When beginning my travel journey, I packed my makeup bag full of my daily essentials and then some. In nine months of traveling, I probably put on makeup a dozen times. The lack of makeup was due to a combination of tropical heat and humidity and adapting to each new country’s less intense beauty ideals. Everywhere I traveled I saw beautiful women wearing little to no makeup, much different from what I was used to in America. So, I went with it! It wasn’t a difficult leap because the heat made it feel so disgusting to wear makeup anyways. Despite barely using it, I still had my whole makeup bag taking up space in my suitcase; it added weight that I had to carry every time I trekked to a new place. This newfound love of going au naturel inspired me to rethink my beauty routine at home—and I think it could do the same for you!
Here are my top eight reasons why traveling abroad is the perfect time to experiment with going bare-faced!
1. Cultural Differences
If you’re traveling outside the US, women in other countries wear a lot less makeup than we are used to (or often no makeup at all). You will fit right in being makeup-free. I saw this a lot traveling in Asia because it is just so hot and humid, no woman wants to wear makeup when it’s going to sweat right off as soon as you step outside.
2. Nobody Knows You
This is your chance to be makeup-free and not run into anyone you know! There was a time in my life when I was self-conscious about not having makeup on to do something as simple as grocery shopping. I was certain that I would run into someone I know and wish that I was wearing makeup. When you travel though, you’re in a foreign country where nobody knows you. You can begin letting go of any self-consciousness and experience putting your best bare face forward.
Depending on where and when you travel, the weather, humidity, and/or rain will make you wish you didn’t have a layer of makeup on your skin. I found this to be especially true in Asia and Hawaii! It pays to think about the climate where you live in comparison to where you are traveling. For example, when I lived in Arizona, the dry desert air made my skin so dry that I had to use an extra-strong moisturizer to counter it. But, in more humid places like Texas, Florida, and most of Asia I don’t need that moisturizer.
4. Packing Light
Packing light is a priority for many people, and not having to take a full makeup bag can help you achieve that. I’ve always felt like it’d be easier to pack light if I was a man. Then I realized the things I thought were necessities, I didn’t really need when I was traveling. I could have left most of my makeup at home. Mascara, some multipurpose cream doubling as tinted moisturizer and sunscreen, and a good moisturizing lip balm was all I really used on the days that I did wear makeup.
5. Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
Traveling is empowering. You’re experiencing new things every day, so you’re filled with a sense of self-confidence that can help you overcome any fears about going out bare faced. This is the best time to step outside your comfort zone and try something different.
6. Adopting a New Culture
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. It’s an old phrase but it still rings true for travelers. The best way to experience the place you’re visiting is to adopt their culture while you’re there. When I was in Asia, I fully embraced the squat toilets. When I was in France, I ate all the croissants. This can be applied to the ideals around beauty each place you go too. Truly living each culture makes for great travel memories that will last a lifetime.
7. More Free Time
Think about the time it takes you to put on your makeup—now think about all the things you can do and see on your trip with that time being freed up. For a lot of us that can be an extra 30 minutes a day to explore a new place that you spent money to get to! Being able to get up and go at a moment’s notice helps you check even more off your bucket list.
8. Professionals Recommend It
I’ve heard many times that less is more, mostly in magazines or online, but it wasn’t until I spent time in France that I really got it. I was at a dinner party at the home of my Workaway host and met a French man who was a professional makeup artist in New York City for years. Now retired, he worked in high fashion with all of the top supermodels of the 70’s and 80’s. The conversation turned to him and all the women at the dinner party asked for his professional advice on makeup. His answer, “Less is more.” You can imagine how excited I was to hear from a pro that curling my lashes and throwing on some mascara was actually the perfect everyday look.
A lot of women truly love wearing makeup and it’s an empowering thing for them, which I totally support. (Even I like to get done up every now and then!) There is a lot of pressure on women to look a certain way, so I am all for you doing whatever makes you happy and feel your best—whether that is a beautifully made up face or wearing nothing at all. With that in mind, even if you don’t see yourself abandoning your makeup bag altogether, it is fun to take a break from makeup for at least a few days abroad. See if you like it, you might be surprised just as I was. Then, if it feels good, take the practice home with you. Bringing your new cultural experiences into your life at home is the best souvenir you can find.