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3 Post-Vacation Skincare Tips to Follow, According to an Esthetician

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Whether it’s laying by the beach in Cabo or roasting s’mores by the fireplace in Colorado, a little rest and relaxation is absolutely key to avoid burnout. But sometimes, our laissez faire vacay attitude can leave our skincare routine wanting, resulting in post-vacation skin that looks less glowy and more breakout catastrophe-y. Since keeping up a ten-step regimen while living out of a suitcase is not in the cards, we tapped an expert to help us pick products for some post-travel skin triaging.

Meet the Expert:

  • Kiley Brewster is a licensed esthetician and training manager at Woodhouse Spa.

I’m a Beauty Editor & These Are the 5 Products I Always Pack in My Carry-On


post vacation skincare tips woman cleaning her face in the bathroom
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1. Start with a Gentle Cleansing

It can be tough to keep up with your skincare routine, especially if you have a jam-packed week ahead. But after your travels, it’s time to get back on track, starting with a gentle cleanser. This crucial step can help keep your skin clean, clear and plump again. “When traveling, we tend to let our skincare routine go as we become too busy or too tired to keep up at the end of the day,” says Brewster. “But cleansing your skin regularly helps encourage hydration again. It also combats overproduction of oil and removes any makeup or harmful bacteria that may lead to breakouts.” 

Once you grab your handy face wash, Brewster recommends cleaning your face morning and night (bonus if you double cleanse). Plus, to prevent any bacteria or dirt from clogging up your pores, avoid touching your face throughout the day. 

Shop the cleansers: PanOxyl Acne Face Wash ($9); CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser ($13); GlyMed Plus Mega-Purifying Cleanser ($25)

post vacation skincare tips woman with face mask
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2. Add Some Hydration Back to Your Skin

From the change in weather to a lack of H2O (sweet cocktails were your jam in the past week), your skin is searching for a boost of hydration after vacay. “When traveling, especially by air, the humidity levels are not the same as your environment at home. Your skin tries to compensate for the lack of moisture in the air by pulling moisture from the deeper layers of your skin compromising your skin more,” explains Brewster.

So, forget about unpacking and schedule yourself an at-home spa day. Invest in overnight masks, serums and face oils that can hydrate, brighten and soothe your skin while you recover from your PTO. Oh, and implementing star ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and honey is a great addition to combating dry, dull skin.

Shop the overnight masks: Belif Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask ($38); Doctor Babor Cleanformance Renewal Overnight Mask ($40); Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask ($94)

post vacation skincare tips woman applying sunscreen
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3. Never Forget Your SPF

It should go without saying that sunscreen is super important in any climate. After spending most of your days in the sun, it’s time to protect your post-vacation skin more than ever. Brewster suggests reapplying throughout the day to reduce the chances of UV damage. She also recommends using SPF 30 or higher to get maximum protection. Plus, applying sunscreen daily can prevent premature aging, hyperpigmentation and sun damage in the long run.

Shop the sunscreens: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 ($36);  EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 ($39); Colorscience Subforgettable Total Protection Brush-On ($69);