Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What I Packed (and what I tried to empty)

No, I'm not dead. I just went on vacation for a few days. Yes, vacation from the part time job I just got. Vacation where I barely had to spend any money and other people cooked for me. (Checking my vacation privilege here.) I went with my boyfriend to his family's cabin on Lake Michigan. The weather was lovely, though not quite warm enough to do much swimming. The greatest miracle of all was that I managed to avoid a sunburn, despite being in the sun for hours on end, several days in a row. That's almost unheard of for me. Actually, I did burn my scalp a little the first day, but then I bought an awesome linen hat (surely designed for elderly gardeners) and wore it constantly. I even wore the hat swimming. That, and diligent sunscreen application, protected me very well.

Sometimes it's fun to see what kind of things people pack when they travel, so I thought I'd post my version here. This was in no way a fancy trip, so I brought very minimal supplies. The bulk of what I brought was sun protection and skin care shit. I didn't even bring concealer. I just walked around with ghoulish dark circles under my eyes. Gasp.

My general guidelines when deciding what to bring were: (1) small things that didn't take up much space; and (2) products that I wanted to use up and throw away, either because they would expire soon or because they were almost finished already. I only succeeding in finishing a couple of products, unfortunately. I was hoping to come home with several more empties! (I've linked to any reviews I've written for products listed below.)


Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo
ULTA Ultimate Clean Foaming Face Wash
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Shampoo
Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil
Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes

Everything here, with the exception of the pack of face wipes, is a mini/travel size. I gambled and decided not to take conditioner, for some reason. The Aveda oil, which is amazing stuff, made my hair soft enough and easy to comb through without conditioning in the shower. You only need to use a few drops (3-5), so this teeny sample has lasted me ages. I can't bring myself to spend $27 on 1 ounce of it, though, when there are so many other hair oils out there that might (?) work just as well. I do like this stuff much better than any of the argan oil and its ilk I've tried out in the past, so maybe I should just do it. By the last day for the trip, my hair was getting a little dry, but I found a bottle of Pantene conditioner in the cabin's other shower (the one I hadn't been using). That made my hair a little happier. There was also body wash already at the cabin, so I didn't bring any along with me.

The only thing I managed to use up here were the two cloths left in the Simple pack. The dry shampoo probably has one use left in it.

Sun/Skin Care

Coppertone Clearly Sheer SPF 50 Spray
ULTA Sun Faces Dry Touch Liquid Daily Sunscreen SPF 70
ULTA Sun Face Clear Complexion Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 70
Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm in Grapefruit and Ginger
Avene Thermal Spring Water
Paula's Choice Hydralight Moisture Infusing Lotion
Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol
Clinque Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

With the exception of the ULTA sunscreens, the lip balm, and the Paula's Choice moisturizer, all of these are mini/travel size. I packed up all my sunscreens that are set to expire by the end of the year, and then threw in the Coppertone spray as well. The latter ended up being the only one I finished up. I want to get through these SPF 70 tubes before the end of the summer, because they are too heavy and greasy for me to use on my face on a regular basis. The ULTA SPF 30 is nicer, and I might try to use it up once I finish the little bit of my favorite facial sunscreen that's left in the bottle.

I packed the overpriced Jack Black lip balm that I bought last year on a whim, because it has the highest SPF of anything I currently have open. It's pretty nice stuff. Very moisturizing. Still not sure it's worth spending $7.50 on, though. I must have been possessed.

The Avene water came in an Ipsy bag. It's water in a can. I sprayed it on my face when I got overheated, and it felt divine. Any water in a can would work exactly the same way. I would never actually buy $9 water in a can.

I wrote before about how much I like using this Paula's Choice lotion on my face when I get too much sun. It's nicer than any old aloe gel. I used it a lot while I was away. I also took along a couple of packets of antioxidant serum, because I figured it would be good to do something for my face in case I got any sun damage. I don't know if the serum actually helped.

I never actually used the Clinique gel - it was just there in case I felt like I was breaking out, but honestly, I don't know how effective it is anyway (it's a 1% BHA product). And the hand cream is hand cream.

The only things I finished here were the Coppertone spray and the packets of serum (two uses each from two packets).


Maybelline Shine Seduction Lip Gloss in Beaming Berry
ULTA Extreme Wear Cheek Stain in Desire
CoverGirl Brow and Eye Makers in Soft Blond
Lancome Hypnose Star Mascara
e.l.f. Tone Correcting Powder in Cool

The only one of these that's a mini/travel size is the mascara. I don't like it that much, because it flakes on me (like most L'Oreal/Lancome mascaras seem to do), but it's okay. The label wore off while I was traveling - too much sunscreen on my fingers, maybe?

That ancient lip gloss is still not gone! But almost. If you click the link above, you can see how much I've gone through in the last few months. It's on its last legs. And the eyebrow pencil is pretty stubby too. I also hit pan on that e.l.f. powder! Fun. Obviously I use the yellow most often. That powder was vital on top of the greasy SPF 70 sunscreen, especially around my eyes, because otherwise the sunscreen would smear into them and burn. I stuck the weird little velvety applicator pad that came with my Nars powder in there. I don't ordinarily use it, but it was a lot easier than packing a brush or something. Other than the powder, the only items here that I used on anything resembling a regular basis while I was gone were the mascara and eyebrow pencil.

So that's all the stuff I put on my hair and face while I was away (and not all of it at the same time). I think I did a pretty damned good job of packing light, if I do say so myself.


  1. How's the Grapefruit and Ginger scent/flavor? The jack black lipbalms are some of the things I splurge on but the mango and mandarin and black cherry (at least I think that's the flavor) are so synthetic and just plain unpleasant that I use them as overnight lipbalm.

    1. It's a pretty mild grapefruit scent. I don't really notice the ginger. I don't mind it, though I don't love citrus scents for lip balms (they don't convey "soothing" to my weird mind). I don't think it has any flavor - just scent.I haven't smelled any of the others to compare, though.


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