When it comes to skincare, you have two goals to keep in mind while you’re traveling: to nourish and protect your skin. Nourishing your skin means keeping it fed and watered with yummy skin-quenching goodness to keep it healthy and vibrant. Protecting it means guarding your skin from things that can damage it. A good skincare routine for travel does both. Here are my favorite travel skincare tips to help you develop a good skincare routine for traveling.


Moisturizer is one of the most important things to keep handy while you travel, so don’t forget this travel skincare tip. Well moisturized skin is healthier, more supple, can respond better to repair damage, and is more resistant to the effects of aging. But not all moisturizer is created equally.

Look for a moisturizer with easily absorbed natural ingredients. I prefer moisturizers that use easily absorbed natural oils, such as olive oil, aloe vera, jojoba oil, almond oil,or shea butter.

  • Travel Moisturizer Tip: Although it’s great for hair, avoid coconut oil for your face if you’re acne prone!

Replace any moisturizer that contains Mineral Oil or Dimethicone as one of its first ingredients. These are cheap fillers made from the same stuff as petroleum and aren’t doing anything good for your skin. In fact, mineral oil can cause acne. Try to steer clear! Note: On the flip side, mineral oil makes a FANTASTIC makeup remover, especially for eye makeup! In a pinch, you can use a cheap mineral-oil based lotion, like the freebies at any hotel, on a tissue to remove makeup.

Depending on the moisture needs of your skin and the climate you’re going to be visiting, consider bringing a lighter or heavier moisturizer. Generally, a cold or dry climate requires a heavier moisturizer than a hot or humid climate. A heavy moisturizer will sit on your skin and take longer to penetrate; a light moisturizer will absorb almost immediately into your skin. You want a heavier moisturizer anywhere that it is cold, dry or high-altitude, and a lighter moisturizer for when it’s hot and humid. For my year-long backpacking trip I brought one of each and alternate based on where I am.

In a pinch, just use olive oil. Yes, like edible olive oil that you use for cooking and salad dressing! Olive oil is a great moisturizer for all skin types, it’s fantastic for your skin and hands, excellent for dry or flyaway hair, and a healthy cooking ingredient. A small bottle of olive oil in my bag does the work of several products for me!

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Moisturizing comes from inside AND out


You can moisturize all you want, but nothing can erase the effects of sun damage on your skin. Sun damage strips your skin of moisture, burns your skin cells, prematurely ages your face, and causes wrinkles. Wearing sunscreen daily is the difference between looking like you’re 40 and looking like you’re 20 when you’re actually in your 30s. And while I have nothing against wrinkles and am not afraid of aging, I also like my face the way it is. When you travel, you’re more exposed to the sun, often more frequently and sometimes – if you’re closer to the equator- in stronger doses than you’re used to. Wearing sunscreen every day is the most important travel skincare tip!

Always wear at least SPF 50 sunscreen on your exposed skin, including your hands and feet.

Wear a sunscreen specifically made for your face, if your skin is sensitive or acne-prone. This is my favorite.

Some makeup has SPF. I use a tinted moisturizer with SPF to multi-task and protect my face while it moisturizes my skin.

Wear clothes that protect your skin from the sun. A gauzy white button-down shirt is both fashionable and one of my favorite ways to protect myself from a day in the sun. I wear it everywhere from hiking to swimming – saves my skin and saves me money on sunscreen! White or light colors are better at reflecting heat and light than dark colors.

A cute hat and some big sunglasses are more than just travel fashion: they’re also great sun protection for your face, ears, and neck!


Travel can take a toll on your hands and feet, whether it’s dry cracked heels from walking for miles and miles, or cuticles gone rogue!

Bring a little tub of moisturizing cream or salve. I like Burt’s Bee’s salve. Use it on hands, fingers, feet, and even elbows. My husband sometimes uses it in place of beard oil. You can also rub it on the ends of your hair to prevent split ends. It’s fantastic!

Don’t forget to pack some small, lightweight nail care necessities: cuticle clippers and a nail file. I’m a nervous picker, and these two tools save me so much pain and anguish! I have a small glass nail file that doesn’t wear down, and some cheap cuticle clippers from the drug store.

Honestly, we get mani-pedis about once a month. Yes, both of us. Yes, while we’re travelling. It’s not just a good way to take care of our hands and feet, it’s also a fun way to practice our Spanish speaking skills on a poor innocent beautician who’s forced to talk to us for a whole hour. Plus, it’s a nice cheap way to pamper ourselves and relax!


Phew! This is a long post! If you made it this far in, it’s too late to leave now  here is your reward. These are my ultimate must-have beauty items  for travel – the ones I’d never leave home without. Some of them may seem a little … odd, and most of them can be found in your kitchen. But their usefulness on a long trip is unparalleled!  Read on for my roundup of multitasking beauty must-haves for travel.


Apple Cider Vinegar is my favorite multi-tasking beauty product. Yes, I know, it smells really terrible. But it’s so wonderful! It makes a  great facial toner and astringent, heals sunburns, kills both bacteria and yeast overgrowth (aka wet bikini rash, you know what I’m talking about ladies), instantly stops heartburn, removes buildup from hair and adds shine, heals acne, provides quick first-aid disinfecting for minor cuts and scrapes, and is an essential ingredient in any Asian-inspired sauce (OK, that’s not a beauty tip, but it is delicious).  Oh, and it’s super good for you. Yep, apple cider vinegar is a powerhouse! I always keep some in atiny spray bottle for beauty purposes when I travel.


 Repeat after me: you don’t need face wash. Face wash is like detergent for your face, stripping it totally dry and leaving it dehydrated and starving for moisture. Bad! But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cleanse your face every night. All you need are baby wipes! Baby wipes gently remove dirt and grime while leaving behind your face’s natural defensive and moisturizing oils.  I travel with a pack of baby wipes at all times: they’re great for removing makeup, takes care of  that oh-my-god-I-need-a-shower feeling on a long flight or bus ride, helps with cleanliness down-there, functions as hand wipes when you need to snack on the go, and can even sub in for toilet paper in a pinch!  (That last one has come in handy more times than I care to admit in South America…)


If you just said “huh?” I don’t blame you. I never heard of arrowroot powder until I changed my diet to avoid processed corn derivatives (like cornstarch) and started using it as a thickening agent in cooking. Turns out that arrowroot powder, which is made from starchy tapioca, is a fantastic beauty product for soaking up oil and soothing skin! You can dust a little arrowroot powder on your hair to instantly freshen oily roots, like a DIY dry shampoo (plus: no bottle taking up space in your pack). You can also use arrowroot powder as a finishing face powder: it sets your makeup and soaks up oil all day long. I used to use an expensive Makeup Forever HD Finishing powder every day – and then I tried arrowroot powder. It’s literally indistinguishable! As if that wasn’t enough, you can also use arrowroot powder the same way you would use baby powder or Gold Bond’s powder: put some on your feet to help with sweat or dust a little between your legs to reduce chafing.

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