The Pursuit of Life

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Road Trip Beauty Routine

Outdoor living, Southern Utah

Realities of living on the road – brushing your teeth outside with no water!  Southern Utah

With 4+ months of living out of a tiny teardrop camper with no bathroom, it’s a fair question – what is your beauty routine on the road?  This is a funny one for me to answer because I’ve never been great at making myself up in the first place.  Despite watching my mom do herself up beautifully each morning before work my entire childhood, I didn’t use a blow dryer or tweezers until well into my high school years and didn’t discover makeup until my besties in college used to make me up for fun.  I just never really had much of an interest in it.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to wear some mascara, blush and eyeliner and make sure my hair looks decent before popping out the door for work or socializing with friends.  I’ve never been a makeup-to-the-gym kind of girl, but aside from working out, I do usually make myself up a little bit before I leave the house.  So – beauty routine on an extended road trip?!

The answer to this is that you’ve got to throw that kind of baggage out the window if you are seriously considering this kind of lifestyle for any length of time.  Most days we do not have running water and all days we do not have electricity to power a blow dryer, flat iron or curling iron.  I am brushing my teeth outside, using face wash cloths at the end of the day, making sure to moisturize and that’s about it.

Fresh Faced Camping

 Au natural – a minimal beauty routine is essential for living on the road

My main concern is keeping my skin hydrated and free from sun damage.  I have fairly dry skin to begin with and lots of freckles from a childhood spent mostly outside in the Texas and Florida sunshine.  Add to that hours and hours and hours of swim team training in high school and my skin has taken a beating so I’m trying to slow the aging and sun damage.  For the first two months or so of the trip, we were in the deserts of southern California and Arizona – Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Saguaro and the Sonoran Desert.  I was not prepared for this kind of dryness – the skin on my face was so dry and chapped that it hurt to put moisturizer on (the sunscreen in the moisturizer was burning my chapped skin – ouch!), but I just kept slathering it on until finally my skin recovered.  And I have not made that mistake again.  I’ve been using Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream and love it.  Great moisturizing, and on top of that some anti-aging components (yep, I’ve come to terms with my age!), and it’s a jackpot for me.

Fresh Face Cream

I also slather on sunscreen – on my face and neck, and especially on my hands.  We are basically living outside these days and so the sun is a constant (though not always noticeable) presence.  I wear hats and long sleeves most days that I can, but also make sure to use some sunscreen, and the higher SPF the better.  I know there are lots of articles and research right now about the perils and potential dangers of sunscreen, but I haven’t had a chance to do my own research into it.  So until I can, I’ll be using Neutrogena sunscreen, and also ColoreScience sunscreen powder, which was recommended to me by a dermatologist about a year ago.


Use a mirror and a sink when you have one!  I’ve got a little handheld mirror with me in the camper but mostly it’s useless – there’s not great light in there and it’s pretty small.  So most days I go without seeing myself in a mirror other than a look at my reflection in the car’s window or a quick look in the mirror behind the sun visor in the car.  And so when we end up staying in a campsite with a bigger mirror, a sink with running water and/or some good light (a rarity on the road!), I always take some time to check things out and wash my face – clean up my brows, make sure there aren’t too many new freckles, and put on some eye cream.  Ryan isn’t too picky when it comes to me being made up; he seems to prefer me bare faced and with my hair in a ponytail, at least that’s what he tells me (smart man!).  Certainly works well for our relationship, though it can be frustrating.  He seriously wouldn’t notice if I had a Frida Kahlo unibrow going on – he might say, hmm something looks different about you?  But he wouldn’t be able to put his finger on it.  Hilarious, yes; but sometimes you need someone to tell you to get your brows in order when they are looking crazy!  Or when you are having a particularly bad hair day that maybe a hat or headband would be a good idea.

Camp Hair, Don’t Care.  Just go with it – messy hair all day, and it’s okay.

Ferry to San Juan Islands

Crazy hair – embrace it!

We don’t have showers every day.  We definitely don’t have access to electricity, and so my hair these days is air dried when I do get to wash it, and usually in a braid, a bun, a ponytail or a hat most other days.  I’ve got some great dry shampoo – Living Proof – that I’ve used when we’ve had to stretch too many days between hot showers, but otherwise I’m enjoying the messy hair look and spending my time worrying about other things than a perfect ‘do.

dry shampoo

Embrace your natural look.  Mostly, I have gotten used to the way that I look without mascara and blush every day, and that’s a good thing.  I’ve got plenty of imperfections, and those wrinkles really are starting to pile up, but it’s who I am and what I look like.  Wrinkles mostly come with laughing, smiling, and an expressive face – all of which I have in spades, so I’ll take those wrinkles, but perhaps try to minimize them just a little bit!  I recently read that Alicia Keys has embraced the way she looks naturally, without makeup or airbrushing, going bare faced and natural for her shows and appearances.  Obviously I didn’t plan it this way, but her movement just so happens to correspond with my life at the moment.  Solidarity with Alicia and the #nomakeup  movement!

Southern Utah

Fresh faced, wandering around the Grand Gulch Primitive Area in Utah

What are your tips for a beauty routine on the road?

BY Jackie
BLOGGED FROM Anchorage, Alaska