Friday, February 28, 2014

DIY First Aid Travel Kit

I try really hard to not pack absolutely everything, but I also believe in being prepared.  With the weather getting warmer here, I just overhauled my at-home first aid kit - checking for expired product and making sure I'm not running out of anything.  This time around I had to pick up bandages, sterile gauze pads, antiobiotic ointment (Neosporin), gauze tape and Mylanta (always a part of my kit).  It also put me in mind to create my own first aid kit for travel.

While I've always brought a few things with me, I've never really sat down to figure out what I should be taking.  Obviously, I won't have room for a complete kit, but I can take the basics with me for planes, trains and (road trips in) automobiles.  Here is what I put in my kit and why:

Neo To Go spray protects against infection with a bit of pain relief.  It doesn't sting or require touching the wound.  And while it does have to go in my TSA baggie, I have plenty of room for it thanks to my obsession with solid products.  A couple of antiseptic wipes go into the kit because sometimes you need to clean up a bit.  I also pack a travel sized tube of Neo To Go ointment in my checked bag if I'm going to have scrapes from my adventures to treat while on the road (as it were).  Or...because I'm paranoid.


While my prescriptions have to travel in their pharmacy bottles (when you go through customs, this makes life easier), I use teensy Ezy-Dose disposable pill pouches to carry a few Aleve, Aspirin and Excedrin Migraine in my kit.  This way I can carefully label them and they don't take up much room.
For blister prevention, I have a few squares of Moleskin and Julep Doublestep Foot Treatment Stick (Band-Aid makes something similar) in my checked bag, but that's more about prevention.  For treating a blister on the go, I always keep a few Band-Aid Activ-Flex bandages on me. They're thin, flexible and waterproof. 

I also take a couple each of various bandages for knuckles, toes, fingers, etcetera, in addition to your basic small, medium and large sizes.  And I only get the sheer, waterproof kind.

In my on-plane beauty kit, I always carry a few things to hydrate and soothe, but you may choose to put them in your First Aid Kit instead.

My favorite eye drops are by Rohto.  Amazon doesn't have the ones I got, but your local drugstore probably will.  The key is to find eye drops that will hydrate and little else.

I recently tried saline nasal gel to prevent dryness and really liked the one I picked up by Ayr, since it has aloe in it.  I've read some frequent travelers' raves about lining the inside of their nose with this kind of gel for hydration (which, in turn, is said to help prevent catching something on the plane).  Make sure to bring a few cotton swabs for application.

While you can't pack for all possible accidents, you should pack for the kind of adventures you have  planned.  If you think a pack of steri-strips are a wise investment, then those should be in your kit.  If you're like my dad and think sticking nasal gel into that particular cavity is just plain weird, then consider investing in a spray.  No matter what you bring, make sure it's only enough to fill a quart size bag.  That way you won't overpack and regret the loss of space.

With a bevy of bandages, wipes and packets of ointment, the Coleman All Purpose First Aid Tin is great for road trips, camping and hiking, as well as kind of adorable.  However, you'd have to remove the safety pins and razors for a plane trip.  Either way, I honestly think it's better to raid your own at-home kit and create a travel version tailored to your needs.  Will you be walking a lot?  Hiking?  Likely to get bitten by bugs?  Think ahead and plan accordingly.

In other news, I've just realized that my quart-size, TSA-approved bag o' liquids will only contain 4 things: travel antiseptic spray, nasal gel, eye drops and my greatest savior: a small spritzer of toner water to rehydrate my skin.  That's not enough to fill the bag, so I'm pretty pleased!

And now for you guys - do you bring a first aid kit with you when you travel?  Is it a pre-made one or DIY?  What do you make sure always goes in it?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Re-Do Me a Solid

So it looks like Lush products (like those in our Do Me a Solid post) that are listed on Amazon cannot be trusted right now.  Read about Lush's court battle with (and new product line that mocks) Amazon here.

I'll just say that if you want to buy any of the Lush Handmade Cosmetics products that we have mentioned, it is wiser to go straight to the source and purchase from their site.  It looks like the prices on Amazon in the US are inflated anyway.  I'd go check the links, but I'm just going to say that none of us should bother with it.  You're always going to find the best prices and the real product on anyway.

However, we do have an online store for a reason and it's time I looked at alternatives to Lush anyway, for those who aren't fans of that line of products.  Since I don't have time or money to go try all these things, what I've done is delved into the reviews on various sites and found some of the best products out there.  I hope that they make your travels more enjoyable, less stressful and terribly fabulous.

Eco-Dent Toothpowder:  A tiny bottle of this powder goes a very long way.  I've seen a lot of Eco-Dent products at Whole Foods Market - so if you find you like this, you can check out the whole line there.  One reviewer on Amazon recommends sprinkling a bit on your tongue, then swishing with water, for a mouthwash.  As much as I love my Sparkle Toothy Tabs, they don't break up quite well enough to do that.  Which means that I'll be trying some of this minty multi-tasker for my next trip.

