3 Days, 7 Products: How I Survived a Coastal Vacation as a Beauty Minimalist
As much as I've fine-tuned my skills for packing light—I can go from two days to two weeks in a carry-on—beauty supplies are a category that I always overpack. While in sum, the products themselves are typically small and don't take up too much luggage real estate, I also find myself carrying around way too many liquids, gels, and what-have-you (something TSA agents are never happy to find). So when Chevrolet invited me on a three-day getaway in La Jolla (to celebrate the launch of its newest mid-size SUV), I used the quick road trip as an opportunity to finally challenge myself to streamline my approach to beauty while on the road.
While the new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse had ample space for all my luggage—and then some—to practice life as a beauty minimalist, I challenged myself to only bring seven beauty products—including for hair. I spent the weeks before the trip debating which products would make it into my final edit, playing around with makeup looks and trying to determine what beauty multitaskers could best suit my many needs. I ended up surviving the three days with just seven products, and while there are some things I'd switch out for future road trips or short getaways, I was satisfied with how my chosen handful of beauty products performed and was glad to have them in my company.
Head below to see how I survived a coastal vacation as a beauty minimalist, and see which products made the cut.
The Beauty Looks
I opt for a fairly natural look during the day, especially if I'm traveling. Still, cutting down on my number of beauty products forced me to go even more natural—and get super savvy with what I decided to bring. My desert-island beauty product is mascara, so that was a must. After that, I wanted a foundation, so I chose a tinted moisturizer with SPF—another must. I typically only wear eyeliner on my top lid unless I'm going out, so I decided to ditch it entirely. I also forewent eye shadow (or at least the palette I usually use), as that's one of the first things I skip when I'm in a rush. For the past few years, I've been using a dark eye shadow to fill in my brows, so I decided that was enough if I wanted to amp up my look come nightfall.
While I'm sure I could have done without it on the trip, I brought along the lip liner I use almost daily. It's close enough to my natural shade that it looks great with just chapstick (which I regrettably edited from my packing list) and added some pink to my lips and cheeks with a cream blush in pale pink. I wear my bronzer almost daily for a refreshed glow, so when I got my hands on a new holiday palette that boasts bronzer, blush, and highlighter in six shades, I knew it was coming along on my trip. Finally, for hair, I'm lucky enough to not get too greasy after a few days, so I only brought a wave spray to add body and dimension.
The trickiest part about creating my evening look was working without eyeliner or lipstick. As I lined my eyes with dark eye shadow and filled in my lips with lip liner, I didn't hate the results, but I much preferred the look achieved with the products I had left behind. Though its SPF properties were no longer needed, the tinted moisturizer gave me a clean canvas to work with. I swept more bronzer on my cheeks, and I used the two blush options in the holiday palette that I had skipped during the day.
I even tried a bit of the blush on my lids for a subtle rosy effect and added more highlighter along my brows and the top of my cheekbones. I nixed the cream blush on my cheeks for evening (thinking the pale pink shade read more daytime) and just put a dot of it on my lips for added dimension. For mascara, I swept a few more coats onto my top lashes and along the bottom set to make up for the lack of eyeliner. The wave spray worked its magic on my wet morning locks to provide me with polished waves once dry.
The Beauty Products
Ouai Haircare Wave Spray ($26)
For day: I spritzed this wave spray evenly over my towel-dried hair shortly after showering, and then scrunched with my hands. I let my hair air dry for beachy waves. I rarely ever use hairstyling tools on my hair, so this laid-back approach wasn't too different from what I usually do.
For night: I transformed my beachy daytime waves into a more polished evening look by spritzing in more wave spray and tying my hair up into a bun while I finished my makeup. Once I released the bun, my hair held more controlled waves, and the added formula worked almost like a hair spray to keep everything in place.
Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 Protect + Perfect ($36)
For day: This tinted moisturizer is my go-to when I'm trying to pare back my beauty look. It provides a hint of color to even out the complexion, moisturizes, and includes SPF. Simply spread one or two pumps evenly across a clean face. I suggest avoiding the eyebrow area, as the formula can be a bit greasy and get trapped in the hairs. Remember that it's doubling up as your sunscreen, so reapply throughout the day (followed by bronzer) as necessary.
For night: I applied almost the same amount as I did for the daytime, but I used just a tad less to avoid the greasy shine that can result from the thick formula.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3 ($80)
For day: For daytime, I only used the two furthest left shades—the bronzer along my cheekbones and a bit of highlighter swept on top.
For night: Come evening, I experimented with more of the colors in the palette. I added more layers of bronzer and highlighter to the cheeks, a few sweeps of bronzer on the brow (using your fingers instead of a brush turns up the pigment), and added a bit of both blush colors to the cheeks (and a tad to the eyelids) for some extra color.
MAC Lip Pencil in Spice ($18)
For day: During the day, I used my go-to lip liner to line my lips. As mentioned before, I typically fill in with chapstick for a natural, everyday look, but had unwisely chosen not to bring any with me on the trip (opting to fill in with a cream blush that was beautiful but drying).
For night: To make more of a statement for nighttime, I filled in the entirety of my lips with this lip liner that's just a tad darker than my natural lip shade. The resulting look was less creamy than a lipstick, but as matte lips are in, I didn't mind.
Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff ($18)
For day: If you're ever looking for a natural hint of color in your cheeks that looks like you're not wearing makeup at all, Glossier's Cloud Paint is the answer. I keep a couple shades in my beauty bag, but for my trip, I brought along Puff, a pale pink that looks great on cheeks and lips. My only issue with wearing it over my lips was that it was a bit drying—but had it been worn over chapstick, it would have been perfect.
For night: Because I played around with the Hourglass palette's blush colors for my nighttime beauty look, I skipped the Cloud Paint for my cheeks. After filling my lip in with lip liner, I added just a dot of the cream blush to the center of my bottom lip and blended for a touch of dimension.
Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Saddle ($26)
For day: Until this trip, I had never used this eye shadow as eye shadow, but I used it instead to fill in my brows. For daytime, I used the pressed powder to fill in as usual.
For night: The Saddle shade of this eye shadow is super dark, so it's perfect for my black brows and occasionally lining my lash line, which I skipped for daytime but used for dinner. I even used my finger to delicately press in a bit of the darker color into the creases of my eyelid for added drama.
Dior Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara ($30)
For day: As previously mentioned, mascara is my desert-island beauty product. I've tried giving it up before (and actually survived for 27 days), but it's the last thing I want to edit out of my makeup routine.
For night: Come evening, I went my usual route of applying a couple extra coats of mascara. Because my eyes felt a bit naked with just eye shadow, I added a coat to my bottom lashes as well to make up for the lack of eyeliner.
Next up, learn how to keep fresh-faced while camping (or glamping).