Beauty to go: Tips for your trips

We all dream of travelling in style, but the reality is often stressful, sweaty, grimy and decidedly less than glamourous. Unfortunately, trips don’t always give us a break from the pressure to look our best — especially if we’re travelling for business or a special event.

Want to look and feel good while you travel? Take along these tips.

Prep your body

Include your body in your pre-trip planning to take care of some “maintenance” before you go. For instance, book an appointment to get your hair cut and colour refreshed — it will look more polished and be easier to control. What about unwanted hair? Wax it away rather than dealing with razors and messy products while you’re on the road.

And because our hair and skin don’t always get the attention they deserve, give them a little extra pampering in the days before your trip, like a deep conditioning treatment.

Keep it simple

Will your mascara be smudged and flaking after your in-flight nap? Will your bright nail polish chip and your foundation melt away or settle into your “fine lines”? In short, if it’s going to take a lot of upkeep, leave it at home. Instead bring along the items you know will stand up to rigorous conditions — but are neutral enough to compliment almost any outfit.

Same goes for your clothing — like those fabrics that wrinkle before you even put them in the suitcase or toe-pinching shoes. Pack items you’ll wear often, and can wash in a pinch. (For more tips, see Pack light and save hassles.)

What about your nails? Skip the fancy manicures involving decals or rhinestones. Instead, opt for a sheer or neutral nail colour that will match whatever you wear but won’t show off imperfections — or skip the polish and give them a buff before a special occasion.

Go multi-purpose

Trying to lighten your load? Look for products that will give you the most mileage. For instance, many mineral make-up products won’t melt away and they offer the coverage of concealer, foundation and setting powder. Some products even work as blush, eye shadow and lipstick as well — like Mistura’s 6-in-1 Kit.

Want to skip the make-up layering process? A tinted moisturizer can do double duty for your skin, and oil-absorbing blotting papers can get rid of shiny spots.

What about your lips? A pretty shade can give you an instant boost, even if you aren’t wearing any other make-up. Don’t worry about how long the product will last — instead, choose a product that moisturizes and contains sunscreen (SPF 15 or above) — and apply it regularly.

Bring your own

If you’ve got sensitive skin or allergies, don’t rely on hotels and local shops to supply you with skin-friendly products. Many of these products contain harsh chemicals and ingredients to which you may react, and you may not be able to find suitable brands while you’re away. Instead, bring along your own cleanser, shampoo, soap and sunscreen to avoid breakouts.

We know it’s tempting to buy new stuff before a big trip, but remember a vacation isn’t the time to test out new items — especially essentials like deodorant, foundation or sunscreen. If you’re buying new, pick up the items a few weeks ahead of time and give them a thorough test run.

Wear your favourite colours

True, packing neutral pieces means more room in the suitcase, but those classic hues can wash you out. For an instant boost, throw in some of your signature colours to wear close to your face. It could be as simple as a pretty scarf or necklace that makes your eyes “pop”, or a blouse in a pink or plum that brightens your skin tone.

Many items can help stretch your travel wardrobe as well — like a pretty pashmina to dress up any outfit, or a sarong that serves as a skirt, dress or bathing suit cover up.

Keep it clean

At home or away, one common cause of breakouts is touching germy surfaces and then touching your face. Now imagine all the extra grim that goes along with travel — like public transportation, not-quite-clean hotel phones and self-serve kiosks. Health experts warn to keep your hands clean and keep them away from your face as much as possible.

Give a little spritz

A little spray bottle with mineral water may not seem like much, but it’s an essential on many people’s lists. A little spray offers a number of benefits such as adding moisture to dry skin and refreshing make-up. It can also help you keep cool when travelling in the heat.

Another hot weather buster: wet wipes containing alcohol. The moisture quickly evaporates, helping you keep cool in steaming temperatures.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

Thanks to dry air, the sun and the wind, our skin takes a beating while we’re on the move. That’s why experts warn not to skimp on the moisturizer while you’re away. For example, apply moisturizing cream to any exposed skin before you hit the drying environment on the airplane, and reapply on those long flights. Refresh your skin after a day in the sun, or a long hot shower.

You can also freshen up from the inside outside. Experts warn to stay well hydrated when you travel, especially in hot climates.

Slather on the sunscreen

While many travellers seek a golden tan as a souvenir, experts note that there is no such thing as a safe tan. Sun burns — especially when they blister and peel — are as uncomfortable as they are unattractive. Keep a bottle of sunscreen or sunblock with you and apply it throughout the day. (Read Find the best sunscreen for tips on selecting the right product.)

And no, getting a “base tan” before you go won’t help, according to experts. A tan doesn’t offer any protection from future sun exposure, and it means your skin has already been damaged. (Read more myths about sun protection.)

Turn downtime into pampering time

Planning to sleep on the plane, or catch some Zzzs in your hotel room? Take advantage of nap time to renew your skin as well. The key is to moisturize, then cover with a breathable fabric (like cotton gloves or socks). This trick also works for tired eyes — simply smooth on some cream under that eye mask and relax.

Wake up your eyes

Puffy, red and dark-circled eyes don’t have to be inevitable, even if your internal clock is out of whack. The experts at WebMD recommend eye drops to combat redness from irritated eyes. Need a quick perk-up for your peepers? Make a compress using a face cloth (or cloth napkin) and some ice and gently apply just under the eyes. (For more healthful tips, read the full article here.)

Love your feet

A sturdy pair of shoes isn’t the only love your feet need while you travel. They’re often overlooked when it comes time for sunscreen — but no less prone to burns. Be sure to keep them covered too: don a pair of flip flops around pools, public showers, the beach and even around your hotel room to avoid bacteria and fungus.

Another feet-friendly tip: give them a wash at the end of the day and apply some moisturizer to prevent cracking. If you do get a dreaded blister, apply antibiotic cream and keep it covered with a bandage. (For more tips, see the American Podiatry Medical Association’s tip sheets.)

Allow time for freshening up

Planning an evening out on the town? It may sound like common sense, but many travellers forget to include some freshen-up time in their itinerary. If you’ve got a night out planned, allow enough time to swing back to your hotel room for a shower and change of clothing. When you don’t have to rush, you’re less likely to make little mistakes and you’ll feel more relaxed and confident heading out.

Overall, we don’t have to be beauty queens when we travel, but there is a happy medium between high-maintenance and that camera-dodging self-consciousness we often feel when we’re travelling.

Got a travel beauty tip we missed? Share it in the comments.