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The Great Outdoors

By Amalah

I might be camping this summer and I am already stressing about being make up free for a few days. I don’t normally pile it on, but I’m pretty dreary looking without anything. Are there any products out there that could do double duty – like a sunscreen / moisturizer / light foundation or lip balm / blush? It has to be easy and quick to apply (without a mirror) so It won’t look like I’m putting on “make up” lest I be ridiculed by my outdoorsy, naturally perfect friends. HELP!!!

Oh, I cannot even tell you how much this question amuses me. Because while I KNOW the proper advice is to tell poor Mary to just ease up on her vanity for a few days and just enjoy the outdoors and she’ll live and no one will judge and blah blah blaaaah…I am TOTALLY that girl who is incapable of going completely makeup-free around other people. I have snuck cosmetics to campsites and worn eyeliner to a bonfire. So I cannot judge Mary, nor can I abandon her to her outdoorsy, naturally perfect friends who she will standing next to for photos and honestly, these digital cameras these days. They are…not forgiving.
Here’s what I’d pack for camping, if I were to go camping. Please note: I am not going camping, and my friends Mike and Jen can just SHUT UP ALREADY about us going camping. Because I am not going camping.
Wait. Where was I? Oh, right. The packing list:
For your face, bring a good tinted moisturizer with SPF. Sephora’s website has a great search function to help you find the best one for you, since you can sort by skin type or coverage or formulation. Here are the results for SPF. If you can get to a Sephora and try them out, even better, although if I had to pick semi-blindly I’d go with one by Laura Mercier or the Benefit. smashbox spf.jpg
You didn’t mention any specific skin issues, but since I am a raging egomaniac who assumes everybody is just like me, let’s say your skin is vaguely uneven in tone, prone to shine — and just for the hell of it, let’s say you’ve got some fine lines too. All of these issues mean a tinted moisturizer will not provide enough coverage. So you want to pack some foundation primer. Specifically, the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 15 With Dermaxyl Complex. This stuff will ensure a flawless, smooth complexion, but because it’s CLEARLY MARKED as an SPF product, you can use the excuse that you are just adding an extra coat of sun protection on your face. Oh, and you don’t need a mirror to apply it. (I’d highly recommend checking your face after the tinted moisturizer though, even covertly while you pee if you have to. That stuff can and will leave streaks if you don’t smooth it out properly.)
As for other products that pull double-duty, there are a slew of combination lip and cheek stain products. I love cheek stain — you apply it with your fingers and since it’s so sheer it’s pretty hard to screw up. Check out Benefit’s Benetint, Stila’s Convertible Color or Sephora’s Cheek Stain. And while I don’t know of any good drugstore versions off the top of my head, I would bet dollars to donuts that you could find one at Ulta or Target. pixi.jpg
And while I’ve never personally tried it, this Pixi Hydrotint Duo looks pretty fab: a tinted SPF moisturizer AND a lip/cheek stain all in one little tube. I bet it would also pitch your tent if you asked it nicely. The best part is that it could easily pass for a simple tube of medicated Blistex. Because we are Sneaky.
Also, for extra neurotic sneakiness, consider packing your makeup in some inoffensive plastic travel bottles. .

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Aimee Harris

    March 28, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    I would like to second the Stila Convertible Color. LOVE. I’m on my 4th little tub of it. It’s a must have. 🙂

  • Melissa

    March 29, 2007 at 9:24 am

    I would just like to add that you want to be careful that none of the products you select are too fragrant. You don’t want to spend your days waving every insect in camp away from your face.

