Hotel, Motel, Holiday Skin: My Vacation Skincare Routine and Mini-Reviews

I vacationed in sunny, humid, hot Florida recently. Oh man, I my skin really needed this. There were times when my winter-weary skin almost felt oily! Loved it!

P1010426So what did I pack in my Chanel-o Kitty and Le Sport Cat bags?

I didn’t quite pare down my skincare routine for this trip. You’ll notice that my routine still contained numerous steps. I did change it up in several ways though, bringing travel-only items, samples to test, and self-tanner.

Let me break it down by category . . .

Cleansers and Toners

  • Kiss Me Heroine Make Mascara Remover: Love this oily liquid in a mascara tube because it eliminates the need for a bottle of eye makeup remover and can be packed outside of your TSA-approved Ziploc. Swipe onto lashes, wait a few seconds, then gently wipe off the dissolved mascara with a tissue/toilet paper/cotton pad. Repeat as needed. I usually need to repeat once, but I use hardcore waterproof mascara and a waterproof topcoat. Also takes off eyeliner and other eye makeup.
  • su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick: Still love this for travel, still hate how the surface gets mushy. I left it uncapped to dry on the counter the whole trip and the top remained soft and melty the whole time.

  • La Mer The Treatment Lotion I used this like a hydrating toner/first essence, smoothing and patting it on with my fingers. It’s more instantly gratifying than Hada Labo Gokujyun Lotion. It’s silky, plush, soft, and smooth–yes, I’m describing a liquid–and leaves skin feeling the same way. $130 for 5 oz. though. Yikes.
  • Etude House AC Clinic Daily Toner and Gel Lotion: Meh. I layered the gel lotion on top of the toner. They didn’t seem to make a difference in improving pimples. But then again, my skin tends to respond more to benzoyl peroxide than to salicylic acid, which is what the AC Clinic line is centered on.

Treatments, Moisturizers, and Sun Protection

  • PocketDerm: I’m going into my fifth month of PocketDerm Anti-Aging and apply it 5-7x a week at night. After consultation, Dr. S decided to keep me on my current formulation of 0.08% tretinoin, 4% niacinamide, and 5% vitamin C. I’ve started using this on my neck as well, mixing one pump with an equal amount of moisturizer.
  • OST C20: To prevent oxidation, this vitamin C serum was kept in a fridge when not in use. I’ve been using it 1x a day in the morning for about 3 months and have started using this on my neck as well. (Heh, can you tell I’m suddenly worried about my neck?) I can’t say I’ve noticed the improvements in PIH and dark spots that others have, but it hasn’t worsened my skin either. Will move on to another vitamin C serum after this is finished.
  • Dotfree Collagen Resilience Oil in Balm Cream: OK, this thick, heavy cream is a little overboard for Florida, but I wasn’t sure how much moisture I’d need. Better safe than sorry. I applied it to spots that tend to get dehydrated (corners of eyes, nose, and mouth) and it soaked in without making me oily. Love it. Full review coming.
  • Ole Henriksen Total Truth Eye Creme SPF 15: Eye cream + SPF. Enough said.
  • Nivea Sun Protect Plus UV Skin UV Cream SPF 50+ PA++++ (2014 version):  PA++++ is a must! This is the best one I’ve tried so far because it comes closest to feeling and functioning like a moisturizer. On my currently dry skin, I still moisturize beforehand. For normal to oily skin, I think that’d be unnecessary. It’s also one of Ratzilla’s best picks but sadly discontinued. Ratzilla reports that a Creamy UV Essence released this year has replaced this formulation. The ingredients list is different (alcohol has moved up the list for instance), so I wonder how the new version compares.


I can’t wait for my vacation skincare to become my regular skincare. Spring, hurry up and get here already!

5 Replies to “Hotel, Motel, Holiday Skin: My Vacation Skincare Routine and Mini-Reviews”

  1. Hi,

    May I suggest moving the Vit C to nighttime? Vit C during the day mainly helps with sun protection and at night it works to get rid of PIH. Try it.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. You’re not the first person to suggest that. ☺️ I think I’ll try that. I used to do vitamin C in MAP form in my PocketDerm at night, and I’ve also been using Paula’s Choice 25% vitamin C to treat spots, but I don’t have vitamin C as a larger part of my current nighttime routine.

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