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My All Natural (and Effective) Travel Beauty Kit

Travel Beauty Kit

 

The abundance of 7-11 convenience stores was basically my favorite thing about Bangkok. After hours of sweating in over a hundred degree heat in the crazy city streets, I’d dip into the cool air conditioned sterile encasement of that store. I’d forget for a moment where I was in space and time as I scanned the products promising to make me beautiful again. If you’ve ever been a single white woman traveling in Southeast Asia, you understand.

 

Except every single product had a bizarre whitening agent in it that would bleach my skin.

 

Travel Beauty Kit

 

The painful emotional implications of this cultural paradigm goes beyond the scope of this blog post, so for now let’s just consider the toxicity of it on the body. My general rule, is that if I won’t put it in my mouth, I won’t put it on my skin. And as a sun worshipping beach bum who couldn’t recognize herself without a tan, I wasn’t about to start bleaching my armpits with my deodorant or “brightening” my face with bleaching skin cream.

 

My high quality toiletries from home had all run out a long time ago, and here I was backpacking the world wanting to feel clean at least some of the time.

 

My Travel Beauty Kit - 7

 

Because even when we’re backpacking, we still want to feel beautiful. Even when we’re traveling, we still deserve to feel luxurious and lavished… no matter if we’re sleeping in a wooden beach hut or a twelve-bed dorm room. We deserve to worship the temples that bodies truly are, gifting them with offerings of daily decadence.

 

And this is not easy on the road.

 

Why I Left My Fancy Life - 28

 

Sure, there were the times when I found some little gift shop offering some coconut oil homemade this or that. Or the times in Costa Rica when I had access to Bioland, a national all natural and organic brand. But none of it worked well, and none of it was easily accessible.

 

Experience has shown me that if I want to give my body the luxury it truly deserves, I have to be able to make the goodies myself, from anywhere in the world.

 

my travel beauty kit

 

So here it is, my All Natural Travel Beauty Kit, that you can bring in your carry on bag, that you can produce and make from anywhere, and that actually work better than any conventional brand on the market. First I’ll list out the ingredients to have on you, then the ingredients you can find in most places in the world, and finally I’ll share my recipes for my favorite beauty products.

 

My Travel Beauty Kit

 

What You’ll Need to Bring

 

I try to keep what I pack at a minimum, so that I always have the option to take my bag as a carry on. Since I started using essential oils, this has become way easier, because they’re ultra concentrated and I can just dilute them with water or high quality oil once I arrive at my destination.

 

Castor Oil

 

A little of this stuff goes a long way, and it’s very versatile. It helps reduce the appearance of scars, protect your skin from bacteria, and I use it regularly as a lightweight hair serum. Back a small travel size bottle.

 

Activated Charcoal

 

The ultimate teeth whitening agent. Activated charcoal is also in my Travel Wellness Kit because it does an amazing job of binding to toxins and clearing up food poisoning when ingested.

 

Baking Soda

 

You can usually find this on the road, but it’s not a liquid and you don’t need a lot, so I just pack a small amount into a Ziploc. That way I don’t have to worry about trying to find baking soda while I’m traveling. I use it to clean my teeth, in my deodorant, and I add it to my shampoo for the world’s best clarifier.

 

Essential Oils

 

I use these multiple times a day, they are in most of my recipes, and using them always makes me feel well taken care of. They come in 5ml and 15ml bottles which means they take up very little space (I travel with as many as 20!!) and you can take them on the airplane. My favorite essential oils for my beauty kit include lavender, frankincense (the best skin product ever), and purification (a blend that cleans wounds, works as deodorant, and keeps away insects). Read more about essential oils and how you can order them wholesale here.

 

Travel Size Bottles

 

Glass is heavier, but I prefer the quality of it, so I travel with some small glass bottles, a couple with droppers and a couple with sprays, for making my beauty products on the road. I bought mine at Whole Foods but you can also order them online here.