  • JennyM

    March 29, 2007 at 9:34 am

    I haven’t tried it, but I think Revlon makes a cheek stain that’s supposed to be pretty good. (At least, according to InStyle…. Don’t look at me like that.) It’s called “Pinch Me.” Actually, I think they call it a “sheer gel blush” but it sounds like a cheek stain to me…
    So, this is going to be unpardonably long, but I am a self-confessed outdoorsy type who does a good bit of camping and backpacking and running around outside, and I am also one of those people who have been accused of looking way too good on a camping trip. However, I will freely admit it’s not because I’m just naturally radiant, or whatever. It is because: I wear makeup! Not much, since the woods are hardly conducive to blending and shading and whatnot, but enough.
    There’s no shame in something to even out the skin tone, something to put a little color in pale early-morning cheeks, and even a light sweep of mascara (since I tend to have kind of a startled, lashless look without it). I’ve also perfected the art of taking care of it quickly and unobtrusively. I always pack a small ziplock baggie with the toiletries — and repackaging into smaller bottles (or getting your hands on some sample sizes just for this purpose) is key. You can always grab a few minutes to go off behind a tree to brush your teeth, or slip into the bathhouse, or just take an extra minute alone in the tent (or whatever, depending on the amenities) and surreptitiously take care of your face. Trust me, my skin is far from perfection, but a little goes a long way when you’re out in the woods.
    My bag of tricks, honed by experience: small bottle of lightweight tinted moisturizer with SPF, thin compact of translucent powder, small (sample size if possible) compact of light, neutral blush with a fluffy brush, tube of waterproof mascara, and a tube of tinted Burt’s Bees lip balm. (And the Burt’s Bees is a legitimately outdoorsy thing you don’t even need to hide!) If I have a troublesome… let’s say “blemish”… I may throw in a tiny bit of coverup. Also very important: I make sure I have a packet of makeup remover cloths (Nice’n’Clean makes some that come packaged like Handiwipes — so convenient!). That and a splash of water at night and/or in the morning makes me feel like I’m at least going through the motions of caring for my skin when I’m out in the wild.
    That’s it — it really only takes a few seconds and then you don’t have to worry about looking all haggard. Even though it isn’t much makeup, it’s enough to make you feel like you’ve made an effort and as guru Laura Bennett points out, feeling like you’ve made the effort counts for a lot.

  • JennyM

    March 29, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Apologies for the really long comment (now I’m afraid I’ve been horribly presumptuous because it’s not MY advice smackdown…). I just got excited because I do deal with that very thing fairly often! Back to lurkdom…

  • Mary Watkins

    March 29, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    The Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer is fantastic but I haven’t had good luck using it with Smashbox Photo Finish (I have the plain one, not the Dermaxyl version). When I tried smoothing the moisturizer over the primer it created little gooey balls of primer/moisturizer all over my face. Not good. Maybe it just me though? I use the Laura Mercier primer now with good results.
    Happy camping! 🙂

  • michelle

    March 29, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    I love Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. It is so easy!! I wear it every day with the primer but for camping you could easily go without the primer. It has a good SPF and no fragrance.

  • eadesq

    March 29, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    I finally broke down and ponied up the dough for the Philosophy Make Up Optional Kit (thank you Amalah! HUG!!)
    I have terrible acne prone skin and decided, that’s it, I’m quiting wearing make-up cold turkey.
    But, um, my Philosophy kit? Came with samples. But luckily, it’s of tinted moisturizer! With SPF! Like Amalah said, you NEED SPF. It’s HEALTHY.
    Long story made short, Philosophy’s Supernatural tinted SPF 15 stuff is great, it has light coverage but still covered up my [horrific, bright red, still healing] acne scars and warmed up my [pasty pale] complexion. I’d see if you could scam a sample from sephora because it’ll last a couple of days and it’s flat and easy to pack [hide].

  • kalisah

    March 29, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    I would not even CONSIDER going camping as I refuse to sleep anywhere other than my own home that doesn’t offer room service.
    But I do like to wear tinted moisturizer in the summer when I’m going for a lighter, breezier, more natural look. (I, too, like the Laura Mercier.) But are you suggesting that I wear primer under it? And that will give me more coverage? Huh.

  • Lori MacBlogger

    March 30, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    My number one favorite all-in-one product is Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15. It covers everything but is light, so looks like you just have naturally flawless skin.
    If you want some color in your cheeks without being too high maintence, just dab a bit of lip gloss or lipstick on the apples and blend in. But in the fresh air, you can probably go without.

  • Meramoo

    March 30, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Lip gloss or chapstick that’s SPF-rated. I like this Stila one, it tastes like cocoa butter.

  • jodifur

    April 12, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Bare Escentuals has a new line of making that’s called Be campy. It’s sypposed to give you the all natural look of camping.
    I bought it and love it, but I don’t think that’s what the writer was talking about.