I’m writing this from a yacht sailing around the Ionian Islands in Greece. And I can tell you that I’ve never taken a more satisfying holiday from my beauty routine. We knew that boats can be squeezy under deck– and ours boasted two postage stamp-sized bathrooms (called “heads” in boat-speak) and bunk style beds. There are six of us – hubby and I are sailing with the skipper and his son, my oldest friend from school Josie (aka The Fresh Ginger) and her boyfriend. It’s idyllic, to say the least...
Days are spent cruising from deserted beaches to underwater caves, diving into the electric blue abyss – which we call “The Gin” – because it’s the same blue as a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. At lunch we’ll moor up somewhere pretty, swim and eat Greek salad with gloriously chunky hunks of tasty cucumber, plump and perfect tomatoes and fresh feta, soaking the bread in the tastiest olive oil dressing I’ve ever tasted. In the evenings we anchor in little villages and dine in the local tavernas, drinking Rose and sampling local delicacies like octopus, spanakopita and moussaka. With such extravagant distractions, beauty maintenance is not exactly top of mind, but through pure necessity, I came up with a few boat-ready, island-worthy beauty tips to see you through similar experiences – should you be so lucky…
1. Introduce local ingredients into your routine.
Every culture has its own traditional beauty preparations and the Greeks are known for their yoghurt. We put the local produce to the test and made a fresh yoghurt mask by mixing yoghurt and local honey and painting it on our faces. After relaxing for ten minutes and removing (er, licking) it off, we noticed that it soothed the dry, salty, dehydrated skin, leaving it soft, hydrated and springy.
2. Olive oil is liquid gold
There’s no need to pack fancy face and body oils when you’re short on luggage space. Olive oil or coconut oil from the galley kitchen works just as well. We slathered our legs with olive oil – used it as a shaving oil and post-sun moisturiser and put it on the ends of our hair. Diving into the ocean with a layer of oil on your skin prevents moisture loss and leaves skin baby soft well into the evening.
3. Support local beauty brands
I’ve always been a fan of Greek beauty brands Korres and Apivita. This holiday I discovered the Korres Sunscreen Face & Body Emulsion Yoghurt and Sunscreen Face Cream Yoghurt. They smell like frozen yoghurt, are fresh, milky, absorb quickly and don’t leave a film on the skin.
4. Conserve water
When you’re on a boat, you have limited water supply so you need to be creative with your bathing habits. The ocean makes the best bath you can imagine, but at the end of the day it’s nice to rinse your skin with fresh water. I packed Dr. Bronners Castile Soap to lather up – it doubles as a hand wash and body wash. To save water Josie and I launched ourselves out in the dinghy to shave our legs in the ocean – olive oil provided the perfect lubricant for the razor. You can also scrub your body in the shallows on the beach - use handfuls of wet sand and massage your skin in circular motions (remember to do this before you shave, not after or you could irritate the skin).
5. Embrace your natural texture
I stupidly packed my hairdryer only to learn that the voltage can’t run off the boat’s electricity supply. So – don’t do that. Instead, learn to embrace your texture and ditch heat styling completely. Salt water is excellent in curly and wavy hair – Josie’s wild curls were perfectly defined and wavy. My hair was better loosely pulled off my face, or for texture, it worked better with a bit of encouragement. I would start by twisting it into a bun when it was wet. Once it dried I would take it out and then twist pieces individually, spraying them with Oribe texture spray.
6. Improvise your beauty maintenance
I had a Minx pedicure done before I left because I love the gold foil, but alas, a day onto the boat and it had peeled back (the result of wearing ballet flats in London). Lucky I bought some spare foil Minx stickers. But how to apply them? Normally the nail technician heats the foil with a heat lamp to adhere them to the nail. Luckily the skipper had a butane torch usually used for soldering. Super hot and a little risky but it worked. Beauty improvisation at its best.
And that folks is the quick 411 on boat beauty. Remember, keep it low maintenance and inspired by local ingredients, and you’ll have the best holiday imaginable.