 

Exfoliating Mitt

 

Getting off the dead skin is the best way to have what my dear friend Sarah calls “rebirth.” In Morocco they use a special kind of mitt, almost like a cloth sandpaper, to scrub their dead skin off in the public baths. I love these mitts far more than any loofah, you can get them for $1 in Morocco and you can order them online here (but unfortunately marked up to $20, crazy).

 

My Travel Beauty Kit

 

What You Can Find on the Road

 

Depending on where you’re traveling, there are sure to be natural beautifying ingredients for you to learn about and explore. In Morocco they have herborist shops with all kinds of special natural treats. These are the very simple things that I trust I can find basically anywhere.

 

High Quality Oil

 

I use coconut oil as the base for most of my beauty product recipes, and fortunately you can find it in most tropical countries. Be sure to get the extra virgin, cold pressed kind, which will be clear when liquid rather than yellow when liquid. In Morocco I have used the local Argan oil (marketed in the USA as Moroccan Oil) and in Spain I used cold pressed olive oil.

 

Local Handmade Soap

 

It’s a nice treat, and usually at farmer’s markets or co-ops you can find really nice all natural stuff using local ingredients. In Costa Rica I regularly buy a wonderful detoxifying charcoal soap and a delicious chocolate soap.

 

My Travel Beauty Kit

 

Recipes

 

And finally, here are my recipes, for my favorite toiletries and beauty treatments, that actually work, that you can make on the road.

 

Three Ingredient Deodorant… That Works!

 

When you’re dealing with tropical weather, wandering around hot cities, hiking in the mountains, you’re probably going to sweat a lot. There are certainly ways you can reduce how smelly your sweat is, mostly from eating a clean diet and drinking lots of water. Still, armpit odor may occur. The smell comes from the bacteria that’s already on your skin, so the key is to kill the bacteria before you start to sweat.

 

Conventional deodorant has all kinds of chemicals, aluminum, and other ingredients that I’d never want to absorb into my system. But none of the all natural brands like Tom’s of Maine have been very effective for me. Then I created this homemade deodorant, which works better than anything I’ve ever used.

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons Baking Soda
3 tablespoons Coconut Oil
A few drops of Purification essential oil

 

Make sure that the coconut oil is liquid before making the recipe. If you’re in a cold climate, just dip the jar into hot water until it melts. Stir the coconut oil, essential oil, and baking soda together until combined, and put it into a small jar. You can also pour it into an empty deodorant container, however it may liquefy in the heat or become way too hard in the cold. I just keep it in a little jar and use my finger to rub it on.

 

Some people have irritation from the baking soda, so you can swap out the baking soda and the coconut oil mixture for magnesium oil mixed with purification essential oil. The reason I use purification, is because it’s specifically blended to kill bacteria, which is the cause of the odor in the first place. It has tea tree in it, but it has a very pleasant smell that’s much less medicinal than tea tree. I’ve also used just straight purification oil rubbed in my armpits, which works great, however you will use up your essential oil more rapidly this way.

 

Facial Oil for Glowing Skin

 

Perhaps the biggest toll travel takes on your appearance, is through your skin. I was blessed with clear, glowing skin for most of my life, and never really struggled with breakouts. Then, I started traveling in Southeast Asia. It seemed like no matter what I ate or eliminated or cleansed, my skin was always breaking out.

 

When you’re traveling there are so many factors affecting the health of your skin, from the quality of the water you’re bathing in, the level of pollution in the air, and the unfamiliar food you’re eating. Using this facial oil has dramatically changed the appearance of my skin, keeping it smooth and blemish free in the dry USA Pacific and in the tropics of Costa Rica’s Caribbean.

 

Ingredients:

1oz quality oil (I use jojoba oil)
5 drops frankincense essential oil
2 drops lavender essential oil

 

Use a small glass bottle with a dropper top. Pour all of the ingredients into the bottle, screw on the top, and shake. You only need a couple of drops a day, so it lasts a very long time. I use it after washing my face in the morning and again before bed. I will also occasionally put a couple of drops of pure frankincense in my hands and rub it on my face after washing. It does wonders for my skin and the smell is very uplifting. For blemishes, I spot treat them directly with tea tree oil, however since using the frankincense, I don’t really get blemishes anymore.

