My Tropical Vacation Skincare Essentials

These are my absolute skincare essentials for a tropical paradise retreat.

My skincare kit is basic and focuses the most on sun protection and hydration. Keeping those needs in mind, and decanting some of the heavier skincare items, I could fit these – plus the makeup kit in this post – into just one makeup bag just fine.

Lip Balm

One with sunscreen would be best, but for some reason it’s not as common. I usually just bring my regular fave lip balm which I can use day and night. In the day I put sunscreen over my lips before the balm for a bit of protection.


Obviously sunscreen is a must. I like this one by La Roche Posay Anthelios, which is the more moisturizing variety. Also there’s no white cast with this one.

Oil Cleanser

Oil cleansers will gently remove all traces of makeup and sunscreen. I can’t go wrong with K-beauty variety, in the photo I have the Etude House oil cleanser, but I’ll probably refill the bottle with my current fave: Face Shop Rice Cleansing Oil.

Face Wash

The face wash is my second cleansing step. It helps to remove any greasy feeling that the oil cleanser might leave behind. When it comes to face wash I seek out the gentlest one available, it’s sole purpose is to clean off the residue from the first cleansing step. For this I’m loving the Whamisa Face Cleansing Cream and the Cosrx Morning PH Cleanser.

Hyaluronic Acid

Anything with hyaluronic acid will be your best friend on trips like this. I usually use (and love) the Hada Labo Hydrating Toner. It’s a refreshing hydrating toner that you can layer on, depending on how your skin feels that day. The hada labo toner also works as a light refreshing body lotion and you can run it through the hair to bring back some lost moisture from the sun and sea.

In the photo is the Skin Inc Hyaluronic Acid serum, which comes at a much heftier price tag. It’s a gorgeous product as well. It sinks into the skin a lot easily than the Hada Labo toner. BUT once I’m done with this I’m sticking to the cheaper, but equally effective Hada Labo Toner.


While I can get by fine with the hydrating toner and sunscreen in the daytime, I like a nice rich hydrating moisturizer at night for when skin is repairing. At this moment I’m loving the Suhada Shizuku Pack Gel – an unassuming but ultra-rich moisturizer.

Coconut Oil

I only bring coconut oil on dive trips. I don’t use sunscreen when I go diving – taking care of corals and what not – so the coconut oil acts as a light form of sun protection. I like to run it through my hair before the dive, which helps to detangle it a little after surfacing. I also love using the coconut oil as a deep moisturizer, which helps to keep hair from being crispy after a full day out. I use the coconut oil as body moisturizer as well.

Bonus: Lavender Essential Oil

Though my kit changes all the time, the one thing that remains is my lavender essential oil. Its use is multi-purpose – keeps me calm, to scent pillows, as a spot treatment and most importantly… as a bug repellant! Mosquitoes and random bugs are a small but grating annoyance to any tropical retreat. This keeps mosquitoes away in the most aromatic, effective and natural way.

What to Avoid:

  1. Vitamin C products: Vitamin C makes the skin sensitive to the sun. Keep this for after you’re back from the trip.
  2. Anything that exfoliates: Same reason at the Vitamin C product. This means I leave my beloved P50 lotion behind although it’s gentle enough for night time use.
  3. Basically you want to protect the skin as much as possible and this means lots of sunscreen, and lots of hydrating products onto the skin. Avoid anything that says exfoliating, refining, renewing.

And that’s my entire, minimalistic skincare kit!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.