It’s 2021. We’re getting our Fauci Ouchies (or encouraging friends and family to if we can’t), we’ve collected a veritable wardrobe of masks, we’ve got a stash of hand sanitizer on us at all times, and we’re ready for vacation, damnit! Our family went to the beach for our first vacation since the pandemic started, and it was the reset we all needed. Watching my three year old play in the sand and cackle at the ocean waves? Absolutely priceless. Pretty sure it refilled my serotonin stores for the rest of the year.

Now, since I was probably nine or ten, I’ve packed with a packing list. Because if I don’t use one, I’ll end up on a cruise without my glasses, or in a foreign country with not enough underwear, or opening my suitcase to find I packed in a frenzy and forgot most of my toiletries. I can’t plan your outfits, but I *can* give you what the packing list for cosmetics was for my family. Hopefully it’ll help you in getting supplies for your own beach vacation (or at least guarantee you show up being able to not smell like BO and car food). I organize my list by what I use starting from when I get up to when I go to bed rather than trying to go category to category. That way I know I’m not missing anything vital (looking at you, facial sunscreen).

        • Haircare: I have “funky” hair, in the words of my family. It has purple, pink, blue, and I’m pretty sure some other colors in it. Now, fun colors, the sun, and chlorine or salt water will mean fading hair. It’s just a fact. But I can tell you with confidence that my hair didn’t fade NEARLY as much as I expected since I’d prep my bright strands for the beach and take care of them properly afterwards. For before? Brush thoroughly, use a leave-in conditioner made for use in the sun, slather on some deep conditioner (add hair oil to it if you need to), and style it in a bun or some other updo. Wear a hat if you can, too! I also would prep my daughter’s hair by styling it, normally in some kind of pigtails. Husband can practically abuse his hair and it looks stunning (seriously, so jealous!).

        • Makeup: Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Seriously, makeup when you’re going to the beach? But it’s not what you think! My foundation has ingredients that can make sunscreen more effective, plus it’s super lightweight, so putting on a few dots was actually beneficial. A lot of people also enjoy sunscreen powders for touch ups, but I haven’t found one I enjoy. Also, a tinted lip balm with SPF really can make you feel like a new person. I also found plain lip balm with SPF for the mini human. Husband? Ahahahaha never.

    • Haircare: it seems silly, but unless it’s wet I try to braid my hair at night. It keeps it from tangling as much, which means fewer pulled hairs.
      • Use whatever tie you like. Personally, I like the ones I linked earlier that are made for thicker hair but don’t pull your hair out. One of these days I’ll get the little silk scrunchies that I keep seeing just for this…but that day isn’t today.
    • Bodycare: Like your face, your body needs to pack in that hydration. I suggest lightweight, preferably cotton pajamas, too – just in case you’re also a dunce and forget to use sunscreen on your shoulders and upper back the VERY FIRST FREAKIN’ DAY. So relayer on everything you used after your shower. Also, if you’re like me and get achy just from existence, a pain relieving cream (or two layered) does wonders.


Yes, I bring a lot with me. Even though I have travel or trial versions of almost all of these, it still takes it’s own bag. In NO WAY am I saying you need to be as extra as I am! However, hopefully my packing list has emphasized the importance of hydration, sun protection, and keeping clean & comfortable while at the beach. Don’t be stingy with yourself on vacation. It’s vacation!

Charlotte Smith is an esthetician licensed in Tennessee and Georgia. She’s married to a lumberjack version of Deadpool, is obsessed with huskies, is straight up in quarter-life crisis mode, and loves pretty much anything that could be considered creepy.

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