Grooming and camping are not two words you’d expect to find in the same sentence, let alone in the same weekend. But if you’ve ever contemplated a holiday under canvas, then contemplated your French manicure and refused your boyfriend’s offer of a romantic weekend in a sleeping bag designed for two, think again. Okay, so you won’t be able to maintain the level of glamour you’re used to after the first day, but that’s the point. Camping is about letting your hair down. Only with a little forward planning, your hair – and the rest of you – can look groomed and gorgeous.
1. Get the essentials right
The great outdoors might be good for mind, body and soul but the elements aren’t quite so kind to skin. To protect yours, wear a cream that combines a good-quality moisturiser with an SPF of at least 15. Trilogy’s Age Proof Daily Defence Moisturiser SPF15, £27.95 for 50ml, www.trilogyproducts.com, contains plant oils that hydrate as well as Vitamin E that replenishes skin. If you can’t be parted from your foundation, go one stage lighter and choose a tinted moisturiser that hydrates, covers and protects such as Lancome’s Hydra Zen Teinte Neurocalm soothing tinted moisturiser, £24.50 for 50ml, www.lancome.co.uk, which will leave you looking radiant and sun-kissed while you’re straightening your groundsheet.
2. Slack on the slap
Sometimes, less is more. Camping is one of those times. Leave your make-up bag at home and instead stow a few hard-working essential items into your wash bag to ensure you spend less time applying your slap and more time by the campfire. Elf’s Eyeliner & Shadow Stick, £3.50, www.eyeslipsface.co.uk is a double-ended marvel that comes in a range of flattering colours and is easy to apply. Dab on The Body Shop’s Lip and Cheek Stain, £9.50 for 8ml, www.thebodyshop.co.uk and you’ll look like you’ve spent a day in the fresh air before you’ve even unzipped your tent.
3. Go nude
Fiddling with tent pegs and guide ropes are a sure way to chip your nail polish. Of course you could retire to the car while your other half pitches the tent, but then you’ll miss the satisfaction of swinging a mallet at the ground. Ditch the varnish but keep bare nails buffed to a high shine and looking effortlessly groomed with Sally Hansen’s Ridge Reducer and 7-Step Buffer, £2.99, available from Superdrug. It’s clever, compact design has all edges covered and it’s dinky enough to fit into your pocket, making it handy for nail emergencies. If going completely au-naturel isn’t for you, fake the naked look with a few coats of Rimmel’s Lycra Pro Nail Polish, £4.49, in Beige Pro, available from Superdrug, which won’t chip or fade until long after you’ve taken your tent down.
4. Stay smooth
The best camping trips are impromptu, which means that unless you have an on-call beautician, you might be caught with stubbly underarms and legs. Solve the problem fast by grabbing your razor and a bottle of Green People’s Wash & Shave, £6.95 for 50ml, www.greenpeople.co.uk, and heading to the shower block. It’s meant for men but, since most prefer to turn Neanderthal the second they step foot on a campsite, you can enjoy its organic soothing and conditioning properties that will leave your skin super soft and delicately scented.
5. Bite back
There’s nothing like waking up covered in itchy red bites to ruin a girl’s breakfast but you don’t have to resort to sticky lotions or asphyxiate yourself with Deet to ward off bugs. Instead, stick on a Don’t Bite Me! Patch, £5.99 for five, www.dontbiteme.co.uk. They’re infused with vitamin B1 – which the snacking suckers hate – and aloe vera – which helps the vitamin absorb into the blood stream. They are a bit fiddly and do leave you smelling like a Berocca, but that’s a small price to pay for 36-hours of natural, waterproof protection that you won’t have to wash off the next morning.
6. Clean up your act
As the light fades, get your face ready for bed. Just because you’ll be sleeping out under the stars, there’s no reason to neglect your usual routine but take a shortcut to cleansed, toned and moisturized skin by using a 3 in 1 product such as Green People’s Oy! Cleanse & Moisturise, £8.99 for 50ml, which contains organic rosehip and hemp oils that leave skin make-up free and baby soft. Not only will it save you time, it also means less chance of losing bits of cotton wool or lotion lids between sleeping bags. If you do make it to the front of the shower queue and there’s still hot water, spare a thought for the people still waiting and double up. Burt’s Bees All-in-one Wash, £5.99 for 118ml, www.burtsbees.co.uk, will leave your hair, skin and conscience glowing as it contains nourishing and rejuvenating chemical-free ingredients in a biodegradable bottle.
7. Get intimate
When it’s dark outside, the toilet block is miles away and you can’t find your torch, you’ll be grateful you packed Natracare’s organic cotton intimate wipes, £1.99 for 12, www.natracare.com. The closest you’re likely to get to a bidet this side of the channel, these wipes are soap-free and completely biodegradable so there’s no need to feel guilty if you get caught short behind a bush.
8. Resurrect your hair
Nylon sleeping bags and BBQ smoke are the enemies of sleek, sweet-smelling hair. If the morning shower queue looks interminable, bring your tresses back up to their usual standard with a few sprays of Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, £6.95 for 15ml, 01582 820165 and larger Boots stores. For fabulous hair with volume, aim the nozzle at the roots, press for a few seconds then wait two minutes before brushing through.
9. Go green
Don’t leave home without a tube of Optima Health Care’s Organic Aloe Vera Gel, £5.28 for 200ml, www.victoriahealth.com. Not only will it come in useful to soothe nettle rash, sunburn and even insect bites, it’s a great all-over moisturiser and is pure and gentle enough to be used on your face. It’s also healing, which makes it perfect for applying to cuts, burns or scratches. In fact, the only thing this first-aid-in-a-bottle can’t do is pitch a tent. Or brown the sausages. But it will come in useful if you get a bit too close to the campfire.
10. It’s in the bag
You’ll need something to carry all your essentials in. Pretty as they are, pale, drawstring washbags aren’t up to the job. You need something sturdy, spacious and with plenty of pockets so you won’t be rooting around in the dark, looking for your lip balm. Deuter’s Wash Room Travel Wash Bag, £20, www.completeoutdoors.co.uk has all that plus it comes with a hook and concealed mirror so you can turn a corner of your tent into your very own beauty parlour.