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Festivals essentials, what to include on your packing list

girl blowing bubbles at festival
From waterless washing and SPF, to staying hydrated, we've pulled together a packing list of essentials items you need to survive festival season

Aside from the obvious tent, wellies and sleeping bag, there are a few festival essentials that you may not have considered when putting together your packing list. It can be challenging to look (and smell) Coachella-ready when you’re staying in a tent in England, a long way from the nearest bathroom.  

So, we’ve put together some tips and product recommendations to help you shop smarter, pack lighter and step up your festival skincare routine, so you’ll have clean and glowing skin no matter what the weekend throws at you. 

Our festival essentials

1. Multi-tasking beauty and skincare products 

Even if you are glamping this festival season, there is only so much you can take for a weekend away in a field. With a long trek to your campsite and space at an absolute premium, versatile products are a festival packing list must. As well as cutting down on packing space, stocking up on multi-tasking skincare products will also help you save time and money.  

Here are some of our favourites: 

  • A rich lotion such as cult-favourite Weleda Skin Food is brilliant for helping to prevent any dryness on your face, hands or body, and doubles as a wonderful moisturising after-sun lotion. 

  • Dr. PawPaw Original Balm is a one-tube wonder – this multipurpose balm can be used on so much more than lips and dry skin! Apply as a clear brow gel, as a DIY glitter adhesive, to calm your skin, or even to add a dewy glow to your complexion.1 

  • A small tub of coconut oil goes a long way. You can use coconut oil as a moisturiser, tame and style baby hairs, remove make-up and keep your lips hydrated.

2. Dry shampoo

2. Dry shampoo

If you are not blessed with access to a shower block at your festival, keeping your hair looking and smelling fresh can be a challenge.

Dry shampoo is an absolute festival essential – and has come a long way from the ghostly white sprays of the past! We love the natural look of Foamie’s aerosol-free Dry Shampoo; formulated with Moroccan clay and rice powder, it leaves hair feeling light, bouncy, and party-ready.

3. SPF & essential suncare

You may be hoping for clear blue skies for your festival experience, but one thing’s for certain — your skin can burn even if it’s cloudy. In fact, although clouds may block some UV, over 90% can still pass through light cloud and cause sunburn.2  

According to Cancer Research UK, when the UV index rating is above 3 (generally, we see this from mid-March to mid-October in the UK) the sun is strong enough to cause damage.3,4 you’re covered with a good SPF (with a 4 or 5 star UVA rating) to  help shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.  

What SPF should I choose? 

What SPF should I choose? 

As you’re most likely going to be outdoors at your festival, apply a sun lotion with at least SPF 30 to any exposed areas of skin and continue to apply more as the day goes on.5  

MYTH: SPF is a standard measure of how long anyone can stay out in the sun, and if you apply factor 50, you won’t have to reapply throughout the day. 

REALITY: SPF refers to how much longer it will take your skin that is untanned to start to get red with sunscreen on it, compared to how long it will start to get red without it. As an example, if you choose an SPF 20 sunscreen, it will take 20x longer for you to burn than you would without any protection at all.

Find out more about choosing the best sun protection for you with our SPF guide here

4. Waterless cleansing

4. Waterless cleansing

Realistically you are not going to be able to keep up your usual 10 step skincare routine while attending a festival – you need a simple, effective solution to remove layers of makeup, mud and suncream in a single step.  

After a long day (and night) of partying, the last thing you will want to do is make your way in the dark to a wash block. Our solution? Pre-soaked reusable cleansing pads. Soak the pads in your favourite cleansing solution (a multipurpose micellar water would be a good option), and seal in a zip lock bag to keep them moist. Chuck your used pad in with your dirty laundry and wash when you get home! 

5. Reusable water bottle 

With the organisers behind your favourite festivals like Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds encouraging festival-goers to ditch the plastic, there has never been a better time to invest in a reusable water bottle. With most festival sites installing plenty of free water points, not only will you be reducing your plastic waste - your wallet will also be thanking you for it too.7

Adding to that, not drinking enough water, alcohol consumption and exposure to the elements can all wreak havoc on your body. You may have heard the phrase “beauty from within”, and it's never been truer when it comes to dehydration & your skin.  

When your skin’s water content is depleted, you might experience dark under-eye circles, a dull complexion or dry, flaky skin.8 To avoid these classic signs of dehydration, ensure you are drinking plenty of water and eating well, even if you are at a festival!  

Handpicked content: How much water you should be drinking each day

6. Rehydration tablets

Adding rehydration & electrolyte solutions to your festival packing list is a must. Long days on your feet and dancing the night away come at a price: salt. There are a number of salts (namely: sodium, chloride and potassium ) needed by your body to function properly, so it is important to replace them if you become dehydrated.9,10 

Luckily, there are lots of options available to instantly replenish any electrolytes you may have lost, in many different formats, including sachets, effervescent tablets and capsules.  

Are rehydration tablets a hangover cure? 

With a high proportion (as much as 88%) of festival goers drinking alcohol at these events, a common question is ‘how to avoid a hangover?’.11 A dry mouth, thumping headache and fatigue are among the most common symptoms of a hangover.  

The diuretic effects of alcohol mean that you lose water and all of the essential vitamins and minerals found in that water through sweating and urination, therefore you become dehydrated. That’s where rehydration aids might come in handy. While they are not a cure all, by addressing the leading cause of your discomfort, they might help ease those symptoms.  

7. Energy kombucha

7. Energy kombucha

Looking for a new go-to drink to help recover from a heavy weekend of partying? Why not try a thirst quenching kombucha?  

Our pick is the Holland & Barrett Energy Kombucha. Formulated with vitamin B12, ashwagandha and live cultures, this kombucha is packed with added benefits to help energise your body and calm your gut!  

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) plays an important role in energy metabolism, and has been known to help reduce tiredness and fatigue.12 Ashwagandha is an adaptogen which is widely recognised for supporting energy levels and general wellbeing.13 And if your belly is feeling a little delicate after a few days of drinking, live cultures might just be the ticket! Live cultures are a type of good bacteria that help the gut function normally.  

8. Vitamin C

No festival essentials list would be complete without the inclusion of some immune system-supporting vitamin C!  

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, which means our body can’t make or store it – we have to get it through the foods we eat (fresh fruits and veg are a great source) or the supplements we take.14 Brilliant for supporting energy, your immune system and skin, including vit C on your festival packing list is an absolute must. 15 16 

Stocking up on some supplements might just be a handy way to keep your immune system fit and well - and for a weekend of partying, it’ll probably need all the help it can get. We love these easy to take high strength vitamin C effervescent tablets – just pop one in your water bottle each morning to start your morning right!  

The final say

  • If you are planning to visit a festival this year, be prepared to be a little flexible with your skincare routine and general hygiene. With limited access to free-flowing water, you will probably need to make a couple of adaptations; dry shampoo and reusable cleansing pads will be your best friend.  

  • If you are spending time outside at the festival, make sure you keep your SPF on you for easy reapplication throughout the day. Remember: your skin can still burn when it’s cloudy!  

  • Pack smarter with multipurpose items that do lots of jobs, rather than bringing lots of small items that only serve one function.  

  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration will not only make you feel lousy, it can also affect how your skin looks. Drink plenty of water, especially if you are consuming alcohol.

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