On She Goes

You Know You’re a Skin Care-Obsessed Traveler When…

It’s okay if your travel priorities are skin-deep.

Sheena Roetman
Sheena Roetman
February 16, 2018
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I realize I’m a different type of traveler when I’m more excited about a swanky hotel bathroom than I am about the room service. Or that when traveling I pack my own washcloths because I can’t trust that the ones at my destination will live up to my standards (or whether there will even be any). I’m the girlfriend who always remembers to pack sheet masks and night serums, but I might forget my headphones or to download my favorite podcast ahead of time. If any of this sounds familiar, you might be just as obsessed with your skin care routine as I am.

My bathroom shelf with everything I use on a daily basis.
photo by Sheena Roetman

You Pack More Skin Care Items Than Clothes
Anytime I leave my tiny inner-city apartment (and its tiny inner-city bathroom that two grown women somehow share without killing each other) for an extended period of time, I usually end up with an entire suitcase full of beauty products, and just a backpack for clothes. I normally road trip and don’t usually have to worry about checking my baggage (one of the few joys of living in the South is being able to drive practically anywhere for a weekend in just three or four hours!), but when I do fly I always need to check a bag (or two). This is especially true if I’m staying anywhere with my own bathroom—the opportunity for counter space and a full-sized bathtub is too tempting for me to just shower and do my normal routine (which isn’t exactly simple to begin with). It helps that I have the art of a capsule wardrobe down to a T—black pants with a nice top, a leather jacket, and boots, every single day. But I regularly forget to pack bras, chargers, and socks, because I’m so busy planning an elaborate in-room spa date with the hotel bathroom.

You Have to Explain to Your Friends and Family Why Each Item Is Necessary
I was quite the tomboy up until four years ago when I received my first Birchbox in the mail. I also come from a very practical farming family who loves to joke around. So imagine the ridicule I encounter during family vacations: “You brought how many lotions?” “Why did you bring nail polish 700 miles to your grandfather’s house?” “Why do you have a giant bottle of castor oil in your suitcase?” For thicker lashes and brows, duh. My mother loves that her oldest is finally acting “like a girl,” (a phrase we all hate, but you know what I mean) but my father is definitely wondering where his motorcycle-loving sports freak of a daughter has gone. Hello, she’s still here, just with dewy, moisturized skin.

My cosmetics, including lots of samples from Birchbox and Ipsy, essential oils, and a jade roller, which is my most recent obsession.
photo by Sheena Roetman

You Have More Travel-Sized Products and Makeup Pouches Than Passport Stamps
Ipsy and Birchbox are genuinely terrific for frequent travelers—all those travel-sized products are just itching for a pristine hotel in Manhattan or a friend’s garden tub while you’re housesitting for 10 days over your Thanksgiving break. I positively hoard travel-sized anything and regularly take stock of what I have and what I need. My suitcase is always packed with my essentials thanks to this habit, so I never have to rush out and grab a last-minute pack of witch hazel pads. I also buy in bulk and replace products as soon as they’re half-used, so I never run out of anything. I literally have an entire trunk full of products waiting in line. And, of course, the makeup bags that come with Ipsy bags and Glossier orders are fantastic for keeping everything from rolling around in the bottom of your suitcase, especially if you have products in glass bottles.

Even Your Everyday Purse Is Loaded with Products
My friends make fun of me for having a giant purse. I explain that I was a nanny for 12 years, and when you take care of kids for that long you have to always be prepared. But my purse is no longer jammed with Kleenex, baby wipes, and hand sanitizer. Now, it’s full of oil-blotting papers, Avène facial mist, backup mascara, and lip gloss. I can’t leave the house if my purse isn’t fully stocked for any beauty emergency that might happen. What if I smudge an eyebrow and don’t have a brow pencil on hand? What if I chip a nail and don’t have a file with me? Or what if a blemish starts rearing its ugly head and I don’t have my trusty Burt’s Bees tea tree oil blemish stick with me? The horror! So instead I ruin my back lugging around everything I might need, ever.