Ever since 2018, I’ve been extra about my skin. That was the year I stepped into a Sephora and learned that there existed something called ‘toner’. The lady at the Clinique counter sat me down, dabbed some pink liquid on a cotton pad, swiped it across my face and removed what looked like A WHOLE LAYER of gunk that had somehow escaped my regular micellar-water-only treatment. That was also when I realised that I was one whole skin tone lighter than I thought I was (RIP old Mac foundation).
Naturally, I bought the toner. And the Moisture Surge moisturiser to go with it. And I use them to this day.
Skin’s a delicate beast. You’d think, being the largest organ in the body, it’d have built better defenses for itself, but no, it had to be the diva instead. Stay out too long in the sun? Tan. Stay up late to work? Dark circles. Eat one too many fried chicken legs? Spots. Stay home too long? Dull, lifeless face. And of course, since I’d rather have my wrinkles later than sooner (all those huge ads about women’s aging doing their work, clearly), I try to take as good care of my skin as I can. Now that I’m hiking regularly, I see all the more how important skincare is. Hours and hours of outdoor exposure might be nourishing for the inside, but not quite so much for the outside. And while sunscreen does help, and is the bare minimum, it isn’t enough. Even my mega oily skin gets bone-dry after more than a few hours on the trail - and given that I like long hikes and peak summits, that happens at least once a fortnight.
So, what’s a girl to do? Hydration, detoxification, hydration, exfoliation and more hydration, that’s what. And since I can’t bring my entire skincare cabinet with me on a hiking trip, I’ve developed a quick routine for trail days and a maintenance routine for when I’m back from the trail - both of which I’m about to share with you. And yes, the quick routine is campsite-tested. You’ll need a slightly bigger bag, but that’s all. (And maybe your spouse might roll their eyes at said bag taking up a little too much space in the trunk of their brand-new Tesla).
On the trail:
There are three things that are non-negotiable for hiking trips - makeup remover wipes, face wash and moisturiser. You need to clean your skin and you need to hydrate it, every day and every night, no matter which climate you’re in. And makeup remover wipes do a good job of getting the first layer of dirt and sweat off (in addition to makeup), after which the face wash is much more effective.
Have an express makeup look that suits you best and keep all the items handy so you can get ready sooner (especially when you’re sharing bathrooms). For me, it’s concealer, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick.
If you’re camping, use those makeup wipes thoroughly once you’re back and follow with face wash and moisturiser before you go to sleep. And don’t skimp on the moisturiser even if you have oily skin. It gets a LOT drier when you’re outdoors!
Don’t forget the body lotion. If you can, bring a soothing foot cream (it’s a real blessing after long hikes).
Lip balm is your bestie. You’ll get much more chapped than you think you will.
This is a no-brainer, but use sunscreen. Lots of it. A spray-type sunscreen is best for your arms and legs, as you can reach more of your skin at one go.
Off the trail:
Have a go-to hydrating mask that you can use the night you come back from a hiking/camping trip. Your skin needs some solid love, so pick the best one that you can find.
For shorter day hikes, use a detox face wash and scrub as soon as you’re back to combat the tan. Try and find something with caffeine or charcoal as the main ingredients.
Twice a week, use a brightening mask to keep your skin clear.
Use an exfoliating scrub to keep your body smooth and help with the tan. Because yes, you’re going to get some tan no matter how much sunscreen you apply. At the same time, don’t scrub too vigorously. And if you already have a patch of sunburn, do not scrub it.
Use a foot scrub at least twice a week. All those prolonged hours in the same pair of shoes will start to tell, believe me.
If you don’t already, start using an under-eye cream. The skin there is the most delicate of all, so again, look around for the most effective one,
A hydrating overnight serum gives you extra pep and glow! Green tea is a great ingredient that works for all skin types.
I’m also listing the skincare brands I personally use on a regular basis. The brands in italics are Indian and may or may not be available in other countries, but you’ll definitely find other options with caffeine as an active ingredient.
Makeup remover wipes - Neutrogena
Face wash - MCaffeine
Face scrub - MCaffeine
Face mask - MCaffeine/Biotique/Fabindia
Micellar water - Garnier
Toner - Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3
Serum - Innisfree Green Tea Balanced Skin serum
Moisturiser - Clinique Moisture Surge 100-hour Auto-replenishing Hydrator
Under eye cream - MCaffeine
Sunscreen (face) - Neutrogena Sport
Suncreen (body) - Alba Botanics Hawaiian sunscreen
Body lotion - The Body Shop body butter (any flavour)
Foot cream/scrub - The Body Shop (peppermint flavour)
Hope this helps, and let me know what your go-to skin-saving tips are!
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