For facial cleansers, I've included two that I have tried and one that I have not (but hear great things about).  

These Erno Laszlo facial cleansing bars are excellent whether you're traveling or staying at home.  The Blue Firmarine Treatment Bar is incredibly gentle and lovely.  $45 seems like a lot when you're looking at a bar of soap, but the teensy trial size one I was given the first time around lasted months.  The Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar was my favorite soap when my skin was more oily (when I was younger) and I found that using it on my body, especially rough or bumpy areas, worked just as well.
I first saw DHC Mild Soap on Pinterest and found the simplicity of this face and body bar appealing.  It is said to be both gentle and moisturizing, which makes sense with skin-loving ingredients like olive oil and honey.  And if you can get the soap case designed to fit it, even better.

If you're going on a particularly long trip or feel the need to exfoliate more regularly, Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is an exfoliating powder that only requires you add a bit of warm water.  

While Amazon does offer a few different alternatives to the Lush Shampoo Bars (though nowhere near the variety for hair types), J.R. Liggett's Old Fashioned Shampoo Bar is the one I've been seeing in natural food stores most of my life (though I have yet to try it).  A basic bar for hair with olive and coconut oils, it multi-tasks well as a body/shaving soap or gently getting your laundry clean on the fly.  But the eZ-pouch you can buy it with is what makes it self-contained in a way most shampoo bars will never be.

Dry shampoo is the kind of product I haven't had reason to use since it became big, as my hair doesn't really get that oily anymore.  However, a good one could double as deodorant in a pinch or be used as an all-over body powder.  I'll have to try them out to see how well they multi-task - and these are the two I'm thinking of trying:

Bumble and Bumble Pret-a-Powder Dry Shampoo has been given rave reviews on Sephora, especially for it's light and fresh scent.  I like the oat flour and clay in this powder, but I'm not so crazy about the silica.  It also touts being great for extending styles and volume, but you should know - that's going to be true for any dry shampoo.

Lulu Organics Hair Powder is available in at least a couple of scents (jasmine or lavender/clary sage) and is a nice natural alternative to B and B's silica based product.  I also like that it's available in this one ounce travel size.  Cute packaging never hurts, but I'm really trying not to be a sucker.

Since we already have four different bars listed that work great on the body, as well as their intended use, I'm skipping the bar soap for this post.

However, I did find a popular solid moisturizer, the Oyin Handmade Body Butter - Belly Bar.  The Belly Bar won me over with its moisturizing butters and convenient dial-up packaging, but it is not available for purchase through Amazon.  The good news is that you can purchase it directly from Oyin Handmade.  In addition to being a great travel body lotion, this would be very nice on the plane for dry hands and cuticles.

Cleansing oils and balms have been really popular in the past few years and, thanks to my Lush Full of Grace Serum Bar, I'm starting to see the appeal.  While I don't know if this REN Cleansing Balm would get seized by TSA or not (it's not a liquid or a gel, but neither is pomade and my friend had that taken from him, so...), I do like the idea of taking a bit of it with me when a travel.  A cleanser that gently remove makeup and conditions skin sounds like a lovely thing to have on a long flight.

Although my Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm would have to be pried from my cold, dead hands before I would surrender it on my travels, I am pleased to see that Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment is available without color.  The tinted versions have long been a favorite of mine and can always be found in my makeup kit.  But the pure treatment would be a lovely balm for lips, cuticles, flyaway hairs or anywhere you need a little extra hydration.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find anything comparable to Lush's solid hair conditioners or exfoliating body butters (like Buffy).  

What beauty products do you travel with?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Do Me a Solid

In preparation for my trip to Italy this Spring, I'm going to be writing a lot about travel prep.  I am a very anxious traveler, so the more planned out everything is, the better for me.  This is also a chance for me to talk about something I truly love: stuff.  While I am trying to be more minimalist in my home, I admit to having a mad affair with travel accessories and other such products.  Because of my shopaholic past, I've also owned quite a few different things and have a lot to say about them.

I have written about solid beauty products before, but this time I'm going to do more showing than telling.  Also, all of the solid items can be found in our store.

You can either pack all of your favorite liquid and gel products into tiny containers, then into the TSA approved plastic baggie...


Or you can pack these full size solid products in your carry on (purchase all Lush Handmade Cosmetics items from for better prices and to make sure you're getting the real thing):

From the top of the solids we have toothpaste, facial cleanser, a shampoo bar, solid conditioner, a bar of my favorite soap which doubles fabulously as shaving cream, a scrubby bar that also moisturizes, a lotion bar (for those who don't want scrub), a solid facial serum and a tin of lip balm that I've used on cuticles and flyaway hairs just as well.