13 Coachella Beauty Products To Pack, According To Someone Who Lives There
Author Malcolm Gladwell once proclaimed it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to reach “expert” status in any field. And with approximately 8,760 hours of desert living under my belt, I’m just gonna go ahead and round up. I moved to Joshua Tree, California, an area about 40 miles outside of the festival-famous Coachella Valley, almost a year ago — and I’ve spent most of that time learning how to manage my skin and hair in the bone-dry heat. So really, who better to help you decide what beauty products to pack for Coachella?
I didn’t anticipate the hit that my beauty regimen would take when I relocated from Los Angeles to the high desert — after all, it wasn’t like I picked up and moved across the country. But I quickly realized that in order to keep my skin dewy and my hair healthy, everything about my routine needed to change; from my serums (thicker) to my face oils (more) to my my wash days (fewer and farther between). Consider this fair warning: The air is dry. The sun is hot. And your regular products might not cut it, even if you’re only in town for a few days.
Ahead, every skincare and hair care must-have you should pack for Coachella (or really, any upcoming trip to desert) — straight from a self-proclaimed expert.
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I admit, this pick might seem a little extra. But if you’re staying in a hotel or Airbnb, I *highly* recommend either making sure your room has a humidifier, or bringing one of your own. Desert air lacks humidity, so it sucks the moisture right out of your skin and strands; plugging in a humidifier overnight can make a major difference.
Coachella and the surrounding areas all have pretty hard water — meaning the water supply has high concentrations of minerals like chlorine, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals can build up on skin and hair, making everything look a little duller, so I don’t wash my face with tap water anymore. Instead, I saturate my skin with aerosol thermal water before and after cleanser.
Like I said, the desert has a way of pulling moisture out of your skin throughout the day. I always keep a bottle of Dr. Roebuck’s Bondi Hydrating Mist, made with coconut water, in my bag for a quick, refreshing spritz whenever my face needs it. (It works well over makeup, too!)
To that end, a barrier-repairing serum is must, since a dry skin barrier is more prone to environmental damage and bacteria. Lately, I’m loving KraveBeauty Great Barrier Relief to prep my skin pre-moisturizer.
Moisturizer is the trickiest part of a desert-friendly skincare routine. On one hand, you want major moisture. But on the other, temps can reach over 100 degrees mid-April… so you don’t want something too thick, either. I’ve found First Aid Beauty BarriAIR Cream strikes the perfect balance: It provides deep hydration, but the whipped texture means it’s lightweight.
Personally, I’m not much of a makeup girl. Instead of foundation and highlighter, I layer a light-reflecting face oil on top of the rest of my morning skincare to make my face look luminous. Supernal’s Cosmic Glow Oil is my new go-to. Thanks to a generous helping of squalane oil, it sinks into the skin in the most natural way; while blue tansy essential oil counteracts redness. (Bonus: It’s great for sealing in moisture overnight, as well.)
Of course, you can’t go to Coachella without sunscreen. I usually *loathe* the texture of most SPF formulas, but Kari Gran’s Three Sixty Five is changing all that. It feels like a cross between a moisturizer and a face oil, and provides lightweight coverage without clogging my pores.
SPF is essential, but my real HG sun protection product is a big, wide-brimmed hat. My collection has grown exponentially since moving Coachella-side; I rarely leave the house without one.
I’m obsessed with Mazz Hanna Rose Quartz Infusion Mint Lip Balm because 1) the minty flavor cools on contact — which feels divine in the hot desert sun, 2) it features 15 milligrams of CBD for soothing hydration, and 3) it has SPF 15, so your pucker is protected from the elements.
If you’re only in town for the weekend, I suggest extending your wash cycle and skipping out on that hard water in the shower. I keep my curls refreshed between shampoos with Ouidad Botanical Boost Curl Energizing & Refreshing Spray. It features hydrating ingredients like aloe and rosehip oil to replenish moisture, and leaves my day three hair looking as good as it did on day one.
It gets sweaty out there, people! Keep your roots fresh with a shot (or 10) of a dry shampoo, like this one from R+Co. The micellar formula isn’t powdery at all — in fact, it adds moisture and shine thanks to glycerin and castor oil.
A biweekly body scrub is one of my musts since moving to the desert. The ever-present dirt, wind, and heat combine to create the perfect storm for grime — and after a long day on the festival grounds, you’re bound to be covered, too. Slough it all away with Girl Undiscovered’s Stint In The Wilderness Scrub.
The skin on your body isn’t immune to the dry desert air — but thick, hard-to-absorb body lotions aren’t the necessarily the answer. To stay glowy from neck to toe, I reach for Esker Restorative Body Oil. It replenishes the skin’s moisture supply with avocado and jojoba oils, but absorbs almost instantly.