 

Super Whitening Toothpaste

 

I’m going to get a little crazy here, and tell you guys that rubbing black charcoal on your teeth is the best way to whiten them. Seriously. I stopped using conventional toothpaste two years ago, after learning about how harmful chemicals, dyes, and fluoride are for your health, and I started making my own toothpaste. Since then, my teeth have never been whiter, and people constantly comment on them. While I think putting the charcoal on directly can be a bit too harsh, it’s a great addition to a homemade toothpaste.

 

Ingredients:

¼ cup baking soda
1 teaspoon activated charcoal
1 teaspoon coconut oil
3 drops of peppermint essential oil
3 drops of thieves essential oil
Optional: bentonite clay and Himalayan salt

 

Mix all of the ingredients into a small jar that you can dip your toothbrush into. It should form a soft paste, even in warm climates. The peppermint oil gives it a nice fresh taste and the thieves is a blend with cinnamon and clove that tastes delicious and removes bacteria. You can also make a mouthwash simply by adding peppermint and/or thieves oil to water.

 

Kiss Me Breath Freshener

 

Add a drop of peppermint oil to your water and you will have a makeout ready mouth. Yep, that’s it! No need for sugary, chemically breath mints or gum!

 

Sweet as Sugar Scrub

 

When my friend Marissa, who I’ve known since childhood, and I were traveling around in Central America a few years ago, we were getting a lil too much sun. Let’s just say we had a lot of skin peeling off. So, we invented this delicious skin scrub to keep our skin moisturized and glowing.

 

Ingredients:

½ cup coarse grain sugar
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Optional: essential oil, coarse ground cacao, and coarse grain coffee

 

Mix all ingredients together into a jar. Use the coffee, cacao, or essential oil of choice to create the smell and experience that’s yummiest for you. Apply to your skin and spend several minutes scrubbing to exfoliate and stimulate your skin. Rinse off and the coconut oil will keep your skin moisturized after the shower. I recommend doing this after you use soap or a cleanser.

 

Saltwater Proof Hair Serum

 

Swimming in the ocean every day and subjecting your hair to the harsh sun can do a ton of damage to your hair. For a long time I’ve used coconut oil, which I still love, but which can begin to build up and make your hair greasy. I still use it for a deep conditioning before going into the ocean, but now I use a different homemade hair serum for after I wash my hair. This serum is super concentrated so it lasts forever and it tames my curls without making my hair look greasy.

 

Ingredients:

1 oz castor oil
5 drops essential oil of choice

 

In a small glass bottle with a dropper, blend the castor oil and whatever essential oil you choose. I personally like lavender mixed with the joy blend (which is apparently good for hair growth). While my hair is still wet I put a few drops into my hands and lightly glide it over my hair. The castor oil apparently helps rebuild the cellular walls of your hair to repair breakage, and if you massage this serum into your scalp it’s supposed to promote hair growth.

 

DEET Free Insect Repellent

 

For most of my life I had a serious problem with mosquitoes. I remember as a kid spending the summer camping in the mountains and coming home covered in scabs from scratching myself so badly. When I started traveling in the tropics I sprayed myself in the strongest DEET you could imagine, and it still didn’t make a difference. I would get huge, swollen bites everywhere. Then, everything changed. It stopped being a problem. If you want to cure yourself of mosquito bites, check out my post How I Cured Myself of Mosquito Bites Forever. Now, I use an insect repelling oil, which deters the mosquitoes and keeps away sand fleas. This is what locals in all of the islands use.

 

Ingredients:

2oz coconut oil (or other high quality oil)
10 drops purification essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
5 drops thieves essential oil

 

Mix all together in a travel size bottle. Slather on your skin throughout the day, and particularly before sunset when the bugs come out.

