Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Travel Tip Tuesdays: A Low-Maintenance "Beauty Routine"

When it comes to hair and makeup, I am the queen of being low-maintenance. I wake up, roll out of bed, brush my hair three times, throw it back in a ponytail, and I’m done. I only wear makeup for special occasions, and usually forget that I’m wearing it and rub my eyes, giving me that “raccoon” effect. But most of the time I just run around with my untreated skin and hair showing, with the acne and oily skin and split ends and chapped lips. Sometimes, this natural look comes off looking pretty nice:

But most of the time, I just look like I got dragged through a plowed field:

There’s one big reason I don’t fix my hair and makeup most of the time: priorities. I’ve written about this before. Priorities are a big deal in my life. It’s the way I sort everything. And in the end, trying to look nice is trumped by the time and energy I save by not trying to looking nice.

When you travel, this is a great skill to have. (See, I’m going to tie it into travel! It is Travel Tip Tuesday, after all.)

Time is money. On any trip, but especially on a short one, you want to spend your time experiencing the trip, beach-walking, city-exploring, or riding those roller coasters. Having an extensive “beauty routine” cuts into that time like crazy. And if you’re doing more hardcore forms of travel, like hostelling or WWOOFing or backpacking, you’ll be lucky to find a place to perform said routine.

If you want to save time (and a lot of room in your suitcase), here are seven suggestions, from least to most extreme.

1. Make sure all your clothes match with all your other clothes. If you feel self-conscious going out in a mismatched outfit (even I feel this way occasionally), then you need to be sure that everything you pack is coordinated. This will also save you from rooting around in your duffle bag wondering where the only shirt that matches your orange bermuda shorts is.

2. Only bring non-wrinkling clothes. Wrinkle-prone clothes need to be packed and stored more carefully. Wrinkle-resistant clothes can be wadded up, shoved in a backpack, worn at a moment’s notice, and still look great. 

3. Let your hair air-dry. It takes a long time to blow-dry hair, so throw it back in a braid or ponytail and put on a hat. 

4. Leave your makeup at home. For some girls, this seems like leaving their face at home. Makeup is awesome. It looks pretty. It’s a beautiful form of artistic expression. But when you’re traveling, it’s mostly just a waste of time— and will most likely get messed up anyway. 

5. Don’t shower every day. Showers take up a lot of time and, in most situations, aren’t necessary to take every day. Just wash up. Know what makes you feel clean and refreshed: on one farm I volunteered at, I only showered once in two weeks. The rest of the time, I just washed up after working in the fields and put on my clean(er) set of clothes.

6. Don’t shampoo your hair. My scalp for most of my life has been frantically trying to keep up with my scalp-drying shampoo habit, producing more oil than my hair could ever need. This meant that I was reduced to an oily scratching mess if I ever went without showering for two days. I did some research and decided to switch to washing my hair only once a week. After some experimentation, I decided to wash it with Castile soap instead of shampoo and diluted apple cider vinegar instead of conditioner. My hair looks about like it did before, but now my scalp doesn’t produce near as much oil. This will be essential when I’m hiking in the backcountry taking one shower a month! It might be handy on other kinds of trips, too. Think about it.

7. Be happy with what you look like. If you honestly don’t mind what you look like, you’ll be confident, and confidence is one of the most important parts of beauty (inward and outward) anyway. If you’re enjoying your time instead of worrying about what you look like, you might find that you actually look pretty awesome.


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