Travelling in southeast Asia, even with kids, doesn’t mean being banished to the land of the wild things.
I write this post following a number of inquiries I got on the subject. The fear that becomes bigger the closer your flight is, that you’ll have to sacrifice your soft skin, not to mention those killer selfies, in return for the dust of the roads and adventures, probably lurks in every woman’s head.
(ok maybe it skipped me, after all, I ooze sexiness naturally).
So here are a few tips I learned from my five years of experience:
♦ Southeast Asia is a cosmetic heaven. It only looks scary from the outside. Once you get here, once you stick your head to the first store in India, you’ll see that a lot of your fears were empty. But really empty. A wide range of amazing companies (and every ‘Himalaya’ product you can dream of), tons of natural products, oils, soaps, creams, scrubs. In short: pack light.
♦ Just never forget to check the expiry date before buying anything.
♦ One of the more important parameters is the weather. The main principle in taking care of your face is matching the cream to the weather.
♦ Invest in a night cream, something that gets the job done. And during the day find something appropriate for the weather.
♦ When we made our way by night bus from Beijing to the Mongolian border, I slept on a bunk when underneath me was a beautiful young Mongol woman. at some stage, before she went to sleep, she shamelessly pulled out her toiletries bag, and during the drive, in front of everyone, took cotton swabs and tonic, cleaned her face, put cream, oiled her hands and went to bed. Since then I take her with me everywhere. 40 days and 40 nights of staying in the Mongolian wilds (you thought I was kidding with the title?!), no matter how tired or lazy I felt. Cotton, tonic, face cream. In darkness, cold, heat, rain, in the good, the bad. No half assing.
♦ Keep those in a place that’s easy to reach.
♦ Make sure to wash your face in clear water (even a river, waterfall, lake… whatever) at least once a day.
♦ Have a scarf in your bag. The local women use it to cover their faces and protect them from the road’s dirt whenever they find themselves on a bus/bike. I don’t do it but I’m just lazy.
♦ Watch what you eat. In southeast Asia it’s easy to take care of your face’s skin using fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, different kinds of tea, fruit juice. Pay attention and don’t go wild with the junkfood.
♦ Even if you’re trekking or adventuring in remote places- eat fresh cooked food (over instant for example)- what the locals cook for themselves, drink water or tea (not chemical juice), snack on nuts and dried fruits. Sweeten with honey.
♦ Beauty salons are everywhere. But everywhere. Waxing, eyebrows, moustache. And maybe some face treatments, haircut, color. You can maintain everything even during a trek. Just ask the locals. And there’s a chance you’ll earn a conversation with a fascinating local woman and maybe even learn a few new techniques.
♦ Invest in a hat that looks a-m-a-z-i-n-g on you. You’ll be surprised how useful it can be…
♦ Don’t let pimples erupt. For that there’s a small narrow tube containing a colorless jell for focused treatment (In every other shop in southeast Asia) that neutralizes them within hours.
♦ Make-up: personally I’d recommend one core principle when it comes to make-up: keep your face skin soft and pretty, so you’ll need the minimum and the minimum.
◊ Now, depending on the season but southeast Asia can get reeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaally humiiiiiiiid. No make-up is equal to this kind of weather. For this reason, I wouldn’t use much powder, mascara, or black pencil and all its variations.
◊ If anything, it’ll be in the locals stores that you’ll have a chance of finding the super eye-liners that you you could fly to the moon and back with without a single smudge. And it’ll probably cost 20 rupees.
♦ Hair: same thing here. Keep it shiny and healthy. Not so hard in southeast Asia because the range of hair products is simply never-ending. Asian women take care of their hair obsessively.
◊ And of course all the gadgets and stuffs and things for your hair. Everything is dirt cheap and the range is unbelievable.
◊ And let’s say you went on a trek and didn’t wash your hair for a few days- baby talc will absorb the extra oil and give off a nice smell. I heard there’s also “dry shampoo”.
♦ Skin and body care: depends on where you’re traveling. In Vietnam for example there are amazing (and cheap) spas. In India there are hot springs and natural oils, in Nepal there are amazing organic products, in short… go and discover. One of the pleasures or traveling this way is entering a cosmetics store or try out a new massage. I can tell you that the mud bath I did with my daughter, and the swim in a mineral water pool, and the other experiences we had in that area will not be soon forgotten :-).
◊ I use salt as cleaning-disinfecting pilling mask to the skin, preferably natural Himalayan salt (sometimes mix it with a bit of some oil) and honey as massage/cleaning face mask. But that’s only because I am too lazy to carry too much with me. I buy a small amounts and if anything is left I leave it behind.
♦ Nails– mani and padi there’s everywhere. I don’t see a problem. All the other decorations for nails I also saw almost everywhere.
♦ Yoga- it balances you both inside and out.
♦ It’s likely that travelling and the freedom and that feeling of letting go will also express themselves in how you take care of yourself. Don’t be surprised if you want to make rainbow stripes in your hair. Or if your whole definition of beauty completely turned on its head.
♦ And it’s also likely that your adventures, passion, love, adrenaline, and pleasure will all show themselves in the spark in your eyes, the flash of your cheeks and the light in your eyes. Spread out all the love within you.
♦ And then there are places that make you feel like the hottest woman in the world. Let them.
And a few nice links on the subject:
BTW- you don’t have to be skinny to look hot. here is an awesome link for plus size hotness.