July Fav Four: Beach Vacay Essentials

Clearly I spend entirely too much money on beauty products if I always have something new to share with you each month!  I love trying new things, and to be honest, often it all starts with a sample or trial size.  With lots of travel this summer, I’ve been purchasing lots of trial size and travel size products, so I’ve been able to sample a lot of new things!  I do try to enforce rules on myself, like I must finish Product X before purchasing a new full size of Product C (“try” being the key word there).

July’s Favorite Four:  Beach Vacay Essentials

This month, with our trip to Maui (you can read all about it here), I purchased a few new items to take with me.  These are the ones that made it to this month’s Favorite Four beauty products list.  The first item is actually four products packaged together – the LIL DRYBAR TO GO travel set containing shampoo, conditioner, primer, and texturizer.  I decided to lump this into one favorite product because I loved all four of them, and it’s a great set to take with you on vacation.  Since we were going to Maui, good sunscreen was on the list, so I am featuring two: a tinted reef-safe cream sunscreen for your face from Australian Gold Botanicals as well as an all-over body spray sunscreen from Pacifica, also tinted.  The fourth product on this month’s list of travel favorites is Dr. Bronner’s  Pure Castile Liquid Soap in the citrus scent. You can pick this up in a 2 ounce travel size at Target (as well as a small travel size shower pouf in the travel section located in the Health and Beauty department).

Available at Ulta for $29

I’ve been a big fan of Living Proof hair products for several years now, but I think I may be switching to drybar products.  I went to Ulta to pick up some products for the trip, and saw this travel size set containing Sake Bomb shampoo and conditioner, Prep Rally primer & detangler, and Triple Sec 3-in-1 texturizer for $29 so I decided to give it a whirl.  I had never used drybar products before, so I was pleasantly surprised at how well they worked, and how nice they smelled!  According to their website, their Original Scent in the shampoo has “notes of jasmine, sandalwood and Madagascar vanilla.” The shampoo really made my hair feel nice, healthy, and soft without leaving it too soft and unmanageable, and also gave it a good shine.

product_preprally_desktop-2The Prep Rally primer is amazing.  It is a fantastic detangler, which I really needed after being on windy beaches all day.  This also acts both as a heat protectant and as a primer, so your other styling products go on and work well.  I could tell a big difference between days when I used this and days when I didn’t.  My hair was soft and shiny and didn’t look dry.  And it also smells heavenly, with a “noir scent with notes of ginger, mint and sandalwood.”  As soon as I got home, I rushed out to get a full size bottle, as well as a full size of the Triple Sec.  It’s a dry spray that adds volume and texture to your already-dried hair.  It gave my super fine hair the extra “oomph” it needs to make it look full.  As with the other drybarproducts, the scent is lovely.  I’ll have to wait a couple more weeks before purchasing the Sake Bomb Shampoo & Conditioner, as I must stick with my self-imposed rule of finishing up a product before buying a new one!

Reef-Safe Tinted Sunscreen for you Face from Australian Gold

Obviously, sunscreen is a must for any beach vacation, but when it comes to Hawaii, I wanted to respect their new regulations for reef-safe sunscreen.  It turns out that a lot of chemicals in the sunscreens we use are harmful to coral reefs, Hawaii recently passed legislation banning ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate which “have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii’s marine environment and residing ecosystems.” When shopping for reef-safe sunscreen, I found some of the products claiming to be “reef safe” actually weren’t.  Besides oxybenzone and octinoxate that the bill specifically calls out, products made with nano particles and other reef-harming ingredients like petrolatum (commonly known as mineral oil), avobenzone, octocrylene, and homosalate, as well as parabens should be avoided.  Additionally the environmental groups advise against using spray-on products, as they become airborne and get all over the sand, plant life, and water.

Tinted – no white residue!

The downside to the natural reef-safe sunscreens is they are mineral sunscreens made with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, so they leave a white residue on your skin.  You can rub it in, but it’s difficult to make it completely undetectable.  I brought along three reef-safe products:  Stream2Sea 30 SPF, Goddess Garden Organics 30 SPF, and Australian Gold Botanical Tinted for Face 50 SPF.  The Garden Goddess worked great – it’s what we used on the boat when we went snorkeling, and no one burned.  I used it on and off throughout the week, and was amazed at how well it worked at sun protection.  But, the Australian Gold product was my favorite for my face, and I especially liked that it was tinted.  My daughters ended up using this as well and really liked it (and they are super picky about what they put on their faces).  It is non-greasy and had a smooth almost powder-like feel, and it is fragrance-free.  The other plus?  No animal testing.

Skin-perfecting sunscreen – leaves you with a glow!
Leaves your skin glowing and smooth!

I also brought along Pacifica Bronzing Sunscreen SPF 30, however it isa non-aerosol continuous spray, which I know isn’t preferred, but it does not contain any of the chemicals on the Bad List (PABA, octisalate, octinoxate, and oxybenzone), so I felt OK using it.  And, I have to say, I really liked it!  It is tinted, and leaves your skin with a smooth all-over glow.  I loved the way it made my legs and arms look!  Be careful where you spray it, since it is tinted it can discolor your beach towel, but it came out completely when I washed the towels in the washing machine.  Like all Pacifica products, this smells nice – slightly coconut-y but not overwhelming.  This was definitely my favorite all-over sunscreen.


After long days in the sun and sand, as well as walking around playing tourist for hours on end, a nice hot shower is in order before dinner.  Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap in the citrus scent was the perfect prescription for a pick-me-up.  The scent is heavenly and refreshing, and the suds rinse off cleanly.  I shook a few drops of this concentrated liquid soap onto my shower pouf, and scrubbed all over.  The small 2-ounce bottle may not seem like much, but it will last you a week, as it is concentrated and you only need to use a little bit.  But the thing that I really love about this company is they are good– good to their employees, good to the environment, and good to their suppliers.  I encourage you to check out their website to learn more. https://www.drbronner.com/about/  I was turned onto their products by trying out a travel size bottle of the liquid soap from Target, and I fell in love with the both the citrus scent and the peppermint scented soap.


Of course I brought along a lot of other travel size products that get honorable mention:  the Clinique Take The Day Off eye makeup remover is my favorite one out there.  I had a trial size that came with a trial size of their High Impact Mascara, which I also like. Travel size dry shampoo was a must – and I brought two different kinds:  Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo Light Tones and Clean Freak by Not Your Mother’s.  Additionally, I threw the Sephora samples I’ve been collecting into my toiletries bag, so I had plenty of moisturizers to choose from during the week, as well as perfumes.  Now, off to the next destination!

What items are a must in your travel bag?



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