Keeping my beauty budget to a minimum whilst backpacking was really important and that’s why I used these budget travel beauty tips.
At home I am known to spend a small fortune on beauty related items. This includes products for my hair and body as well as makeup items and to be honest it can all get a bit out of hand. When backpacking for months at a time with only a 50l rucksack you really have to question which of these items are necessary. It took me a while to whittle down my options and I’ll be honest, I still think I took too much.
Budget Travel Beauty Tips
Tip 1 – Dry Shampoo or no Dry Shampoo?
I have a question for you about my first budget travel beauty tip. How many of you go through Dry Shampoo like it’s going out of fashion? I know that I do. Yet carting 10 cans of Dry Shampoo around Southeast Asia with me seemed like a ridiculous idea. I try my absolute best to look after my hair and one of the ways I do this is by not washing my hair too often and stripping all of its natural oils. People said “you’ll be in the sea everyday”, “you’ll be so hot and humid that you’ll be desperate to wash your hair daily”, “it will get greasy really fast in the humidity”. Apologies to ignoring all of these comments because I can tell you, I did not wash my hair every day! Not by a long shot! The reality is, that I wasn’t sunning myself on a beach for 5 months whilst backpacking. I was hiking up mountains, climbing to the top of temples and generally doing a lot of sightseeing that involved anything but relaxing. Yes I got sweaty and the humidity was often killer but I still didn’t wash my hair everyday. However, instead of spending £20+ on cans of Dry Shampoo to last me 5 months, that would take up valuable space. I took one small bottle of Johnsons Baby Powder. One small bottle at 75p lasted me a gruelling, humid 5 months and continued to be useful when I got home. Every couple of days in between washes I would apply some baby powder along my roots, rub it in using my fingertips and voila, non greasy hair. Granted it’s a little messier than using a can of Dry Shampoo, but using baby powder does pretty much the same job. It smells nice, it absorbs any unwanted grease, leaves your hair feeling much fresher and for a fraction of the price and weight. If you’re going traveling long term, or on a long holiday that won’t involve you being by the pool or sea everyday. Ditch the Dry Shampoo cans and buy one small bottle of Johnsons baby powder. It does the job and is probably one of the best budget travel beauty tips I can give you.
Tip 2 – Ditch the heat
Ill get straight to the point with budget travel beauty tips number 2. Ditch the heat accessories. I’m talking hairdryers, straighteners, curlers and any other form of heat styler girls. Think of the weight you’ll save, let alone the space. A hairdryer, pair of straighteners and some curling tongs would take up a lot of space in your bag. A lot of space that you won’t have if you’re needing to pack minimal items at a low weight. I used a hairdryer once whilst I was backpacking because it was supplied in the hotel. It was the worst! When it’s 35+ degrees outside, the last thing you want to be doing is adding more heat to the mix. Believe me when I tell you, that as soon as you hit the outdoors it won’t stay looking sleek and sassy for long. Instead you’ll be battling with humid, frizzy flyaway hair that you’ll wish you didn’t bother spending so much time on (personally speaking). You’ll soon realise that the majority of people around you are rocking lazy hair styles such as beachy natural waves, braids, ponytails, buns and any other hair methods that don’t require much effort. In fact, the chances are that you’ll feel more ridiculous dolled up amongst backpackers than if you didn’t bother at all. No judgement on the ‘how much effort you’ve made’ front. Trust me! If you’re blessed with wavy or curly hair then embrace it. Let it air dry and marvel in the fact that your hair will be thanking you for the break from heat stylers. Alternatively you could put in a couple of braids or a cute bun and not have to worry about humidity striking. What I’m trying to say is, part of being a backpacker is not worrying too much about your appearance. Instead, you should embrace culture and the outdoors. Spend that extra 30 minutes you would spend doing your hair, exploring somewhere new or meeting new people. Ditch the heat tools and follow my budget travel beauty tips. Embrace your inner Monica frizz!
Tip 3 – Do you really need makeup?
Let’s move onto makeup which is budget travel beauty tips number 3. The long and short of it is, that across Southeast Asia people don’t really wear a lot of makeup, if any at all. You’re most certainly not going to feel singled out if you’re not wearing any. Living in England, I feel there is a certain amount of pressure to look good and I sometimes find myself wearing extra makeup to match those around me. In Asia, you really don’t need to do that. I promise you there will be way more backpackers embracing au natural faces than the alternative. Not to mention it is so hot and humid that things like foundation and lipstick are going to soon feel very gross, especially on top of SPF. My advice to you is this. Be very selective about what makeup you take on your travels. I’m not saying don’t take anything at all, although there would be absolutely nothing wrong with that. Things are going to be affected by the heat and taking your favourite foundation is only going to end in disappointment when it needs throwing out at the end of it. I took a small makeup bag with only a few items such as; eyeliner, mascara, SPF lip balm and bronzer. These are all items less likely to be damaged by the heat and a little eyeliner and mascara can go a long way to making you feel ‘dolled up’ whilst traveling.
Tip 4 – shampoo and conditioner
Budget Travel Beauty Tips 4 is relating to shampoo and conditioner. Before I went away, I had this amazing idea that taking lush solid shampoo and conditioner bars would save a lot of space and hassle. Turns out they caused me more hassle than they were worth. Considering they need drying out after every use, humidity wasn’t really their best friend. My shampoo turned into a sticky clumpy mess that I couldn’t even remove from the tin and the conditioner was about as useful for conditioning my hair as water alone. In the heat, sun, chlorine and sea, my hair needed much more TLC than lush solid conditioner could give me. Remember, people all over the world need shampoo and conditioner and in Southeast Asia you can surprisingly buy brands available in England for a fraction of the price. I found myself ditching the solid shampoo and conditioner bars and instead buying dove, herbal essences or sunsilk for about £1 a bottle. In a lot of shops in Southeast Asia you will also find a good selection of single use hair masks and these are a life saver. Don’t stress out too much about taking copious amounts of your favourite shampoo and conditioner and limiting the space you have in your backpack for other things. Take a couple of travel sized sets and save them for days when your hair needs extra TLC. Buy shampoo and conditioner as you travel and it will save you money as well as the space and weight in your bag
I hope this post has been helpful if you’re planning on going traveling for a long period of time. Alternatively if you’ve been traveling before and need some budget travel beauty tips on how to save space in your backpack.