Glacier National Park, Montana
Camping Skincare Hacks
You get dirty when camping - it’s just what you do!
But keeping your face somewhat clean and cared for can be easy if you find yourself in the woods for a few days. Keep reading for tips on how to care for your skin while camping, and photos at one of my favorite National Parks - Glacier National Park, Montana.
Glacier National Park, established in 1910, is located in the northwest corner of Montana, in Glacier and Flathead counties. It encompasses roughly 1.4 million acres of mostly untouched wilderness, with some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the US.
This is the most beautiful road in the United States. Hands down. Mount Evans Scenic Byway in Colorado may be the highest in North America, but scenery wise, this one takes the cake.
This road travels the entirety of the park east-to-west and west-to-east, and cuts right through the mountains, making it perfect for mountain photography (though it’s not the best thing to do if you’re not a fan of driving without guard rails near steep ledges).
Check with the National Parks Service to make sure the road is open (it closes for the winter season and has closures at random times due to maintenance). There’s also a limit on vehicle size as well as bicycle use on the road.
The road took 23 years to complete - making it the longest-worked-on road in North America. Crowds on the roads can get pretty outrageous in peak seasons (June-mid-September), but in late September they weren’t too bad. Waking up early to do the road guarantees lesser crowds, but also makes for a colder, cloudier, more misty experience.
Without stopping, it takes roughly two hours to drive the 50-mile-long Going-To-The-Sun Road. There aren’t any gas stations on the road, but there are services (and coffee for you fellow addicts) at both the West Entrance and St. Mary Entrance.
Wildfires are a naturally occurring part of the forest lifecycle, and Glacier National Park has seen it’s fair share - the only year without a recorded fire was 1964. 2003 was the most significant year to date - over 136,000 acres were burned.
Logan Pass is the highest point on the road, at 6,646 feet. There’s a Visitor’s Center with restroom facilities, drinking water, hiking information, and a bookstore.
Kintla Lake, Montana
Looking for a remote, untouched piece of lake to canoe on? Look no further - Kintla Lake is it!
Kintla Lake is in the very northwest portion of Glacier National Park. It’s the northern-most, most remote frontcountry camping in the Park. To get to the lake, you have to take a seasonal road that’s pretty rough for about 20 miles (don’t forget that Dramamine), and it will take well over an hour. But the views on the way there are absolutely breathtaking, and totally worth the rough roads.
You won’t have cell service, and you’re in bear country…so make sure you have a Plan B. Whatever that might be.
The town of Polebridge, MT is about the halfway point to Kintla Lake. It’s less than a mile from the Northwest Entrance to Glacier National Park, and 22 miles from the Canadian border. It’s super remote - no cell service and no power lines, but boasts a well-known Mercantile and Bakery that makes the most amazing baked goods ( plus it also has any last minute toiletries or personal items you may have forgotten ). You’ve got to stop in if only to smell the sweet aroma of dozens of sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones, and countless other treats made from scratch.
When you finally make it to the campground, you’ll be blown away with the raw beauty & solitude of the lake. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that not many people travel up to this campground, and you may be the only ones there, if you’re lucky.
Be prepared for lots of wind - the weather can change rapidly on this lake, going from calm waters to whitecaps within minutes. Your kayak/canoe also needs to be checked for invasive species (the closest station for us was at Apgar, the town near the West Entrance). No motorboats are permitted on the lake, ensuring total solitude while here.
Camping Skincare Hacks
Between the campfire smoke, dirt, dust, UV radiation, lack of running water, and (typically) the inability to continue your “normal” skincare routine, your skin definitely takes a beating while camping. Skincare, for good reason, gets pushed to the bottom of your list - other things are far more important, like shelter, clean drinking water, warmth, and not getting eaten by a bear, to name a few.
Leaving all the conveniences of home is sometimes hard, but there are shortcuts to making skincare easy while camping:
#1: Facial Wipes
To replace your normal cleanser, use a non-scented facial wipe. No water needed, and you can do it in your tent for extra convenience.
Simple® Cleansing Facial Wipes
-Sensitive skin approved
-No harsh chemicals
-No artificial perfumes (scent-free)
-Removes waterproof mascara …
#2: Waterproof Mascara
Just because you’re not showering for days on end and your legs are starting to become fuzzy cacti doesn’t mean you can’t pop on some mascara while camping - it takes seconds and makes you feel somewhat female, so why not? Opt for waterproof - I’ve been using Maybelline’s Great Lash Waterproof Mascara in Very Black since I was 16 years old, and it hasn’t failed me yet.
We use this stuff in dermatology on nearly every patient - post-biopsy, post-filler, you name it!
But it’s just as versatile and functional in the woods as it is in the office- Vaseline is ALWAYS in my camping pack. I use it on my lips, cuticles, and heels for moisturization and to prevent cracking (it truly is the BEST form of moisturization, if you can get over the “goopy” factor").
Vaseline also makes great fire starters - I bring a small bag of dryer lint and soak it in Vaseline to start fires on the trail. Super easy.
I prefer bringing a squeeze tube instead of the classic jar - easier to pack, and you won’t get fuzz / hair / dirt in your Vaseline that way.
Vaseline Healing Jelly, Original
#4: Moisturizing Physical Sunblock
Always, always, always bring a physical block sunscreen (this means there’s zinc or titanium in the ingredients). And to ensure simplicity while on the trail, bring a moisturizing physical sunblock. My pick is EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 (surprise, surprise) - lightweight yet super moisturizing (contains hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E), calming (contains niacinamide, a natural anti-inflammatory), and anti-aging (contains antioxidants and lactic acid). It’s oil-free, paraben and sulfate free, fragrance free, and sensitive skin approved.
#5: Leave retinols / acids
Retinoids (and their derivatives) as well as most acids ( lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, etc ) can make you more photosensitive - that is, they have the potential to increase the risk of sunburns. If you’re really attached to using an acid daily, opt for EltaMD UV Clear Sunscreen - it does contain lactic acid, but won’t make you more sensitive to sunlight.
#6: No Scented Products !
While camping and backpacking, all products used should be SCENT-FREE. Especially if you’re in bear country. It’s important to remember that scented products, if in bear country, need to be contained - i.e. in your vehicle, or in a bear canister. Also, the more you cut down on scented products, the more you’ll cut down on the bugs !
U N T I L N E X T T I M E ,