Warning: This is a girly post and men should probably go ahead and tune out.
My life pre-sailing and pre-Bahamas looked nothing like it does now. I worked at a company that owned some of the top fashion and beauty brands in the world. Getting ready for work was a process and what I wore to work and how I presented myself was almost as important as the work I was doing. On any given day I had freshly washed hair, manicured nails and sky-high heels on. And, I loved it. I even developed and wrote for an fashion/beauty/DIY blog for the company’s top subscribers. The Allure beauty sale and the Vogue sale were my favorite days at the office (I managed to score 3 really expensive bathing suits during my last week of work for $5 each at a Vogue sale. Woop! All proceeds went towards the victims of Hurricane Sandy, so really I did it because I care.). My best friends work for fashion designers that I just happened to love and I frequently shopped at their sample sales or used their employee discounts. In short, my friends back in New York City would hardly recognize me today.
Today I can’t even remember how long it has been since I’ve washed my hair and the only manicure I’ve had since moving aboard is what my friend Sandy calls the “5200 manicure.” To say my life has taken a 180 is an understatement. While my beauty routine is nothing like it was pre-sailing, it hasn’t completely disappeared. Below are some of the ways I try to preserve just a bit of girliness in a world where function definitely prevails over fashion.
Hair: Before I left NYC I started to train my hair to not be washed every day. At first I would wash it every other day supplementing with dry shampoo when needed. My fine and super straight hair typically showed signs of grease half way through the first morning so day two usually meant that my hair was in a top knot or a braid. Despite the rough start I knew it would eventually get better. And it did. I moved to washing every third day and now I can stretch it even further (whether or not I really should). Eventually I was able to wear my hair down on the second and third days without it looking terrible. I’ve even come to prefer it on these days when it has a bit more texture to it. My biggest problem now is that my ends are much drier and I find myself using a leave-in conditioner every few days. I’m sure a haircut would fix a lot of my dry end issues, but I’ll wait until I can get back to my good friend and stylist Marissa at Jem Hair Studio in Orlando, FL. She is amazing. She also used to highlight my hair so that my blonde hair appeared kissed by the sun. But, now that my hair is kissed by the sun, I’ve been going all natural in that department. I do regularly make use of hair ties, bobby pins and headbands when the going gets really tough. I do occasionally dye my eyebrows when I remember which is really easy to do on the boat. Otherwise my white blonde eyebrows seem to disappear and I look pretty weird.
Skincare: My facial routine has always been pretty simple so not much has changed in that department. I wash my face twice a day with Biore Ice Cleanser. In the mornings I follow it with Nuetrogena’s Clear Faces Broad Spectrum SPF 55 sunscreen. At night I slather on Aveeno’s Positively Radiant moisturizer with SPF 15. During the day I wear a chapstick with sunscreen in it and at night I slather on some rosebud salve to rehydrate my lips a bit. I also keep a couple face masks on board that I use occasionally when I’m feeling extra girly (and usually when Jason isn’t on the boat).
Makeup: I love makeup. I love playing and trying new things. I could spend hours in a Sephora and am almost sick to my stomach that I haven’t picked up my birthday gift from them in 2 years. This new lifestyle rarely gives me an opportunity to wear it. I am constantly in and out of the water or I’m hot and sweaty so it just isn’t practical. I think since we’ve been in the Bahamas I’ve worn makeup one time when we went out for happy hour with some friends. If I do find a chance to sneak some in I wear very little – just some under eye concealer, some powder and mascara. A fully made up face would look very out of place and I honestly don’t think I’ve seen one person wearing eye shadow or lipstick the entire time we’ve been here. Despite the rare opportunity to wear it, I do keep a full arsenal of tools aboard just in case.
Grooming: Man do I wish I had bought one of those Groupons for laser hair removal before I left! That would make cruising as a woman SO MUCH EASIER. When it comes to shaving I usually take a cup of water, my razor and a bar of Dove to the cockpit and shave my legs and armpits as needed. I wet my legs down, cover in soap and shake the razor around in the cup of water after each stroke. Luckily I have blonde hair so if I forget to shave my legs for a day or two it isn’t the end of the world. My bikini zone is another story. I personally prefer to wax and have always used a combination of running to a salon and doing it myself. I find that the Sally Hansen Brazillian Wax works well for me. We don’t have a microwave so I boil some salt water and place the container in it until its ready to use. I haven’t had any issue with this method.
Manis & Pedis: While I certainly miss having pretty colors on my nails it doesn’t make sense on a sailboat for me. It just wouldn’t last! The first time I went to tack or drop the anchor they are sure to chip. Sailing is just too physical for nail polish. I keep my nails short and filed so they don’t catch on anything or bend backwards. However it is incredibly rare to find my toes without any polish on them. I try to give myself little pedicures here and there as walking around in sandals can be really hard on your feet. And, bright colored toes just make me feel good.
Lotion: The salt water and sun suck every bit of moisture out of your skin that you have. I am constantly slathering on lotion. I would love to try and make my own like Behan aboard SV Totem.
Clothing: Before I left I got rid of so. many. clothes. So many in fact that I may have cried at the pile I wasn’t allowed to keep anymore (don’t even get me started on the sobbing for my shoes that definitely happened). I got rid of anything that didn’t breathe. My entire closet and dresser were whittled down to what can fit on one shelf in our closet. I have dresses, skirts, shorts, shirts, pants, and workout clothes. I really don’t wear the dresses and skirts too often (unless over a bathing suit) because it can be a challenge getting in and out of the dinghy while trying not to flash everyone around. If it is a windy night it can be extra challenging. My typical uniform is a swim suit under lightweight shorts and a tank of some sort. Some pieces of clothing I’ve found particularly helpful to have on board include a very lightweight windbreaker and quick-dry shorts (tennis shorts, hiking shorts, etc.). I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of all my crappy work clothes back in NY because once I started working on the boat most of my good clothes were quickly turned into work clothes and I had to re-buy a lot. Now I have dedicated shorts and shirts for boat work. I do wish I had a couple pair of flowy, lightweight pants that I could wear once the sun goes down and it gets a little cooler or buggy.
Shoes: I have 14 pairs of shoes on board which is way more than is absolutely necessary. However I have a shoe addiction and this is the best I could do. I have a pair of running shoes, water hiking shoes (which double as my sailing shoe), cheap water shoes, boat shoes (which are actually uncomfortable and hardly ever worn), flip-flops, flip-flop spares, 3 pairs of sandals, black heels (which I have yet to wear), espadrilles, camel flats and a pair of toms. I would estimate that 75% of the time I wear my flip-flops, 10% I wear my hiking shoes, 10% I wear sandals and 5% of the time I get off my butt and go for a run.
Anything else I forgot to cover that you are wondering about? How have you adjusted to life aboard? Is your girliness still alive?