Transitioning from city life to full time RVing makes you reevaluate your beauty/hygiene routine. I’m not a girly girl by any means but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to feel fresh and pretty even when I’m 100 miles from civilization. After being on the road and boondocking for some time now, I think I have a pretty solid system to staying and feeling clean on the road.
I’m prone to forgetting something when packing for a camping trip or stocking up for boondocking so you can also treat this as a hygiene checklist of things to bring. You don’t want to get to your destination only to realize you didn’t pack deodorant.
Through trial and experimentation here are my best hygiene and beauty hacks and products to help you look your best! Some of these tips/products are more suited for RVing and others for Camping but overall it should give you some ideas for your travels.
Some of these pictures are of my own products, others I’ve pulled from the web since I need to re-stock or in another case I have no idea how to take an attractive picture of a towel. Let’s start at the top and work our way down!
Hair Care Tips for Camping
I’ve heard of Dry Shampoo but never really tried it until we started boondocking and trying to conserve water. When my hair gets that greasy feeling it makes me feel gross and uncomfortable. Dry Shampoo is the best at making my hair feel clean and fresh. It soaks up oily residue, it’s incredibly easy to use, and makes your hair look 10x better. You can pick some up at your local drug store or order off Amazon. I will say that you should do a little research to find a good brand. The first dry shampoo I tried left a weird white powdery residue on my hair, my absolute favorite is the Beach Babe Texturizing Dry Shampoo. It doesn’t leave any residue, absorbs oils and it’s bodybuilding to give your hair a little volume so it doesn’t look so flat. It also smells amazing (Toasted Coconut)! And it’s not expensive so that’s always a plus.
Leave in conditioner
with hot water at a premium, it feels like a waste to rinse your hair of shampoo and then repeat the process with conditioner. It can especially take forever when you don’t have a strong showerhead and you have long hair.
One solution I tried was using those “2 in 1” shampoo/conditioner in one bottle but it made my hair oily the very next day. I also tried skipping conditioning all together but that dried my hair out and I started to get split ends.
The solution I found was to use a leave-in conditioner. It cuts down on time spent in the shower and saves some hot water for my husband!
There are lots of good leave-in conditioners to choose from. I use Sun Bum Beach Formula 3-in-1 Hair Conditioning Spray. What I like about this one is that it conditions, detangles, and protects the hair from damaging UV rays. It’s good for all hair types, made in the USA, vegan friendly and free from dye, silicon, alcohol, gluten, and paraben.
Some of the other leave-in conditioners that were a lotion texture really weighed my hair down and made it feel heavy. This one is a spray. It leaves my hair feeling light and soft. It also helps control frizz and prevent split ends, both of which I had problems with.
Camping isn’t a beauty pageant but it’s still nice to feel good about your hair. Or if you’re just having a bad hair day. I like to spray a little Wave Spray on damp or dry hair to get that beach wave hair look. Sun Bum and Not Your Mother’s are two really good bands I’ve used.
I also like to be prepared with a few easy ways that I can style my hair without much effort and especially if it’s been a few days since I washed it.
Think about ponytails, buns, braids and look for YouTube for inspiration. There are hundreds of ways to style your hair without using a straighter or curling iron.
Hats and hair wraps are amazing at hiding dirty or messy hair. My hair is a mess when I don’t use a blowdryer when we are boondocking I wear hats and hair wraps.
My favorite accessory that helps keep my hair in place is a boho bandeau! I love the fun colors, there are 11 different ways to wear it, it keeps my hair in place while hiking and if it’s hot you can soak it in water to help cool you off.
Facial Hygiene Tips For Camping
I highly recommend having some SPF Moisturizer on hand. Moisturizing your face is good for your skin and prevent dry skin, giving you that radiant look. If you are RVing or camping you are obviously going to spend a good chunk of your time outdoors. Protect your skin from the sun! You’ll be thankful you did later.
You can get different SPF ratings depending on your preference. I like to go for 15 SPF but there are some that are over 70 SPF. Find a face lotion that fits your skin type. Some have acne fighting ingredients added, some are sweat proof, etc. I have sensitive skin that is very prone to breakouts so I use Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer with SPF 15. It’s lightweight and has that non-greasy feel.
I’m not much of a makeup wearing girl but if you can’t go without makeup, a tinted moisturizer or BB cream is a great solution. Again, I would look for a tinted moisturizer or BB cream with built-in sunscreen. I have a bottle of Coola Suncare Mineral Face Sunscreen Matte Tint for days my skin would use a little coverup. It’s SPF 30, natural, and doesn’t have that heavy feeling on your skin. It also doesn’t leave your face looking shiny/oily like typical sunscreen lotions. I love it and it’s as close to “makeup” as I get.
