Everything You Shouldn't Forget to Pack For a Music Festival
Headed to the Lollapalooza in Chicago? Afropunk? (I envy you!) Packing for a music festival should be just as much about your makeup, hair, and skin care as it is your outfits. If you're feeling overwhelmed about what to pack, check out these essentials, from necessities to frilly flair.
— Additional reporting by Lauren Levinson
Most music festivals last two to three days, and between the concerts, activities, parties, and mustering as much sleep as possible, the last thing you'll want to do is worry about washing and blow-drying your hair.
Tip: To get your dry shampoo to work best, section your hair and spray it onto the roots. Massage it into the scalp with your fingers, and then brush it all the way through. This will help keep your hair from feeling (or looking) chalky.
Try: Herbal Essences Naked Travel Size Shampoo ($3) for its fresh smell and paraben-free formula. R+Co's Death Valley Dry Shampoo ($17 for a travel size) builds your hair's strength back with proteins and vitamin E. Plus, the packaging looks festival-centric to boot.
Metallic tattoos have taken over festival season for good reason: they're a different take on your standard temporary tattoo.
Tip: After festival season is over, reuse your gilded inks to create cool nail art. Learn how here.
Try: Pixie Ink Tattoos ($25) include artistic designs like chains, dreamcatchers, and other symbols that are par for the course when it comes to music festivals. However, what makes these different from other metallic tats is that they're concert-centric, with silhouettes and portraits of Johnny Cash, Notorious B.I.G., and David Bowie.
I could have easily made this a slideshow about SPF, given it's the single most important thing to pack outside of your toothpaste, clean underwear, and deodorant.
Tip: Look for SPF with 30 or higher, and aim for sunscreens that are oil-free, include physical sunscreens like zinc oxide, and dry quickly.
Try: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer ($21) absorbs quickly and moisturizes while protecting. An organic option is Badger Broad Spectrum Sunscreen ($14), which is made for the body and is ideal for anyone with sensitive skin. It includes nonnano zinc oxide, which helps provide better protection. L'Oréal Revitalift Miracle Blur ($20) acts as a primer that blurs skin's imperfections.
Effortless Eye Makeup
Ditch the smoky eye — it's going to look unnatural and take up too much time! You'll need eye makeup that's easy to apply and looks like you just rolled out of your tent.
Try: Instead of doing a full-on eye shadow lewk, opt for a quick swipe of eyeliner. It will define your eyes without the application effort. Plus, rocker eyeliner looks better as it gets smudged throughout the day.
Try: NudeStix Eye Pencils ($24) have become a fast favorite of mine. They're soft pencils that easily deposit natural shades of gold, brown, and champagne onto the lid. To perfect the look, just buff the cream with your finger, and you're good to go. It's a great way to create that daydream-y lid you see on Instagram or in the Free People catalogs. And, fun fact: two teenagers came up with these!
Replenishing Nighttime Moisturizer
I don't want to assume anything, but your day at the concert grounds will probably include some cocktails, lots of sun, and 12-plus-hour days. That means replenishing your skin as best you can when you hit the sack.
Tip: Once you remove your makeup and cleanse, leave your skin a little damp, then apply your moisturizer. It will help lock in that additional moisture.
Try: Clinique's new Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer ($13) isn't so heavy-duty that it feels like you're wearing a mask, but your skin will drink it up like a great glass of sangria. (If sangria was good for you and made your skin brighter.)
Metallics are a massive trend at festivals, but go on the road less traveled by wearing a lipstick with a metallic finish. They're subtle enough that you won't look insane, but they still make a statement — so you'll fit right in at that silent disco. It's totally '90s and totally hot.
Tip: Blot it off before you leave, and then apply a second coat. This will ensure you have a subtle stain even if it fades off.
Try: Too Faced Melted Liquid Lipstick is a mainstay in beauty junkies' purses, due to the fact it has the finish and pigment of a high-end lipstick but the applicator resembles your favorite lip balm. Its new Melted Metals ($21) provide a tinge of gold, silver, and bronze within gorgeous shades of violet, peach, and rose.
Nobody wants to smell bad (as far as I know). And although living in your natural musk can be good for your health and therapeutic, please prime your pits with deodorant before you head to the concert grounds.
Tip: Pack your deodorant in your festival bag — trust me, it's the one thing you'll be really grateful to have to reapply.
Try: Truly's Cream Deodorant ($9) uses sugar as the active ingredient. Sugar is antibacterial, and given body odor is created because bacteria breaks down sweat into acid, this helps stop harsh smells. Finely milled baking soda helps absorb odor, and cure-all ingredient coconut oil helps keep your underarms moisturized (and adds a nice scent).
