A year on the road with only a 35-liter backpack. My beautifully organized and non-hideous Tortuga Outbreaker, to be exact.

I’ve covered the basics of my packing here: how I decided what clothes to bring, how I fit them all in there, and just how little you really need on a trip like this. But beauty is a whole other topic!

Makeup

I’ve always been interested in makeup, not in the school of the Kardashian wanna-bes with their thick contour and spider-like false eyelashes. My beauty look is more low-key, because with too much obvious makeup I look like a little baby prostitute and that’s a concerning vibe (curses of the babyface!).

Glossier is a big staple of my travel look: I’ve always been a fan of their low key makeup that is just you, but a little glowier. Their Skin Tint tinted moisturizer, Cloud Paint cream blush, Boy Brow eyebrow wax, and Haloscope highlighter just make me look like me, but like I’m always in good lighting. Add in some lipstick for a more glam look (Laura Mercier babylips for a soft pink, NARS Dragongirl for a perfect red that really stays) and that’s pretty much it. Occasional mascara too if I’m really feeling it.

Skincare

Skincare, on the other hand… I love! I have high-maintenance skin (acne and rosacea and dryness yaaay) and am rather vain, so my at-home skincare regime involves 5-10 steps a night and a few in the daytime too. I’m regularly mistaken for a college student at age 33 so I don’t regret spending all that time, but on the road it’s just not practical.

Bioderma wipes are super easy to use after a long day, and really gentle. Add in some sunscreen to keep my porcelain skin as pale as possible (that’s how I like it! I want to look like a Titian painting!) and a little lip balm and some lovely, thick Embryolisse moisturizer and I’m all set to go.

The lure of the French pharmacie

Being in one place in one apartment for the whole month, I decided to splurge a little and hit up the famed French pharmacies. Seriously, they’re amazing. Good prices for luxe skincare and bossy pharmacists who will tell you exactly what you need (thanks, lady who just looked in my basket, shook her head, and got me products better suited to my super-sensitive skin!).

I have been indulging in some excellent Klorane haircare: all the Parisian women have beautiful hair so I have to fit in! And some lovely moisturizing products that make my dry skin happy in the cool October air. This will all leave once I take off for Greece in a week, but it’s been lovely to pamper myself a bit with some hair masks while I lounge in my bathtub reading Proust.

The final look

Et voila!

Being so limited in my beauty products has been good for me in many ways. It’s much easier to carry around, for one. I save quite a bit of time in my day too, and money! Sephora is surely sad to see me and my VIB Insider account take a break.

But aside from the surface considerations of my surface routine, paring down has helped me get more comfortable in my own skin. I can’t hide behind my subtle but flattering eyeliner and concealer any longer: it’s not in my bag so it’s not an option. I just go face the world with my more natural face and grow and learn and listen and explore.

In a world where women are told constantly that our main value is what we look like, it’s my own little rebellion to value my time more than my outside appearance.

One Reply to “beauty and the backpack”

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