Vanlife Skincare

I’m not sure what it is about telling people you are staying/living in a van, but usually women’s minds immediately go to beauty and hygiene questions. How do you wash your hair? Where is the toilet? How much water do you have?

Now, we don’t live in the van full time (yet), but I (Tricia) like to have it fully stocked with all of my skin care needs. The whole point of the van was to not have to “pack” to go on weekend getaways or weeklong trips. You can argue, why is your skincare routine any different when staying in a van? Well there are some additional things when staying in a van that you need to worry about. The number 1 item being water. Our van only has a 10 gallon water tank which goes FAST (the average American uses about 17 gallons per shower). So my skin care routine typically revolves around keeping my water consumption down. Here is how I do it, plus some other additional items I keep in my beauty bin.

(Disclaimer – All Amazon links are affiliate links and all Beautycounter links go to my consultant website. If you already have a consultant, please shop through them, if not I would be happy to have personal discussions with anyone who has additional questions regarding the products.)

skincare used for vanlife

  1. Clarisonic face brush and Beautycounter Charcoal Bar – I can literally see everyone rolling there eyes at me on the first item. Isn’t a Clarisonic brush a luxury? But hear me out. I am prone to horrible acne. Ever since I was a kid, I easily break out. Van adventures for us usually mean lots of sun, surf, hiking, etc, which all involve lots of sunscreen. The most efficient way for me to get sunscreen, dirt, and oils out of my pores is with one of these face brushes. You just get it wet, work up a lather with the charcoal bar, and the brush does all of the work. Then splash a little water on your face and you are done. It’s the best way to get a deep down cleaning without a lot of water.
  2. Dr. Bronners Peppermint Castile Soap – (This is in the yellow soap holder at the top right.) I love Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap when we are using our outdoor shower and when doing a wash cloth bath inside the van. I really don’t like the smell of baby wipes, not sure what it is about the fragrance, but to me they usually smell really fake. So instead I do a wash cloth wipe down using this soap when I can’t shower outside. It leaves me with a clean tingling feeling. If it is cold outside, I use my electric tea kettle to warm up some water and I feel almost as clean as if I took a full shower.
  3. Beautycounter Cleansing Balm – If you have never used a cleansing balm, what are you waiting for? This cleanser is AMAZING. What makes it amazing is you can slather it on, then just use a washcloth (or when I am in the van, a paper towel) and wipe it off. A damp warm wash cloth helps it take the day away a little better, but it is not necessary. I use this stuff when we are in the desert or mountains skiing. It wipes the dirt and oil off from the day and then leaves your skin super soft. Perfect to super dry climates. This stuff also works wonders as lip balm, a hydrating night mask, makeup remover, and a chafe cream.
  4. Tooth Builder Toothpaste – This toothpaste is actually fragrance free and has a very limited ingredients list. So when we do have to dump the grey water in the bushes and not down a drain, it makes me feel a little bit better.
  5. Beautycounter Eye Cream – I am over 30, I need eye cream, this one seems to keep the wrinkles at bay, basically end of discussion.
  6. Beautycounter Cream Exfoliator – I don’t always wash my face in the morning when we are in the van, but this is what I use when I do. It is a really gentle exfoliator that use jojoba beads instead of plastic micro-beads that are bad for the environment.
  7. Ursa Major Face Wipes – These are the ultimate lazy, no water, face cleanser. I try not to use them that much, since they are over a dollar a wipe, but they work really great and have a lovely scent. They also come in real handy on backpacking trips since they are so lightweight.
  8. Off Deep Woods bug wipes – I hate bug spray, especially if I can’t shower before bed, but sometimes you have to put it on. I like these wipes, because I can put some loose fitting clothes on and then apply only where needed. Like the face wipes, they are really handy to have in the van for backpacking trips.
  9. Softy Sanitizing Wipes – Apparently these are no where to be found, so they must be out of business. I really liked them because they had no scent. But I will probably buy these when I run out. Having sanitizing hand wipes are a necessity in the van. I use them after going to the bathroom, after touching meat, etc since I don’t want to transfer germs in such a small space.
  10. Beautycounter Sunscreen – There are 2 types of sunscreen I use regularly in the van. The first one is in stick form that I use on my face while surfing. It stays on for long surf sessions and I haven’t burned while using it, even while in Indonesia surfing for several hours a day. The second is a cream that is a great non nano zinc sunscreen that doesn’t turn you pasty white.
  11. Radiance Serum – This is my 30 year old plus beauty skinsavor. This product got rid of several sun spots on my face, I am a Florida baby. My mom took us to the beach almost daily when I was a child. Obviously I love her for my love of the ocean, but when I hit 30 I noticed lots of sunspots showing up. This keeps them at bay and makes my skin glow. This is a luxury item, but I feel it is a necessary one.
  12. Schmidt’s Deodorant – I used to make my own deodorant, but this one uses roughly the same ingredients and is way more convenient. Pretty sure it is cheaper at Sprout’s, but if you don’t have one near you, amazon is obviously your friend.
  13. Beautycounter Volume & Shape Shampoo and Conditioner – When we are surfing a lot, I tend to not actually shampoo my hair. For one, my hair is thick and it takes a lot of water to rinse shampoo out of my hair. Two, sea water tends to dry out my hair, so I don’t really feel the need to shampoo that much. Most of the time, I just use a small amount of conditioner and rinse with as little water as possible, or leave the conditioner in and put my hair in a ponytail. Using this lightweight formula also helps if we aren’t surfing and I can go a few days with my hair looking decent.
  14. Lush Dry Shampoo – This dry shampoo is amazing. It really works. But I would recommend using it outside of the van, since I haven’t figured out a way to use it without getting powder everywhere. Dry shampoo tip, use it at night before going to bed. You wake up with wonderful hair.
  15. Mack’s Ear Plugs – These aren’t a beauty product, but they help you get some beauty sleep! These are the best ear plugs we have tried. They are like a putty and you can mold them to your ears. These are the only plugs that I can use and not wake up in the middle of the night with my ears killing me. They are great for urban camping or when you are at a campground. Do yourself a favor and get these for a good night’s sleep.
  16. Beautycounter Face Oils – I LOVE face oils. People are afraid to put oil on their face, but I am hear to tell you, they are one of the best moisturizers you can use. Face oils mimic your own face oil, and the right combination can do everything from reduce wrinkles to brighten skin tone. These bottles are the mini travel sizes from a holiday set. I keep all 3 in the van for different weathers we could encounter. Dry, desert climate – #2. Humid, hot, beach climate – #3. Skin looking dull – #1.

Now you know my secrets for being a 30 something, sometimes van dweller. Any questions or comments, add them below. Also let me and others know your favorite products in the comments below. How to deal with day to day “normal” issues are some of the most common questions I get, so the more comments we get on this post, the better.

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