I think we’ve all been there.
You picture your summer vacay look for months leading up to your trip: tan, glowy, perfect beach waves and flawless skin.
But sometimes, the heat takes a toll on your skin and hair, and you find yourself less glowy and more sticky, less flawless and more dry. Sometimes, the sun refuses to quit, and you turn into a lobster by the time 5pm Happy Hour rolls around. And occasionally, you’re six months pregnant, and you find yourself feeling like a frizzy, puffy has-been who managed to squeeze into a bikini against all odds for old time’s sake.
OK, maybe just I’ve been there.
Regardless, I’ve made it a mission the past couple of summers to combat all of the downsides that come with spending all day in the sun on vacation. The heat can be ruthless (always torn on whether or not I should use that adjective in my writing) and takes no mercy even on the most hopeful vacationers.
Fortunately for all of us, the beauty industry has come a long way and has provided us with a slew of products that will help protect, repair, and perfect our delicate faces, hair, and bods when the temperatures become unbearable.
Here are my tried and true “essentials” for summer travel (Tyler is telling me at this moment that I overuse that word and “if everything is an essential then nothing is,” and I need someone else to come handle him right now).
First, let’s talk SPF:
I’ll skip the lecture because I think we all get it by now. I have a history of melanoma in my family, though, so I REALLY don’t mess around when it comes to the sun. My sun protection arsenal may seem a bit extra to the average person, but I don’t care.
I use Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen for my body because it’s extremely lightweight, smells like Maui or heaven, and do I detect a hint of shimmer?? I love this stuff because it’s super easy to keep layering on throughout the day and it doesn’t even feel like I have anything on.
For my face, I use the Replenix Antioxidant Sunscreen with SPF 50, and so does every female in my family (thank you Lauryn Evarts). This stuff is foolproof, and I haven’t burned my face in years because of it. I even get less freckles now than I used to! This sunscreen also lays perfectly under my makeup. I wear it every single day, rain or shine.
Fun new extras: I recently discovered the Supergoop Hand Cream with SPF 40, and YOU CAN BET I’m slathering that stuff every couple of hours. Also, another thing I love from Supergoop is the SPF 50 Setting Mist–perfect for a mid-afternoon spritz without messing up or having to re-do your makeup.
For the glow:
I know, I know…how’s a girl supposed to get her glow on if she’s blocking every ray with all these sunscreen products?? Don’t worry, I’m not a maniac. I, too, need the pep in my step that comes from a freshly bronzed glow.
If the stakes are particularly high on a vacation, I’ll skip straight to a spray tan and beeline it to my favorite airbrush girl near my house.
If I don’t need to be that thorough, I’ll pack some of my own fake tanner. My favorite for travel is by Dr. Dennis Gross. He has these glow pads that are PERFECT because they are in a wipe form, not liquid, and so easy to throw in your bag and use every few days on vacation. I get both the body and face glow pads and have been really happy with them.
For dead summer skin:
There’s nothing worse than checking your face in the mirror at 2pm and discovering that what once was a smooth dewy palette has now become a vast, dry wasteland. I think of Emperor’s New Groove when Kuzco remarks in his head about Esma, “What is holding this woman together??”
My biggest skin issue, especially in the summer, is my face drying out to the point of the Mohave halfway through the day. I’ve been researching and testing moisturizers for years and only a few products have stood the test of time (and my desert-like complexion).
First, I’ve formed an addiction to hyaluronic acid serum which really helps my skin lock in and hold onto moisture. My current favorite is the one by Peter Thomas Roth, but I’ve been testing other brands because it’s a little expensive.
Second, I’ve completely fallen in love with Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. Moisturizer with vitamin C, per my older sister’s recommendation. This stuff keeps my skin hydrated and glowy all day, even when I’m out exploring in the heat.
Lastly, I do love a drop of Josie Maran’s Argan Oil, mixed in with my daytime moisturizer or at night after my serum regimen. I love rosehip or marula oil, too, when I’m at home, but I love the travel size Josie Maran because I can also easily use it to tame my frizzy mane.
When in doubt, hit a face mask:
Tyler and I usually plan a night in every few days when we travel. We pick up pizza, watch a movie, and get reorganized. I consider this one of my most important travel tips for couples (more here). On these nights, a lot of times I will do a face mask to help my skin recover and get rejuvenated for the next few days about being out and about.
I love the convenience and portability of a sheet mask when I’m traveling, and my favorite is the Youth Mud Collagen mask. It’s SO moisturizing, and I love to put it in the fridge before a use it for the ultimate cooling effect. (And yes, “extra” is my middle name).
Another mask I’m loving lately is the Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask. After seeing this pop up all over my Instagram feed earlier this summer, I deemed it too good to be true and waited for someone I knew in real life to vouch for it. Sure enough, when I saw my older sister for the first time after our trip to Australia earlier this month, she took one look at my tired skin and shoved the cute little blue tube at me. I used the mask three nights in a row, and it transformed my skin. I’m officially a believer in its smoothing, nourishing, and hydrating effects.
And lastly, for those beachy waves we all need:
I’ve already discussed my necessary dry shampoo habit (find my favorite ever on Amazon or Sephora), as I try to wash my hair as little as possible (in real life and especially when I travel). I also like to take along Dry Bar’s Triple Sec. I love this product because it makes my hair come to life even on the most drab, day-four-of-no-washing days. Texture, volume, what more do you need??
What are your summer travel must-haves?