Thursday, July 10, 2014

beauty and the beach

Now that we're heading into summer travel season, I hone my packing essentials for quick and easy, pick-up-and-go trips...whether we're going to the local beach for the day, a weekend at a lakeside cottage, or a week long road trip.  After years of travelling abroad, I've learned to carefully edit and use items that are readily available. As long as I'm diligent and stick to a few rules, these simple (and inexpensive) tricks have allowed me to travel light with only a few essential beauty supplies without too much disruption to my own humble, every day beauty routine.  With age comes the beauty of knowledge.  

In no particular order, here's my Top 10 Simple Beauty Tips...The Beach Edition.

put sunscreen on first
I'm very diligent when it comes to slathering and reapplying sunscreen on the kids.  We practically wear sunscreen year round (especially on the face during ski season).  Often people forget the sunscreen until they're already out the door.  The trick is to put a solid "base" of high SPF sunscreen lotion on your face and whole body BEFORE you get dressed and leave home or where you're staying, so at a moment's notice, you're already covered and you're fully covered (you also don't get any on your clothes). Like moisturizer, it becomes part of your daily morning routine and all you really need to do is keep a small bottle in your purse (I love sunblock face sticks!) and bring it with you to reapply.  This is what I do with the kids, so I'm not chasing them to put on sunscreen once we arrive at the beach (and they've jetted off to do their water sports).

get lemon fresh clean 
Lemons can be found at any hotel (kitchen or bar), or make sure you bring them on your trips if you're going local. When we were in St. Lucia, on our way to the beach I requested a small glass of sliced lemons from the bar en-route. Lemons work in a pinch if you don't have wipes (it works great to de-grease your hands after applying sunscreen).  It helps whiten the tips of your nails for that pseudo french manicure look (just top with clear nail polish), and rubbing a little lemon slice along the lips exfoliates them, giving your lips that naturally rosy, bee-stung look.

get natural highlights
Speaking of lemons, take a slice or two and squeeze some of the juice onto the wet hair.  The hair will lighten as the heat from the sun dries it.  I love how it gives the hair a sun-kissed look without harsh chemicals.

rinse your hair with beer 
At the end of the day, rinsing the hair with beer helps restore moisture  (yes, I know for some people this may be a waste of a good cold beverage).  A little goes a long way, and after the sun has lightened and dried your hair, restoring the moisture will ensure it doesn't look like dry hay. You can save half a glass of beer, right?

exfoliate with sand
One of the oldest tricks in my book is to slough off dead skin on the feet and legs by massaging them with (clean) beach sand.  It would make your skin feel soft and smooth and when you return to your home, hotel or cottage, just shower and add moisturizing lotion.  Your legs will feel like you were just at the spa.  

shave with conditioner
Forget bringing all those bottles of shaving cream.  If you've exfoliated all the dead skin cells using the sand at the beach, your skin will be ready for a closer shave.  I like using hair conditioner instead of shaving cream (one less product to bring on vacay and there are always bottles at don't need the expensive stuff).  It softens the hair making it easier to shave and your skin will feel extra soft and silky.

bring a small jar of coconut oil
If there is one product that can replace many, it's coconut oil.  Found at almost any grocery store, I usually put about ¼ cup of coconut oil in a plastic seal-able travel bottle/containers (or a small round food container works too).  Coconut oil is not liquid like olive oil.  If kept at room temperature, it stays paste-like in texture.  I love how this oil has many uses...I use it as a night moisturizer (body and face), on the hair to tame frizzy and fly away hair (it also helps with dry scalp), and it helps heal the skin after shaving (great for razor burn!). It is a great all-natural moisturizer and I use it on the kids after their shower, especially after their skin was parched from the sun at the beach.

leave the curling iron at home
I don't like travelling with too many appliances, so the curling iron generally stays at home if we're travelling by plane.  To get those beachy curls, nothing works better than salt in the ocean water and after a swim, all your hair really needs is a quick tousle, let it dry naturally and you're set.  If you're not visiting the sea (perhaps a lake or pool?), then a trick that I use is to sleep with my hair damp, scrunched up in a bun.  The next morning my hair has the messy beach look.  If you want more controlled curls, sponge hair rods take up very little room in the cosmetic bag and replicates the spiral curl/beach look. (instructions posted here).

bring clear nail polish 
I often have my nails polished and ready to go prior to any vacation, but with wear and tear from being active with the kids, I find those manicures don't last very long.  Instead of bringing a bottle of nail polish remover (and risking a spill in your suitcase), you can remove cracked or chipped nail polish by applying a clear nail polish or top coat to the nail and removing your existing polish  promptly with tissue. (or use the peel-able water based nail polish, as mentioned in my post here).  Clear nail polish also works in a pinch for non-beauty emergencies like stopping a run in hosiery, helps keep kid's buttons from falling off (if you paint the threads in the middle to secure it) or stops the ends of shoestrings from fraying (just glue/paint the frayed ends together...the polish hardens nicely).

remember to stay hydrated 
This really is a no-brainer, but it's tempting to drink the tropical cocktails or alcoholic beverages all day while on vacation...and it's easy to forget that alcohol doesn't keep you hydrated. I can not stress the importance of drinking plenty of water especially while under the sun.  As difficult as it may seem, limiting the alcohol consumption and increasing the water intake (whether it's coconut water or a glass of water with lemons or cucumber slices) is not only good for your skin, but good for your body's metabolism too!  

You don't necessarily need to visit a beach to use many of these simple tips. Whether you're travelling abroad or enjoying a staycation, my favourite and best beauty tip above to smile and cherish the moment.

Have a Simply Beautiful Summer!

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