Traveling without make-up in Asia

by Amanda/Backpacking Tips Asia
(Oslo, Norway)

What are your must-have make-up while backpacking in Asia? Do you have any? Do you wear make-up at all while backpacking in Asia?

On my first backpacking trip in Asia, I had packed everything and wore the full package: concealer, mascara, powder, eyeliner and rouge. I wore this at home, so quitting wearing make-up abroad was just out of the question.

I mean come on, I gotta look great while backpacking! ;-)

Me with make-up in Oslo

Well, the result: It all melt away. Due to the humid climate in Asia, the make-up just... evaporated. Seriously, it didn't look good and all it did was clogging my pores. After a month I just quit wearing full make-up, even mascara. OK, I felt naked without it, people could actually see the real me. And THAT was freaking me out.

Me with make-up in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Me wearing make-up in Chiang Mai, Thailand

But frankly it was also liberating to not wear make-up. And with time, I kind of got used to not wearing make-up and I didn't even miss it. As long as I cleansed my face, brushed my teeth and used deodorant, I felt good. I no longer needed make-up to feel good.

So, it's all about making a new habit. If you're backpacking for a while, you'll get used to it.

Of course, If I'm having a really bad day while traveling; hangover, bad night and don't want to look like a junkie, I apply a little concealer under the eyes. I maybe throw in an eyeliner or some mineral powder for dinners and parties. But that's it.

Me without make-up in Kerala, India

Without make-up in India

Just because I don't use make-up, doesn't mean make-up itself is totally alien in Asia. On the contrary, lots of Asian women wear make-up despite the tropical climate. They also use skin-whitening products to lighten their skin. There's a "beauty pressure" in Asia, but in a different way than the Western version. Westerners like to get tanned, while Asians like to get lighter. Ironic, huh?

Like they would say in Southeast Asia: "Same, same but different."

When I returned home, I felt it was weird returning to my make-up routine again. Those 20-25 minutes I used in the morning to apply make-up were greek to me. When I got back to Oslo I didn't wear make-up for at least 2-3 months. I used those extra minutes to sleep or make a good breakfast. It didn't take long though before I was applying powder and rouge again.

I got to admit that if you're surrounded by vanity, it's hard to ignore it. You slowly become part of it (again). And honestly, old habits die hard.


Posted: March 03, 2013

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Mar 03, 2013
no make up!
by: Anonymous

totally agree, I took a bunch of makeup for my four month trip and used it maybe like once or twice. Even with blonde eyelashes, I just could not be bothered dealing with black mascara melting off in the heat! Save yourself some space in your bag and go makeup free! so much easier! show your natural beauty :)

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