Put your best face forward for your next getaway with a clean beauty routine.
There’s no questioning the benefits traveling has for your mind, spirit, and, yes, body. But it can be rough on your skin. So before you fly next time, prep with a no-harm skincare routine that targets the extra stress and leaves your skin looking its best … just in time for photos.
ONE WEEK BEFORE YOU GO
If it’s a product or body treatment that can possibly cause dermatitis (inflammation of the skin, including a breakout or redness), you shouldn’t be using it any closer to your travels than a week out. Doing so allows your skin enough time to calm down and normalize, ensuring you won’t have any unsightly or, more importantly, uncomfortable irritations to deal with.
Check off your list:
- Spa treatments. No matter if it’s a wax, massage (deep tissue, we see you), or facial, give your body time to recover from adverse reactions by having it done well in advance. The last thing you want to deal with on the plane is itchy skin or sore muscles.
- A full-body scrub. Sand is an incredible natural exfoliant, but why wait until you get to the beach to have that healthy glow? Opt for an exfoliator that’s gentle on skin, like the Squalane + Enzyme Sugar Body Scrub by Biossance (this author’s favorite skincare line), an Allure Best of Beauty Award winner made with cleanly sourced squalane from sugarcane—not sharks. Be sure to spot test, especially if your skin’s not used to scrubs.
- Spot testing. Did you buy a new lipstick? How about a different lotion? Or maybe a serum from a brand you’ve never tried before? Now is when you’ll want to test out any new products—one at a time, on your arm—to make sure there’s no irritation. You do not want to try something new for the first time on vacation!
TWO DAYS BEFORE
This is the time to be extra-kind to your skin, subbing in rich moisturizing treatments and avoiding new products at all costs. Pamper yourself while you pack to push back against stress and avoid the “I have so much to do” guilt trip. Multitasking never felt so good!
Go ahead and:
- Skip your normal nightly face moisturizer and instead apply a deep-hydration mask. If you travel often or have dry skin, consider picking up a full-size container. Otherwise, single-use masks are a great choice, as long as you look for recyclable or compostable packaging. Andalou Naturals’ 1,000 Roses® formula is perfect for sensitive skin; holistic stores like Whole Foods should carry both the jar and sheets. The soft-as-silk Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream from IT Cosmetics™ is worth the splurge for all skin types—as proven by its status as the top nighttime moisturizer in the U.S.
- Do the same for your hair. Leave a conditioning hair treatment in while you paint your nails or pack. Function of Beauty, available at Target, has a line of vegan masks for most hair types. Can’t get to the store or keeping close tabs on your wallet? Use your normal conditioner, but let it sit for a good 15 to 30 minutes for shiny, smooth locks.
- File and shape your nails. (Don’t forget to pack a nail file in case of broken nails!) For extra care, rub in a cuticle cream like Lemony Flutter by LUSH or hydrating oil like this all-purpose one from Biossance. Finish with a clean polish from brands such as Olive & June—free of 15 harmful chemicals and another Target find—or stick-on wraps like from Color Street. A clear coat works wonders for adding sheen without having to worry about chips.
Fight the urge to wait until the last minute and start getting your toiletries and makeup together now, too. Pour your favorite products into travel-size reusable containers—it’s cheaper than buying travel versions every time you fly and better for the planet—and don’t forget to pack sunscreen.
If you’re bringing makeup brushes or blenders on your trip, you’ll want to wash them with a residue-removing cleanser today so that they have plenty of time to dry.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
Really, there’s only one essential thing you need to do for your skin before your vacation: get a full night’s sleep. (Bonus points for using a wrinkle-preventing silk pillowcase.) It may sound trite, but a good rest allows your body to revive and repair damage, helping your skin look and feel healthier.
Before you tuck in for the night, however, you should:
- Drink plenty of water. It seems simple, but don’t underestimate the power of water. Staying well-hydrated is key to having happy skin and a glowing complexion.
- Shower and wash your hair. (You’ll appreciate having the extra time back in the morning.) Use a full-body lotion—for best effect right after your shower—since your skin is certain to be thirsty tomorrow. Smoothing options from Leaping Bunny-certified Alba Botanica and Everyone® are easy to find, nice to smell, and fast to absorb.
- Follow your usual bedtime routine but minimize your screen time. Too much blue light exposure doesn’t just disrupt sleep; it’s suspected to have a negative impact on skin too.
THE MORNING OF DEPARTURE
Between middle-of-the-night wake-up times and the hectic dash to get all your final items packed away and yourself ready to go, you’ll want your beauty routine to be as quick and easy as possible.
Aside from washing up, all you should need to do is:
- Put on moisturizer and sunscreen. Start by applying your daily moisturizer (use your nighttime edition for extra oomph) and, if the norm, your usual serum and eye cream. Save the sunscreen for last. Tip: Look for moisturizers that are hydrating without clogging pores, such as Josie Maran’s lightweight Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter and Biossance’s rich Squalane + Omega Repair Cream.
- Spritz on a nourishing face mist, like the Nutrient Boost Spray from Zenmed®, gentle enough even for those with rosacea. Make sure to have a travel-sized bottle in your carry-on; a spray or two while flying can help reduce inflammation, and another after you land feels just plain refreshing on dehydrated skin.
While you’re away, don’t stress about deviating from your normal skincare, but do be sure to apply moisturizer and sunscreen every day (keep that face mist handy too!) and remove any makeup every night. And since the routine is broken anyway, why not make it a treat with a spa treatment? It's your vacation—you should leave it feeling good.
The content of this article expresses the opinions of the author alone, is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute providing medical advice. Speak to your dermatologist before changing your skincare routine, and always spot-test new products before use.