 

Sun Worshipper Sunscreen

 

Sunscreen wasn’t a huge concern for me before I started traveling. My skin browns easily and I rarely get burned. But when I went to places close to the equator, even SPF 30 wouldn’t cut it. I ran out of sunscreen quickly, it cost a fortune to buy it locally, and I still got burned. Perhaps the solution was to spend more time in the shade, but I love to swim in the ocean for hours and walk on the beach in the sunshine. Then, I started to notice how many chemicals came in sunscreen. I didn’t want to feed my skin that anymore. So I stopped using sunscreen altogether, just applying coconut oil and trying to get in the shade. I got sunburned a lot. Finally, I found a solution, a simple truly natural sunscreen that I can make from anywhere, that is strong enough to keep even my delicate face from getting burned.

 

Ingredients:
The proportions and ingredients will differ depending on how high of an SPF you want to have.

½ cup coconut oil (SPF 4)
2 tablespoons non-nano zinc oxide powder (SPF 20)
Optional: carrot seed oil (SPF 40), shea butter, raspberry seed oil (SPF 50), lavender essential oil (SPF 6)

 

Stir and mix together and put into a jar. If you want an ultra creamy blend, you can mix the coconut oil and shea butter in a double boiler before mixing in the other ingredients. Once it has all mixed and cooler, take a hand blender and whip the mixture. You will need to reapply often, especially after getting out of the water. To make it more waterproof, add beeswax when you’re melting the ingredients in the double boiler. For more info, check out this recipe on Wellness Mama.

 

Travel Wellness Kit

 

What I Buy Instead

 

Unfortunately, there are a few products that I’ve had a hard time creating myself. Specifically with shampoo and conditioner. In the past I experimented with no shampoo and coconut oil for conditioner, but my hair looked terrible. If I’m checking a bag, I’ll pack multiple bottles of an all natural, sulfate and paraben free brand (right now I’m using Acure).

 

Makeup is another one of those things that I experimented with making myself, and then decided it wasn’t worth it. Fortunately, you probably won’t be wearing it that often while traveling (especially if you’re in beach destinations) and it will last you a very long time. I’ve never run out of makeup on the road. I use the all natural brands that they sell at Whole Foods, Pharmaca, Super Supplements, and other health food stores. I keep it simple, packing just an eyeliner/eyebrow pencil, mascara, eyelash curler (I know these are terrible but I’m addicted), bronzer, and a highlighting stick. I’ve chosen to forego any type of concealer or foundation, which is really terrible for your skin, and instead focus on my diet and using essential oils for clear skin.

 

I’m also a huge fan of Dr Bronner’s Soap, which is extremely pure and highly concentrated. If you get the unscented one you can add your own essential oils to it depending what you’re using it for. I use it to wash my face, body, clothes, and dishes.

 

So there you have it friends! Everything that fits into my travel toiletry bag! To find out more about essential oils and how I use them for travel, check out my post, Why I’m Obsessed With Essential Oils.

 

Also be sure to check out My (NEW) Travel Wellness Kit with everything I take in my travel medicine cabinet.

 

To your health and beauty my sweeties!

 


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Comments

  1. Yay! I love this! I love making my own products at home too and I’ve been thinking how can I take this on the road? I’m currently planning a trip to go through Central America (I bought your eBook, thanks for all the tips!!! I can’t wait to go to Costa Rica), so I will be trying to pack these up in my bag.

  2. I’ll definitely try to make my own toothpaste, awesome idea!
    Just started to use facial oils, I’m curious how it goes. For anyone with oily/acne prone skin, which is also my case, you want to choose your carrier oil high in linoleic acid (and lower oleic acid), such as safflower oil, hemp see oil, pumpkin seed oil or grape seed oil.
    Camille, if you run out of Dr Bronner’s Soap, try using soap nuts for washing your clothes. They are natural, very cheap and work like a charm 😉

  3. I’ve so been resisting the essential oils craze, but you might have finally convinced me. I can’t wait to try these…especially the toothpaste and deodorant! I think my little guy will like help making these, too :)

    • Camille Willemain Says: September 15, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Lol I know I hear you! It’s definitely the “au naturale” Mary Kay nowadays haha, but seriously, they are genuinely amazing.

