What's great about being at the beach is you can basically go around with zero makeup on and just stick with the bare essentials. You have no idea how refreshing and liberating it is (for me, at least) to not have to wear a stitch of makeup on (no kilay, no powder!).
Here are some of my [current] beach essentials:
Everyone's non-negotiable should be sunscreen, and my sun protection of choice is VMV Hypoallergenics Armada Sport 70. I've been using this for months and the great thing about it is it applies smoothly and does not sting the eyes. The SPF 70 is also a treat since I usually spend hours under the sun (who has time to keep track?) and protects me adequately. I always say, it does help me tan but it never makes me burn.
There's now a concern about reef-safe sunscreens: do we stick with chemical or mineral (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) formulations? I took the liberty of asking the folks over at VMV about their own sunscreens and here's what they have to say:
"Most reports that we have seen cite certain chemical (organic) sunscreen ingredients as problematic and most sunscreens that claim "reef safe" use physical (inorganic) sunscreens (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide)...but other studies cite these as problematic. There is one peer-reviewed journal study that focuses on the potential dangers of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide nano-particles (which we do not use).
Until there is one standard that is clear, we are uncomfortable claiming "reef safe." Because published studies do not agree on what that is yet, we feel it would be misleading for us to make that claim at this time."
The island girl's beauty must-have is coconut (or anything coconut-scented, really). I live for multi-purpose products and VMV's Know It Oil is 100% cold-pressed VCO that helps soothe sun exposed skin, moisturizes dry skin after bath, plus you can also use a small amount to tame frizz. I remember my Mom applying warm VCO to my hair and scalp while I was growing up, you could say this regimen is the reason why I have thick hair.
GENTLE SKIN CLEANSER
If I can help it, I prefer using all natural formulations when I head to the beach so as not to pollute the place that I'm visiting (everything we use gets washed off when we shower and goes straight to the ocean at one point or another). I picked up the Green Factory Gentle Face Cleanser at Earth Cafe and am truly loving the cucumber minty scent. Take note that this is just your regular no-frills gentle cleanser, no anti-aging faff or any of that sort.
Also picked up the Bali Browning Lotion (locally you can purchase it here) at Earth Cafe which is a natural tan accelerator that contains coffee, aloe vera, kukui nut, coconut oil. I tested this on my last day in Bali though I can't vouch for its efficacy just yet as I spent more time in water than basking under the sun, so I suppose the lotion washed off anyway. I have difficulty using this due to its strong (and cloying) lotus scent. However, I am including this as a "beach essential" as it's probably the only tan accelerator I've encountered that is mostly made of natural ingredients. I shall test this again very soon.
On days I need just a teeny bit more coverage, I turn to Skintangible (click for review), a skin-friendly tinted moisturizer with SPF 30. The medium shade should blend into complexions well except if you're really fair this might look a little muddy on you.
Possibly the only hair serum that I've tried that really tames frizz and makes hair silky. I've tried so many silicone-based serums and this is by far the best. Got this from Glamourbox years ago in one of their earlier subscription boxes, but you can also grab the Kerastase Oleo Relax Serum from top salons in the country. Sadly it's not natural or organic but it's the only product that controls my tresses very well.
Oily skin can also get parched when you're at the beach, so I use Aloe Derma's Aloe Vera Gel (made of 99.7% organic aloe vera) to cool and soothe my face. I apply this every night as well so as not to clog pores. This is also handy for knee scrapes and skin irritations, my only beef is it's rather thick and tacky to apply.
Perhaps the best (and cheapest) minty body wash I've tried is the Eucalyptus Bath Gel by Ilog Maria. The eucalyptus scent is relaxing and spa-like, and the low lather formula doesn't strip skin of moisture.
Not in photo but my favorite minty toothpaste made with natural ingredients is the Himalaya Herbals Active Fresh. When the brand sent me some stuff to try, I was so impressed that I explored their line even more and now I'm a fan.
Over time my beauty essentials kit have been trimmed that it's now possible for me to fly abroad with only an overnight bag (true story!). Flying to Bali I only brought my blue overnight bag that I usually bring to Baler. Wow, what a transformation when normally I'd bring my whole luggage with me! Haha.
So anyway, what else do you pack for a 5-day trip abroad? Share!