Products Every Wild Woman Needs
Beauty & the Trail
Finding a balance between the ultra-feminine style of my past and my current lifestyle, which has me outdoors or climbing most of the time, has been interesting to say the least.
At first, I decided to let go of the concept of “pretty”.
Gel manicures twice a month were definitely a thing of my past, but soon too, I lost the energy for wearing non-athletic gear and anything more than a small amount of makeup. It just didn’t make sense anymore. And I still stand by that.
Going outdoors and participating in extreme sports isn’t about beauty, and looking good while doing them is definitely not a requirement.
But something I came to realize recently is this:
Maybe I want to look good.
And wanting to feel feminine and beautiful is a much healthier point of origin than feeling as though you have to. I accepted this recent compromise of styles and found that it’s actually much easier than you may imagine to do all of your favorite outdoor activities and still maintain a bit of glam. So if you, like me, are interested in finding that compromise, read on for a list of the products I love, and the hassle-free routine that goes with them.
And if beauty products aren’t your thing, don’t worry — I’m starting with the basics and building from there. Read only as far as what interests you. My hope is that these products will work well to keep you feeling healthy and feminine — wherever your adventures take you.
I’m going to quote every TV commercial and femme-magazine article right now and say — start with a great face lotion that has SPF. I know — not original, but important.
I am not someone who has been blessed with perfect skin so I understand the negative connotations that face lotion can carry. But the good news is, I found one this year that is actually not greasy.
Its the first non-greasy lotion I find with SPF, and I will be personally calling Neutrogena if they ever stop making it. I typically only apply in the morning after washing my face.
Next up, concealer. If your skin is going through a rough time (as it is for most hormonal feminine beings), try this concealer. Its not heavy, lasts all day, and it actually has acne medicine in it.
A final note on skincare- get a hat. It will save your face from a ton of sun-exposure. And hats can be cute — I promise.
The pleasure of walking in to an REI and having a ridiculous spread of outdoor feminine gear to choose from is nearly indescribable (end femme rant). I own more men’s clothing now that I ever have, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. When the choice is purple or warmth, it’s a pretty easy decision. But the advice on clothing that I really want to share with you is of a more delicate nature. Forget Victoria’s secret. My secrets are better (and so are yours too probably).
I have found two brands of underwear and bras that have been game-changers in comfort and style when out on the trail. They are so damn wonderful I wear them most days in the city as well.
These underwear are anti-microbial — which is a fancy way of saying you can wear them for a few days and they don’t get gross. Also, they wash easily, dry quickly, absorb sweat, and are seamless. You’re welcome.
Outdoor gear for women is improving and sports bras can now, (gasp!) be more than a piece of fabric that unceremoniously lays across your chest. So while its easy to go crazy on the name-brand sports bras in outdoor stores, why don’t you first head to Old Navy. I know it’s hit or miss and the bright colors of the store sometimes induce headaches — but its also super cheap and decent quality (it’s is owned by the same people as Gap and Banana Republic after all). And when it’s a hit — it really is a steal. I bought several air-wicking quick-dry sports bras here before a trip to Hawaii as a swimsuit top alternative and I’ve never looked back. They are both comfortable and flattering — and perfect for the outdoors or everyday.
Don’t get complicated. Sweating and being in the elements is makeup’s sworn enemy, and the goal here is to compromise. Liquid eyeliner melts, as does eye shadow so stick to basics with a long-lasting eyeliner you can smudge, and add a dash of mascara. These two things will highlight your eyes without looking terrible after hours of activity. If you’re blonde, go with brown or brown-black eyeliner and mascara to avoid the raccoon look. And depending on where your adventures take you, opting for a waterproof mascara (and that only) may be best. The one listed below has lasted me whole weekends of swimming and obsessively cleaning my face with towelettes — on one application. Below are my picks in eyeliner and mascara. All affordable and available anywhere.
This one is easy. Keep your lips healthy and skip the color. My favorite lip-care go-to is Aquaphor. The moisture lasts hours, and although its SPF-free it won’t dry your lips out like other products will (Burt’s Bees anyone?). This scent-less formula keeps my lips healthy, even in extreme elements, and also works well on eczema and other dry-skin conditions.
If however, you are an outdoor girl on a date, I recommend splurging on this next one. Growing up in New England, I only very recently ventured into the realm of lipstick. My “New England Sensibilities” as my friend would call them, wouldn’t allow it. Which is why I love this next product. It’s nearly sheer with a tint of warm-berry color. It accentuates your lips but isn’t bright, or loud. Its also moisturizing and doesn’t smell funny*.
*Basically, your mouth won’t feel like a weird sandy fruit after use.
Ah nail polish. I used to be the girl who had those beautiful manicures. But alas, rock climbing. Giving up on the polish for a bit was actually great for my nails, as the sun (hello Vitamin D!) is good for them. But trust me, I know how it goes. Being sans polish seems great until Essie comes out with their summer colors and you realize most of them won’t last two days on your hands.
So here’s the trick:
Pretty, neutral-colored polishes that don’t show chips.
I use the following products every time I paint my nails and this combination has given me the most success as far as longevity of the polish, and overall nail-health.
It’s expensive, but get some. This magical little bottle will last you ages, as you only apply a thin coat as a base before your polish. Nail Envy protects your nails from the polish and strengthens weakened nails (but for real). Apply a thin coat even if you do nothing else — the bit of shine looks good and will naturally wear off without chipping.
I love this Essie color because it has the look of a french manicure (sans tips) but doesn’t show chips from all of my outdoor activities.
This great little bottle would single-handedly put all nail salons out of business if more people knew about it. It is the strongest top coat I’ve ever used for preserving polish (most salons even use it themselves) and it dries in approximately three minutes.
So that’s it.
We love the outdoors because we can leave behind the day-to-day and just be ourselves.
If putting on lipstick doesn’t interest you — skip it. One of the best things about being a woman is embracing your strength and femininity in a way that feels good to you. If a dash of glam here and there helps you do that, go for it. And if not, just dab on some sunscreen and get back out there.