→ Part 1: The best natural toiletries for Thailand
→ Part 2: The best makeup for Thailand + tips to beat the heat (follows below)
Part 2: The Best Makeup for Thailand
NOTE As in Part 1 (toiletries for Thailand), every product below is 100% cruelty-free (no animal testing) and ‘best in class’ for being as green/eco/natural as possible. I’ve tried them nearly all of them personally, bought myself as a normal customer – no freebies – during the hottest weather I’ve ever known on Koh Samui.
#6. Foundation/cover-up makeup for Thailand
What I pack:
On a typical day in Thailand, foundation will slide/sweat off your face in exactly three seconds out the door. Drinking as much water (and coconut water) as the climate requires, likely, your skin will be its happiest anyway. As such, I never feel much makeup coverage is necessary in Thailand – starting with a clean, moisturised face in a cool room, I just use a few dabs of RMS “un” cover-up on Jetlag Zombie days or a slightly fuller coverage of Kjaer Weis for a dressier destination requiring actual effort. At night, when it’s a little cooler, you might have better luck with the same makeup application you’d use at home – but my guess is you’ll try it once and then not bother for the rest of your trip.
How to get your makeup to stick in Thailand?
Here’s the only way you’re going to win. First, check the controls for your hotel room’s air-conditioning: does it have a dehumidifying option? (Often designated as a raindrop on the remote control). If so, turn it on when you go for a shower (or otherwise just turn on the A/C). By the time you get to applying your makeup, you’ll have a nice, cool environment with skin happy to cooperate. If you can spare a further half hour in your room after you’re finished to read a book or look at Instagram, you’ll give your makeup time to sink in and blend into your skin. (The same trick applies to avoiding frizzy hair in the humidity). Of course, I wouldn’t suggest spending your vacation inside for the sake of makeup but if you’re waiting for your other person or have a particularly special occasion – a cool room is your best bet. Otherwise, hat and sunglasses, what’s the problem?
#7. Blush/bronzer/luminizer for Thailand
What I pack:
I wrote myself some ‘guinea pig’ notes on a recent 38°C scorcher in Thailand (100.4°F) and had this to say about blush: “Hahahahaha. My entire face is blush.” On such a hot day, it’s not worth trying: just give up and melt as gracefully as possible. Yet I still pack all three; RMS products are so tiny and multi-purpose, what’s the harm? Excepting the above as an exceptionally hot day, for most of the year in Thailand (and particularly at night) I find these RMS products perform beautifully in hot weather and really suit a tan. Cream products like these are your only chance of a happy result – powder blush looks like you’ve been through The Color Run.
RMS Master Mixer and Living Luminizer in hot weather? At home, these are my favourite bits in a very lazy makeup routine. They make you look bright, glowy and rested. In Thailand, you’re glowy to start with – less is more.
How does RMS Beauty makeup work in hot weather / tropical climates / Thailand?
I Googled this myself before visiting Thailand as a newly minted RMS fanatic. Its main ingredient is coconut oil and I dreaded a liquid disaster. As it turns out, the RMS makeup pots are absolutely fine in hot weather. Certainly they’re a little softer, but I prefer this as they’re easier to blend. Proof: I accidentally left them in full Thai sun, at noon, and I can confirm: they don’t melt and they don’t turn into liquid. Can’t say the same for myself.
^ RMS Beauty makeup in hot weather: These have been kept in a fan-cooled bathroom in Thailand (no direct sunlight, but pretty hot) for a week. They’re softer than in cooler climates, but this means easier to blend (they don’t melt!).
#8. Diminishing ‘the glow’ in Thailand
What I pack:
I love RMS “un” powder because it’s really breathable in Thailand’s hot weather. Of course, it doesn’t last long when you find yourself in strong sun (but I take that as a healthy cue to seek shade and a cold drink). It does work really well at night, when it’s slightly cooler (nice cooperation when you might dress up a little for dinner or going out). You’ll want translucent powder – it won’t stain your clothes if/when it decides to slide off your skin. Beauty experts caution against reapplying powder on top of powder too many times (“cakey”) – instead, try blotting paper. Or, give up and go for a swim.
#9. Eye makeup for Thailand
What I pack:
1. RMS Mascara (of the natural mascaras I’ve personally tried in Thailand, this one stays the best), but bareMinerals waterproof mascara* might be worth a look
2. Eye liner pencil
3. (Optional) EcoBrow wax + e.l.f. eyebrow gel (lasts better than powder in heat)
Here’s where beloved green beauty products part ways with traditional makeup – I haven’t yet found a natural mascara that works as well as regular mascara in Thailand. I have tried many natural mascaras that fail in spectacular raccoon-style in muggy heat. Truthfully, waterproof is best – this bareMinerals waterproof mascara* gets great reviews on Amazon for use in hot climates (I haven’t tried it myself). For eyeliner, a smudge-proof kohl eye pencil mostly stays put on a typically humid Thai day. No surprise that semi-permanent eyeliner and eyebrow tattoos are popular with some beauty-conscious Thai women. Me? Sunglasses or face-down for a Thai massage.
*bareMinerals doesn’t test on animals, but its parent company (Shiseido) does (more details)
#10. Lipstick for Thailand
What I pack:
I typically pack a tinted lip-gloss and then lose it at the bottom of my carry-on before I arrive. Eating and drinking at 7-minute intervals, I can’t be bothered to find it. Worth more of a hunt when MIA is my Sun Bum SPF chapstick – their fantastic Instagram feed regularly reminds me that lips are the thinnest skin on your body and need protecting. (Whereas our Instagram mostly reminds you that palm trees are pretty).
What to to leave at home?
Perfume! You’ll become a walking mosquito magnet.
Recap: My 10 favourite bits of makeup for Thailand
1. RMS Beauty “un” cover-up
2. Tinted moisturiser with SPF
3. RMS Lip2Cheek (blush + lip colour)
4. RMS Master Mixer (bronzy/glowy action)
5. RMS “un” Powder (translucent)
6. Blotting paper
7. RMS Mascara
8. Eye liner pencil
9. Tinted lipgloss
10. Natural lip balm with SPF
Of course, you’re coming to Thailand to relax. Maybe messing with makeup holds no relaxation for you whatsoever. If so, here’s how to happily play Mrs. Robinson Crusoe with exactly zero mosquito bites: How to avoid mosquitoes in Thailand. Enjoy!