. Overexposed: Sun Protection for Inside and Outside
Unfortunately, camping outdoors means more exposure to harmful UV rays. If you’re like me and afraid of sunburns, ageing and skin cancer, you might want to get yourself something like the tent I have, made with a high UPF material (it’s like SPF for fabric). It’s great for when you sleep in in the morning or take midday naps. But while you’re outdoors in the sun all day, you need to be always wearing a heavy-duty SPF to stay protected.
I love my sweat and waterproof Sunplay Superblock SPF 50+ PA++++ for my face. As a bonus, it gives my skin an awesome looking glow. If you’re after something more mattifying though, Neutrogena Clear Face SPF 55 is great. I’ve also recently started using Neutrogena Beach Defense Lotion SPF 70 on my body (as opposed to the handy aerosol version) because it’s kinder to the environment and feels slightly less greasy.
5. Faking The Glow: Easy Makeup Products
Sometimes, your skin won’t cooperate and you’ve just gotta create that freshly-washed, glowy look yourself. That’s where makeup comes in. While I’m camping, I like to focus on the fun activities I’m doing, so looking natural and feeling comfortable is what I aim for. But there are a few products I like to use when I want to amp up the glow and look my best. They’re easy to apply quickly and without a mirror!
You can’t go wrong with a good tinted moisturiser or BB cream. It’s lightweight and hydrating, but has a bit of coverage to even out the skin tone. My favourite is La Roche-Posay’s Uvidea XL BB (Aus/Europe only) which also boasts an impressive SPF with a high UVA protection (if you wear enough of it). At a more affordable price point is the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB, which offers great longevity and a more matte finish.
If coverage isn’t your thing, The Body Shop’s Instaglow is a light-reflecting, translucent cream that makes your skin look glossy and luminous with a hint of colour! It can be used just on the high points of the face or all over for a super hydrated look.
If you’re after some colour, an illuminating bronzer can be a great way to fake a tan from the sun, while you’re still diligently wearing sunscreen. e.l.f. Sunkissed Glow Bronzer in Warm Tan is a beautiful powder compact that’s easy to take on trips and is super affordable.
(Psst: Also check out the full glowy guide)
So those are my favourite things to bring camping to stay clean and look glowing! In reality, when I’m camping I just try to enjoy myself, look at the scenery, and spend quality time unplugged from the internet and with my boyfriend. But skin care is supposed to be fun and I just love to do it!