I'd like to think I'm a girl who can roll out into the world with just my sunscreen and moisturizer, but like most women, my skin isn't perfectly clear. I have melasma and get dark circles, so even at carefree music festivals, I need a little coverage.
Tip: Try the five-dot method when applying foundation for a softer look, and then apply concealer once you've powdered your skin. It will stay put longer.
Try: Letting your skin show through is essential to looking like you have nothing on, which is why Nars Sheer Glow Foundation ($45) has been my go-to as of late, because it doesn't feel like I have anything on. Physician's Formula Super CCC Correct + Cover + Conceal SPF 30 ($13) helps brighten and even out your skin tone with sun protection.
Eye Cream With Sunscreen
Yes, more sunscreen. But this one works double duty!
Tip: Use this after a long night of partying to help with puffiness. The metal applicator has a cooling effect and helps to dispense the perfect amount of cream around the eye area.
Try: Supergoop's Advanced Anti-Aging Sunscreen SPF 37 ($45) is a beauty treatment with skin-saving ingredients. Plus, it's free of parabens and sulfates.
I'm sure you're wondering why hydrocortisone cream would be a necessity, but hear me out. You're probably traveling to a different climate for a music festival. Stagecoach is in the desert, Austin City Limits can get pretty humid, and Lollapalooza tends to be in the blistering Chicago heat.
Because my skin likes to surprise me, I have been known to get heat rashes on my cheeks and jawline due to a drastic change in the weather and have found that hydrocortisone cream helps with bumps and rashes. Plus, if you end up dealing with an itchy sunburn or other skin irritations, this will be your secret weapon.
Tip: If you develop a rash, gently wash your face and body with a mild cleanser, apply the hydrocortisone, let it absorb, then apply moisturizer, sunscreen, and any makeup you choose.
Try: Hydrocortisone Cream, 1% ($11) — get it at your local drugstore. PCA Skin Aprés Peel Soothing Balm ($32) is moisturizer made for use after chemical peels, but the main ingredient is 0.5 percent hydrocortisone.
Tan in a can! You'd think with my mounds of sunscreen on that I wouldn't get any color. But my arms and legs tend to get a little bronze. To help my face match — without having to pack a few different foundation options — I bring a tanning mist to help even out my color.
Tip: Apply your face in the morning; spritz a little in an "s" motion about 6-8 inches away from your body. Start at the forehead, and work your way down to your chest. The mist is fine, so if you go overboard, just dab your skin with a paper towel. The formula is also great for tan lines!
Try: The best tanning mist on the market is Infinity Sun's Glow on the Go ($35). It's dispensed similarly to your favorite dry shampoo or hair spray, so you don't have to worry about being drenched.
OK, you slathered on a healthy dose of cream sunscreen before leaving the house, but having spray sunscreen in your backpack or bag will help with the reapplication process that's so essential to sun protection.
Tip: Bring a backup can. Festivals can get messy, and if you lose one, you'll be happy to have a second. You don't want to go without it and end up as the person hiding under a tree (missing the mosh pit) because you got sunburned.
Try: For the face, Goldfaden MD Sun Visor ($45) is an oil-free sunscreen mist that can be reapplied over makeup. Trusty Neutrogena has a Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock ($10) that will be just the ticket when you need a little cooldown.
If you're going to be adventurous with your look, it might as well be with thousands of people you probably won't ever see again! Flower crowns are great, but if you want to try another look on for size, give sporty headbands a go. They'll absorb sweat, keep your hair out of your face, and come in a variety of designs.
Tip: These also make cool bracelets if you wrap them around your wrist a few times.
Try: Victoria's Secret Sport Headbands ($13-$15) include body-wicking technology to keep you dry and also have silicone grips to keep the headband in place.
It's no secret that I'm a bit OCD about keeping my hair color a perfect baby-blond shade. That means doing what I can both in and out of the shower. Hats are a mainstay, as are products that provide some form of UV protection to keep my color from oxidizing in the sun.
Tip: If a hat is too big to pack, try a bandanna. You can rock it around you neck, and then tie it around your head if your scalp gets hot. It will also come in handy as a face protector if there's a desert dust storm.
Try: Sally Hershberger's Hyper Hydration Spray Serum ($15) will add shine to your strands. It includes argan oil and Indian gooseberry to help brighten up dry hair and has natural sunscreens. Pair it with the Ambeela Wool Hat ($24) from Nasty Gal.
Face mist solves two problems: soothing dry, dehydrated skin and refreshing makeup. There are plenty out there, but formulas with rosewater or aloe will serve your skin best.
Tip: If your favorite formula is too big to pack, pour it into a small travel bottle so you have a sample on the go.
