Beauty, Travel

Top Ten Beauty Products for Backpackers

Backpacking Beauty

Backpackers have little room in their minds or bags for a complete beauty routine. As a traveler, you will be radiant with anticipation and the joy of seeing new and beautiful parts of the world, but sometimes the backpacker glow doesn’t suffice. For a day of sightseeing or a night out, amp up your look with these top ten beauty essentials. Between products that are essential in avoiding the post-train grease bomb, the horrific lobster effect, and others that are multi-tasking wonders, this list pares down and bares all when it comes to the dangerous journey of backpacking beautifully.


Dry Shampoo

Let’s be completely honest: sometimes hostel showers are gross. Sometimes the new humid climates will leave your hair limp and stringy. And sometimes, you’re too busy having fun at a pub to worry about washing up. Psst Dry Shampoo comes in a convenient travel size, will mask any questionable smells, and it gives tons of volume. A few spritzes and no one will be able to tell you washed your hair two cities and three train rides ago.


Cleansing Cloths

Hours of exploring a new place will leave you sweaty and tired, and the ten foot walk to the bathroom can seem longer than a hop across the pond. Cleansing face wipes will clear your skin of dirt, sweat, and make up and leave you feeling refreshed. Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes saved me from getting spotty on many nights, especially after a few glasses (ahem, bottles) of wine. They don’t smell overpowering, and added vitamins make skin happy.



It’s easy to forget that the sun is actually your enemy when you’re in paradise. Until your fellow hostellers are worried you might get sunstroke, that is. Prevent the lobster look by choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and remember to reapply. Don’t worry if you like to lay out solo, asking the cute Italian boy a few towels over to do your back is the perfect conversation starter. You’ll be out of reach of the sun’s rays with Cetaphil’s Suntivity Ultra-Light Lotion which has SPF 50 and is water resistant.



For backpacking make up, you want something that is low maintenance and will last all day and night. Trade your foundation for a highly pigmented concealer that can be dotted on problem areas and under the eyes, or mixed with moisturizer for an even skin tone. You’ll only need a pea sized amount of MAC’s Pro Longwear concealer to cover your whole face. Blend with your fingers for natural looking skin that will last from breakfast through after dinner drinks.



When you’re up at five in the morning to catch a plane, it’s hard to care about what your face looks like. But, if you don’t want to shuffle around looking jet lagged all day, warm up your skin with bronzer. Rimmel London’s Natural Bronzer in Sun Bronze is just warm enough to bring life back to tired skin. It’s the easiest way to go from “I woke up like this” to flawless is under thirty seconds. Generously dust a matte bronzer onto cheeks, temples, forehead, and nose for an easy glow. It can even double as an eye shadow for days when you want to put a little more effort into your look.



A step often overlooked in everyday beauty routines, highlighter has the power to take your look from Mona Lisa to the Birth of Venus. Tap onto the high points of the face such as cheek and brow bones and even in the inner corners of the eye for a fresh face. For a travel friendly size, try using a single eyeshadow like Maybelline’s Expert Wear Eyeshadow in Champagne Fizz, which you can use to brighten up your lids!



An easy smoky eye look can be achieved with eyeliner and some quick smudging. No one has to know that you’ve only gotten three hours of sleep and drank nothing but German beer since you’ve left France when your eyes look this good. Rimmel London’s Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in bronze is soft enough to blend, but won’t smudge once it sets.



Nothing frames the eyes better than mascara, an essential in almost every woman’s make-up bag. Though not a multi-tasker, the waterproof version of your favorite tube lets you enjoy the inevitable spontaneous summer rainstorm instead of ducking into the nearest alley. Try L’Oreal’s Voluminous Volume Building Waterproof Mascara for eye catching lashes that can be built up for a night out.



A creamy lipstick can liven up both the lips and cheeks, so pick a rosy shade like MAC’s Please Me. It will look natural as a blush and make your lips talk for you when you don’t speak the language.



When backpacking, always take inspiration from the beautiful women in the places you explore. My favorite product that I found in Europe was Bioderma, a gentle cleansing water that I used morning and night. It gently pulls all the dirt, make up and toxins left on the skin without drying.