I live for road trips.
I’d drop everything and get out the on the road in a heartbeat – and in fact, I sometimes do! My favourite spontaneous adventure I’ve taken so far has been a 14 hour overnight drive with 4 friends to an isolated rock climbing destination for a week, using all my leave from work to do it. #WorthIt.
The feeling of total freedom, being able to change your plans at the drop of a hat, the hot, sunny smell inside the car, snack foods from gas stations, not really knowing where you’re going to sleep but conking out anyway ‘cos you’re exhausted, great music and quality time with friends and loved ones. It genuinely brings a smile to my face, a glow to my heart, and… crappy looking skin to my face?
Now, bad skin isn’t going to ruin your dream road trip unless you let it. But hey, if there are easy things I can do to fend off the grease, dehydration and dullness from living off drive-through food for a week and leaving my cleanser at home in the rush out the door, I’ll do them. Otherwise, I find myself dodging photos that’ll make memories for a lifetime and being concerned with how I look rather than how I feel. No thanks!
Luckily, in my travels I’ve developed a fool-proof road trip packing list for great skin on four wheels, with little time, space and running water!
This list is bare-bones, quick to pack, light to carry, and easy to do so you can focus on exploring. It’ll keep oil and acne at bay. You’ll be protected from the sun and wind. Mostly you’ll still feel like a human even in your most nomadic state!
Put these things in your bag, put your bag in the car and let’s get this show on the road!
- Micellar water
- Cotton rounds
- Microfibre cloth
- All-purpose, gentle, biodegradable body face and hair wash
- Emollient moisturiser
- Sunscreen — at least 35ml per person per day – so that means for a week-long trip you’ll need 245ml at least!
- Sunscreen lip balm
- Salve: Vaseline, Lucas’ Paw Paw, and so on
The ideal roadtrip routine
Now this routine hasn’t got everything I’d suggest for day-to-day skincare, but it will do while you’re busy adventuring!
Start by breaking down your waterproof sunscreen and makeup with an oil. It can be a purpose-made cleansing oil or something straight like Jojoba. Massage it around and get everything loosened up.
Next, go in with micellar water on cotton rounds on a wet microfibre cloth and remove everything from your skin.
If you have access to a water source, get yourself wet and lather up with cleanser all over, including your face. If not, try to wash your face with water from a bottle. If that’s also not possible, the micellar water or microfibre cloth should have done a good enough job, so just move onto the next step.
Apply a generous helping of moisturiser – something rich and oil based is usually best, because you’re likely to be out and about in the wind and sun and cold.
Finish off with the appropriate amount of sunscreen – and don’t forget to put on a lip balm with SPF too.
You can spot treat dry or chapped areas or treat your lips overnight to a thick application of salve.
Tips for keeping up your skincare up while on the road
Keep your products out of the hot car whenever possible! Heat and UV light break down products really quickly. A small cooler bag is great to keep things insulated, and you can bring it into your tent or inside a motel as needed.
Do your routine as part of getting ready in the morning – don’t put it off until later because you’ll inevitably forget!
Make use of every bathroom you come across to wash your hands thoroughly. You and everything you touch (like the steering wheel and your phone for example) have most likely been marinating in your own oils and dirt for the last few days. Don’t even get me started on a lack of clean towels and sheets.
Stay hydrated, even if it means more bathroom stops. You can’t expect your body to spare the extra water it takes to keep your skin plump and pretty if you’re running on empty. Plus, it’s just common sense Drink just as much as you usually would at home!
In the end, road trip skin is easy. Don’t pretend your routine doesn’t exist anymore just because you’re feeling carefree, but also don’t overcomplicate it. Keep it lean and clean!