Try: Soul Sunday Tokai Mist ($24) helps after sun exposure, using lavender and aloe to calm inflamed skin.
Beach Wave Spray
While dry shampoo will refresh your strands, beach wave spray will give you the boho texture you want.
Tip: Use that face mist to dampen your hair to avoid a full wash, then apply a little beach wave spray.
Try: Who else did you think I'd recommend? Oribé's Travel-Sized Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray ($22): if it's good enough for Vogue covers, it's good enough for me.
Texturizing Shampoo and Conditioner
While you may try to avoid washing your hair at all costs, sometimes it's inevitable. That's when texturizing shampoo and conditioner come into play. Instead of smoothing strands, they will give you the texture and movement you want to get rocker hair.
Tip: Double-shampoo your strands so you can then go longer without washing them again.
Try: Bumble and Bumble Surf Foam Wash and Creme Rinse Conditioner ($28 for The Surf Set) contain magnesium sulfate and sodium chloride, which create breezy beach body in the hair, and sea kelp to help soften.
Hydrating Lip Color
Saving your daring choices for your outfits? Stock up on hydrating lip paints that add a pop without compromising the hydration factor.
Tip: If your pucker feels dehydrated from the sun, smooth on a nourishing lip balm about 10 minutes before you apply your color. Once the balm absorbs, your pout will be ready to be made up.
Try: Avon's new Ultra Color Indulgence Lip Color ($5) feels like you're applying a soothing lip treatment that builds in pigment as you layer it on. Go for Day Lily, a translucent aubergine, Petal Pink, or In Bloom, a sexy nude.
Alcohol, loud music, and sweating. Those are the three certainties at music festivals. And if you want to avoid being a pitty mess, invest in an antiperspirant that will keep you dry all day long.
Tip: Apply it before bed to wake up with refreshed pits. Many of us sweat while we sleep!
Try: Use Maxim Prescription Strength Anti-Persperant ($15) at night, before bed, to help stop excess sweating during the day. Unlike many antiperspirants, this one isn't made with alcohol, so you won't experience a painful burning sensation. The next morning, use your favorite deodorant to help keep your underarms feeling fresh.
Put the powder down, people. OK, it's fine first thing in the morning. But forget reapplying throughout the day and stick to blotting sheets. These thin pieces absorb that oil, and you won't look like a cake face. Plus, who really likes piling on powder in the heat?
Tip: Before you transition from day to night, stick these all over your face and then mist your cooling spray on top. Let it absorb to create a DIY sheet mask.
Try: Sephora's Cooling Mint Blotting Papers ($8), well, cool down the skin with each application.
Seems obvious. "Duh, of course I'm bringing face wash." But focus on packing cleansers that help fight breakouts and clear away dirt and oil at night, then something light and refreshing for the morning.
Tip: The most important time to wash your face is at night. You need to get dirt, oil, and makeup off before you go to sleep so your skin cells can rejuvenate. If you really have to skip a face wash, do it in the morning.
Try: Mario Badescu Travel Size Acne Facial Cleanser ($8) helps nip unwanted breakouts in the bud. For the morning, wake up with Bliss's Fabulous Foaming Face Wash ($9). It contains rose hips and chamomile to calm your skin but also has exfoliating beads. It makes a great stand-in for shaving cream, too.
Going with the antipowder theme: if you want to look glowing and dewy, avoid powder blush if possible.
Tip: For compact cream blush, spritz a little face spray on the blush, then use a fluffy brush to apply the product to your cheeks. It will cream a soft-focus effect and won't deposit so much pigment.
Try: NYX Cream Blush ($6) is easy to travel with and comes in an array of shades.
Shimmer Body Lotion
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! But if you're going to take the time to do so, add a bit of shimmer to your skin for a polished look.
Tip: If you can't find a shimmer lotion, use a powder highlighter and dust it on your shoulders and chest. Alternatively, you can mix a bit of liquid highlighter with your favorite body lotion.
Try: St. Tropez Skin Illuminator ($23) was used backstage at London Fashion Week and adds luminosity to your skin. It comes in a few finishes, tailored to specific skin tones.
Purifying Face Wipes
Packing face wipes will help keep your skin clear throughout the day — if you're avoiding makeup, keep these in your bag and use whenever you're perspiring and need a little pick-me-up. (Then be sure to reapply that sunscreen!)
Tip: If you feel disgusting by the end of the day but don't have time to shower before the evening party, use wipes all over your body to cleanse the skin. They can also be lifesavers on long flights.
Try: Skin Laundry's Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths ($15) help makeup slide off the face but also combat breakouts — they contain salicylic acid and witch hazel. To help keep your skin from drying out, they're also infused with cucumber and chamomile extract.