The last thing that you want when you’re backpacking is to be carrying around a dozen heavy bottles of various potions. Equally, if you’re going somewhere exotic there is a chance that you won’t be able to find your favourite beauty products in the local street market.
When you pack your beauty products you need to look for items that will last your trip and that can also potentially be used for more than one purpose.
So, without further ado, here is my tried and tested list of backpacking beauty essentials:
1. Lush’s Solid Shampoo Bar. Shampoo bottles are heavy, and travel sized bottles are both expensive and short-lived. Instead, pack a shampoo bar. It looks like a standard bar of soap but it washes your hair incredibly well and lasts approximately 3 months. Double it up as your body soap. I love the Jumping Juniper scent.
2. Lush’s No Drought dry shampoo. Freezing cold showers and dirty bathrooms can make washing long hair a nightmare. Before travelling I was a disciple of the canned dry shampoos like Batiste. However, cans don’t always last very long and I knew that I wasn’t likely to find a replacement in the markets of Bolivia. Lush’s dry shampoo comes as a loose powder which can make it a little messy, but it’s effective and lightweight and the bottle lasts forever.
3. Leave-in conditioner. If you cannot do without a hair conditioner, use a good leave-in conditioner rather than one you wash-in and wash-out in the shower. They’re more intensive and last longer as a little product goes a long way. Herbal Essence’s Beautiful Ends Protect Cream is hands down my favourite of all time. If you haven’t tried this product already, trust me when I say that you need – it smells amazing and leaves your hair blissfully smooth.
3. Talcum powder. If you’re going trekking and/or wearing trekking boots for long periods of time, talcum powder is a must. Good ol’ humble talc will keep your feet clean and dry, preventing nasty cases of athletes foot and other fungal infections.Talcum powder can also double up as a dry shampoo if you’re looking to cut back on products.
4. Tweezers. Necessary for plucking eyebrows and picking out nasty splinters.
5. Nail clippers. It’s a good idea to keep your nails short for hygiene reasons. I also find that keeping my toenails short stops them from painfully pushing against the ends of my trekking shoes when I’m walking down steep hills. Not to mention that it helps keep away those nasty fungal infections!
6. Scissors. For trimming hair above and below. You can also use them to trim your nails if you don’t want to pack clippers. Moreover, scissors are just plain handy and practical to have in your backpack.
7. Dual purpose moisturiser. You will especially need a moisturiser if you are travelling to a colder destination or somewhere with high altitude as the climate will dry your skin out. However, I recommend finding a moisturiser that can be used for both your face and body, rather than bringing separate bottles. My favourite dual-purpose moisturisers are Nivea Creme and Nivea Soft.
6. Compact mirror and hair brush. Get a small travel hair brush with a compact mirror built into it.
8. Roll on deodorant. Long-lasting, compact and essential. Aerosol deodorants don’t last as long and tend to take up more room in your bag. I swear by Nivea’s Pearl and Beauty roll-on.
9. Body mist. I ditched the aerosol cans and heavy glass perfume bottles in favour of inexpensive plastic-bottled body mists. They’re cheap and lightweight, cool you down in heat, and make you feel a million times prettier on a night out. I recommend the Boots Extracts Body Sprays as their fruit scents are refreshing and Victoria Secret’s fragrance mists (I love the Passion Struck scent), but if you can’t find them I love Soap and Glory’s Mist You Madly and the Body Shop Body Mists.
10. Razors. I never found razors that I liked when I was in South America. Most people have a particular brand or type of razor that they like to use, and it’s for this reason I recommend packing it in advance. I always use Bic’s Twin Lady/Silky Touch.
12. Hair ties. Take plenty with you – you will lose many in between lending them and dropping them on dusty foreign roads. If you are like me and have heavy long hair that slips down, use H&M’s hair elastics. I cannot tell you how good they are – they’re firm but stretch enough for you to wrap them around your pony tail several times.
PS: You can read my complete packing list of everything that I took with me to South America in a previous post.