With these essentials, you can have the ultimate vacation (and, you know, not be a hot mess).
Ever see seasoned travelers breezing through the airport with their impeccably matched luggage, just-in-from-a-Scandinavian-spa glow, and aura of effortless health? Channel those worldly vibes with these clever, take-them-everywhere products. Don’t leave on your vacation without them! Let's start with your carry-on!
“The number one supplement I recommend while traveling is a good probiotic,” says Tasreen Alibhai, ND. Alibhai advises finding a probiotic that’s stable at room temperature, which is easier for travel. Take it for one to two weeks before you leave, as well as while you’re on your trip.
No one wants to be catatonic when there are catacombs (or galleries or museums) to see! Taking melatonin as a supplement may help reset your sleep-wake cycle, reducing symptoms of jet lag. To sleep soundly on your first night, Alibhai suggests basking in daytime bright light upon arriving at your destination and taking a melatonin supplement before bed. She adds that drinking water and avoiding alcohol on your first night can also help you slumber.
The David Suzuki Foundation’s Queen of Green, Nikki Sanchez, advises packing coconut oil in a small glass jar—which can double as a reusable cup once you’ve finished the oil—for a multipurpose beauty tonic. The oil can be used as a moisturizer, while shaving your legs, or in your hair to tame frizz.
Veggies can be a rare find on the road. Alibhai suggests finding a greens supplement that tastes good, blends easily into water, contains all-organic ingredients, and delivers extras like probiotics, fiber, enzymes to ease digestion, and antioxidants (such as green tea extract).
Consider taking some ashwagandha. Studies suggest ashwagandha may be useful as a stress reliever. It’s commonly available as a powder or in pill form at many natural health retailers.
It’s no surprise that air travel can increase our risk of contracting illness. Oil of oregano “is a strong antibacterial and antifungal agent,” says Alibhai. “It tastes nasty, but it works!” The oil is widely available as a liquid or in pill form. However, don’t use the oil while pregnant or give to infants or children.
The air inside an airplane is dry—it can range from about 10 to 20 percent humidity—and we’re trapped in close quarters with others who may be sick. Stow a water bottle and vitamin C in effervescent powder form in your carry-on to rehydrate and give yourself a nutrient top-up in one sip.
Reach for a protein bar, but don’t just grab and go: Some bars have as much sugar as a candy bar from a vending machine. For a nutritionally sound choice, choose a bar with minimal sugar, at least 3 g of fiber, and 15 g or more of protein.
Sanchez swears by castile bar soap as a face wash, shampoo, and body wash. “[It] fantastic nontoxic all-around beauty essential. It’s really easy to find fair trade, vegan options for castile,” she says. Bring a metal tin to stow it in, as the bar gets sticky when wet.
Moving on to your makeup bag!
You’ve got to make every product count when you’re in travel mode. Leave that emerald green eyeliner at home and focus on the essentials.
Worn underneath any other makeup products, a quality natural sunscreen product should be the holy grail of your makeup routine. It’s a myth that those with darker skin don’t need sunscreen—everyone’s skin can be damaged by the sun.
The environmental and health organization Environmental Working Group recommends choosing broad-spectrum mineral sunscreens in cream form (rather than sprays). Those made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are seen as the gold standard of sunscreen products.
Gotta fly to get to your summer vacation destination? Turns out leaving on a jet plane is the least green (but most sung about) part of taking to the skies. Planes use lots of fuel on the runway. Once they reach cruising altitude, they use less. So if possible, choose a direct flight; it’s more environmentally sound.
Full coverage, move over! Makeup artist Nav Uppal says, “Humidity and heat can melt makeup into your pores, causing unnecessary breakouts. Sometimes less really is more!” Her go-to is “a lightweight tinted moisturizer because it can even out your skin tone and leave you with that ‘no makeup’ makeup look!”
When shopping for tinted moisturizer—or any other makeup—read ingredient lists carefully. Conventional chemicals to avoid include parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).
“Finding blushes and lipsticks that look natural can be tough,” says Uppal. Her pro tip? “The color in the center of your bottom lip is the color that is best suited to give you the most natural lip and cheek tone!” In addition, a summer vacation is the ideal time to make use of multitasking products like lip-to-cheek formulations.
While it might be tempting to reach for a lip gloss to complete your summer style, think again. Glossy, shiny lip products can actually act as a magnet for UV rays, increasing the sun’s negative effects. Opt for a natural lip balm with SPF—there are plenty of safe, nontoxic, and even tinted options available at natural health retailers. Many contain beeswax, although vegan options can be made from nourishing coconut oil or shea butter.
Uppal swears by setting sprays in the summer to “ensure long wear—and they also take any powder finish away from your makeup, causing it to look more like skin!”
Look for natural setting sprays or toning mists at your local natural health retailer. Popular ingredients include lavender and grapeseed extract. “Rosewater is my personal favorite because of its hydrating properties,” says Uppal.