The first time I went to Coachella, I was 16. Depeche Mode, Madonna, Scissor Sisters, and Daft Punk were the concert highlights. The trip was eye-opening and incredible—my skin and makeup, however, was frightening.
Since then, I’ve been to roughly 40 desert-based concerts, yoga retreats, and festivals around the world. While it isn’t exactly an accreditation I’d put up on my mantel, it does mean that I know exactly what to pack for the desert—I’ve done the legwork. It took over 10 years of trial, error, and dusty-covered, oil-slick skin to realize the many gaffes in my toiletry bag. Sometimes I look back at photos, and 9 times out of 10, I look like Zorro or a wet cheeseburger.
“Festival” should be a climate category designation of its own. Daylight heat, nighttime cold, dry air, and dust are all factors that make festival weather persnickety AF. For your next festival, try some of these hand-picked (and tested) products.
IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+
Not only does this color-correcting base have SPF 50, but it’s also skincare. One of the main ingredients is snail secretion filtrate – a beloved SoKo beauty staple.
Smashbox 24 Hour Photo Finish Shadow Primer
The elements are no match for this lid primer. Consider this the kryptonite to oily, creasing, or smudged shadows.
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour SPF 15
This powder comes in seven shades and gives flawless, sheer coverage on its own, or works as the perfect baking powder over foundation. For a festival environment, the more SPF coverage you’ve got, the better.
Sisley Eye Contour Mask
Coachella and sleepless nights are a package deal. Apply this weightless eye mask in the morning to de-puff and banish bags and dark circles while you drink your cup(s) of coffee.
KIKO Long Lasting Colour Lip Marker
Simply put: This. Does. Not. Budge.
Kosas Helios Color & Light Palette
For a gorgeous “just emerged from a luxurious sun-drenched vacation” vibe, look no further. I’m also obsessed with the shade 8th Muse for lighter skin tones. Kosas also makes a cream bronzer that will make you toss aside everything you thought was Holy Grail.
Playa Endless Summer Spray
This California sea salt spray is the main ingredient for Coachella’s coveted tousled tendrils. Spray in damp and dry hair for an effortless look that will have people wondering which ocean you just got out of.
Giorgio Armani Maestro UV Skin Defense Primer SPF 50
Nothing feels worse (or is worse for your skin) than a sunburn from the day: the sun sets, temperatures drop, but your cheeks are on fire. Avoid all the hassle with this amazing non-pilling SPF primer. Plus, it’ll make your foundation stay on way longer than you ever imagined.
Anastasia Bevelry Hills Sugar Glow Kit
Anastasia is not kidding when she said glow. Use these for shadow, cheeks, or all over your body. These ultra-pigmented powders will give you the look for Neon Carnival.
Tarte Double Duty Shape Tape Concealer
This cult-favorite concealer comes in 30 shades. It super-bendable and does not crease. No matter how late (or early) you’re up, dark circles and spots have no future with this concealer.
Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Ink Eyeliner
I’ve been a victim of the dreaded raccoon eye too many times to count. Smudged liners have transferred and dripped all around my eye socket while I’ve been festival-ing—sometimes I wonder how people didn’t tell me about my un-intentional Zorro mask. After trying dozens of liquid eyeliners, I finally found the one that won’t move until you take it off.
Patchology FlashMasque Hydrate 5-Minute Sheet Mask
This is the fastest working and most effective sheet mask to hydrate your skin in a hurry. The desert does not lend well to moisturized skin, and there isn’t exactly much time or space to glam during Coachella weekend. These sheet masks take only five minutes to prep and prime your skin for the dehydration to come.
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color
Have faith in this brow pen, which creates the most realistic, hair-like strokes. Because it's waterproof, it'll stay in place until it’s time to wash off.
Bioderma Sensibio H2O Wipes
Falling asleep with your makeup on sucks. At festivals, sometimes, it’s inevitable. Luckily, this fan-favorite micellar water comes in a wipe form to make makeup removal so simple. Lazybones can enjoy refuge.
Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara
At Coachella, tubing mascaras are the only way to go to avoid the dreaded raccoon eyes. Trust me.
Kosas Kosasport Lip Fuel
Finally, a hydrating lip product that will slip flat into your pocket. Hyaluronic acid for your lips—need I say more?
Dose of Colors Disco Eyedeal Duo Loose Pigment & Primer
This indie brand makes the most gorgeous and pigmented loose pigment shadows I’ve ever found. The sparkle and shine are practically otherworldly. Your Instagram feed will thank you for wearing this.
Vita Liberata Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish
Forgot to get a spray tan? No problem. This instant body bronze and glow gives you a natural tint with color-correcting coverage. It comes in four shades and packs a glow-giving punch. Whenever I wear this, people always ask why my legs look so good. Here’s my secret.
Briogeo Sea Goddess Hair + Body Shimmer Mist
This mica-based sustainable shimmer spray will give you the sparkling mermaid look you’re craving at any festival. Spray it, guilt-free, in your hair or all over your body.
Petiue SPF Highlighter
Instead of using highlighter every day on top of sunscreen, what if you could just highlight the areas you always want to be a bit brighter, causing a natural no-makeup look over time? Well, now you can. Meet Petiue, your new favorite innovation: an SPF highlighter that protects you and gives you glow.