Makeup Remover/ Face Cleansing Towelettes
My nighttime routine used to include a deep facial scrub. It’s not practical to do in an RV since it uses a ton of water and RV bathroom sinks are tiny. I use makeup remover towelettes every night and most mornings to wipe off the grime. They are easy to use and keep your face feeling fresh when hot water is limited.
Like I said with the moisturizer, pick the type that corresponds to your skin type. I look for wipes that go beyond just being a makeup remover. I look for ones that specify pore cleansing and oil-free like the Biore Daily Deep Pore Cleansing or Neutrogena Hydrating Facial Wipes.
Everyone gets pimples, some of us more often than others (If you don’t I’m super jealous). These “pimple patches” have been a lifesaver. If you have a pimple, just stick one of these patches on before bed and by the morning it will disappear like magic. If you have a really bad one, it might take two applications. I’ve tried a couple different brands and the one I like best is the cosrx acne pimple patches. Unfortunately, the only place I can get them is Amazon so I made sure to stock up before we go boondocking. I love it, you don’t need water for acne washes, they are cheap and easy to pack.
I always have chapstick with me when I’m camping and hiking. Keeps my lips from getting dry and cracking. We were boondocking in Lake Amistad from a few weeks where the climate was very dry and my lips were like sandpaper by the end of the day.
Not many people know this but your lips can get sunburned just like your skin. I always get chapstick with SPF for sun protection. My favorite brand is Sun Bum SPF 30 (they have a variety of fun flavors). I haven’t found them in convenience stores, so if I’m in a pinch my second choice it SoftLips. These you can find at almost any drug store or Walmart and they don’t joke around, it really does give you ridiculously soft lips!
These are arguably the most important hygiene items. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take care of your teeth. It’s one of those things that you don’t really think about until you experience the pain of a toothache and you can’t even chew food because it hurts too much.
My husband and I both used the bulky electric toothbrushes. Electric toothbrushes are much more effective at cleaning your teeth but they are a pain in the butt to travel with. You can charge them beforehand but they are still bulky and if you boondock a lot, it ends up being just another thing that needs to be charged.
We made the switch from our Philips Sonicare toothbrushes to quip. They are compact and easy to travel with. They are also much quieter and I love the stylish design. The best part is that you don’t need to plug them in to recharge. They are powered by a single AAA battery that will last up to 3 months. We’ve been using them for 8 months now and are really happy with our switch.
Body Hygiene Tips for Camping
Soap and Body Wash
We often go on camping trips to remote locations beyond where our motorhome can reach. Biodegradable soap and body wash is a must. Even in the RV I always prefer to go with products that are environmentally friendly.
I have to give a shout-out to Joshua Tree since they are from my home state of Michigan. They are a one-stop shop and made with organic and natural ingredients. You can use the “body wash” as shampoo, or to wash your dog, clothes, and even dishes!
A more compact option if you are hiking is to use “soap leaves”. They dissolve in your hand as you wash.
If you typically wash with a bar of soap and a washcloth, think about making the switch to body poufs. Washcloths take a long time to dry and they can be wet for days. You can take them outside to dry faster in the sun but that’s a lot of effort. The mesh in body poufs drys much faster. You can pick on up at walmart for less than a dollar. I upgraded my body pouf to Buddha Bath (Eco Freindly) for a deeper clean and to better exfoliate and remove dirt after a long day of hiking and sweating.
Quick Dry Towels
Regular towels take a long time to dry and take up a lot of room, especually if you are going on a camping trip. Quick drying towels take up much less storage space, dry fast and I found them to be better at absorbing moister than regular towels. It’s also much easier to wash these. Some even come with neat little carrying cases. We use RainLeaf Microfiber Towels. There great for pretty much anything and there are lots of options for colors and sizes.
Water might not be readily avalible or if you are conserving water, a alternative to taking a shower is to use a full body wipe. They come individually packed so you can take what you need.
I reccommend GoodWipes Women’s Deodorizing Body Biodegradable Wipes with Tea Tree and Aloe. Your skin doesnt get sticky or dry like with some other wipes and they have Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint, and Ginseng which are all great for your skin! Those are specificlly for women and are freagrenced accordingly. They also have gender nutral body wipes if you don’t want a girly smell. My husband like the GoodWipes Biodegradable Cleansing Deodorizing Body Wipes for Men which have a “manly” cedar scent.
Dont forget deodorant! I don’t know why, but for some reason, this is the thing that I’m most prone to forgetting. So this is just a reminder to pack it. Right now. Also, if you don’t already, try using a natural deoderant free of aluminum.
There are lots of great organic and natural deodarents for both men and women. And think outside the box. When I talk about deoderant I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind are deoderant sticks for your armpits. But there are other options too, like this natural deoderant spray that can be used on armpits, feet, and body! I want to reiterate FEET!
