I am interrupting my China series with a linkup to my friend Upasna‘s blog party. This month’s theme: travel packing musts!
I used to pride myself on being a super light-weight packer (1+ years as a full time nomadic traveler and all in a carry-on!), but lately, I feel like I’ve been accumulating more and more (useless, as D would say) things. Maybe it’s the fact that it has been so long on the road and I’m starting to crave some kind of resemblance to the life full of pretty things that I used to have. In any case, I’ve found myself shopping for girly things a lot recently, and things I didn’t need before are all of a sudden stuff I can’t live without.
Without further rambling, here are my travel must-packs: beauty edition:
You probably already know that I got all of my makeup stolen while on Boracay. It didn’t really bother me too much then since I wasn’t even using them all that much and no one wears makeup on the beach anyway!
But as I returned to a city, I felt the need to make myself more put together and to blend in with the super fashionable local girls. Before I could do anything about it, I got my LASIK surgery and couldn’t wear makeup for a month. But as I stopped wearing glasses, I started to really feel like I needed makeup again. In a way, black frames had served as decoration and a distraction from dark circles or blotchy spots, and now my face seemed a little too bare, the skin a little too uneven.
Now, I’m able to wear makeup again and I’ve been slowly accumulating items from the Asian drugstore. It’s been fun shopping new brands we don’t get in the US. (I may do a separate post about Asian makeup if anyone is interested!)
I’ve been trying to buy only what I need, so here’s what I consider to be makeup must-haves:
– tweezers: the first thing I replaced!
– a face powder (with SPF!)
– a blush
– black gel eyeliner, which I use the leftover on the brush to lightly fill in brows too
– a brown-toned eyeshadow palette
– lip gloss: I LOVE the Fresh tinted lip butters (not pictured because it’s in my purse and I forgot).
– eyelash curler (and mascara though I only use it for special occassions)
– a set of brushes
My hair has a mind of its own. I have naturally wavy hair that decides for itself which way it wants to wave, especially when I’m in a humid environment. Most of the time, I just pin back the front of my hair (where the bangs are growing in) and put the rest in a ponytail. It’s not a cool look, but oh well.
Well guess what? Even my hair pins got stolen on Boracay! I could no longer pin back the front and they curled in horribly ugly waves.
So I got a mini hair straightener while in China! I used to use one everyday but decided to go without one for the sake of packing light. I don’t know how I lived without one for so long!
On a recent trip to Wuhu, I collected a ridiculous amount of hair accessories: headbands (are they even still in right now?! I so don’t care! They are in China, so there :P), hair bows, pins, and bunny clips. Colorful hair accessories are the easiest way to spruce up your look!
Other toiletries & skin care
A facial moisturizer | Yep again, mine was stolen, and I went without one for a bit (it was humid on Boracay anyway), but soon my skin became super dry + damaged. So I just bought a random facial moisturizer at a drugstore in China. I’m usually pretty picky with what I use as moisturizer (must be all natural, non–animal tested), but I was desperate. I quite like this actually. At least, it doesn’t break me out and my skin has healed nicely.
A body lotion | I could not resist the cute tin packaging of these vintage Shanghai lotions (found in Tianzifang in Shanghai)! The cream smells so delicious (mine is rose scented) and it’s super thick and moisturizing. I wish I could have gotten a few more tins of this in other scents, if only my luggage room allowed.
Crystal deodorant stick | A must for hot/humid climates! This is essentially just a block of natural mineral salt which prevents odor. It’s fragrance free and residue free. Wet it under water and rub under the armpits. It works wonderfully. (buy here)
Natural bar soaps (not pictured because it’s in the shower) | This is another new obsession! We’ve been able to come across natural bar soaps almost everywhere we go. I really love the goat milk and coconut milk ones (I’m currently using a spice + herbs one). I like it in place of shower gel and it has to be all natural so it’s mild enough to use a facial cleanser too.
For the times we don’t find natural bar soaps in a certain place, we always have a block of African Black Soap handy. This stuff is amazing too.
Travel washcloth (not pictured) | I use the Lunatec one that’s some kind of special material that dries super fast and doesn’t ever get dirty. I use it every other day to gently exfoliate my face with the bar soap (negates having to buy extra exfoliaters!). It works SO well! My skin always feels so smooth afterwards. It also works as a whole body loofah. (buy here)
Nail Polish | Because toes in sandals just don’t look right without color.
Baby powder | This item is one of D’s must haves. As a boy, he sweats a LOT more than me, and let’s just say that certain parts get highly uncomfortable. Baby powder keeps it all dry and smooth. I also use it from time to time as dry shampoo on days when my hair feels greasy but I’m too lazy to wash it.
Go Toobs | And of course, we need something to contain staples such as shampoo/conditioner. We like the Gotoobs, which are heavy duty flexible silicone squeeze tubes. See how I broke the lid of the green one? These things are so leak-proof that even with a half broken lid, no product ever leaks out.
So basically, I went from having none of that stuff in March (except for some of the toiletries) to everything you see here! Even though D grumbles that he now has to lug my significantly heavier bag up and down stairs for me, I know he appreciates the effort I make to look better. And I’m happy to no longer be living like the stereotypical hippie/unkempt backpacker.
What are your travel beauty must haves?
I think I may make a packing guide mini series, as well as putting it all together into a massive resources page, so be on the look-out for the next one!