  4. Hey Camille, this is super interesting to read as I am working on a blog post about homemade cosmetics for traveling too right now. I’ve never used castor oil, I’m so curious now (I’ve been in Koh Phangan for two weeks and my hair is a horrid pancake of coconut oil and salt water. I don’t care that much though..) I’ve been into raw sesame oil lately, possibly more so than coconut oil, which is a major statement for someone who has been praising the almighty Coconut Oil for years. It’s wonderful for the skin. Patchouli oil is also a staple in my washbag. Great addition to my face oil to calm and soothe and I also put it in my deodorant. I met with the owner of Utama Spice (an all natural cosmetic company based in Ubud, you might have heard of them), and she gave me so much inspiration for the creation of my own cosmetics. For example, she homogenized coconut oil with water with the help of agar agar, which makes it into a lotion that is much better absorbed by the skin. I haven’t experimented with this yet, but I can’t wait to try. Used coffee ground for scrub is also a must for me!

  5. Ashley breanna Says: December 3, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Camille,

    I am going to Costa Rica in Jan-Feb & I would like to know more about your process for making the Mosquito Coconut Oil Rub. Do you just take a clump of coconut oil & mix it in a bowl with the essential oils, do you boil it down together? Thanks!

    • Camille Willemain Says: January 26, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      Hey Ashley, sorry just saw this! I recommend putting the jar inside of a bowl of hot water to melt the oil rather than heating the oil directly. Hope that helps! xx

  6. hey camille, do you use a liquid or solid form of coconut oil? Which form do you usually run into on the road?

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 14, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      Hi dear, I use only 100% extra virgin coconut oil, which is solid when cold and liquid when warm. They are almost always liquid when traveling as I’m usually in the tropics 😉 Just make sure it’s clear when liquid instead of yellow, the yellow ones are not extra virgin. xo

  7. Hsllo there!! I have 2 questions about your beauty kit, and I hope they aren’t too personal…but with your toothpaste recipe, do you use a regular toothpaste as well to keep your enamel strong? And then for the soap, does it clog your pores since it’s made from so many oils? Thank you for all of your posts, so many of them have inspired me to become all around more healthy and I have so much respect for you! Hope all is well!!

    • Camille Willemain Says: December 30, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Thank you so much sweetie!! With the toothpaste I switch around and use different things. Right now I’m using Earthpaste which I bought but I think you could replicate with Redmond Clay and Himalayan salt. With dental health I personally believe that nutrition is the most important factor. The charcoal soap actually is very good for breakouts and doesn’t clog pores. There’s also a method of skin cleansing where you wash just with oil. I haven’t done it but hear it’s amazing. I also like to use peppermint dr bronner’s. xo

  8. […] und zusammenmixen. Eine tolle Ressource ist dafür dieser Post von This American Girl „My All Natural Travel Kit“ und der Blog Wellness […]

  9. Great article! Any tips on where to find organic coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils and acv?in Costa Rica? Are the prices high? Thx!!

    • Camille Willemain Says: June 18, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      Hey love, you can find Organic cold pressed coco oil in Costa Rica at farmer’s markets, some specialty grocery stores, and even at roadside stands in the middle of nowhere sometimes. Just make sure it’s clear and not yellow when liquid, that’s how you know it’s raw. Shea butter will be difficult, but you can definitely find cacao butter at the same places! Essential oils I have seen in some organic shops in Costa Rica but ACV sadly I’ve not seen anywhere :( I hear maybe in San Jose??

  10. […] What could be more important when traveling than health and hygiene? With large bottles of liquids being prohibited on flights, it’s tough to bring all that you need without checking a bag. Yet I have managed to bring supplies for health, cleanliness, and beauty, that last me months and can go in a carry on back. Check out My Travel Wellness Kit and My Travel Beauty Kit. […]