Feminine Care for “Down There”
GoodWipes has flushable, biodegradable femine wipes. The are safe for sensative skin and perfect for keeping it clean, especually when it’sthat time of the month. Scented and unscented options are avalible. While we are on this topic I wanted to quickly bring up mentral cups as a alternative to tampons/pads. A few benifits of these include: leak protection so you can continue doing active activites like swimming, running, etc. Leak and order free. 12-hour day/night protection. I haven’t used these myself but it’s on my radar and I think they are a great option to consider.
Best Ways to Remove Unwanted Body Hair While Camping
If your going on a weekend camping trip with your friends, shaving the night before is all you need and you’ll be good to go! If it’s a week long trip perhaps you might wax but that can get messy if you do it yourself or pricy if you don’t.
You basically have three options shaving, waxing, and epilating. There isn’t a universal option that is best for everyone since we all have different skin sensitivity, hair thickness, and variying pain tollerance so I’ll go through the best option in each category.
Shaving while Camping
Just the idea of shaving while camping bring razor burn to mind gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I don’t think that shaving is practiacal at all but it you must they the on-the-go ravor with moistor ribbons built into it. It doesn’t take up much space and its easy to use. I pack one if I’m going on a weekend hiking trip and need to pack light. I also like to pack these if I’m going to the beach. Without fail, I get to the beach and the sun shines a spotlight on a little patch of hair I missed, so it’s nice to have.
Shaving your legs in a RV is almost laughable. With a tiny shower, there is barely room to turn around let alone bend over to reach your legs. If you have a outdoor shower on your RV, it’s alot easier to shave outdoors. But only do this if you don’t have neighboors.
Really your best option for shaving in a RV is to use an rechargeable electric shaver. You can use it outside, you don’t need water, and it can hold a charge for when you are boondocking.
Waxing will deffintly give you more time feeling smooth and hairless. You can do it yourself or go to a professional. Both options are pricy in my opinion. Perhaps not at first, but its a reaccuring cost that will add up quickly.
I’ve experimented with those DIY waxing kits and most are just very messy and a pain to heat, apply and use. Not only that but they are not something that anyone should consider packing on a camping trips. In my opinion, they are pricy, bulky, messy, and not worth the effort.
With that being said there are waxing options that don’t require heating any applying messy goo. I’ve used the ready-to-use wax strips that you “heat” with by rubbing your hands together. These actually worked really well for me. They have different sizes and an option for sentative areas. I liked these and they worked well but it’s best for touch-ups and not the most travel freindly option for a camping trip.
Best Choice: Elipating
Shaving takes up too much time and is very inconvenient so it’s not my prefered method of removing unwanted body hair. Using the prepackaged waxing strips wasn’t my favorite because, angain, it was pricy to buy enough and it was a reaccuring cost. Using an epilator is the way to go.
If you are new to this idea, epilating is a little device that basically has a bunsh of mini twitters rotating quicky and pulling out hair as you move it across your skin.
I didn’t even know that they exicted until 7 years ago when I visted my family in Europe and that was what all the girls used. Rarely did they shave and it would last weeks! The catch? Pain. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s going to hurt and the first time is the worst.
I’ve been epilating for about 2 years now and I’m never going back to shaving. While it is painful, it gets better the more you use it. It still doesn’t feel good by any means, but it’s not super painful like the first time I used it. Another thing you should know is that the longer you use it, the more fine your hair gets.
I’m a brunnete and my leg hair used to be dark and thick. It was a pain in the butt because you could clearly if I missed a shaving day. I absolutly hated it and found myself shaving almost every other day.
2 year of epilating and now my hair is very thin and barely noticeable. There is alot less of it too. I probably epliate once a month and you can barely see any hairs even after a month has passed.
I use the Braun Silk-épil Wet/Dry epilator. It’s pricy but when it comes to epilators you get what you pay for and they last YEARS so it’s basically a one-time cost. You can use it in or our of the shower. You can use it on dry skin. It runs on battery. One charge lasts me about two months. You can use it on all areas and there are adapter heads for more sensative areas.
Lastly, Don’t Forget to Get Your Beauty Sleep!
After all, this article is about beauty tips so we can’t forget about how important good sleep is to your health and apperance. Try sleeping with a eye mask. It completely change my quality of sleep. I’m a very light sleeper and sensative to changes in light. Living in a RV, I’m on the road a lot and it’s hard for me to sleep when we are parked at a rest stop or walmart parking lot. Lights of cars driving by can wake me up. Or even my husband turning on lights in the RV can wake me up. An eye mask was one of those things I had no idea I needed and now that I have it, I don’t want to sleep without it. It also helps me sleep in longer in the mornings and not be woken by the sun light.
Wow. That was quite a list! I’ll keep this updated with any new tips or cool products I come across. Let me know your thoughts and if you have tips/advice/ product sugessions please share by commenting below!