Backpacker Beauty: How to Stay Looking Good When You’re Living Out of a Rucksack

by Eat Sleep Travel

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backpackerA gap year is a rite of passage for anyone but looks never seems to make the cut of “important things”. Here are our top tips for becoming a backpacking beauty.

18 hour coach journeys may be cheap but they don’t keep your hair grease-free and they certainly challenge your (supposedly) 24-hour long antiperspirants. This, however, doesn’t mean beauty is it out of the question. Here are some of my favourite advice for staying glamorous whilst travelling.
DIY Products

Even when I am not travelling, I still love to make my own beauty products. One of my favourite treatments involves just two ingredients: milk and lemon.

First of all, collect your ingredients: half a cup of milk (to be boiled for one minute by your trusty microwave (or cooker)) and a large squeeze of lemon juice to pour into it. Then give it a quick stir and a cooling. Once the treatment is cool, apply the mixture to your face and let it dry for around 10-15 minutes. A good idea would be to brew some hot water and lemon – this drink works wonders for your digestive system and can pass the time whilst your face is drying. Once the facemask has dried, in circular motions, wash your face with warm water. This treatment will result in a new, fresh, glowing skin which, believe me, feels wonderful after a long trek.

Another of my other favourite treatments is a hair revitalising mask.

First gather one ripe avocado, half a cup of coconut milk and three teaspoons of olive oil. In a bowl, mash the avocado, adding the coconut milk and the olive oil, and stir. Then, warm up your mask on a stove for a couple of minutes. Once the mask is warm, apply the mixture from your roots to the ends, massaging it into the scalp. Leave on for at least half an hour then rinse your hair. This mask should result in renewing your tresses to its natural gorgeous self!

backpackingAlternative Products

Unfortunately, in Phang Nga Bay or East Timor, very few showers are available, leaving your hair (and body) crying out for nourishment. Nevertheless, there are a wide range of products accessible for alternative methods of “cleaning” or exfoliating.

When I can’t get to a shower I resort to dry shampoo or baby powder. Batiste is my favourite dry shampoo brand but there are many other brands available. I prefer the “fresh” product but on a holiday, “oriental” or “topical” can work too with fragrances of coconut and flora. I also use Johnson’s baby powder as it soaks up oil and grease in your hair, leaving your hair more ‘fresh’. Serums or salt sprays can keep the fizz at bay, and hairbands or hair-clips are lifesavers when you’re having a bad hair day.

For solid cosmetics, I personally go for Lush products. They’re light, small and environmentally friendly. Whether you need a solid shampoo that doubles as body soap or a solid perfume that doubles as washing detergent, Lush has hundreds of products ranging from £5 – £20 lasting for around 4-6 weeks. One of my favourite products is Angels on Bare Skin. For only £6.35, you get 100g worth of an almond-fragrant facemask that reduces redness and evens out skin tone.

Durable Products

Whether you’re on holiday for three months or three years, “durable” products are essential.

Invest in make-up sponges when applying 24-hour foundation. They are incredibly light, easy to clean and easy to apply. The best make-up rule I have is “less is more”. The less foundation you have on your face, the less foundation there is to slide off it.

To protect your lips from the heat, use a clear or light-tint lip gloss such as blistex or carmex. They’re high-moistured and help keep your lips smooth and polished.

If you must wear mascara, always make sure it’s water-proof. Again the “less is more” rule can be applied here. To look fresh, always carry baby wipes around with you before you go to bed to avoid “panda eyes”. And only wear eye liner at night time when you’re going to a party. You don’t NEED to wear liner when shopping for fruit and vegetables.
Overall, there are hundreds of rules and hundreds of products to use when travelling. It’s up to you to choose what your preferences are but always pack as little and as durable as you can.

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Eat Sleep Travel


Eat Sleep Travel staff.

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