Packing for a trip can be challenging, from determining the amount of outfits you’ll need to that kinda-heavy-book-that-you-promise-you’ll-read-but-may-just-keep-in-the-beach-bag (we all have that book). There are so many little decisions to be made that making mental and physical space for your skincare routine can seem like a daunting task, but fear not – we’re here to provide you the ultimate summer skincare travel guide.
Our expert Skin Therapists have helped us build a summer guide for how you should prep your skin before your trip, treat it on the plane, and how to maintain a healthy glow all vacation-long.
What’s the main secret? Consistency.
One of the main draws of travel is exploring the unknown and finding a break from your day-to-day routine, whether that’s traversing a new city or unplugging by a coastline. As you step out of your comfort zone and dive into new adventures, keeping your skincare routine as close to the day-to-day of home is the best thing you can do. Your skin will be adjusting to different climates, disrupted sleeping patterns, and new foods (probably along with some indulgences), so continuing to do what works well at home is the way to go.
BEFORE YOU TRAVEL
Before you head out, exfoliate at home to give yourself a fresh start to the trip and pack up your routine essentials in travel-friendly containers.
Stock up on travel-sized containers. We’re big fans of Muji, as they have the perfect (and inexpensive) array of TSA-friendly containers, from squeeze bottles to screw-top pots, that hold a variety of products.
Pack a gel cleanser – and cleansing wipes. A gel cleanser is great for a deep clean after strolling through a city or spending the day at the beach, especially in the hotter months when we’re a bit sweatier and naturally oilier. Cleansing wipes give you an easy way to freshen up on-the-go, too.
Bring your regular moisturizer with you. Hydrated skin is happy skin, so use what works for you at home while you’re away. For bonus points, bring a lightweight balm which can give you a superb blast of moisture when duty calls.
Have enough SPF, no matter where you’re going! For our faces, we’re believers in a physical sunscreen (containing either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide). Why? It turns your face into a mirror against the sun’s rays and works the instant it’s applied, unlike a chemical sunscreen which takes 15-20 minutes to be ready to protect you. (By the way, there is nothing bad about 'chemical' sunscreens. They just protect you via a chemical reaction with the sun's rays rather than mirroring its rays. More on that here.)
Pack a small container of a hydrating mask. It’s our little airplane secret for big time happy skin. Plus, if your skin gets a little cranky during the trip, a hydrating mask, like our favorite, back at the hotel will go far to help calm your skin down.
Don’t forget the little things. Hand sanitizer, hand cream, lip balm, and a water bottle are some other tools to keep your skin on point.
AT 30,000 FEET
After the boarding door closes (and the battle of mostly bad safety video humor begins), follow our quick in-flight routine that’s guaranteed to have you landing looking and feeling fresh.
If you can, stay make-up free! Once you’re pulling away from the gate, you’re locked in a vessel with dry, recycled air. Your skin will be absorbing whatever moisture it can find at 30,000 feet and makeup isn’t the barrier you want.
Wash your hands before touching your face. If the fasten seatbelt sign is on, use a hand sanitizer. But keep some hand cream in the carry-on, as hand sanitizers and plane air can do a number on your paws.
Apply your hydrating mask and keep it on for the entirety of the flight. No need for a sheet mask or to mask with gobs of product like it’s Sunday night at home. Just apply a bit as if it was your regular moisturizer. If applied correctly, no one should be able to tell you’re wearing a mask. Always apply your own mask before helping others.
Apply a lightweight balm to lock in all the good hydration provided by the mask and to give yourself a little barrier from the outside world. A big time Skin Therapist tip that'll guarantee you’ll land looking fresh and feeling less oily than ever before.
Drink lots of water (maybe plan ahead for the bathroom breaks and pick the aisle seat?) and apply hand cream and lip balm regularly.
DURING YOUR TRIP
Cleanse and moisturize as you normally do and pack your day bag with the supplies you’ll need to stay fresh while adventuring. Plus, our Skin Therapists share a few tips for when things go a little wrong in summer.
SPF SPF (did we mention SPF?). All day, folks, on the face – and the body, too, if you’re in a warm climate with exposed skin. You’ll be surprised how much color you’ll still get, even with solid protection on. Gone are the days of chalky white sunscreen of the 80’s. Instead, try favorites like the light and sheer City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30 by Supergoop!.
Throw the lip balm and face wipes in your day bag. You may not have time to run back to the hotel to change, so keep a few wipes so you can refresh in between activities. Nothing beats a clean-feeling forehead and hairline in the sweltering days of summer. Lip balm, no explanation needed!
If your skin gets a bit of a sunburn… Our Skin Therapists recommend pure aloe for cooling and healing relief. If you’re traveling LA and can break off an aloe leaf from a succulent garden, by all means. If you aren’t into garden hunting (some of our Skin Therapists indeed are!), we recommend popping into a health foods store for aloe that is clear and contains 98%+ aloe vera content. (If aloe is way down on the ingredient list and/or it’s the same color as Gatorade, try hunting further.)
If you get the unexpected visitor… Ah, travel zits. Again, the food, the sleep, the new routine – it can bring on some skin surprises. Don’t stress! If the breakout looks red and cranky, pull out that hydrating mask you packed to give it some soothing love. For a blemish that's under the surface but still making its presence known, use something detoxifying or lightly exfoliating. Spot treatments are golden to have on hand for quick fixes.
WHEN YOU GET HOMEAlongside the laundry bag and dopp kit, hopefully you’re unpacking a trip full of photos, memories, and good vibes to carry you through to the next adventure.
The only thing not to hold on to? Those little travel sizes you made.
Don’t let your products sit in a closet for months. Use ‘em up. Since you brought most of your routine with you, they’ll feel right at home back on your bathroom counter next to their full-size counterparts. Whether they exchange travel tales, that we’ll never know.