I'm Going On Vacation For Two Weeks: The Products I Absolutely Need To Pack

An extended stay on the shores of the Atlantic ocean means sunbathing and expert beauty product packing.
Publish date:
July 26, 2013
bronzer, summer, candles, fragrance, lip balm, summer beauty, skincare, vacation, shampoo, trips

On Sunday, I'm headed off for vacation for two weeks. Well, technically three weeks, but there's a break in between, and for the purpose of this article, I'm writing about the first trip: two weeks on the East Coast in my homeland of Nova Scotia.

Essentially my days will be spent swimming (in the ocean, pools, and waterfalls) and gorging myself on seafood. I don't think much else will happen in between, but who knows.

While I plan on relaxing like a sloth, I still want to look and feel good, so my packing game will be on point. I am quite possibly the most disorganized person ever, but when it comes to travel I magically become super type-A and pretty much never forget anything. I make checklists and fit a miraculous amount of things into my suitcase. There are few things in life I would consider myself an "expert" at, but packing: totally one of them.

So, besides my general summer vacation stuff--swimsuit, SPF, my regular makeup and skincare routine in tiny travel-size bottles--I have other things that I plan to keep with me so that I feel fabulous. Obviously this post doesn't cover everything because if I listed every. single. thing. I was planning on packing you'd probably call me insane.

Instead, I'm just going to focus on a couple standout items that I love a lot and think you should maybe throw in your bag for the next trip you go on. Now let's dive on in.

I Want Burn-Free, Silky-Smooth Skin

I plan on wearing SPF everyday like I always do because I don't want to get cancer and die, but some days I miss a spot and then I'll suddenly notice a red patch that hurts like hell. OR there are days where it's just so damn hot that you get nauseous. This summer I've been using Aesop Petitgrain Hydrating Body Gel for those situations. It's a cool, quickly absorbing goo that soothes angry or overheated skin so you can relax and take a nap.

Speaking of body skin, I'm freakishly, obsessively concerned about keeping the skin on my legs free of hair. It actually makes my angry to have hair on my legs. I would love if I could afford laser hair removal but hey, I just finished college so NO.

Shaving is out of the question because it's POINTLESS when you're pale with dark hair, and I've gotten so lazy and easily-annoyed that waxing, with its strips and stickiness, is unacceptable. Thus, I've begun using an epilator. The Philips Satin Perfect Epilator to be specific, and I love it.

Before I ever epilated, I used to sit and individually tweeze hairs from my legs for hours. Rewarding bu ... really time-consuming and kind of sad and stupid. An epilator, however, basically does the same thing but a lot damn faster. It has these rotating ceramic discs that grab and yank your hair out so that it's smooth like you've just waxed, but without the clean-up after.

I like that I can just do it lazily sitting on the couch, because contrary to my frequently done-up appearance, I like my upkeep to be as simple and effortless as possible. So thank you, SatinPerfect, for letting me be lazy and still have smooth legs. You're a doll.

(In terms of the pain level, if you've waxed your legs in the past it won't be anything surprising. I've waxed for years now so I find it pretty low on the pain scale. But then again, I've given myself two tattoos so you might not want to get your "pain information" from me.)

I Want Nice Smells

I need to smell good on vacation, but I get really nervous packing my full-sized glass perfume bottles in my suitcase because I worry they're going to shatter. And YES, I know you can get refillable atomizers but whenever I see them in the drugstore I have no money, so I just shrug and buy a $1 scratch ticket instead hoping it will solve the aforementioned money problem. It never does!

So, obviously there are TSA-friendly rollerballs at Sephora of a lot of their bestselling fragrances, but those cost money. I like to go to department store counters or other places that sell fragrances and ask for samples. Most of them will give you a little spritzer tube in a cardboard sleeve with enough fragrance in it to last you a few days. I like this because it gives me the opportunity to try out new scents and it also takes up very, very minimal space in my luggage. So yeah, I guess this isn't a product suggestion so much as a tip. Cool!

In terms of keeping everything smelling nice, I also totally advocate for bringing travel candles on vacation. I love Catbird Travel Candles, because they're in sturdy tins, pure soy wax, a decent size, and they smell amazing. My favourite for the summertime is Seven Seas, which is minty and sea-air fresh.

I Want A Pretty Face, Too

While I wear SPF 30 or above every single day of the year, I frequently forget to protect the skin on my lips because I'm a dummy! I mean, the skin on your lips is so thin and it can easily get sun damage and discolouration, so you want to protect 'em, even if just to keep them healthy and plump with natural collagen.

I've been using a couple SPF lip balms this Summer, but I'm pretty keen on Arbonne Lip Saver Suncreen which has SPF 30, is cruelty-free, tingles with minty-freshness and leaves a really pretty sheen on your mouth.

Then there's bronzer, which I'm so obsessed with right now, but it's a product that can go horribly wrong if you're as pale as I am. Thankfully, Guerlain (the authority on bronzers, truly) has created a bronzer palette specifically for ghostly girls like myself. Their Terracotta Four Seasons Bronzer in 00 Nude is comprised of three different matte shades of bronzer and one shade of slightly shimmery pink. Also, it has gold in it. Like, actual gold just blended right in.

You can mix the darker shades together in the summer for a deep (for Casper) glow, wear the lightest bronze in the springtime and fall, and use the pink as a blush year-round. Or you can just swirl them all together and dust that on the highest points of your face for a look that says you just went for a run along the shore. Ooh, dreamy.

So let's talk about skincare. I know when I go on vacation, my skincare can kind of slide into "baby wipes are fine" territory, and after a few days I start to look a little haggard. That's why I like the travel-size version of Dr. Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peels.

The sample-size box contains 5 of the 2-step process peels (for $15), which are cruelty-free, paraben-free and vegan, and contain fantastic ingredients like glycolic acid, retinol and salicylic acid to unclog pores, even skin tone, and decrease the appearance of fine lines. Basically, if you get lazy with your skin while on holiday, you can take one of these packets out before bed and give your skin a mini overhaul. God bless you, Dr. Dennis Gross.

I Also Want Clean Hair

Finally, I need to have a good shampoo that I actually like. Nothing is worse than going on vacation and staying with friends or at a hotel and using their shampoo and conditioner and finding it doesn't work with your hair's specific spoiled needs.

Right now I really love LUSH Seanik Solid Shampoo because it smells fresh and summer-y, gets my hair squeaky clean and still makes sure my shorter haircut has bounce and volume. AND on top of that, it's not going to spill in my toiletry bag, which is THE WORST. Instead, it's a solid so I can just throw it in a tin and not think twice about having soapy goo drip all over my things. Blargh.

What products do you have to take on vacation with you? Do you buy your own empty bottles and fill them with your stuff, or do you buy minis from Target? Or do you get the fun travel size sets that stores put out? I wanna know because I like talking about beauty products. I mean, c'mon.